The California coast is home to a diverse array of marine mammal and bird species, with many easy access points for viewing tours. The coastline sees annual migrations of blue, gray and humpback whales, and nearly year-round sightings of fin and minke whales. A variety of dolphin species, including Risso's dolphin and killer whales, may also be seen. The gray whale migration lasts from January through May, peaking in March. Humpbacks follow a similar schedule, with numbers of fin and blue whales peaking in August.

Shorelines and offshore islands provide homes to harbor seals, California sea lions, and sea otters, as well as nesting habitat for a host of marine birds. Terns, gulls, cormorants, pelicans and puffins occur here. The migratory bird species follow roughly the same seasons as the gray and humpback whales, summering in the Arctic and coming south in the winter.


Humpback Whales
Orca Whales
Minke Whales
Gray Whales


Dall’s Porpoise
Tufted Puffin
Harbor Seals