If you’re more interested in YouTube videos of chortling dolphins and squawking pelicans than in celebrity sightings at Urth Caffe (one of our favorite spots to dine al fresco in Santa Monica, by the way), we’d highly recommend you sign up for a whale watching excursion while you’re in L.A. There are plenty of launch-points across the region, from the more Southern Newport Landing, to Santa Monica’s nearby Marina del Rey.

Newport Landing

Newport Landing is ideally situated to catch the annual grey whale migration, which brings masses of whales right along the nearby Laguna Beach coastline. It’s also an excellent spot to see blue whales, particularly as waters begin to warm from May to November. Newport Landing Whale Watching: 309 Palm St A, Newport Beach 949-675-0551

Dana Point

The city of Dana Point has one of the few harbors along the coast in Orange County, so it’s a prime spot for whale watching ship departures. If you’re around town in March, try to catch the Festival of Whales—the celebration of the annual migration of grey whales that’s been held every year since 1972! The four-day event includes daily whale watching excursions, a clam chowder cook-off, lectures, crafts and much more.

Marina del Rey

Marina del Rey Sportfishing offers half-day, three-quarter day, and even twilight whale watching tours. There’s nothing more satisfying than spotting a couple of dolphins doing flips against a Santa Monica sunset. Marina del Rey Sportfishing: 13552 Fiji Way; 310-822-3625

Redondo Beach

Forget heading to the theater or a local music venue—Redondo Beach whale watching tours offer the best show in town. The 2.5 hour excursions have a high rate of whale-sighting success, and include a galley offering beer, wine and nibbles. Redondo Beach Whale Watching: 140 International Boardwalk; 310-372-2111

Want to learn more about the best whale watching in Los Angeles? Plan your next visit around the whale migration season and ask our expert for more details.