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When can you see orcas in Monterey Bay?

4 min read

Asked by: Katie Herman

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are sighted in the sanctuary year-round with 2-5 unpredictable sightings each month. They are spotted in Monterey Bay from January through May and from September through November.

When can you see killer whales in Monterey Bay?

Although April and May are the peak sighting months for Killer Whales in Monterey Bay, they may be encountered at any time of the year. We typically sight Killer Whales about 2-7 times per week during this Spring period, as sightings vary annually.

What is the best time of day to see whales in Monterey Bay?

Whales are just as likely to be visible in the afternoon as they are in the morning, so, fortunately, there’s not really the best time of day for whale watching in Monterey Bay. However, conditions are generally calmer in the morning so that may make it a more enjoyable experience for you.

When can you go whale watching in Monterey?

We have two seasons for whale watching in addition to pelagic seabird trips on selected dates: Winter and early spring (January to March) Whale Watch for Gray Whale, Killer Whales and Dolphins. Late spring, summer and fall (April to December) Whale Watch for Humpback Whales, Blue Whales and Dolphins.

When can you see orcas in California?

Although killer whales have a decent population, this species in particular can be a bit more challenging to pinpoint, because they are more diversely spread out geographically. With that being said, the best time to see killer whales in California is typically during the spring, between the months of February and May.

Does Monterey Bay have orcas?

Orcas are temporary inhabitants of Monterey Bay and migrate continuously along the coast of western North America. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are sighted in the sanctuary year-round with 2-5 unpredictable sightings each month.

Is whale watching better in San Francisco or Monterey?

Re: whale watching SF bay or Monterey? We definitely recommend Monterey Bay. You can get out to the whales within a few miles within the bay, versus several hours to get out to the Farallones out of SF. It’s a much nicer ride.

What month is best for whale watching?

Whale watching season typically runs from June to October and any month is a good time to get up-close and personal with these gentle giants. Everyone’s favourite aerial behaviour, when the whales launch their entire body out of the water in a spectacular breach, can be seen at any time.

Where can I see whales from shore in Monterey?

Whale Watching from the Shore Around Monterey Bay
Try Point Lobos State Reserve where they pass close to Pinnacle Point, which you can reach by taking the Cypress Grove Trail. You may also see humpback whales offshore near California Highway 1 between Nepenthe Restaurant and the town of Big Sur.

When can you see blue whales in Monterey?

Blue whales are most likely to be spotted in Monterey Bay in summer or fall. They feed off the California coast from June through October. During these months, about two thousand blue whales swim in the waters off the central coast including in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Where is the best place to see orcas?

From the icy waters of the Antarctic to the beaches of Patagonia – we uncover the best orca watching spots around the world…

  • Peninsula Valdes, Argentina. …
  • Iceland. …
  • Norway. …
  • Bremer Bay, Australia. …
  • Alaska, USA. …
  • San Juan Island, USA. …
  • Auckland, New Zealand. …
  • Vancouver Island, Canada. An orca off the coast of Canada (Shutterstock)

What time of year do orcas migrate?


Type A killer whales appear to be migratory, entering Antarctic waters during the austral summer. Type B (Antarctic killer whales) undertake rapid migrations from the Antarctic to subtropical waters off Uruguay and Brazil. These rapid travels may be over 5,800 miles (9,400 km) round trip.

What time of day are orcas most active?

This means they are most active during twilight hours which are both before sunrise and after sunset. They can communicate with one another without being detected by predators or prey during these twilight hours because the water will absorb the sound of the whales’ communication.

Are there killer whales near California?

Transient Type Orca
These orcas are known to travel up and down the California coast and are mostly documented off Central California.