Ah, whales: these majestic, enormous marine mammals have been immortalized in our culture in everything to Moby Dick to Finding Nemo. California is the best whale watching destination in the United States, with about 20,000 gray whales making their annual swim down the coast. In this post, you’ll discover the best destinations for whale watching in California, plus everything you need to know to plan your trip!
I grew up in an area of California called the Central Coast. There are no big cities there – nothing like a Los Angeles or a San Francisco, although the area sits exactly in between the two. Instead of bustling cities, what you’ll find is much quieter: about 200 miles of scenic coastline, plus hundreds of wineries, thousands of hiking trails, dozens of charming towns, a smattering of natural hot springs, and enough great food and beer to keep you occupied for months. The Central Coast offers everything from sugar-sand beaches and great surfing, to wine country, to adorable marine wildlife critters (otters! Seals! Sea lions!) and groves of Monarch butterflies flitting through delicious smelling eucalyptus trees, to sheer cliffs looking down on crashing waves. Here are 8 quintessential Central Coast getaways for your next Highway 1 road trip!