Whale watching is a year-round activity on the Long Beach Peninsula with Pacific Gray Whales being the most commonly seen species. While whale watching can be done year round, there are two times during the year that are prime for watching the biannual migration of nearly 18,000 Pacific Gray Whales.
Each winter whales pass by the Peninsula after spending the summer feeding in the food-rich waters of the Arctic. Heading south along the Pacific coast to the bays of Baja California, where they mate and nurse their young in the warm lagoons.
Early January is the peak of migration, but whales can be spotted mid-December through early February. The viewing platforms in and around the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and North Head Lighthouse offer the best viewing. Don’t forget your binoculars!
Catch them on their way up north! The northward migrations begin mid-March. The immature whales, adult males and females without calves are the first to head north, passing the Peninsula in March and April. Later, females with calves come along at a slightly slower rate, passing the Washington coast in May.
The best time to spot whales is in the early mornings hours when conditions are usually more favorable, depending on the weather. As you scan the horizon be sure to look for the blow, the whale’s vapor can blow up to 12 feet in the air when it exhales. Once you have spotted a blow, stay with it, as more are surely to follow.
Events on the Horizon
Windless Kite Festival – Long Beach, January 17-19, 2014
Beach Cleanup Day – Peninsula-Wide, January 18, 2014
Annual Crab Feed – Long Beach, January 18, 2014
Polar Bear Plunge – Ilwaco, January 19, 2014
Asian New Year Kite Celebration – Long Beach, February 1-2, 2014