Coastal Island Whale Watch Cruise

  • Port

    Santa Barbara, California, US

  • Activity Level


  • Excursion Type


  • Wheelchair Accessible


  • Starting At


  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    Approximately 2½ Hours

  • Meals Included


Some of the best whale-watching opportunities in the world are right here in Santa Barbara. The southern-facing coast and the sheltered behind the Channel Islands offer an ideal corridor for whale migration. In fact, more than 27 different types of whales and dolphins inhabit the Santa Barbara Channel at different time of the year. Appreciate the beauty of these magnificent cetaceans firsthand during this whale-watching expedition.

Step off the pier and onto a state-of-the-art, high-speed catamaran whose friendly crew make you comfortable and welcome. Set off across the sparkling waters of the Pacific on a smooth, stable ride. You can choose to stay in the luxurious, teak-paneled cabin equipped with booth seating and large tinted windows, perfect for optimal wildlife viewing. Or, take your place on a viewing platform on the bow or top deck, basking in the sun and enjoying the sea breeze as you scan the waters for telltale whale spouts. Winter and spring often provide views of gray whales that pass during their annual migration. Humpback and blue whales enter the channel to feed from May until fall.

These islands teem with wildlife. Marvel at the thousands of birds (including cormorants, gulls and the endangered California brown pelican) that nest among the craggy rock formations here. The rocky shores are also resting and breeding areas for California sea lions and harbor seals. Keep an eye out for these playful creatures and look for dolphins, who love to swim alongside boats, guiding them through these beautiful coastal waters. Whatever species you may be lucky enough to encounter, you will surely come away richer for the experience.


Dress in layers, it can be cooler on the water. Wildlife sightings are likely but are not guaranteed.