A special feature of the Santa Barbara Channel that many tourists don’t realize is that it is an optimal place for whales to stop by on their migrations. The warm, nutrient-rich waters attract them to enjoy lunch near the Santa Barbara coast. Naturally, businesses in Santa Barbara such as Condor Express and Santa Barbara Sailing offer Santa Barbara whale watching cruises to make the most of the city’s great locations for this classic maritime activity.
Why Watch Whales in Santa Barbara?
Few other creatures have an entire experience named after looking at them, but there’s something exceptional about whales. Their unique shapes and the inimitable way they move through the water capture human imaginations and take our breath away. Despite their grandeur, their lives under the water surround them with an air of mystery. Being among the largest animals in the world, whales display a majesty all their own and showcase the hidden might of aquatic life. Unlike visiting an aquarium, going whale watching in Santa Barbara lets you see these creatures in their native habitat, fully untamed. It’s no wonder people will spend a whole day out spotting whales — a picture of one (or with one!) makes a priceless souvenir for any vacation.
Believe it or not though, whale watching isn’t all about whales — there are thousands of dolphins that live in the Santa Barbara Channel as well, in addition to the seals, sea lions, and sea otters that make the Channel home. Watching these creatures hunt, rest, and play is a fantastic treat that can’t be found inland. Plus, unlike the migratory whales, these animals stick around to enjoy California’s gorgeous climate all year round, so a sighting is almost always guaranteed! These tours let you catch sight of all sorts of sea creatures besides whales Santa Barbara plays host to year-round.
When to Go?
Whale watching Santa Barbara cruises are available all year around; when to come depends on what you want to see. Heading out during summer vacation or during the fall, you can expect to see the mighty humpback whales or even a blue whale — the largest animal species on the planet. On the other hand, coming during late winter and spring nets you a chance at seeing the iconic Pacific gray whale — in March, April, and May, it’s even not uncommon to see gray whale mothers with their calves. The air over the water is cooler in winter, but braving the chilly breeze may reward you with the sight of a rare sperm whale. Sightings of orcas and minks have been reported year-round. No matter when you go, Santa Barbara whale watching offers the promise of a rare and unforgettable treat: the view of one of earth’s most mysterious, most majestic creatures.