How to Go Whale Watching in Monterey, CA

Deanna Morgado

California’s long coastline attracts whale-watching enthusiasts from all over the country. But one of the best places is the gorgeous Monterey Bay. Monterey has year-round whale-watching trips, tours, and prime spots to observe those majestic sea creatures. Culture Trip has put together this quick guide to figuring out the best ways to go about whale watching in Monterey Bay. Following this guide could lead you to witnessing humpback whales, pods of orcas, and the blue whale, the largest and possibly most magnificent animal on the planet.

Land or water

First things first when it comes to whale watching in Monterey. You’ll have to decide if you want to capture these sea mammals in their natural habitat from the land or while on the water yourself. Land tours are great because all you need is a decent pair of binoculars and a good rock or bench to perch on. One of the best places to do this is right off of Cannery Row. Countless sightings of whales can be seen from the shore of Cannery Row and a lot of times even from the shops and restaurants that hug the shoreline. Whale watching from the land is also great for those who tend to get seasick while traveling by boat or those who have other special needs.


Whale watching while on the sea, on the other hand, is something for those a little more adventurous. Whether a guided tour from an agency or taking a personal boat out on the ocean, this fashion of whale watching allows a more up-close and personal experience with the whales. Being in these creatures’ natural habitat presents lots of picture-perfect opportunities and excitement out on the open water.


Monterey Bay is one of the most spectacular places for whale watching in California and the whole U.S. Agencies are just itching to take excited wannabe whale watchers out on the gorgeous ocean to make that fantasy a reality. Boat charters and whale-watching tours are lined up along Monterey’s beaches and docks. Some of the best tours and agencies in Monterey are known for either their professionalism, skills, knack for knowing all the best spots for spotting migrating whales, or all of the above.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch

Monterey Bay Whale Watch, located on Fisherman’s Wharf, for instance, is a favorite among beginner and veteran whale watchers. This boat charter is one of the top choices for its informative tours and the fact that the tours virtually always know where to find those much-sought-after whales.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch, 84 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA, USA, +1 831 375 4658

Whale Watching

Fast Raft Marine Eco-Tours and Private Charter

Fast Raft Marine Eco-Tours and Private Charter is a great choice for those looking for a more intimate tour. With Fast Raft, passengers will be aboard a zodiac boat that only seats six and allows you to be eye level with the ocean in front of you.

Fast Raft Marine Eco-Tours and Private Charter, 32 Cannery Row, Suite F2, Monterey, CA, USA, +1 831 324 4883

Whale watching in Monterey

Discovery Whale Watch

No tour pulls out all the stops like Discovery Whale Watch. Their educational tours are always full of action, finding the perfect places where whales can be seen breaking the ocean’s surface for everyone’s viewing pleasure. From beginning to end, Discovery Whale Watch is the small company with the highest of standards when it comes to a great whale-watching experience.

Discovery Whale Watch, 66 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA, USA, +1 831 372 7064

Whale Watching

Enjoy the Majesty

All in all, soaking in all the wonder whales give off is really the most important part when it comes to whale watching. There’s not exactly one right or wrong way to go whale watching in Monterey Bay, because it’s essentially the mecca of whale watching in California. If you keep that in mind along with our guide, you’ll be spotting humpbacks and blue whales in no time.

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