Monthly Whale & Dolphin Sightings in the Santa Barbara Channel


Blue Whales


Gray Whales


Humpback Whales


Killer Whales

The Santa Barbara Channel sees thousands of dolphins and porpoises each month, far too many to count.

Santa Barbara Channel Whale Watching Tour Operators


Condor Express Whale Watching

Santa Barbara, CA
Condor Express Whale Watching is one of the few whale watching companies to offer year-round whale watching and a whale watch guarantee. The Condor Express is an eco-friendly, 75’, quad-jet catamaran that has an extremely stable and comfortable ride.  In addition to year-round whale watching, Condor Express also offers a variety of spectacular excursions in the Santa Barbara Channel including, pelagic birding, wedding cruises, dinner cruises, private parties, and corporate events.


Double Dolphin Whale Watching Cruises

Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara Sailing Center's Double Dolphin catamaran offers whale watching, coastal cruises, sunset cruises, private cruises, and various on-the-water events. Santa Barbara Sailing Center is also a world-class ASA sailing school, providing beginner through expert sailing instruction and certifications. They also offer boat, kayak, and paddleboard rentals at the majestic Santa Barbara Harbor.


Island Packers

Ventura & Oxnard, CA
Island Packers is the official boat concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park, with 4 boats, running daily trips to the two closest islands: Anacapa and Santa Cruz, and offering trips to the outer islands, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara from early spring through November. Island Packers also offers wildlife cruises and whale watching trips for the migrating Pacific Gray Whales from the end of December through April. Whale Watching trips for humpbacks, blues, and fins are in the spring through fall, depending on sightings. On all their trips, the captain and crew are always on the lookout for whales and dolphins and will slow down to enjoy the diverse marine wildlife while traversing the Santa Barbara Channel to the Channel Islands National Park.


Channel Islands Sportfishing (CISCOS)

Ventura & Oxnard, CA

Whale Watching trips begin each year in December to coincide with the annual Gray Whale migration. In late fall, these whales start migrating from the Arctic and make their way down to Mexico to give birth. Then in late winter and early spring, the gray whales and their calves migrate back up to their feeding grounds in the Arctic. They pass right through the Channel Islands area during both trips. CISCOS also offers deep sea fishing trips all year round.