Dolphins, Dolphins, Dolphins!

Dolphins in San Diego are not a rare sighting! Come check out when you’d want to get out on the water to explore!

Contact us

Throughout the year we have the opportunity to see all different types of dolphins! Lets take an adventurous ride to find them!

Bottlenose Dolphins: Known as one of the bigger dolphin species we see here in San Diego, bottlenose dolphins can grow up to 10 to 14 feet in length! They can make up to 1,000 clicking sounds per second, known as echolocation, to reveal the location and size of their target. 

Risso’s Dolphin: Risso dolphins are so unique and such a treat to see in San Diego! They are known for their no beak and white scars all across their bodies! They are gray dolphins however, most are completely white by the end of their life because of their scars and just lightening with age. 

Common Dolphins: There are two kinds of Common dolphins in San Diego; there are Short Beaks and Long Beaks. Both of these dolphins feed on small schooling fish and squid and are usually seen in larger pods. Being the most playful dolphins we see in San Diego, Common dolphins love to swim in the bow and wakes of our boat! One can generally see Long Beak Common dolphins feeding with Humpback whales.    

Pacific White-Sided Dolphin: If you have the pleasure of seeing Pacific White-Sided dolphins in San Diego, you are in for a treat! Only seen up the West Coast in the US and mainly during the winter, Pacific White-Sided dolphins love to travel in large pods. They also feed on fish and squid and can dive underwater for more than six minutes when feeding! 

Dolphins in san diego!

Dolphins swimming

Orca (‘Killer Whale’): Although Orcas are known for being a Killer Whale, they are actually the largest member of the dolphin family. Orcas have been observed to hunt different wildlife such as dolphins, whales, and Great White Sharks. They have been known as “the wolves of the sea” due to their group hunting strategies. October would be the best month to spot the beautiful Orca pods in San Diego. 

False Killer Whale: This dolphin in San Diego is not spotted often, however when spotted, it is an amazing sighting. Due to the behavior and appearance that is similar to an Orca, they earned the name False Killer Whales. They are completely dark gray or black which is how we distinguish them from an Orca, and has been observed eating other marine mammals!


what would it be like? 

Join one of our whale watching trips to see the different types of dolphins in San Diego! Check out what it would look like when the dolphins swim at the bow during one of our boat tours!

dolphins in san diego

When would be the best time of year to see specific dolphins? Each dolphin is usually around San Diego for a specific season! Find out when you want to come explore the marine wildlife in San Diego! 

                                                                                Spring:                                                                                Bottlenose Dolphins & Risso’s Dolphins

                                                                Late Spring/Early Summer:                                                                  False Killer Whales

                                                                               Summer:                                                                                    Short Beak Common Dolphins

                                                                      October/November:                                                                        Orcas

                                                                                  Winter:                                                                                Pacific White-Sided Dolphins

                                                                              Year Round:                                                                              Long Beak Common Dolphins

*These are just the average times of the year that we see the majority of the specific dolphin species in San Diego. All the dolphins we see are wild animals and we may see them outside of their normal season!


Help protect marine wildlife

There is so much excitement and adventure in seeing marine wildlife in their natural habitat. Lets not forget to treat them with respect and kindness while we are observing them.

A couple things you can do when you are witnessing a wild animal to protect their habitat. 

Admire from a distance                                 

You want to give all the wildlife space. Make sure not to approach any wildlife closer than 100 yards and if you are within that range, put your vessel into neutral.  You will want to slow down and operate your vessel at a no-wake speed; you don’t want to spook the animals while you are observing their behavior. Also, keep clear of any whales path! You don’t want to cut in front of them; it is best to try to stay parallel to the wildlife!

Just remember that we are invading their home, be respectful as you enjoy the adventure of these beautiful marine animals.