Gray Whale Migration Time in northern California

From: Erich Hoyt (
Date: Sun Apr 15 2001 - 15:30:09 EDT

>Subject: (no subject)
>Date: Thu, Apr 12, 2001, 8:05 AM

> Dear Mr Hoyt,
> This is very simple question, but I have been searching and can't seem to
> find the answer.
> Is there any time of year whales migrate past the Oakland/San Francisco area?
> I have wanted to go on a whale watch for years and finally have the excuse to
> take my grandchildren. We live in the Detroit area and, since I work for an
> airline, can fly into Los Angeles or Oakland, California.
> I would greatly appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction.
> Thanks for you help,
> Jane Roda
> email -

Around the San Francisco area, you can see gray whales from late December to
end of April. January is a particularly good month and you can often see
them heading south to the breeding lagoons of Mexico from the cliffs around
San Francisco, and indeed any promontory along the coast.

I will copy a paragraph from a report I wrote last year on the
socioeconomics of whale watching which gives some information you might be
interested in:

Land-based whale watching began in the 1940s off southern California,
directed toward the then endangered gray whale. In 1950, Cabrillo National
Monument in San Diego was converted from an old US Army gun station into the
first public whale watch lookout. About 10,000 people came that first winter
and it became an annual pilgrimage for many Californians, with more than
300,000 land-based whale watchers coming to Cabrillo National Monument by
1983, and hundreds of thousands more at other lookouts. Today, at least 52
well-publicized, mostly sign-posted, whale watch lookouts cover most areas
of the coast. The most popular sites, such as at the Point Reyes Lighthouse
at Point Reyes National Seashore as well as Cabrillo National Monument on
Point Loma in San Diego have special whale programs, whale exhibits and
viewing scopes, and they can receive thousands of visitors a day at the
height of the gray whale migration. More than 15 state parks and beaches
actively promote whale watching. Other areas are in national parks, or in or
near lighthouses.

I should add that there are also a number of whale festivals in the greater
San Francisco area.

You should contact the California State tourism office in Sacramento and ask
for information on whale watching (phone number under information). They
have some printed leaflets and brochures that they will send you.

Have fun,

Erich Hoyt

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Feb 25 2002 - 21:06:00 EST