Need to Get Out of the House? Hit the Beach for Pacifica’s Upcoming Whale Watching Season

While COVID still has many of us pent up from sheltering in place, there is a great outdoor option for adventure seekers as we embark on Pacifica’s highly coveted whale watching season.

Photo by: David Chamberlin
Photo by: David Chamberlin

Located just 15 minutes south of San Francisco, the beautiful beachfront town of Pacifica is the perfect destination for capturing the journey of migrating gray whales.

The voyage starts in October when the gray whales start swimming south from Alaska, passing the California coast. December through January is when these magnificent mammals are closest to the shore.

Pacifica sets the stage as an ideal viewing post because of its many inlets and close proximity to the route and “playground” of these amazing creatures. Some of the best viewing platforms are from the coastal bluffs of Mori Point, Rockaway Beach trail, Linda Mar State Beach, the Pacifica Pier and Devil's Slide walking trail.

The northern migration of gray whales generally attracts 20,000 whales and lasts from February through April. The whales, including mothers and calves, travel closer to the coast on the northbound journey, so this is usually the best time for whale watching from the Pacifica coastline.

Blue whales are not as common as gray whales, but there is an estimated population of over 2,000 on the west coast. The blue whale migration follows a pattern similar to the gray whale, but they don't seem to travel such long distances, or to travel as close to the shore. Blue whales are typically seen along the Central California coast, with Pacifica at the center of the action. Whale watching season for blue whales lasts from late spring to fall.

Photo by: David Chamberlin
Photo by: David Chamberlin

The humpback whales are very acrobatic. The population along the California coast is only about 800. Prime whale watching season for humpback whales is in the summer and fall, with the largest number of sightings along the Central California coast. For more information, check the Whale Watching calendar at http://abt.cm/1fD9FSN.

To ensure a great “whale of an encounter,” enthusiasts will want to make a weekend out of their adventure. While many of California’s coastal towns offer great platforms for whale watching, Pacifica features value-oriented accommodations that are following safe COVD practices and is also just a stone’s throw away from San Francisco’s attractions so visitors can round out their itinerary with more conventional outings.

Photo by: David Chamberlin
Photo by: David Chamberlin

Pacifica features a variety of accommodations that offer great value, ocean views, a selection of amenities, convenience to San Francisco and other Bay Area attractions and FREE parking. Most of the seven properties are located near the beach and within walking distance to great restaurants, hiking and walking trails, the Sharp Park Golf Course, Pacifica fishing pier and of course, one of the most scenic seashores on California’s north coast.

The largest property is the 97-room Pacifica Lighthouse Hotel, a full-service hotel situated on Rockaway Beach with spacious accommodations, beautiful ocean views, a swimming pool and the upscale Moonraker restaurant. The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Pacifica provides very comfortable accommodations with ocean views and a complimentary hot Express Start Breakfast Bar. Offering a dash of Victorian charm is the pet-friendly Inn at Rockaway and adjacent to Nick’s Restaurant is the Sea Breeze Motel, which is very convenient for those looking to dance the night away at Nick’s. Located across from Linda Mar Beach is another full service hotel called the Pacifica Beach Hotel, which now includes several remodeled rooms with spectacular ocean view rooms, Jacuzzi tubs, indoor swimming pool and the Puerto 27 Peruvian Restaurant. Further north, in Sharp Park, is the America’s Best Value Inn-Pacifica, which is a short walk from the Pacifica Pier and golf course. And, newest to the scene, is the boutique Anchor Inn at Pedro Point, which is nestled into the Pedro Point hillside.