Whale Watching in Monterey

Monterey Bay is a year-round whale watching destination due to the incredible depth of the Monterey Bay Canyon, which provides an amazing habitat for many whale species to come close to shore to feed. The diversity of Monterey Bay is amazing, with humpback whales, blue whales, gray whales and orcas (among other marine species) migrating seasonally through the area. Whale watchers on Monterey Bay can sometimes spot a fin, minke or sperm whale, and the rarely observed beaked whale, which dives for up to an hour at a time, has been known to make a cameo appearance!

- The best time to see blue whales in Monterey Bay is July-October
- The best time to see killer whales in Monterey Bay is mid-April - mid-May and late-August - October  
- The best time to see gray whales in Monterey Bay is December-April, with peaks in January & March
- The best time to see humpback whales in Monterey Bay is year-round, with peaks in March-November

Book a whale watching tour for an unmatched educational & sightseeing experience at any time of year in Monterey Bay.

Video Courtesy of Monterey Bay Whale Watch

Whale Watching Tips

Monterey's knowledgeable whale watch leaders have several tips for novice whale watchers.

  • PLAN AHEAD: Make reservations in advance directly with our whale watching tour operators, as trips can fill up fast. Take note of new safety and health protocols upon booking, and follow guidelines accordingly.
  • DRESS WARM: Even if the weather seems warm on the dock the ocean air can get frigid so be sure to wear multiple layers. 
  • WEAR FLAT, RUBBER-SOLED SHOES: The deck is likely to get wet as you sail, and a wet deck is a slippery deck.
  • TAKE SEA-SICKNESS MEDICATION: Prepare for your excursion by taking seasickness medication at least an hour before boarding your boat. This will give the medication time to take effect and ensure that you can enjoy the whale watch without getting queasy. 
  • SECURE YOUR CAMERA OR BINOCULARS: Don't loose your favorite tech gadget to the sea! Make sure that your cameras, binoculars and other gear are strapped securely around your neck (or wrist, for shorter straps).
  • WEAR SUNSCREEN, FACE COVERINGS AND SHADES: Hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are essential, as you can still get burnt even if the sun is not visible.

Whale Watching Tours

Seeing whales in person is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Visitors have called the experience life-changing and say it gives them a new perspective on our oceans. Book your whale watching trip with local tour operators now and find out what it's like to meet a whale face-to-face!


48 Fisherman's Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940

Deep Sea Fishing & Whale Watching tours year around in the third…


66 Fisherman's Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940

Discovery whale watch trips depart from Monterey Fisherman’s…


84 Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940

Monterey Bay Whale Watch offers year-round whale watching trips to…


96 Fisherman's Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940

When safety, experience, comfort and quality count, choose…


7881 Sandholdt Rd Dock A, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Year-round whale watching and special charters on the Monterey…


7881 Sandholdt Rd, Moss Landing, CA 95039

The Monterey Bay is California’s best location for viewing…

Whalefest Monterey

April 13 - 14, 2024

Whalefest Monterey is an annual event that celebrates marine life and promotes ocean conservation, featuring educational exhibits, marine-themed activities, and the opportunity to witness majestic whales along the scenic Monterey Bay.

There are currently no items to display

Explore more

things to do in Monterey County

Monterey County Fair

Monterey Events

What's Happening
Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail Pacific Grove

The Blog

See What's New
This is an image of a table full of food & wine at Coastal Kitchen in Monterey

Food & Drink

Wine and dine
This is an image of two women on a dirt hiking path at Pfeiffer Falls. The women are walking away from the camera and are wearing brightly colored workout clothing and backpacks. The women are smiling at each other and are surrounded by lush and green redwood trees.

Trip Inspiration

Outdoor Adventure
01 / 04

Search all lodging