Whale Watching in Carlsbad

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Action water-sports shop Everyday California (formerly OEX), wrangles an experienced team of experts to escort patrons on kayak, surfing, and snorkeling tours. The shop as been lauded by publications including the Chicago Tribune for its exploration of the earth's watery expanses that offer glimpses of marine creatures such as sea turtles, sea lions, seals, dolphins, and cormorants. Kayak tours take paddlers out on a variety of adventures, including destinations such as seven sea caves, the paths of migrating gray whales, and underwater kelp forests. Everyday California also rents out kayaks, snorkel gear, surfboards, paddleboards, and saddles for baby belugas.

2243 Avenida De La Playa
La Jolla,
CA
US

First String Sportfishing sails the open seas off of Southern California, taking passengers on both fishing voyages and educational marine tours. Its largest boat, First String, can hold up to 149 people for its whale-watching tours. On board the 93-foot boat, you’ll find two 9-ton fish holds, two radars, a large-screen television, and a dolphin-to-English dictionary. First String Sportfishing’s other boats depart for both Californian and Mexican waters on fishing excursions. These trips typically yield shallow-water rockfish such as Sculpin and Whitefish and larger varieties including yellowtail and barracuda.

2313 Plaza A La Playa
San Clemente,
CA
US

The staff members at Another Side Of Los Angeles Tours take an unconventional approach to sightseeing. The goal is to fashion an experience that is as much about the sights as it is about the tour itself. Sightseers glide along the surface of the sea during kayaking tours that can convert to snorkeling expeditions, hike through LA’s mountains, or steal behind-the-scenes glimpses at Warner Brothers Studios. The company’s segway tours wheel customers through downtown Los Angeles, down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, and along the scenic shores of Santa Monica and Venice Beach like a king crab that discovered a more efficient way to move. In addition to information and adventure, the company frequently gives tour takers round-trip transportation, waives entrance fees, and serves bites to eat.

300 G St
San Diego,
CA
US

Ordinarily it's bad news if your plane is in the water, but not so at San Diego Seaplanes, where the flying machines are made for aquatic takeoffs and landings. On any given day, the small planes whisk passengers in a romantic journey from the water's surface up into the air above San Diego, where they can survey the skyline, see California grey whales below, swoop over Coronado Island, and take in the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

Despite its name, San Diego Seaplanes doesn't only serve America's Finest City. The pilots also transport passengers around the Hawaiian Islands, Baja California, and areas of the Caribbean known for their dolphins that race the planes.

3717 John J Montgomery Drive
San Diego,
CA
US

Though she's only a few decades old, the Privateer has already retired to a warmer climate. In May 2011—after 28 years of ferrying passengers around on whale-watching trips in brisk Massachusetts waters—she made her way down the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal, and to the warm San Diego coast. She hasn't stopped working, however. The Privateer still carries up to 149 passengers across ocean waves during sunset cruises. With her roomy outdoor decks, she makes it easy for people to have unobstructed views of the pink-and-gold horizon kissing the Pacific's azure waters.

1717 Quivira Rd
San Diego,
CA
US

As twilight colors San Diego's skyline and the waters surrounding it, the 85-foot New Seaforth is just setting out onto the ocean. Onboard, passengers armed with rods and reels watch the coast shrink as they make their way to Point Loma and the La Jolla kelp beds in search of yellowtail, barracuda, and other fish who have late curfews. Joining them the whole way is Seaforth Sportfishing's crew, who help beginners set up their equipment and give more experienced anglers tips and pointers. And for those who've caught their limit or are waiting for a bite, the galley stands ready, serving up cheeseburgers and sodas or beers for them to sip while they watch the last color fade from the sky and the stars come out. On the way back to shore, during the summer months, passengers might catch Sea World's fireworks show to cap off their evening with a bang.

These twilight trips are indicative of the experience every Seaforth Sportfishing excursion offers. Captains aboard the company's 17 vessels—which range from 65 to 85 feet—also venture out on half-day trips for yellowtail, barracuda, bonito, and bass, or full-day trips into Mexican waters, where tuna and dorado flash beneath the surface.

1717 Quivira Rd
San Diego,
CA
US