The annual Dana Point Festival of Whales returns March 5 & 6 and March 12 & 13, 2016! Celebrating the return of the once-endangered California Gray Whale with a leviathan-size event. Dana Point Festival of Whales draws more than 100,000 visitors from around the world to Dana Point each year during the height of the Gray Whale Watching season.
In anticipation of the festival, my kids and I and some good friends, went whale watching with (affiliate link) Dana Wharf Whale Watching.
Their expert captains and certified naturalists narrated the excursion, detailing the whales’ movements through their natural migration path. We tracked a pair of gray whales for over an hour as they traveled up the San Clemente coastline. Whales are such enormous and graceful mammals, that I am grateful that simple folks like us can enjoy them right here off of our coastline.
Dana Wharf Whale Watching sent a drone go out over the water to locate the whales and then notified the Captain as to when they were about to come up for breath. The whales typically establish a breathing pattern of 2-3 short breaths and then one long breath that lets them to hold their breath under water for up to 20 minutes. Simply amazing!
Whale Watching Discount Tickets
Dana Wharf Whale Watching also offers Marine Mammal “rain checks” to ensure you see a good show of whales or dolphin or your next trip is FREE! Thankfully though, we saw a lot of whales on our trip, including two gray whales migrating from Alaska to Baja, Mexico to have their off spring.
The gray whale undertakes the longest migration by any mammal each year – traveling more than 6,000 miles in each direction. That’s more than half their lives in transit. The whales travel up to 100 miles per day, taking eight to 10 weeks to migrate.
After our whale watching adventure, we saw a magical display of hundreds of dolphins dancing around in the waves. It was breath-taking to observe! I even got a few pictures of the dolphins swimming next to the boat. That’s how close they got to us!
Typically the best time to see the whales migrating is during the first two weeks of March, which is also when Dana Point Festival of Whales is held. Perfect timing, huh!
The Festival of Whales began 45 years ago as an annual seaside event in the picturesque town of Dana Point. The community and visitors celebrate the migration of the California Gray Whale and other marine species with ocean-themed events and activities with an emphasis on education and environmental responsibility. 2016 will mark the 45th Annual Festival of Whales celebration which began when Dana Point Harbor was first constructed.
This year’s festivities include the best whale watching, a kick-off parade and Street Fair, sand sculpting, Ocean Awareness Day, musical entertainment, an on-the-water concert, art and craft displays and shows, BBQs, kids interpretive crafts, classic car exhibits, educational lectures/seminars at multiple venues, historic walking tours, run/walk event, sailing/rowing/kayak/SUP demos, Boating Extravaganza and much more!
Dana Point Festival of Whales Schedule of Events
The opportunity to go whale watching for only $18 and attend Dana Point Festival of Whales makes for a great family adventure this winter. I look forward to seeing you there!
Happy Field Tripping!