Whale Watching in Santa Monica

Select Local Merchants

The waters around Marina del Rey teem with seasonal gamefish. Beneath the ocean's surface, halibut, sand bass, and barracuda swim from Rocky Point to the Big Kelp Reef. That is, until they cross paths with The Betty-O, Spitfire, or the New Del Mar—the fishing boats of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing's fleet. Aboard these vessels, experienced guides help small and large groups cast lines and pull prize catches from the water.

But sometimes, the ocean's beauty makes anglers put down their fishing poles. Sea lions, dolphins, sea birds, and several whale species also make their home in the water. This diversity of wildlife prompted the owners of Marina Del Rey Sportfishing to start their whale and eco tour, during which sightseers can admire the ocean's majestic creatures and the teams of Aquamen who groom them.

13552 Fiji Way
Marina Del Rey,
CA
US

Standup paddleboarding, or SUP for short, combines all the best aspects of surfing and kayaking. SUPers eschew the hours of practice required to catch a wave for the paddleboard's calm-water stability, still enjoying an upright position so they can easily see any merfolk in the waves below. Paddle House even arranges VIP-style board valet, parking, and a launch slip so guests can enjoy their time on the water rather than worrying about logistics. After a day paddling across the deep blue, guests return to relax in the onsite sauna or calm their minds in a yoga class. Paddle House members can even rent one of the club's boats and enjoy free refreshments on the open-air lounge.

164 N International Boardwalk
Redondo Beach,
CA
US

A yacht that goes by the name of First Star that was voted one of the favorites of Cruising World magazine. A captain who goes by the name of Matthew Mancini, who loves introducing people to sailing. An array of islands that go by the names of Catalina, Santa Barbara, Anacapa, and San Miguel. Put all of these elements together and you have Old Plank Sailing Adventures. Old Plank Sailing Adventures' Captain Matthew Mancini corrals visitors aboard a luxury yacht and then whisks them on various adventures throughout the sparkling waters.

The sailor keeps guests closer to home on jaunts around Marina del Rey's picturesque harbor or leads them on multiday adventures to nearby islands. He also captains dinner cruises, whale watching expeditions, and moonlight sails in Santa Monica Bay, where all the fish are named Monica.

1765 N. Sycamore Ave #317
Los Angeles,
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.

1150 Berth
Los Angeles,
CA
US

Custom Scuba’s two boats aren’t typical leisure vessels—they’re inflatable boats, originally designed for Navy SEALS. And like Navy SEALS, the company’s captains use the boats to reach hidden channels and hard-to-access waterways. However, unlike Navy SEALS, their top priority is fun. With more than 10 years of experience each, the two captains helm snorkeling adventures, fishing trips, and sunset cruises that showcase the area’s natural beauty at sites often not visited by other companies. True to its company name, the team also offers scuba classes, teaching basic underwater skills and doling out dive certifications with a teaching motto of never rushing a student and always putting safety first and cannonball competitions last.

7014 Quakertown Ave
Winnetka,
CA
US

The vessel, Shoreliner, is no stranger to the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Originally built in 1960s to speedily shuttle ferry passengers to and from Catalina Island, Greg Watson Sr.?a seasoned captain with 35 years of seafaring experience?purchased the vessel in 2013 and completely refurbished it to better provide a luxuriant experience for private parties as well as tour groups. The 65-foot, aluminum-hulled vessel slices through the water at a cruising speed of 14 knots, leaving the coastline behind while as many as 130 guests can enjoy the views from the indoor seating section, the upper-deck seating, or the bow or stern areas. For private parties, the Shoreliner features two flat-screen televisions and a DVD player in its main salon, as well as a fully stocked bar that can help keep spirits high throughout the cruise. The crew also offers educational cruises in the form of two-hour, whale-watching tours, which give invaluable insight into the local marine life while providing opportunities for passengers to actually see gray whales, blue whales, bottlenose dolphins, and even hitchhiking mermaids depending on the season.

141 W 22nd St.
San Pedro,
CA
US