Whale Watching in Vista

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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

Just minutes south of Laguna Beach, SoCal Dolphin Adventures takes passengers on peaceful animal-sighting treks along the southern California coast. Rather than use a large whale-watching vessel, SoCal's cozy boat fits a maximum of six people, giving everyone unobstructed views of natural wildlife, such as dolphins and sea lions. Our three-hour adventures trek up to seven miles up or down the coast for a better chance of spotting animals and fuzzy seaweed banks you can later claim were mermaids. Careful to never disrupt marine habitats, each tour leaves plenty of time to snap pictures and wait for whales to breach.

34571 Golden Lantern Street
Dana Point,
CA
US

The staff members at Another Side Of San Diego 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 take to the air during helicopter tours, hot air balloon tours, and biking tours with optional ETs. The company’s segway tours wheel saunterers through Mission Bay or the Gaslamp Quarter and the Embarcadero at sunset, when San Diego twinkles and teenage werewolves cycle through awkward states of half-transformation. 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