Santa Barbara > Activity Guide > Santa Barbara Whale Watching

Captain Jack's Whale Watching Tours - Year Round Whale Watching - The “Wonders of Our National Parks” on the Discovery Channel highlighted the outstanding abundance of marine life in the Santa Barbara Channel and named it “One of the 10 Best Places in the World to View Wildlife.” The Channel Islands are on the migration path of the California Gray Whale. The islands offer an opportunity to watch the whales on their way to Baja where they give birth, and then again as they migrate north with their babies. More than 30 species of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions frequent the area, including the majestic blue whale, the acrobatic humpback whale, the barnacled gray whale, the powerful orca, the playful long-beaked common dolphin and the gregarious California sea lion. This 4 1/2 hour trip takes place on a 75-foot catamaran with beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks available for purchase. Schedule Departs 10:00 am Returns 2:30 pm. Typically lasts 4.5 hours

Captain Jack's also offers Wine tasting tours, horseback riding tours, kayak tours, whale watching tours, private and public sailing and cruises, beer tasting tours, deep sea fishing tours, hot air balloon rides, segway tours, stand-up paddle board tours, escape rooms, paragliding, and custom tours. Please visit our website for more information.

Whale Watching Tips

Santa Barbara is in an excellent location for whale watching.  Our city is on a southern facing coast and sheltered behind the Channel Islands.  It offers us a fabulous opportunity to witness the migration of the gray whales, as well as spot other species of the large marine mammals.

Over 27 different types of whales and dolphins inhabit the Santa Barbara Channel at various times of the year, making these waters one of the best whale watching areas in the world.

There are two windows of opportunity to see whales around Santa Barbara.  During February, March and early April you can see California Grey Whales.  From May to September you can see Blue Whales, Minke Whales and Humpback Whales.  Occasionally, you can see Right Whales or Orcas. All season long you have an excellent chance of seeing dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions.