Gray Whales – 20,000 Gray Whales pass by the Central Coast two times every year. During December through mid-February, the whales migrate south from the arctic waters off the coast of Alaska to their winter birthing grounds off of the Baja Peninsula. Then from mid-February through April, they return to the arctic waters to feed.  Peak viewing times are usually mid-January and mid-March.   More background on the Gray Whale >>

Humpback Whales spend the winter months off of the Mexican Coast to breed and give birth. the Humpback Whales migrate north to polar waters to feed during the summer months. Humpback Whales are most common off the coast from April through November.   More background on the Humpback >>

Blue Whales can sometimes be seen from early summer through fall. The best times to view Orcas “Killer Whales” is mid-January to the middle of April.

The best beaches in Half Moon Bay for whale watching are Miramar Beach, Montara Beach, and the bluffs above Poplar Beach. On several occasions I have been walking on the the Bluffs/Coastside Trail above Poplar Beach and have seen whales incredible close to the beach. In fact, one time the whales were so close to the beach that I actually called the local ranger station because I thought the whales were in trouble and might beach themselves. The ranger I talked with didn’t seem very alarmed, so I assume that it is a common occurrence.

Some businesses where you may be able to catch glimpses of the mighty mammals are Miramar Beach Restaurant, Ebb Tide Café, and Moss Beach Distillery. Depending on where their food sources travel, you may be able to whale watch while dinning from Sam’s Chowder House or La Costanera Restaurant.

For more beach information, please go to

Oceanic Society – Whale Watching

For more information, please visit the Oceanic Society’s website

Tour Boats

Boating excursions depart from Pillar Point Harbor, 4 miles north of Half Moon Bay.

Huli Cat Sportfishing & Charter Boat

Major rating websites rate Queen of Hearts 3.5 to 4.7 stars out of 5.

Address: 1 Johnson Pier h9, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Phone: (650) 726-2926

Queen of Hearts

They provide fishing charters and whale watching tours.

Major rating websites rate Queen of Hearts 4 to 4.9 stars out of 5. We rate them a solid 4.2 stars.

Address: 27 Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Phone: (510) 581-2628

Riptide Sportfishing

Located in the Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, Riptide Charters provides individuals and groups adventures in sport fishing and whale watching.

Major rating websites rate Riptide Sportfishing 3.5 to 4 stars out of 5.

Address: 1 Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Phone: (650) 728-8433