Tours and Tickets
Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari
5
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Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari

By Capt. Dave's Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari
Recommended by 96% of travellers
This number is based on the percentage of all Tripadvisor reviews for this product that have a bubble rating of 4 or higher
It’s possible to spot whales and dolphins around Dana Point all year-round. On this tour, maximize your chance of a sighting on-board a purpose-built catamaran and enjoy incredible close-up views from the underwater viewing pods. Look out for whales, dolphins, sea lions and more; and learn more about the magnificent sea creatures from your guide.
from
RM 472.31
per adult
from
RM 472.31
per adult

Lowest price guarantee

Ages 0-99, max of 49 per group
Duration:2h 30m
Start time: Check availability
Ticket type:Mobile
English

Highlights
  • Magnificent views and wildlife sightings from the water
  • Chance to spot various whale and dolphin species
  • Underwater viewing pods: get up close without disturbing the wildlife
  • Live on-board commentary from a naturalist guide
Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best
2022

  • U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified vessel
  • Licensed Captain and professional crew
  • Live commentary on board
  • Cetacean Declaration - Join us again for free within one calendar year if you don't see any dolphins or whales
What's not included
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities
  • DVD (available to purchase)
  • Souvenir photos (available to purchase)


Departure details
  • 24440 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629, USA Please check in upstairs at our waterfront Dolphin Deck building. We're located next to Baby Beach and OC Sailing & Events Center.
Return details
  • Returns to original departure point

  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 44596P2

  • Children must be accompanied by an adult
  • Operates in all weather conditions, please dress appropriately
  • Entry into the Underwater Viewing Pods requires the use of ladder-like steps. Persons with a disability or limited mobility may have difficulty.
  • Most travellers can participate
  • Trip times may vary by date.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s cancelled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travellers. If it’s cancelled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 49 travellers

  • All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties.

What you can expect during your visit
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised
  • Contactless payment for gratuities and add-ons
  • Gear/equipment sanitised between use
  • Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.

How much is Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari?
Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari price starts from RM 459.68. Discover and book Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari on Tripadvisor
What is the Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari cancellation policy?
Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari cancellation policy: All sales are final and incur 100% cancellation penalties. Discover and book Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari on Tripadvisor
Which company provides Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari?
Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari is hosted by Capt. Dave's Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact Capt. Dave's Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari on Tripadvisor
How much time do I need for Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari?
On average, this experience will take approximately 2h 30m. Discover and book Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari on Tripadvisor

If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 44596P2

About the operator

Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator.

davidmW5118IU
davidmW5118IU
00
Fast and Very Exciting!! Great coastal adventure!
We got to see up close a huge pod of thousands of dolphins "STAMPEDE".....literally all of the pod taking off in fu
katBYYZ
katBYYZ
00
Thrilling ocean trip!
What a great trip with Captain Matt & First Mate Zoe! The zodiac ride was so fast & fun and our first sighting was
Mpobrien87
Mpobrien87
00
Whale watching on Zodiac
Had an terrific time on the Captain Dave’s Zodiac catamaran. Captain Gary and Zoe were excellent guides, finding us
Meg4702
Meg4702
00
Great!
The staff are polite and professional. We saw two types of whales and lots of dolphins. It was fun and we had a gre
Raiderteague
Raiderteague
00
Capt Dave’s
Our group had an amazing trip today. Didn’t get to see any whales but we saw lots of dolphins, including Patches!
G8860MAashleyb
G8860MAashleyb
00
Spectacular Day
Absolutely an AMAZING BEAUTIFUL DAY! We had to reschedule a couple of times due to bad weather, but it was an amazi
494annieg
494annieg
00
Awesome tour with an awesome crew
We had such an enjoyable safari with beautiful weather and great luck finding dolphins and a humpback whale! The cr
Sckoshe
Sckoshe
00
Great day in Dana Point
It was a beautiful day at Dana Point this 18th day of October. This is our 2nd adventure with Capt. Dave’s. It was
trishac0215
trishac0215
00
A great time had by all :)
We had a great time on the zodiac adventure! We had Captain Christian and Hannah as our guides. They were very frie
Heather P
Heather P
00
Dolphin and Whale Watching Experience
Great experience! Captain Marie did a great job locating a few pods of dolphins and sharing a ton of information ab
Dawn G
Dawn G
00
Flying high with Captain Dave's at the Huntington Beach Airshow
I joined on board with Capt. Dave's for the Huntington Beach Air show adventure. It was fabulous! My first ever air
549eliseb
549eliseb
00
Dynamic duo made our trip!
What a blast! Christian & Jess are a dynamic duo & showed us a fabulous time. They led us to a dolphin stampede tha
robynhumb
robynhumb
00
Awesome experience!
We had a great tour with Captain Matt and first mate Zoey. They made our time on the boat fun and were very informa
connerm710
connerm710
00
Absolute best crew and exerience
My family and I had the best time on this tour and I am so happy I booked with Captain Dave's. While we didn't see
K6796DOdougd
K6796DOdougd
00
Pacific Air Show Trip
My wife and I took Capt. Dave’s trip to watch the Pacific Air Show at Huntington Beach.The day was just wonderful.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
369 reviews
Excellent
341
Very good
15
Average
8
Poor
3
Terrible
2

Kasia MK
1 contribution
Aug 2022 • Friends
I got married and brought my bachelorette party out on the Orca private charter. We had Captain Gary. The only down side was that we brought a cooler full of drinks and hardly got a chance to drink any because there was so much action! As soon as we got on our captain told us two whales had be spotted a few miles off coast and he BOOKED it to make sure we caught them!

We ended up following two blue whales for about an hour and they gave us quite the show! Predictably coming up and down together for air. Each time they came up, my breath was taken away! After our time with them he took us over to another blue whale and a couple dolphins, but those whales did not show off for us as much as the first.

They said they don’t often get bachelorette parties, but they totally should!! If you have a party of 6 it doesn’t cost tons more per person to rent the charter. Even if we hadn’t seen any whales, it was such an incredible, intimate experience it was worth every cent.

We did have one person get sea sick off the side of the boat, but even she said it was absolutely worth it!

Oh and the brownies?! Totally worth it!!
Written 23 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Kasia, thanks for the 5-star review! It’s great to read that you enjoyed your bachelorette excursion with Capt. Dave’s! It’s fantastic that you encountered impressive Blue Whales and playful wild dolphins, and I’m glad you liked Mrs. Capt. Dave’s complimentary brownies too! We’d love for you to come out with us again soon.
Written 24 August 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

TERRIE E
1 contribution
Jun 2022
Seeing sooooo many dolphins coming up to the boat, swimming and playing around it. It was fun to see 2 and 3 swimming and jumping together as we sat out on the front of the boat and watched. The staff was great to work with and explained a lot about the different dolphins we saw. We also had a large family group on this trip. I think everyone was able to see them swimming and playing from all angles of the boat.
Written 16 June 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Terrie, thanks for choosing Capt. Dave’s for a 5-star dolphin and whale watching excursion in the lovely Dana Point area. I’m thrilled you had fun watching the playful wild dolphins, and it’s fantastic that you found our crew to be helpful and knowledgeable. We appreciate the great feedback, and hope you can join us for another excursion soon.
Written 17 June 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Abby
1 contribution
Apr 2021 • Family
The morning was glorious! Coming at the end of Grey whale migration season, we didn’t expect such a treat. Capitan took us up alongside a mother and calf who were hugging the shore at Three Arch Bay, then we got a tip about three fin whales about 5 miles out. The fin whales were courting and so stayed at the surface interacting with each other for a good spell, including spinning in the water right at the surface. On our way back in we ran with the dolphins who played under and around the catamaran right in front of the bow where we all gathered. Everyone was thrilled, from our teenage boys to our grandparents and our out of town guests who had never seen a whale before. The private charter made all the difference in terms of our party feeling comfortable getting out on the water while still navigating the pandemic. Captain and first mate exuded competence and were long experienced with the vessel. We truly made life long memories this morning, it was an experience that helped restore our faith in the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of our work to protect it. Thank you.
Written 25 April 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Abby, thank you for your stellar review! It’s fantastic that you and your family had an amazing trip making lifelong memories with Capt. Dave’s recently. I’m so glad we were able to show you huge Fin Whales as well as playful wild dolphins. I’m happy to read that you were satisfied with our crew’s service too. We’d love for you to visit us again soon!
Written 30 April 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sharon H
1 contribution
May 2022
The good: we saw tons of dolphins, very close to the boat. Jumping out of the water, swimming right by the boat, etc. My 7 year old son claims he counted 421. It was pretty incredible. :)

The bad: we didn't see any whales.

The ugly: the waves were big and the boat was so rocky, my four year old daughter was scared and crying for the first half hour of the ride (didn't help that it was super windy and loud on the boat). My two year old got motion sickness and vomited twice. I tried to walk to the front of the boat to go into the underwater viewing pods but was too queasy and had to go back to our bench on the back of the boat. My husband and son made it into the pods - said it was a cool view with dolphins right by the windows, but getting to the pods required crawling through a small space and to look under the water had to basically lie down on their bellies (because the water level was halfway up the window). The movement of the boat was felt very strong there so would not be good for anyone with motion sickness. It was not what I imagined / hoped for - a gentle boat ride, a few steps down to the viewing pods and looking out the windows at dolphins. I just wanted the entire ride to be over. Just a warning / reality check for anyone else who had visions similar to mine and might also be prone to motion sickness.

The annoying: they take your photo and print it during the ride, if you want to keep it, it's $15. Then days later I got an email with a link with an option to order the digital version (for an additional $18). For such an expensive ride, it feels annoying to be nickel and dimed, to feel like a company is trying to extract every dollar. I already purchased the printed version, couldn't they just give me the digital?

In conclusion: a once in a lifetime experience because I don't want to do that again. My 7 year old wants to go again but it won't be with me. A woman sitting next to me (also with daughters who were feeling nauseous) said she was glad she could check this off her list.

FYI - it's very windy and cold when the boat is moving fast, I actually brought our winter jackets and was glad we had them
Written 31 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Sharon, thanks for taking the time to provide your detailed feedback. I’m so sorry that you felt the trip rated only 2 stars, because here at Capt. Dave’s we take pride in our 5-star experiences! It’s so unfortunate that the conditions did not agree with you. Usually in this area the ocean conditions are mild, and the twin hulls of our catamaran provide more stability overall as compared to a monohull boat. Our captains also didn’t note unusual conditions for the day of your trip. Normally for guests who may be concerned about seasickness, we recommend our early-morning safaris when the ocean is the calmest. We also sell different remedies like Dramamine at our check in area. I’m very sorry that you and your children felt unwell! I’m so glad that you enjoyed viewing the beautiful wild dolphins during your safari. We wish we could have shown you some of Dana Point’s year-round whales too, but nature is unpredictable and so the sightings on each trip varies. The Underwater Viewing Pods are special compartments built into the underside of each of the hulls on our catamaran Manute’a; about 2 adults or 3 kids can fit at a time. There is cushioned padding on the bottom, and windows on both sides – each pod with 36 square feet of bullet-proof glass from which to view the animals! Once the trip encounters wildlife, our crew opens the hatches to these pods and our guests take turns descending the ladder to enjoy the eye-to-eye perspective of the dolphins and whales. It’s even possible to hear the dolphins’ clicks and whistles! This feature is exclusive to Capt. Dave’s. Since ocean conditions and animal encounters vary, this part of the experience is different for each guest. I’m sorry you weren’t able to check them out. Regarding the photo, please rest assured that we are not trying to nickel and dime our guests. We do offer the different portrait options, but there is never any pressure to purchase either, just a notification. Once again, thank you for your review. We hope you will consider joining us in the future, perhaps on an earlier trip for a smoother ride. We would love another opportunity to show you why we have a reputation for 5-star dolphin and whale watching trips!
Written 5 June 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

N. Nordman
1 contribution
Jul 2021 • Family
The cruise was fun, saw no whales but lots of dolphins. The captain and the guides were very nice. The brownies are amazing. Only thing I was disappointed in, and this is a big deal with Covid being rampant again, is that I booked the cruise because the website said all Covid precautions in place including “ small groups, hand sanitizer and mask required for unvaccinated”. The group on the cruise we took was HUGE no seats left on the boat at all, no hand sanitizer anywhere and there were at least 15 kids under the age of 12 on the boat (meaning too young to be vaccinated) and not a single one with a mask. Since my daughter is immune compromised We need to be very careful which is why I booked with this company and I saw NO Covid precautions at all. Very disappointing since they advertised them on their site. We almost left and asked for a refund but we had driven 2 hours so we wore masks and tried to avoid the kids running all over.
Written 31 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Ms. Nordman, thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us. It’s great to read that you had fun and liked our Captain and crew. However I’m so sorry that you were disappointed with our Covid precautions. Due to California lifting all capacity limits and physical distancing requirements for businesses, we no longer have Covid-related capacity restrictions on our vessels. But all of our safaris have always been uncrowded and each trip aboard Manute’a, the catamaran that you were on, is and always has been limited to 49 passengers. Compared to some other companies and their “cattle boats” with standing room only, this is a small group tour. We also have other vessels that are limited to even fewer passengers. No trip is overcrowded and there is seating for everyone, with opportunities to comfortably view the wildlife from anywhere on the boat. We have aligned with current CDC and CDPH guidelines regarding distancing and masks. We ask our guests to agree that they are either vaccinated or will wear a mask during the trip. We recognize that each individual and family’s situation is unique and there are widely varying viewpoints regarding Covid and masks. It can be a difficult situation for a company to navigate, especially regarding parental rights over what their children are required to do. I am extremely sorry that you felt uncomfortable and that our health and safety measures did not meet your expectations as you were trying to protect your daughter. We have addressed the lack of hand sanitizer with our crew, as there should have been some readily available for you. We do have hand sanitizer gel stations on board, and we have instructed our crew to point those out during the safety speech. There are also hand sanitizer stations available at check-in. In addition, we have clarified our mask policy as it relates to children who cannot yet be vaccinated. We really appreciate your valuable feedback which gives us the opportunity to improve. And we would definitely love to see you and your family again for more amazing marine wildlife sightings!
Written 5 August 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Doug E
Nashville, TN6 contributions
Marie and Caitlin took good care of us on our trip. They went way out of their way to find the one or two dolphins we did see. It turns out that’s pretty unusual to not see many animals, so we got a voucher to come back. We were able to schedule a trip for the next day. Marie was our captain again along with Joshua and Caitlin on the crew. It was a fantastic trip. Caitlin took amazing pictures. We saw dozens of dolphins and a gray whale cow with her calf. Again, Marie stayed with the whale for as long as she possibly could and , somehow coaxed the mama whale to wave goodbye with her fluke. Exactly what we hoped for.
Written 23 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Doug, thanks for the review and high rating! It’s unfortunate that your first trip didn’t turn up much wildlife – definitely not the norm here in Dana Point, the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World! It’s fantastic that you were able to come back and use your No Sightings vouchers to enjoy viewing a migrating Gray Whale family and pods of wild dolphins. I’m very pleased that our Captain and crew took good care of you. We appreciate that you chose us and would love for you to come out with us again soon!
Written 24 April 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Colleen - OHIO
12 contributions
Jan 2022
My husband, adult daughter and I had a fantastic whale watching tour! We were able to see multiple whales including a baby whale. One of the whales provided us fin/tale dives multiple times. We only saw 1 dolphin, however the number of whales and the time we spent with them was tremendous. We saw some birds and a few sea loins. My husband is on oxygen and uses a concentrator, we felt very comfortable with the boat for him and the 3 female employees were very knowledgeable, professional and accommodating. I wasn't sure about Covid concerns, but it was a decent sized boat and there were about 15 passengers - so all was good. I would definitely recommend this tour.
Written 7 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks for the 5-star rating, Colleen! It was our pleasure to make sure you and your family were comfortable on your recent safari with us, as you viewed a variety of marine wildlife up close. We really appreciate your recommendation and the positive feedback about our crew. I hope you can visit us for another trip soon!
Written 13 February 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Scott B
1 contribution
Nov 2022 • Couples
Thoroughly enjoyed our trip. Weather was perfect and the sunset incredible! Great, friendly & helpful Captain and crew. Found a school of dolphins who literally “played” with us for about 30 minutes as they surrounded the boat and chaperoned. No whales this trip but it’s always a gamble what you see. Nice boat, smooth ride and everything on time. Would definitely do this again!
Written 18 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks for the 5-star review, Scott! I’m so happy that you had fun spending time with the playful wild dolphins in the lovely Dana Point area. It’s great that you liked our boat and crew, and how nice that you enjoyed the sunset too! We’d love to see you for another memorable trip soon.
Written 20 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

adamante1
Los Angeles, CA1 contribution
We had a wonderful experience! The crew was kind and knowledgeable. We were fortunate enough to see an amazing display of a whale breaching the waves (i.e. jumping out of the water) and the crew extended the tour so we could enjoy the site in its entirety. They were as excited as us! Overall, I would definitely do it again. It was a great experience for people of all ages (including littles ones - mine were 4 and 6).
Written 23 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thanks very much for the 5-star rating! I’m so happy that you and your family had fun on board with Capt. Dave’s. It’s great that you liked our crew and the informative narration, and how exciting that you encountered a breaching whale! We would love to see you for another memorable trip soon.
Written 26 November 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

bonnie m
1 contribution
Aug 2021
took the larger boat on a girls trip. The guides and boat operators communicate with other boats in the area to try and get to the sightings. We saw an incredible pod of common dolphins and cruised with them for quite awhile. There were several hundred. There was report of a whale sighting and after going to that coordinate we cruised for a long time but never saw it. The captain and guides are excellent in narrating and providing information throughout the trip. They are very good at giving you the best possible experience for your money. Would highly recommend.
Written 10 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi Bonnie, thanks for the 5-star review! It’s fantastic that you encountered a large pod of hundreds of wild dolphins during your safari with Capt. Dave’s recently, and we love the wonderful feedback about our Captain and crew. We also appreciate your recommendation, and hope to see you again soon!
Written 11 August 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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*Likely to sell out: Based on Viator’s booking data and information from the provider from the past 30 days, it seems likely this experience will sell out through Viator, a Tripadvisor company.

Dana Point Whale Watching and Dolphin Watching Eco-Safari | CA