Buy tickets online or call (949) 673-1434 to schedule a cruise
Located in Newport Beach, just minutes away from most cities in Orange County, Davey’s Locker has been providing whale watching cruises for over 40 years to both residents and visitors of Orange County and surrounding areas. Departing from a natural harbor, Davey’s Locker is the most popular option for those considering whale watching in Orange County. Newport Bay is the closest bay to Anaheim and the Disneyland area, at only 20 minutes away. It is hard to believe that such amazing whale watching is so close to the OC metropolitan area but it is true. Thousands of whales viewed each season and a beautiful coastline easily makes our location internationally recognized as one of the top whale watching destinations in the world. An amazing experience for those visiting or living in Orange County.
Davey’s Locker Offers Daily Departures Year Round
With the emergence of giant blue whales and finback whales during the summer and fall months a year round whale watching industry thrives here in Newport Beach. Beautiful coastline and lake like conditions just outside Newport Bay make Davey’s Locker whale watching cruises a must for those visiting Orange County. Along with our pricing and schedule for whale watching in Orange County, Davey’s has provided recommended hotels for those staying in Orange County as well as popular attractions and other activities that whale watchers might find to be a neat addition.
>> Check out the Whale Watching Cruise Times & Pricing Info.
Laguna Beach Whale Watching – Whale Watching Cruises off Laguna Beach
Things to do after whale watching in Orange County:
Points of Interest
Crystal Cove State Park
Take a scenic, 12 mile drive down Pacific Coast Highway and you’ll find a hidden gem, Crystal Cove State Park. This secluded beach stretches some 3.5 miles and is an official “underwater park” and Marine Conservation Area. Tide pools and coves delight visitors to the beach year-round, though some of the best tide-pooling can be found in the winter when the lower tides provide excellent viewing of intertidal animals. Our non-profit partners, Crystal Cove Alliance, help to maintain and preserve Crystal Cove Historic District, which is a beautiful example of Southern California beach architecture, and still retains the scale and ambiance of a 1930’s beach resort. Carved into the park’s ridges and canyons are more than 23 miles of back country mountain-biking, horseback-riding and hiking trails. Because of these high bluff trails, hiking here makes for an ideal lookout spot for traveling whales and dolphins. Just make sure to bring your binoculars!
Visit the Wedge
The Wedge Newport Beach is a hotspot for powerful and awesome surf, famous for its giant waves. It’s more of a place to admire rather than to engage, but either way, this spot has the biggest swell in Southern California and is a must see if you’re visiting Newport Beach.
Balboa Fun Zone
Fun Zone at Balboa Village has been providing affordable entertainment for all ages. With no admission costs, you can stroll the bayside boardwalk and play as you like. Take a long, relaxing ride on the Ferris Wheel, which offers fantastic views of the Newport Harbor and Pacific Ocean. Be a kid again in the Arcade & Game room or take a ride on the bungee jump, giant swing, or the palm tree climber. There are also several shops and restaurants along the Fun Zone boardwalk.
600 East Bay Ave. Balboa, CA 92661
A one-of-a-kind, man-made treasure, Balboa Island is a gem whether you drive, walk, bike or take the Balboa Island Ferry to the island. Balboa Island’s Marine Avenue is home to chic coastal shops featuring unique nautical designs, stylish beach fashions, art and jewelry. It’s also home to quaint Balboa Island restaurants and bistros serving up a variety of dishes bursting with flavor. There may be nothing more iconic than the island’s two famous desserts, the Balboa Bar and Frozen Banana. The local sweet tooth treasures have been mainstays for nearly 75 years, and have been imitated and replicated, including on the hit TV show “Arrested Development.” The tasty treats are dipped in chocolate and covered with a variety of coatings from nuts and sprinkles to cookie crumbs.
100 Marine Ave. Balboa Island, CA 92662
The Balboa Pavilion is one of California’s last surviving waterfront recreational pavilions from the turn of the century. The Pavilion continues to serve the public today as a marine recreational facility and is Newport Beach’s most famous landmark, as well as its oldest standing building. It is also the docking location of the Catalina Flyer, offering daily departures to Catalina Island and the Harborside Restaurant.
400 Main Street Balboa, CA. 92661
Fashion Island is Orange County’s premier coastal shopping destination, offering a unique blend of luxury, designer and fashion specialty boutiques, and a vast array of fine and al fresco dining. With the Pacific Ocean as a shimmering backdrop, Fashion Island offers a sophisticated yet relaxed, open-air shopping and dining experience – the very essence of Southern California.
401 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Look for Tide Pools
Picnic Beach is the northern beach of Heisler Park in Laguna Beach. The park above the beach offers grassy areas to spread out on and many picnic tables as the name suggests. Tide pooling is extremely popular here when the tide pools are exposed at low tide at the south end below the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club.
Treasure Island Beach
Treasure Island Beach is south of the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach. This sandy beach is actually the north end of the same large cove that begins at Aliso Beach Park. Treasure Island Beach is a safer place to swim and look for tide pools because it has some protection from huge rocks just offshore , creating a perfect location for families to spend the afternoon.
Thousand Steps Beach
Thousand Steps Beach is one of the largest beaches in South Laguna Beach. It is a wide sandy beach with volleyball courts, restrooms, and tide pools and caves to discover. There is a large cave at the south end of Thousand Steps Beach that when the tide is low the entrance is exposed. You can walk all the way through this cave (which is actually a tunnel) to a tiny rocky cove on the other side. Lots of cool critters to see here at low tide!
Popular Hiking Spots in OC
Top of the World
There are many neat hiking trails scattered throughout Orange County. Top of the World is a favorite for the locals and is part of a network of trails that has many scenic views along the way. At the entrance of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, easy level hiking trails, there is the Nix Nature Center. The nature center has a 3D diorama of Laguna Beach hiking spots; this is a cool birds-eye view of the land.
Crystal Cove Green Route
The Green Route in Crystal Cove State Park is a moderate 3 mile loop trail that begins and ends at the El Moro Visitor Center. It travels across a variety of terrain and gives you a good feel for the interior of Crystal Cove State Park.
Trestles Beach is world-famous for great surfing, with a series of surf spots. Running from north to south are Cottons, Uppers, Middles, Lowers and Church. These beaches are extremely popular with surfers, and this section of coastline is one of the most unspoiled coastal areas in southern California.
Popular Beaches In Orange County
Huntington Beach is one of Orange County’s most vibrant beach cities. It has more than 8 miles of unbroken sand beaches with very large parking lots and is one of the more popular beaches for locals and visitors alike. The Huntington Beach Pier on Main Street is a very lively area of restaurants, bars and shopping. HB is the home of the U.S. Open of Surfing championships, usually the last week of July. If you have time to visit the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, it is one of California’s most significant coastal wetlands. This 300 acre sanctuary is a popular attraction for tourists and local residents. Other nearby wetlands include Newport Beach’s Upper Newport Bay State Ecological Reserve and Ballona Wetlands near Playa del Rey. Visitors to Huntington Beach often look for a family-oriented outing that both educates and entertains the youngsters and adults.
Newport Beach’s beaches are split into four distinct areas. The long unbroken Newport/Balboa beach, the large Corona del Mar Beach, the smaller cove beach of Little Corona Beach that includes some of Orange County’s best tide pools, and Crystal Cove State Beach, a large undeveloped beach area with good parking options, but you do have to walk down cliffs to the beach. There are well developed trails, but might not be the best option for those with mobility issues.
The Balboa Peninsula Beach
The Balboa Peninsula Beach has two pier areas, the Newport Pier and the Balboa Pier; each pier has a variety of shops and dining in close proximity and parking lots that fill quickly at peak times. Close by the pier is the iconic Balboa Pavilion, also built in 1906, and a small amusement area, the Balboa Fun Zone and the Balboa Ferry that shuttles cars and pedestrians to Balboa Island.
Laguna Beach is an Orange County picturesque beach city, said to resemble the French Riviera. There is a beach in the Downtown area and many cove beaches as the city stretches south. Laguna came to fame as an artist’s colony in the 1920s and remains the home of numerous art galleries, museums and art festivals including the annual Sawdust Festival. It also has the famous Pageant of the Masters every summer where actors recreate classic pictures. Downtown Laguna Beach has many restaurants and shops, but north or south of Downtown access is more limited and you have to factor in that travel time if you select Laguna Beach for a vacation spot.
Crescent Bay Beach
Looking out to sea at Crescent Bay Beach you’ll notice a large rock jets up from the water’s surface, creating a perfect hauling out spot for California Sea Lions and Harbor Seals to crawl up on and sunbathe. Varieties of marine birds also frequent this marine life hot spot. Seal Rock is not a popular beach for humans, but it definitely suits its purpose to both Sea Lions and Harbor Seals that live in Orange County.
Dining in Orange County
Cannery Seafood of the Pacific – Specializing in seafood, steaks, chops and salads, has been a fixture to Newport Beach for over 80 years.
3010 Lafayette Rd, Newport Beach, CA 92663
The Beachcomber – Located at Crystal Cove State Park Historic District provides ocean front dining in the Historic District of the Crystal Cove State Park with breath taking views of the Newport Coastline and Catalina Island. Situated steps from the sandy beach, The Beachcomber’s outdoor patio provides the perfect spot to enjoy the ocean’s breeze while sipping on your favorite cocktail or enjoying one of the many favorite entrees and appetizers.
15 Crystal Cove Newport Coast, CA 92657 – Parking at Los Truncos Lot
OC Brewhouse – Offers casual lounge serving Southern California microbrews & pub eats inside the Orange County Hyatt.
11999 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Bluewater Grill – The iconic original location is outfitted in classic nautical style and sits right over the water. The perfect location to enjoy pristine quality seafood prepared classically or with a modern twist.
630 Lido Park Dr. Newport Beach, CA. 92663
Hotels in Orange County
Balboa Inn – Listed on the National Register of Historic Places; this Spanish Colonial Revival inn built in 1929 is just a 2-minute walk from the beach and Balboa Pier.
105 Main St, Newport Beach, CA 92661
Hotel Laguna – Originally a wooden structure built in 1888, but was reconstructed in 1930’s and still retains its current Mission Revival style. The hotel has an attractive rose garden with a gazebo. Walk through the lobby and view historical photographs, or enjoy a drink at the Ocean View Bar & Grill.
425 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
The Waterfront Beach Resort – Overlooks Huntington Beach and is just a short walk from Huntington Beach Pier.
21100 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa – Easy access to California’s most pristine beaches, affluent areas in Orange County, and popular attractions. Offering spacious guest rooms and suites featuring sweeping Pacific Ocean views, chic decor, plush furnishings and expansive marble bathrooms.
900 Newport Center Dr. Newport Beach, CA 92660
Newport Coast Villas – Set on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this modern Mediterranean-style resort is set 4 miles from Balboa Island and 7 miles from Newport Pier.
23000 Newport Coast Dr. Newport Beach, CA 92657
Newport Channel Inn – Very conveniently located steps from the sand of Newport Beach, the caring and friendly staff will tend to your every comfort, with a personalized and endearing style.
6030 W Coast Hwy. Newport Beach, CA 92663
Doryman’s Newport Beach Hotel – Dating from 1898, this stately Victorian-style boutique hotel is across the street from the Newport Beach Pier.
2102 West Oceanfront Newport Beach, CA 92663
Hyatt Regency Newport Beach – Set on 26 acres, this resort hotel is minutes from Newport Beach Pier, John Wayne Airport, and Disneyland Park.
1107 Jamboree Rd. Newport Beach, CA 92660
Best Times of the Year for Whale Watching in Orange County
Best Times of the Year
There is really no better time of year for whale watching, as whales can be spotted throughout the year in Southern California.
Year-round we can spot Humpback Whales, Finback Whales, Minke Whales and a variety of dolphin.
From January through May we actively spot California Gray Whales. Gray Whales make an extensive migration during the winter and spring from the Chukchi and Bering Sea’s in Alaska down to three wintering lagoons in Baja Mexico. Around 20,000 Grays are moving up and down the coast during this time of year, which makes it a great time for whale watching. The juveniles are often found playing in the soft sands off the shores of Orange County.
The Blue Whale season starts in early summer. June through September we see one of the largest animals that have ever lived on the planet, feeding on krill. These magnificent creatures weigh in at nearly 400,000lbs and stretch to lengths of close to 100ft long!
What’s the best time of day?
A common question we get from eager whale watchers is, “Which tour is best for whale sightings?” Or “Which tour has the best chances to see something?”
The best way to answer this question is to take into consideration where you are coming from, weather conditions that day, and sunrise/sunset times. The short answer is that there are no better times during the day for whale watching. The mornings are generally calmer on the water, so if you are prone to seasickness, a morning trip would be best. My favorite cruise times for visitors coming whale watching from Orange County would be the noon or 1pm cruise time and the 3:30pm departure time, whales are often located on the earlier trips, meaning your cruise can spend more time viewing the whales and less time trying to locate them!
Baleen Whales off Orange County
The gray whale is a baleen whale. It migrates between feeding and breeding grounds yearly and makes one of the longest annual migrations of any mammal, traveling some 5,000 miles each way from its northern feeding grounds in Alaska to its breeding and calving grounds in the warm lagoons of Baja Mexico. Gray whales can reach about 49ft long and weigh up to 72,000lbs.
The humpback whale is extremely maneuverable and the acrobat of the whale world. Humpbacks can measure 40-50ft long (females are usually larger than males) and can weigh up to 80,000lbs. They feed mainly on small shrimp-like crustaceans commonly known as krill, other zooplankton and small schooling fish. Humpback whales are widely distributed over all the oceans from the poles to the topics, but there are distinct seasonal changes in their distribution.
Blue Whales are one of the largest creatures to ever live on our planet! The average size of a blue whale is 80-90ft, with the largest recorded whale measured 110ft (that’s the size of two school buses parked end to end!) Blue whales are found in all oceans, and in the western Pacific Ocean, blue whales range from Gulf of Alaska, which is an area rich in food, all the way to Costa Rica, where it is believed they migrate to bread and have their young. Blue whales are currently listed as endangered animals with only about 2,500 left in the North Pacific population.
There are two species of Common Dolphin, the short-beaked common dolphin and the long-beaked common dolphin (both seen in here whale watching in Orange Couty). They are found in the North and South Pacific and Indian oceans, and are widely distributed in warmer temperate and tropical waters of all the oceans of the world. Both common dolphin adults range between 5 ft-5.5ft long, and can weigh about 300lbs. They are very fast swimmers, reaching speeds of up to 29 miles per hour, averaging about 100 miles per day, which is one of the reasons these dolphins don’t do well in captivity.Dolphins have a unique adaptation called echolocation. They create a series of clicking sounds, made from a specialized organ under the blowhole. These clicks are sent out of the melon and are like an ultrasound machine. They bounce off objects, and the information is sent back to the dolphin to create an image.
The bottlenose dolphin have a short stubby beak- hence the name “bottlenose.” The common bottlenose dolphin is the most familiar of the family of whales and dolphins (cetaceans) because of its coastal occurrence around the world and its prevalence in zoos and aquariums. Adults range between 8-12ft and may weigh as much as 1,430lbs. Bottlenose dolphins can reach speeds in excess of 18 miles per hour, and they have an average lifespan in the wild of about 30-40 years. Often seen surfing in the waves along Orange County.
Pacific White Sided Dolphin
Pacific white-sided dolphin is dark grey or black in coloration. As its name suggests, it has a greyish side patch which extends down the sides to just below the dorsal fin. These dolphin reach a length of 7-8 feet and weigh about 300lbs. Pacific white-sided dolphins are extremely agile, acrobatic and social. Generally traveling in groups of tens or hundreds of individuals, they can be seen in herds of 2,000 or more.
Risso’s dolphin is named after Antoine Risso, whose description formed the basis of the first public description of the animal. They usually weigh between 650-1100lbs and are about 10ft in length. These animals primarily feed on small schooling fish and squid, and when we have lots of bait in the area, these curious dolphin make an appearance.
Helpful Hints to Maximize Your Whale Watching Experience
When should I arrive for my scheduled reservation & where should I park?
Please try to arrive at least 30 minutes before your cruise departure time. If you need help with directions or parking please visit our parking and directions page
What are some things I should bring onboard?
- Sun protection, such as sunscreen and a hat
- Light jacket, cold mornings and evenings from Fall to Spring
- Camera (recommended)
- Cash if you want to purchase light snacks or drinks from the galley
- Rent or bring binoculars
Checking the weather beforehand can be helpful in figuring out what would be best to wear, as it can get cold out on the water.
Please do not bring the following items on the boat: glass containers, outside alcohol, hard plastic coolers, or strollers.
What if I get motion sickness?
We typically don’t have many issues with this, but if you know you are prone to motion sickness a helpful tip would be to take Bonine or Dramamine AT LEAST 1 hour before you board the vessel. What has worked well for some is to take the motion sickness pill the night before your trip. Then when you wake up in the morning, take one more pill, that way you can combat any drowsy affects the motion sickness pill might have on you. These work great, and we also sell them in our office if you do not have time to pick them up on your way here.
Another option is wearing Sea-Bands which are a knitted elasticated wrist band, which works by applying pressure on an acupressure point on each wrist by means of a plastic stud. Because the bands do not use drugs, they do not cause any of the side effects associated with anti-nausea drugs and can be worn on each wrist whenever you feel nauseous. They are suitable for adults and children.
Those who prefer an herbal remedy may look into eating or chewing on ginger or ginger flavored candy, which can help relieve nausea.
The American Cetacean Society –Orange County Chapter – The American Cetacean Society has been dedicated to protecting whales since 1967.
ACS, a nonprofit organization, protects cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and their habitats through public education, research grants and conservation activities. They have free lectures, courses to become a certified ACS-OC Naturalist, and have volunteer opportunities on local whale watching boats in Newport Beach.
Pacific Marine Mammal Center – Located in Laguna Beach, in South Orange County, you can visit and learn more about Sea Lions and Harbor Seals up close and personal.
Newport Whales – Visit our webpage where you can find pre and post trip activity packets along with whale and dolphin information and additional fun and educational activities listed under “Curriculum Packets.”
Book Your Trip Online
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