Whale-watching is one of the most popular activities for visitors to the west coast, but they may think winter is the only time to see these majestic marine mammals. While whale watching San Diego is good all year long, other areas of the Pacific Coast are also prime whale-watching locations in the summertime. Not sure where you have the best chance to spot whales in the wild? Put these destinations on your radar for whale-watching in July.
Where To See Whales in July
Get ready to expand your horizons and see marine wildlife in the middle of summer when you visit these areas of the west coast:
- Glacier Bay, Kodiac Island, and Juneau, Alaska – The Alaskan waters are teeming with humpbacks, minke, and fin whales. Keep an eye out for the occasional blue or gray whale and plenty of orcas and dolphins.
- Vancouver, British Columbia – Around Vancouver Island, you can see orcas, humpbacks, minkes, and gray whales enjoying feeding in these robust waters. It’s also a beloved spot with bird-watchers because eagles and great blue herons also partake in coastal dining opportunities.
- Seattle and the San Juan Islands, Washington – The summertime is the best time to see orcas, but humpback and minke whales are also in abundance. Many visitors combine a trip to Seattle with a stop in Vancouver because they are so close.
- Monterey and Big Sur, California – From Monterey, just south of San Francisco, to Santa Barbara, north of Los Angeles, whales treat the Pacific Ocean like a highway. In July, you can spot dolphins, humpbacks, minkes, and blue whales on the move.
- San Diego, California – When is whale watching season in San Diego? This region of SoCal has two seasons, winter and summer. You can spy gray whales heading to Baja California in winter, but blue whales migrate during July. Humpback, fin, and minke whales swim along the coast throughout the year, as do dolphins, sea lions, and seals.
What To Expect on a July Whale Watching Trip
While you may be able to spy whales from the shoreline, your best to see gigantic baleen whales is out in the ocean. When you plan a whale-watching excursion, book a longer tour to cover more distances and increase your odds. Many whale-watching companies recommend an early-morning tour because the water tends to be calmer, giving you a better chance to see whales with less choppy waters for a smoother boat ride.
Be sure to take along sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from intense summertime UV rays. A lightweight windbreaker or rain jacket can also come in handy if showers pop up or the wind feels cool. Also, bring along water, snacks, and a camera to be ready for anything.
While there is no best time to visit Encinitas, San Diego, or Monterey for whale-watching, you should check the local reports to see what whales have been spotted in recent days. Check with your tour company as well; reputable whale-watching businesses maintain records of whale sightings. While there is never a guarantee that you will see a whale during a tour, your chances are just as good in July as any other time of year.