Whale Watching in Crescent City, CA

Photo courtesy of Aquarium of Pacific

1001 Front Street
Crescent City, CA

Crescent City, CA has long been a favorite location for whale watching year-round, but the best time to get a glimpse of a gentle giant or two is in May! If you find yourself traveling along scenic Highway 101 this spring, it’s well worth a pit stop on your family vacation!

Check in at the Cultural Center (1001 Front Street) first in order to see if any programs or events are being offered at the time of your visit. On May 23rd, from 11:30 am to 3 pm, a whale event is planned, organized by Coastal Commissioner Sara Wan and hosted by volunteers. (Thank you to Pit Stops for Kids reader Paul for this info!). If you don’t visit at the time of a planned event, the best locations to spot gray whales on your own are:

Crescent Beach Overlook
Enderts Beach
Battery Point Lighthouse
Point St. George

Klamath Overlook (located approximately 15 miles south of Crescent City off Highway 101 past the end of Requa Road), also offers Redwoods National Park ranger talks on gray whales every Wednesday from 2-4 pm and every Saturday from 10 am-2 pm. Bring binoculars!

Photo courtesy of Friends of Battery Point Lighthouse

Gray whales are best seen from an elevated spot close to the shore, so the locations with overlooks are your best bet! If you’d rather watch for whales from the deck of a boat, Tidewind Sportfishing in Brookings (800-799-0337) offers the chance for an up-close encounter! But if it’s not your lucky day, stop by the Marine Mammal Rescue Center instead (at the end of the park by the Cultural Center). If the sun is out, Beach Front Park also features a great playground! (Read about more family attractions in Crescent City.)

Date last visited: May 2010.

Distance off the interstate: Crescent City is directly on Highway 101 just past the California border.

Hours and Admission Prices: Most overlooks and beaches are free; some have car fees on state park land. Hours are generally sunrise to sunset.

Bathrooms: Located in Cultural Center when open.

Food Services: Picnics in the park or on beaches are your best bet! The town of Crescent City has plenty of grocery or fast food options, as well as seafood fare.

Phone: (707)464-7483

Directions: From Hwy 101 (Redwood Highway), take Front Street to Beach Front Park.

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About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.




  1. Great tips. I love Crescent City for the Redwoods and the lighthouse but I never thought about whales!

    Thank you for participating in Spotlight Thursday! Would you mind linking back to Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursdays at the bottom of your post so your readers know you are playing along and can see who else has joined in the fun? Here is the link for this week: http://blog.trekaroo.com/2010/05/13/spotlight-thursday-papago-park/

    ‘Hope to see you again next week!

  2. Will do!

  3. Thanks for pointing this out, I didn’t know Crescent City was known for whale watching!

  4. Crescent City is not past the CA border.

  5. Stay see says:

    Dirt is just passed the CA border, if you’re coming from The north.

  6. Stay see says:

    It is just passed the CA border, if you’re coming from The north.

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