There are very few sights on Earth that are more jaw-dropping than witnessing a mammoth 40-ton gray whale leaping into the clear blue sky above the Pacific Ocean. Not only is Northern California blessed with awe-inspiring Redwoods, but our coast fills with migrating gray whales every winter as they journey from the Arctic Ocean to the sunny, warm waters near Mexico. Northern California whale watching ranks among the best in North America because these majestic beasts swim so close to our sandy shorelines. You don’t even need to head out onto the sea to witness families of whales heading south for the winter. Redwood Coast Vacation Rentals has homes, condos, cabins, and cottages minutes from Northern California’s best whale watching locales.
Northern California Whale Watching
Most migrations span over 10,000 miles. The same whales that grace our bays in December and January make the same journey northward from March through May back to the chilly Arctic Ocean. If you’re intent on getting up-close-and-personal with a gray whale, we suggest voyaging on an ocean charter or sea kayaking tour. Gray whale migrations can also be witnessed from the beautiful bluffs in Eureka, Trinidad, and Shelter Cove.
Shelter Cove on the Lost Coast
To spot a beautiful gray whale from land, you’ll need these five things: patience, high-quality binoculars, clear skies, early-morning sunshine, and calm winds. Shelter Cove rests 87 miles south of lively Eureka on California’s Lost Coast. Shelter Cove is home to Black Sands Beach and the northbound Lost Coast Central Stretch trail. Not only is this stretch of coastal wilderness genuinely breathtaking, but it’s one of the best places to spot migrating gray whales. The Lost Coast Central Stretch is a difficult hiking trail, but it provides sweeping ocean views. On a bright morning, Black Sands Beach is the perfect spot to relax and patiently wait for families of whales. Orcas are also often spotted near the black shores!
Trinidad Bay Kayak Adventures
Kayaking in the vast Pacific Ocean is fun enough, but Kayak Trinidad has brilliantly added gray whales into the fold. Embark on a kayak tour in Trinidad Bay, and discover the breathtaking beauty of Northern California. You’ll likely see orcas, seals, sea lions, and shorebirds on the journey to meet a 40-ton gray whale. Each tour meanders through rock islands and sea-stacks before and after your North California whale watching adventure. Each tour is led by expert naturalists who’re equally charismatic and knowledgeable.
Patrick’s Point State Park
It’s worth noting that there are many more than three premier Northern California whale watching locations. The last one we’re going to discuss thoroughly is Patrick’s Point State Park, but we also love Table Bluff and Trinidad Head. Patrick’s Point State Park earns the nod because it offers nearly a dozen overlooks. This beautiful state park has views from Rim Trail, Mussel Rocks, Agate Beach, Wedding Rock, Palmer’s Point, Rocky Point, and Patrick’s Point. Each lookout provides gorgeous ocean vistas and advantageous whale watching on clear mornings. Patrick’s Point State Park is only five miles north of Trinidad.
Northern California Vacations
Shelter Cove Vista Cabin
The ocean-view Shelter Cove Vista Cabin is minutes from Cape Mendocino Lighthouse and two miles south of Black Sands Beach. This lovely cottage is steps from fishing, kayaking, and whale watching. The sunsets at Shelter Cove are particularly beautiful (as are moonlit evenings). You’ll have 1,610 square feet of space, outdoor lounging, and a full kitchen all within walking distance of the ocean.
Famous Pink Lady
Spend the whole week inside a classic Victorian mansion one mile from Humboats Kayak Adventures in charming Eureka. You’ll have the opportunity to take a step back in time during your Northern California whale watching getaway. This three-story manor was built in 1889 and has been meticulously preserved ever since. The Famous Pink Lady is a popular wedding, anniversary, and honeymoon destination, so please call well in advance to book a reservation.
A quiet farmhouse in the lush Northern California wilderness rests within walking distance of Patrick’s Point State Park. Seawoods Farmhouse, a cozy, affordable, and secluded paradise, has an onsite hobby farm, enchanting pond, and organic vegetable garden. You’ll genuinely feel at home in this peaceful single-family home that sleeps eight comfortably. Whale watching and hiking adventures are always a short walk away!
There’s no better time than right now to book an unforgettable Northern California whale watching trip through Redwood Coast Vacation Rentals. We offer a variety of vacation rentals for groups and families of all sizes. You’re guaranteed to find a Eureka or Trinidad vacation home that’s ideal within our extensive catalog of accommodations!