Where to Go Whale Watching in Santa Barbara

Where to Go Whale Watching in Santa Barbara

California Select Registry – April 23, 2015

There is so much to do in the city of Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas. Many people travel to the city to take advantage of the temperate climate and the beautiful beaches.  Others enjoy exploring neighboring vineyards and tasting amazing California wine. With all of the great activities on the coast, sometimes people forget about the adventures to be had just off of the coast. If you love the sea, marine life, or just enjoying beautiful days and fresh air with friendly people, then you might consider whale watching in Santa Barbara. And with three amazing Select Registry properties in the area, you know you'll be treated to luxurious accommodations during your getaway.

About Whale Watching in Santa Barbara

As you might imagine, whale watching on the east and west coasts are different experiences. The principle is the same, but the seas are different as are the whales that you might chance upon. The southern-facing coast and the shelter provided by the Chanel Island make Santa Barbara a great destination for whale watching. Whale watching in Santa Barbara is good in February, March, and early April for California Grey Whales. For Blue Whales, Minke Whales, and Humpback Whales, the season is from May to September. Orcas and Wright Whales are rare, but sometimes spotted, and other sea mammals like porpoises, sea lions, and seals are abundant. For a great experience whale watching in Santa Barbara here are some tips:

  • Dress in warm layers. Even if it's warm on shore, it gets chilly out at sea.
  • Be knowledgeable of what type of whales you're looking for. This way you will know what to expect and you won't be disappointed when you don't see a Grey Whale when it's the season for Blue Whales. Also, learning about the animals can make sightings all the more special.
  • Take preventative motion sickness medicine. You don't want to get seasick and it can sneak up on you, so it's best to be prepared.
  • Store your camera in something waterproof. You're going to want to take pictures, but you don't want your gear getting wet. Whether it's something as fancy as a waterproof case or just storing it in a ziploc bag, protect it.

Where to Go Whale Watching in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Sailing Center

Santa Barbara Sailing Center offers whale watching in Santa Barbara aboard the Double dolphin, a 50' Sailing Catamaran. The offer daily morning and afternoon trips out to the Santa Barbara Channel.

Sunset Kidd

Aboard the Sunset Kidd, you can take a tour to see Grey Whales between mid-February and mid-May.  There are tours five days a week, so you have plenty of chances to take to the see on the Sunset Kidd.

Condor Express

The Condor Express is a specially designed state-of-the-art boat with an observation deck which is perfect for getting the perfect picture. There is also indoor seating for those who wish to remain cozy on the journey. The captain and crew are experienced in whale watching in Santa Barbara, so you have a good chance of spotting a whale or two while aboard. You can arrange for a trained naturalist to be on board to inform you about the migration patterns of the whales, as well as other marine life.

Island Packers

Island Packers take guests on a tour of the Santa Barbara Channel to locate Blue and Humpback Whales from June until mid-September. Trips take about 7-8 hours and focus on the feeding grounds of the whales.  

Where to Stay When Whale Watching in Santa Barbara

No matter who you decide to go whale watching in Santa Barbara with, you can count on premium accommodations when you stay at one of the three Select Registry properties in the area. Each has its own unique charm, but all have the Select Registry Difference.

The Ballard Inn

Located in Ballard, California, this inn is just half an hour from Santa Barbara proper. This small luxury inn exudes comfortable elegance. One of the Most Romantic Inns, the accommodations at the Ballard Inn are truly luxurious. There are 15 beautiful guest rooms featuring individually chosen motifs that capture the essence of the Santa Ynez Valley. All rooms feature antique furnishings, down bedding, private full bathrooms, and individual climate control. Some rooms have wood burning fireplaces and private balconies. They also have an award-winning onsite restaurant for those looking for fine dining.

Santa Ynez Inn

The Sana Ynez Inn is a beautiful 20 room inn nestled in the foothills of Santa Barbara wine country. With the style of a turn-of-the-century Inn, guests will enjoy modern amenities in each unique room. Deluxe Rooms feature fireplaces, private balconies, and oversized bathrooms. Junior suites have heated marble floors, steam rain head showers, Jacuzzi bathtubs with air-dry, fireplaces, and private patios or balconies. If you need extra pampering during your stay, spa treatments are available. Of course, each guest of this Santa Ynez bed and breakfast will get a full delicious breakfast in the morning and hors-d'oeuvres and fine wine each night.

Simpson House Inn

This charming inn is located right in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Guests of the Simpson House Inn can choose from three accommodation types: Manor House Rooms, Carriage House Suites, or English Garden Cottages. Each accommodation choice offers luxuries like evening turndown service, a small refrigerator stocked with beverages, Kiehl's bath and body products, Netflix, Pandora Radio and more. Each morning, a full breakfast is served in-room or on a private veranda or patio. Evening hors-d'oeuvres and wine are also offered as are afternoon refreshments.