The time has come for Gray Whales to embark on their annual trek from the warm waters of Mexico to icy Arctic seas rich for summer feeding. Lucky for Central Coasters—and our visitors—these giant mammals and their newborn calves glide along our shores, providing an opportunity for us landlubbers to catch a glimpse of the massive sea creatures. The whales turn right and swim north along the coastline on the north shore of the east-west running Santa Barbara Channel from February to May. You can try to sneak a peak of the Grays from shore, but you’ll up your chances of experiencing the migration with a whale watching tour offered by one of Santa Barbara’s many operators. Herein, you’ll find the most popular cruises available in town. (Click on each company’s name for more information.)
Condor Express Accommodates up to 149 passengers; two-and-a-half hour and half-day trips. Price: Adults $48-$94, children $28-$50.
Double Dolphin Accommodates up to 49 passengers; two-and-a-half hour excursions. Price: Adults $30, children and college students with a valid I.D. $10.
Island Packers Accommodates up to 149 passengers; three-hour excursions. Price: Adults $33, children $24, seniors (55-years old or more) $30.
Sunset Kidd Accommodates up to 18 passengers. Price: $40 per person.
Feature Image: jhuffmanPhotography/Flickr