Captain Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari in Dana Point, CA

Capt. Dave's Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari24440 Dana Point Harbor DriveDana Point, CA 92629
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$95.00 $93.75
Total Price: $95.63 (USD)
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TripAdvisor user rating 5.00 out of 5 Based on 1853 reviews


Grab your camera and binoculars and be on the lookout for dolphins and whales! This narrated ocean excursion will teach you about Dana Point’s abundant marine life, from sea lions to birds and more. Take advantage of the ship’s Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods to see what it’s like to swim along with dolphins. Listen to the hydrophone to also hear whale and dolphin vocalizations!

up to 2.5 hrs 1 or more people

Good To Know

  • Offers a stable ride and up-close wildlife viewing.
  • Features Eye-Spy Trams Nets, Underwater Viewing Pods, micro-museum, and more.
  • Tour duration: approximately 2.5 hours.
  • Fun for families of all ages.
  • Includes a covered cabin area for protection from the elements, two bathrooms, and cushioned seating.
  • The Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari accommodates up to 49 passengers per trip.
  • The Zodiac tour accommodates up to 12 passengers per trip.


from Captain Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari
During the narrated tour, participants will gain insights into the year-round magnificent marine life of Dana Point, which includes whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, birds, and more.

The primary vessel for the daily whale watching trips is Manute’a, a state-of-the-art, high-speed catamaran sailboat that provides a truly unique experience for observing dolphins and whales.

Manute’a is equipped with Capt. Dave's exclusive Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods, allowing you to experience the sensation of swimming with dolphins and whales underwater without getting wet. This vessel also features a hydrophone for listening to dolphin and whale vocalizations, three Eye-Spy Dolphin Tram Nets on the bow for an up-close and immersive whale watching adventure, and a micro dolphin and whale museum. Manute’a can accommodate up to 49 passengers, ensuring a comfortable and uncrowded experience.

For those seeking a more adventurous and intimate tour, the Zodiac Safari (rigid hull inflatable boat) is an excellent choice. This small group tour gets the participants incredibly close to the ocean's surface and within arm's reach of wildlife. With a capacity of up to 20 passengers, this fast and exciting dolphin and whale watching excursion reaches speeds of up to 30 knots, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the animals and less time searching for them. The vessel is U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified for safety and provides comfortable seating with a large sunshade.

During the tour, participants can also indulge in the legendary and delicious Triple Fudge Brownies, courtesy of Mrs. Capt. Dave.
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Captain Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari is located at Capt. Dave's Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari24440 Dana Point Harbor DriveDana Point, CA 92629
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Frequently Asked Questions about Captain Dave's Dolphin & Whale Safari

When is the best time of day to see whales and dolphins?

There is no specific time! Dolphin, whales and all types of marine wildlife float, freestyle, glide, pose, dive, dip, and zip throughout the year, all day long. Morning trips are calmer because there’s less wind, and disruptions in the water are easier to spot.

How far in advance should I check in?

They recommend 30 minutes ahead of time. Between June – September, they suggest arriving 45 minutes in advance to ensure parking ease at Dana Point Harbor. If it’s a holiday or Festival of Whales, please allow one hour because whales tend to double park.

What should I bring with me?

You’re welcome to bring beer and wine on their 2.5-hour Signature Safari, but for safety, please don’t forget the plastic cups. And as always, drink responsibly. You can also visit the Dolphin Deck where you can purchase cold beverages, delicious sandwiches, yummy snacks and refreshing ice cream. Guests should bring sunglasses, cameras, (or extra space on the smartphone), film or memory cards, binoculars, sunblock, small children, caps, and visors. Jackets and windbreakers are always good, too. Because this vessel offers a fast and bouncy ride, plastic bottle beverages that can be closed and easy-to-eat dry snacks that won't be swept away by the wind, such as granola bars or cookies, are recommended. To prevent spills please do not bring open cans of drinks.

What should I wear?

It is usually 10-15 degrees cooler on the water, even when the sun shines, so it’s a good idea to layer clothes. Wear tennis or deck shoes if possible, preferably with non-marking, non-black soles. And if it looks like rain, a rain poncho will help. A hat or visor is a good idea, too.

Can I take pictures or video?


Is there a bathroom on the boat?

Yes! The Manute’a has two bathrooms. The bathrooms are slightly below deck so you need to be able to climb down a small boat ladder – just three steps – to get to them.

How far out to sea do you go?

Their vessels usually go out about 3-5 miles, but they have gone up to 8 miles from shore on occasion, depending on where the whales and dolphin are. They are always in view of the gorgeous Orange County coastline.

What should I do about seasickness?

Bonine, Dramamine, Ginger tablets. Ginger Ale and Pressure Point Wristbands are all available for purchase on the Dolphin Deck, but check in early to ensure maximum effectiveness.

What happens if it rains or gets foggy?

If it’s safe, you go! And although it rarely rains in Southern California, your captain will make a decision as to the safety of the voyage before departure if it does. Be prepared, at the dock, and ready to go!

What if we don't see whales or dolphins?

In the unlikely event your safari turns up zero whales or dolphins, you can return for FREE within one year from the date of the trip! IMPORTANT: Your “no sightings” ticket is non-transferable and expires one year from the date of your “no sightings” safari. Please use your free ticket before the expiration date!

Are the boats safe?


Do you allow pregnant women?


How old does my child have to be?

Children of all ages are welcome aboard their boats. All of their vessels are safe and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Can I bring someone who is in a wheelchair?


Will I get wet on the boat?

Depending on ocean conditions, your legs and feet could get wet on the bow while the boat is out to sea and going fast! However, the boat slows down in the presence of dolphins and whales and you’re less likely to get splashed.

Should I tip the captain and crew?

Only if you would like to, and please know it’s never expected. If you have enjoyed your whale and dolphin safari, gratuities are always appreciated.

How many people can the boats accommodate?

The Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari holds a maximum of 49 passengers per trip and the Zodiac tour can accommodate up to12 passengers per trip.