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Educator Package: Includes educational resources, interactive project ideas, trip organization, direct experiential opportunities to help better connect the experience with your students and complimentary chaperone ticket. Does not include student ticket.


Student Package: Includes engaging pre and post educational field trip activities, trip organization and student ticket.


About Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Dana Wharf Whale Watching, located in Dana Point, is an exciting and educational destination that offers visitors the opportunity to observe marine wildlife and learn about ocean ecology.


  • All whale and dolphin watching cruises are narrated by expert marine naturalist captains who educate passengers about the abundant ocean life along the coast.
  • Each trip lasts two hours, providing ample time to explore and discover the fascinating underwater world.


About the Whale Watching & Dolphin Adventure

Visitors can join Dana Point’s first and most beloved whale watching company at Dana Wharf. Renowned as a landmark for marine life sightings, Dana Wharf’s adventures offer rare glimpses into a diverse array of underwater wildlife and breathtaking scenic views.


  • Seasonally, over 1,500 gray whales can be observed, and during the summer, blue whales are a common sight.
  • Year-round, visitors may encounter fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales, and even sharks.

Each trip offers a unique experience, encouraging frequent visits. Whale watching season is year-round, and marine mammal sightings are guaranteed. If no whale or dolphin is spotted, Dana Wharf provides a voucher for a free trip with no expiration date.


Wildlife to See:

  • Gray Whales (November – May): These friendly giants can reach up to 65 feet in length.
  • Blue Whales (May – November): The largest animals on the planet, they can grow up to 100 feet long and weigh up to 100 tons.
  • Year-Round Sightings: Including fin whales, humpback whales, minke whales, and more.
  • Dolphins: Capture memorable photos as playful dolphins frolic around the boat.
  • Other Marine Life: Including sea lions, pelicans, various seabirds, and occasionally sharks (mako, hammerhead, and great white).

Dana Wharf guarantees the best whale watching experience in Southern California. 


Here’s a brief educational overview for students and families visiting:


Historical Overview
Foundation: Established in 1971, Dana Wharf Whale Watching is one of the oldest whale watching operations on the West Coast. It was created to provide opportunities for the public to observe and appreciate marine life in its natural habitat.

Key Features and Activities

  • Whale Watching Tours: The primary attraction is the whale watching tours, where visitors can observe various species of whales, including gray whales, blue whales, humpback whales, and even orcas, depending on the season.
  • Dolphin and Marine Life Cruises: In addition to whales, tours often feature sightings of dolphins, sea lions, and other marine life, providing a comprehensive experience of the marine ecosystem.
  • Educational Narration: Each tour is accompanied by expert naturalists who provide educational commentary about the marine animals, their behaviors, migration patterns, and the importance of ocean conservation.


Interactive Learning

  • Marine Biology Education: The on-board naturalists offer detailed information about the marine biology of the area, helping visitors understand the ecological significance of the marine species observed.
  • Conservation Awareness: Tours emphasize the importance of marine conservation, discussing the threats to marine ecosystems and the measures being taken to protect them.
  • Interactive Q&A Sessions: Visitors are encouraged to ask questions throughout the tour, allowing for a deeper understanding of the marine environment and its inhabitants.

Visiting Tips for Families

  • Plan Ahead: Check the Dana Wharf Whale Watching website for current schedules, tour options, and any special events to make the most of your visit.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear layered clothing and bring a jacket, as it can be cooler on the water. Comfortable shoes and sun protection (sunscreen, hats, sunglasses) are also recommended.
  • Bring Essentials: Bring binoculars, cameras, and snacks or drinks (if allowed) to enhance your experience and capture memorable moments.
  • Engage with Naturalists: Take advantage of the knowledgeable naturalists on board by asking questions and engaging in the educational commentary provided during the tour.
  • Respect Marine Life: Follow guidelines provided by the tour operators to ensure respectful and safe interactions with the marine wildlife, helping to preserve their natural behaviors and habitats.

By visiting Dana Wharf Whale Watching, students and families can experience the wonder of observing whales and other marine life up close, learn about the complexities of marine ecosystems, and gain a greater appreciation for the importance of ocean conservation.


*This field trip is not supported by IEM Charter School


Dana Wharf Whale Watching

PriceFrom $75.00
  • Please use the information on this page (package type, venue name, price, etc.) to submit an order request with your school. Once your order is approved, your school will forward the request to us. We will then reach out to you with instructions on how to finalize your trip details and access accompanying resources. Once finalized, you will receive your e-tickets and any additional materials directly to your inbox within 1-3 business days. If you don't see our email(s), please check your spam folder prior to contacting us.


    To ensure a smooth process, it is generally recommended to submit your order with your school AT LEAST 10 business days prior to your trip date, unless you are booking a venue that requires more advanced planning. *Please be mindful of your school's processing times and plan accordingly.

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