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3 Hour Whale Watch Details

We will primarily be looking for whales, a variety of dolphin/porpoise species along with sea lions and birds. From Nov/Dec – April, California Gray Whales will be the targeted whale species; although we will never pass by a cooperating whale of another species.

A Knowledgeable captain and crew that can answer questions, point out wildlife and other points of interest will be on every tour.

The Legacy is a modern, stable, well-equipped 80ft fiberglass boat with two decks and ample seating. With windows throughout both decks, the Legacy has great views with the convenience of covered indoor seating for over 100 passengers. The boat has outside seating on the bow and elevated upper deck seating. Legacy has a well stocked bar of snacks and beverages and 3 full sized bathrooms.

Scenic Whale and Dolphin Watch Sunset Cruises

The Scenic Whale and Dolphin Watch Sunset Cruise trip is 2.5 – 3 hours in duration.  We will depart from Seaforth Landing at either 5:00 or 5:30pm (check the scheduled availability).  The trip will start with a cruise out to the open ocean to look for marine mammals and other wildlife. We typically arrive back to the dock between 7:30 and 8:00pm.  If the weather makes the ocean unsafe or unenjoyable we will limit this Sunset Cruise to stay inside Mission Bay. The Legacy has a fully stocked snack and beverage bar.

If you have a special occasion or are just looking for something new to do on a warm summer night, then look no further.  Since we’ve removed the cover on the upper deck, it offers an amazing view of the fireworks and the surrounding bay.

Our cruises set sail out of Mission Bay, which is San Diego’s ‘recreational bay’. This means that we have access towards La Jolla Canyon and all the wildlife that calls this habitat home. Some species that we will find here are year round residents, while others are migratory species.

Ordinarily from November/December thru April we will primariy focus on the California Gray Whale in order to witness just a fraction of it’s over 5000 mile migration from the summer feeding grounds in the Bering/Chukchi Seas to the lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. Over 20,000 California Gray Whales make this migration annually.

Although the whales are leaving the cold northern waters to calf in the south; it can still be cold on these trips in Southern California so we urge our guests to dress in layers and bring hats so you can spend time on the outer decks in comfort.

Although we will generally focus on this amazing migration of the Gray Whale during this Winter/Spring time period we will also be looking for all the various wildlife of the Eastern Pacific. We love to spend time with the always entertaining Dolphin species in the area and often times we see California Sea Lions as well. We know that there is a little bird watcher in all of us too so we will also be identifying and looking for native and migratory land based and sea birds.

Whether it’s your first cruise in San Diego or you’re an experienced, veteran Cetacean Identifier, we look forward to taking you out on the Legacy, let’s go make some memories together.

Our Whale Guarantee:

The ocean is full of the unexpected encounters; and that is what motivates us everyday. The thrill of finding the unexpected is what makes us want to go looking on every trip. If we could guarantee that a whale or dolphin will be in the same spot every time, every day; these trips would lose their appeal to all of us. We will try our hardest to find whales and dolphins for you on every trip we make, but if we happen to fall short on our goal of finding either, we will provide the guests of that trip with a voucher for a free ride to be used on a later cruise.

Weather and Cancellation Policy

Legacy Whale Watch strives to offer you the best overall experience possible, we are sometimes forced to cancel a trip due to weather conditions.  Often times these conditions come without ample warning. We will always do our best to cancel a trip due to weather with ample lead time, but this is not always possible.  If we cancel a trip due to weather you are eligible for a full refund or you may reschedule your trip at that time. Although not often, Legacy Whale Watch also holds the right to cancellation due to under subscription of the excursion.



We will try our hardest to find whales and dolphins for you on every trip we make, but if we happen to fall short on our goal of finding either, we will provide the guests of that trip with a voucher for a free ride to be used on a later cruise.


Everyone has different susceptibility to motion sickness. The Legacy was built in and for use in the Pacific Northwest where the ocean is generally more turbulent and we are confident in the stability of the vessel, but if you are one that has motion sickness in the past, we urge you to utilize a solution for this trip. There are many options available, ranging from wrist bands, over the counter medicine, ginger root, and prescription medication. Some medicines work better if you start them an hour or more in advance. We have had great results with ‘Bonine’ which is available for purchase at the office when you check in or on board.


Although the Legacy goes whale watching year round for many different species; the best California Gray Whale season is historically December-April. We see a lot more Blue Whale, Minke Whale, Finback Whales, and Humpback Whales in the warmer waters of the Summer.


Our captains and naturalists work together in developing strategies based off migration habits, water temperatures, chlorophyll levels, and other objective measurements. Experience on the water plays a large part in developing our strategies for finding wildlife.


There is plenty to see on these tours besides whales. There are numerous species of dolphins and porpoise as well as sea lions. San Diego County has over 500 species of birds in it’s county. The Audubon society states that San Diego has more species of birds in a single county than any other county in the United States. It also has more species of bird than any other place in the United States of comparable size.


You may cancel up to 24 hours before the departure time of your trip for a full refund minus 10%.


You are welcome to bring food and drink on the boat, with a few restrictions. No alcohol, coolers or glass containers. Also please be aware of your fellow passengers; please don’t bring foods with strong offensive smells. We also ask you not to chew sunflower seeds on the boat.


We recommend bringing:

Extra layers of clothing for both sun and temperature.

Sun protection (hats, longsleeves, sunscreen)

Camera and/or Binoculars

Extra cash for the snack bar on board that is cash only.


Everyone at Legacy Whale Watch shares a passion for whales and other aquatic nature. Legacy Whale Watch operators will routinely contribute to whale research by sharing sighting information collected on the water with government and research organizations. Our expert crew can be the first to spot problems on the water, such as entanglement and serve as a caution sign around whales, signaling private boaters to slow down.