From late December into early April, Pacific gray whales migrate down the Pacific coast to Baja California Sur, Mexico and then back up to Alaska, giving Southern California a great chance to view these majestic ocean mammals.
In Oxnard (visitoxnard.com), Island Packers and Channel Islands Sportfishing Center offer daily outings. In the L.A. area, you can board boats in Marina del Rey (visitmarinadelrey.com), Redondo Beach (visitredondo.com), San Pedro (sanpedro.com) and Long Beach (visitlongbeach.com). In Orange County, prime whale-watching spots are Dana Point (visitdanapoint.com) and Newport Beach (visitnewportbeach.com). These are only a few of the companies offering cruises, and prices can vary, so shop around.
Another place with a big love for whales is the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (cabrillomarineaquarium.org). In partnership with the American Cetacean Society and whale-watching companies in Marina del Rey, Redondo Beach and San Pedro, the aquarium staffs boats with trained naturalists.