Whale-Watching in San Francisco

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Whale-Watching

Between January and April, hundreds of gray whales migrate along the coast; the rest of the year humpback and blue whales feed offshore at the Farallon Islands. The best place to watch them from shore is Point Reyes, in Marin County.

For a better view, head out on a whale-watching trip. Seas around San Francisco can be rough, so pack motion-sickness tablets. You should also dress warmly, wear sunscreen, and pack rain gear and sunglasses; binoculars come in handy, too. Tour companies don't provide meals or snacks, so bring your own lunch and water. Make reservations at least a week in advance. Most trips last a full day.

California Whale Adventures. California Whale Adventures has year-round whale-watching trips ($100), weekends only. In October you can take a great-white-shark tour, and seabird tours run July through October; these tours range between $90 and $150 per person, and are operated on weekends only. All trips leave from Fisherman's Wharf. San Francisco, CA. 650/579–7777 or. www.californiawhaleadventures.com.

The Oceanic Society. The Oceanic Society operates year-round full- and half-day whale-watching excursions ($100) with top-notch guides. Most trips are on weekends, but a few take place on Fridays from December to mid-May. In winter, the group runs half-day trips ($44 on Fridays, $48 on weekends) from Half Moon Bay. Most trips leave from the San Francisco Yacht Harbor, outside the harbormaster's office in the Marina District. 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross, CA, 94957. 415/256–9604 or 800/326–7491. www.oceanicsociety.org.

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