Watching Point

Prime whale-watching time at Point Reyes is from January through March. Visitors can watch the whales from the shore or take a boat trip for a closer view of these majestic creatures. To make the most of your time, check with the park in advance about park programs and transportation to whale watching hotspots.

In Northern California, your best time to spot gray whales and orcas is December to May. For humpbacks, visit May through November, and for blue whales, the largest animal on Earth, plan your stay sometime between July and October.

One of the reasons that the morning time is the best time of day for whale watching has to do with weather and ocean conditions.

Allow one hour and forty-five minutes for the drive (three hours and thirty minutes round-trip) from the Santa Rosa area, northwest San Francisco, or the northern East Bay. Many visitors spend at least an hour or two in the lighthouse area. Directions to the Point Reyes Lighthouse from the Bear Valley Visitor Center.

Point Reyes is also recorded as the cleanest seashore in all of California. This lighthouse has been the location for many movies (like this one), documentaries, and inspired writings. It is very close to San Francisco (only an hour’s drive) and definitely worth a day trip – any time of year!

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