San Francisco Whale Tours
San Francisco Whale Tours
4.5
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Friday
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
About
The focus of the expedition is a search for the majestic giants of the oceans-whales- including Gray and Humpback Whales! Join us aboard exciting excursions from the SF Bay and into the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. We head out on our stable catamaran beginning in San Francisco, heading out under the Golden Gate Bridge. We may visit Harbor Seals in Diablo Cove and California Sea Lions at Point Bonita then head out through the Golden Gate Strait known for Harbor Porpoise and whales!
San Francisco, California
Meets animal welfare guidelines

Awards
Travelers' Choice
2023

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(256 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
2,775 reviews
Excellent
1,993
Very good
374
Average
173
Poor
110
Terrible
125

Cara G
Austin, United States3 contributions
May 2021
I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve spent six years trying on both US coasts to spit one of these magnificent creatures and this trip was the one. Fifteen minutes out of the marina is all it took - and we followed what ended up being two individual gray whales for the 2-1/2 trip. It was a small group going out on the noon voyage - I think there were fewer than 20 of us on board. Sara, the marine biologist on board, regaled us with tons of information on the bay and the abundant wildlife around us, both seen and unseen. She took the time to listen to the passengers’ questions and answered with an easy conversational air. She was engaging, attentive, personable, and obviously passionate about what she does.

The Captain and Bear (beautiful boat dog!) also welcoming and warm. The boat was well kept, clean, and comfortable, with plenty of space for even twice as many folks.

If I come back to SF, I will definitely ride again.
Written May 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Julie P
11 contributions
Dec 2019 • Family
Though it seemed to take a while to load the 2 boats that night, we got under way for our no-frills trip only 10 minutes late. It was like a 3-stop boat ride; to an area just under the Golden Gate, around the back side of Alcatraz (with some good commentary about the island and buildings) then to under the Oakland Bay Bridge, and then to an area to see the fireworks before heading back to docks. It's as advertised, but we lucked out with the weather (mild, clear skies, and calm waters). The crew were great and answered whatever questions we had about whatever topics. We had a great time!
Written January 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sheri K
2 contributions
Aug 2020 • Family
The staff/crew were so wonderful to work with. They made sure everyone was knowledgeable about what we would experience, took steps to make sure we knew how to be safe and provided us with humor throughout. We were fortunate enough to spot a family of 3 whales. Watching them together was simply breathtaking. Be sure to bring something warm and know you will get wet.
Written August 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pontetonk
Pontefract, UK13 contributions
Nov 2021 • Family
First time in San Francisco from the UK.
We were the last trip of the season, so wasn’t sure if we’d get to see any whales - but managed to spot 2!!
It’s an incredible thing to see - almost surreal. We saw lots of other wildlife too.

The boat ride was very smooth - although we managed to get soaked on the last 10 minute stretch!!
The crew were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic
I would highly recommend, worth every penny.
Written November 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

elizabeth a
1 contribution
May 2023 • Solo
I believe I heard them say the boat seats 100 people. That was not the case. It was terribly cold nd all we saw was the whale's tails (that was barely visible)from miles nd miles away. The inside of the boat was not warm at all. I went on my birthday nd I was disappointed. In the end they start talking on the mic about what u "might have seen" almost as if to elude u into believing u saw 5 plus different types of whales or animals. I was expecting to be able to at least film an entire whale nd others can see its an actual whale. It wasn't even worth filming. Maybe it's because I had been on the sunset cruise the day before with another bigger boat/ferry nd I was coming into this whale watching with higher expectations. I would not recommend. If you DO decide to go please get a proper jacket, scarf, beanie nd gloves the ENTIRE winter Eskimo gear nd grab a blanket. It was freaking cold.
Written May 30, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

keenanbrown
Richmond, CA1 contribution
Sep 2022 • Family
Trust me when I tell you that this whale-watching experience was horrible. There were about 50-60 people on the boat called Kitty Kat. The boat was so small that there were only 12 seats inside and 2 seats outside. The boat was so small and the water was so choppy, everyone was throwing up on the boat. You pay a great deal of money and you think you're going to get on a bigger boat but you don't, worst experience Of a whale tour I ever been and I been on at least 30, but this company is a waist of money! We also didn’t see any whales which sometimes happen. My advice is save your money!
Written September 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CityTrucker
San Francisco, CA4 contributions
Apr 2023
Not the best Whale Tour that I've ever taken. The boat never left the Bay on a very calm day, so we spent most of the two and one half hours parked just south of the Bay Bridge, where one whale would occasionally surface and spout. The patter by the ship's naturalist and other crew members was minimally informative, but there were lots of snippets about how lucky they were to have this job; assertions taht we were contributing to science and conservation; encouragement to visit the snack bar, and praise for us, the wonderful and uniquely lucky guests.

Happily, my European guests had no expectations and did not notice the sub-par experience; there are no whales in Switzerland, after all. The next time I want to see and learn about whales, I'll pay a little more for the much longer and informative Oceanic Tour.
Written April 10, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

katylou82
dorset30 contributions
Aug 2022 • Couples
Staff were amazing, motivated, positive, helpful and very knowledgeable - they are clearly super conscientious and care about he marine life.
Like other reviews have said, don't necessarily expect to see whales. We were out for ages and went almost 20 miles from the bay and just before turning around we spotted a whale but it was a brief sighting at some distance. It is what it is so don't expect too much, I wouldn't quite say or tick off whale watching and would go again somewhere else if the opportunity presented itself.
Given that seeing whales isn't of course guaranteed I do feel the price per person is a little high.
Thank you to the staff for your enthusiasm and efforts!
Written August 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert R
Spring Branch, TX1 contribution
Jul 2021
We had a great time. Half the fun for me was sailing out of the San Francisco bay into the Pacific Ocean. The boat was intimate yet spacious. The crew were super helpful and friendly. The whale came right up to the boat and swam around us for about 20 minutes. TIP: If you're prone to motion sickness take some meds before the trip. We did and were able to enjoy the whole trip while others who did not take precautions were not so fortunate. Definitely worth the money!
Written August 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KellyPrimos
San Francisco, CA11 contributions
Sep 2020 • Family
We had a wonderful day on the Bay with fabulous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the City skyline, Lands End and beyond.
The crew were very accommodating and we felt very safe in the Covid-19 safe distancing as only 12 passengers traveled on the boat.
I highly recommend this fun family adventure.
Written September 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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