Dana Wharf Whale Watching With Kids

Last weekend, we had a “whale of a time” with Dana Wharf Whale Watching from Dana Point, California. Our family was invited to join an excursion and share our experience. Whale Watching is year-round and fun for the whole family! Right now there are Gray Whale migration in the winter, and in the summer there are Blue Whales. Although we never know what we will encounter on the waters, there’s always an adventure that’s waiting to be explored.

That day we cheered as we spotted two pairs of Gray Whales (a couple and a mom and calf) which surfaced several times. We saw numerous fluking (when a whale raises its tail before diving in the water), and the captain told us they’ve seen a lot of breaching lately (when the whale jumps out of the water showing it’s entire body). They were not camera shy, and I was happy to take their picture. 

Our Tips for Whale Watching:

We love taking the family out on ocean excursions, because we’re enjoying the ocean breeze, and we’re exploring things we don’t see every day. The sea animals are fun to watch, and we learn something new every time from the experts. It was a great day to be on the water. We have tips to help make your trip more enjoyable.

  • Stay Warm. Bring a Jacket. We’ve been on several whale watching trips, and no matter how hot it is outside, it gets really chilly when the boat is at high speeds on the water. Bring a jacket or a blanket.
  • Brings Snacks. Bring Water. It’s a 2 hour trip.(If you forget, there is also food available for purchase on the boat.)
  • Come early and allow time to find parking. You never know what the parking situation will be like. The last thing you want is to rush all the way there, and then stress about parking. Don’t forget you’ll also have to stand in line to board. Seating is not assigned so the best seating is first come first serve. (Find more tips about parking below!)
  • Bring binoculars. The kids love it!
  • Photography: Use a zoom lens if you have one or borrow one.

Kid-Friendly Whale Watching Books

The children received kid-friendly books that were great to reference! In the back of The Amazing Adventures of Captain Don! by Donna Kalez, there’s a glossary with easy to understand definitions and illustrations. What a great way to enjoy whale watching! The kids had something to do in our down time, and when the whales appeared, we checked the glossary to identify the behavior. These were available in the gift shop, but you can also bring your own.

The Amazing Adventures of Captain Don! Book Whale Watching


Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching
(Located in the Dana Point Harbor)
34675 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, California
(949) 496-5794

NOTE: Please check the website for updated departure times! Reservations are strongly recommended.


Dana Wharf Sportfishing has a private parking lot. If you get there and can’t find a close parking spot, pull over to the side to have someone run in to check-in and get a parking permit. (They’ll show you where to park.) TIP: Families with small children may also want to unload at this time and get in line, before you park your vehicle. 

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