Whale watching season in San Diego traditionally occurs from December through April when California gray whales journey from the chilly Alaskan seas to the warm water lagoons of Baja California.

The San Diego Tourism Authority said that guests on a winter cruise can witness thousands of California gray whales come within a few miles of the San Diego coastline on their 5,000-mile southern voyage passage as these "peaceful giants of the sea" swim to warmer climates to birth and rear their young. Their journey is one of nature's most extraordinary events and is the longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis.

In the fall and summer months, whale watching excursions also tout the opportunity to see humpback, fin and minke whales, along with frequent year-round sightings of bottlenose, pacific white-sided and common dolphins. With 70 miles of coastline, San Diego makes an ideal location for viewing this impressive parade of marine life.

For those who have time before or after their cruise, the gray whale season is also celebrated at the Birch Aquairum at Scripps with educational activities and exhibits. The Big Whale Days and Whale Festival take place later this month, offering family fun and entertainment along the city’s waterfront.

Whale watching from shore is possible from the Cabrillo National Monument, overlooking the ocean and provides a spectacular coastline to discover marine life. Located on the Point Loma peninsula, the park offers a glass-enclosed observatory for whale watching; guests can also explore whale exhibits and listen to a taped narration describing characteristics of these popular animals. 

From December 15, 2013 through April 14, 2014, Next Level Sailing and the Maritime Museum of San Diego are offering the first "No Seasickness Guarantee" whale watching experience aboard the yacht America , a historic replica of the world's first America's Cup winner. 

Naturalists from the Birch Aquarium at Scripps partner with Flagship Cruises & Events to venture out on twice-daily public cruises from San Diego Bay to locate gray whales, and Hornblower Cruises & Events offers 3.5-hour hale watching adventure cruises in partnership with the San Diego Natural History Museum.

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