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Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari

Quick Details

Signature Whale Watching Trip
Children Ages 1-12
Infants Up to 12 mo.
Zodiac Whale Watching Trip
Guest Ages 6 and up

Dana Point’s Highest Rated Whale Watching Experience

“We’ve gone to other companies at both Dana Point and Newport Beach, but Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari are the gold standard for consistent experiences.” – 5-star review from kelpzone/Tripadvisor

Opt outside and connect with nature on a one of a kind and unique sailing catamaran with the world’s only underwater viewing pods, or Dana Point’s only high-speed zodiacs. Relax, unwind, and enjoy the refreshing ocean air while you experience an uncrowded, up-close and personal view of majestic gray whales, fin whales, humpback whales, minke whales, possibly orcas, and more. You’ll be wowed by up to five different species of amazing wild dolphins, including mega-pods that can number in the thousands! You could also see sea lions and seals, pelagic birds, and various species of fish, including sharks.

“Better than Sea World, The Zoo and LegoLand so that says a lot!” – 5-star review from Angela L./Tripadvisor

We depart from Dana Point, the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World® and the first Whale Heritage Site in the Americas. All of our remarkable experiences have live narration from expert naturalists and Mrs. Capt. Dave’s legendary triple fudge brownies are served as a special treat at the end of your cruise.

Our safaris are eco-friendly and we are a Responsible Whale Watching operator certified by the World Cetacean Alliance.

“I’m a marine biologist and I’ve been on whale watching trips all over the globe. Captain Dave’s is one of the best operations I’ve experienced. Their staff is outstanding, the boat is exceptional (underwater viewing pods are UNREAL) and their knowledge and concern for wildlife and conservation issues is obvious in everything they do. I cannot recommend them highly enough.” – 5-star review from Valerie P./Tripadvisor

Signature Dolphin & Whale Safari on MANUTE’A – Our Most Popular Experience

  • Two Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods. Go underwater and, without getting wet, feel what it’s like to swim with dolphins and whales.
  • Originators of the Eye-Spy viewing platform! Three Eye-Spy Dolphin & Whale Tram Nets put wildlife inches below your feet.
  • Uncrowded, up to 49 passengers with plenty of elbow room and comfortable seating for all.
  • Micro-museum with whale and dolphin artifacts.
  • Catamaran sailboat. Very stable!

Zodiac Dolphin & Whale Safari – Our Fastest Experience

  • Extremely low to the water. Wildlife at your fingertips!
  • The fastest whale watching boat in Dana Point! More speed can equal more whales and dolphins.
  • Small group safari of up to 20 passengers.
  • Zodiac-style = Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB). Super stable!
  • Comfortable with a large sunshade and heavily padded seats and seatbacks.

“We do a whale watching trip with Captain Dave’s every year. Every. Year. We used to go out on the big whale watching boats that are totally impersonal. They are cheap and, frankly, they suck. Captain Dave’s is a little pricey but it’s worth it. Once you do this tour, you’ll never go back to the cheapo companies. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. The experience is completely intimate because the boats are very small.  You will probably see whales and you will almost certainly see dolphins. Hundreds of them. Some of them will be just a few feet from you. You read that right. Sometimes you get what you pay for. This is that place.” – 5-star review from Craig W./Yelp

Why Captain Dave’s? Because you and your family deserve the very best!

  • Five-star customer ratings on Tripadvisor, Yelp, and Google. A recipient of Tripadvisor’s Traveler’s Choice award (formerly known as the Certificate of Excellence) since its inception over 10 years ago.
  • Our trips to see dolphins and whales are the highest rated in Dana Point according to Yelp, Google, and TripAdvisor. We offer the best customer service!
  • Customized vessels and exclusive features including Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods, Eye-Spy Tram Nets, micro-museum with whale and dolphin artifacts and more.
  • Captain Dave’s unique catamarans are never crowded with a maximum of 20 to 49 passengers, depending on the vessel, for an intimate whale watching experience.
  • We are a real eco-tourism company providing only sustainable wildlife viewing. No fishing = no animal bycatch and less ocean pollution.
  • Our knowledgeable marine naturalists explain how these animals live for a fun and educational oceanic adventure that adults and children of all ages will love.
  • Captain Dave and rescue team members have been recognized worldwide for their conservation and whale rescue efforts.
  • Mrs. Captain Dave’s famously yummy triple fudge brownies are served complimentary on every whale watching trip.
  • Home of Dana Point’s most viewed YouTube Channel with over 32 million views, featuring breathtaking footage of whales, dolphins, sharks, and more. Subscribe to our channel!
  • We give back to the community via meal packing and donations and by partnering with like-minded organizations such as Sea Shepherd and Dolphin Project for fundraising.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter for amazing videos, photos, and the latest sightings of whales, dolphins, and more.

Captain Dave is a marine naturalist, passionate conservationist, photographer, award-winning filmmaker and author, and whale watching captain. A founder of Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group, Captain Dave was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to raise awareness of bycatch from fishing gear entanglement. He is often called upon as an authority on wild dolphins and whales, and was a keynote speaker at the LA Drone Expo for his spectacular use of drones to film whales and dolphins in his acclaimed video “Drones Over Dolphin Stampede and Whales off Dana Point and Maui”. Videos and photographs from Captain Dave’s safaris have been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, and The Today Show, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and in feature films including the Academy Award-nominated film Racing Extinction.

Reservations, schedule, and information: 949-488-2828 or visit

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