California Gray Whale Watching

3.5 Hour Whale Watching Expedition

This was one of my most memorable California adventures. The Captian, crew, and guides all worked very hard to make sure that everyone was well taken care of. We had an amazing day. We were lucky enough to see several Humpback whales, dolphins, and Sea Lions as well.

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Family Fun Whale Watching Adventure!

Experience the gray whale migration as these amazing animals make their annual northern migration up the California coast to Alaska with their calves in tow.

Boat Tour
Whale & Dolphin Watching
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Whale Migration Routes

The Channel Islands are strategically located along the migration routes of several whale species, including gray whales, blue whales, humpback whales, and more. This makes it a prime spot for witnessing these majestic creatures during their seasonal migrations.

Abundance of Wildlife

In addition to whales, the Channel Islands are home to a wide range of marine wildlife, such as dolphins, seals, sea lions, and various seabird species. This makes the overall marine wildlife experience more dynamic and captivating.

Protected Marine Reserves

The waters surrounding the Channel Islands include marine reserves and protected areas. These conservation efforts contribute to the health of the marine ecosystem and create a favorable environment for whales and other marine life.

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Our Journey in search of whales

Marine Emporium landing boarding ramp

Check-in at Marine Emporium Landing in Oxnard

Check in starts at 7:00am for an 8:30am departure.  This is a half day adventure in Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary.

pod of dolphins

Whale and Dolphin Discover Crossing

As we cross the Santa Barbara Channel we enter a international Whale Heritage area that is known for over 33 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) like the Blue Whale and Orca.

anacapa island

Arrive off the shore of Anacapa Island

Anacapa Island, part of California’s Channel Islands National Park, is renowned for its dramatic sea cliffs, unique rock formations, and the historic Anacapa Island Lighthouse. The island’s diverse ecosystem supports seabird colonies, including the largest breeding population of the endangered California brown pelican.

sea lions on shore

In search of Sea Life

Exploring the cliffs of Anacapa Island offers a chance to spot sea lions basking on the rocky shores, dolphins frolicking in the surrounding waters, and a variety of sea birds nesting along the rugged cliffs. This vibrant marine life makes the island a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature photographers.

looking through the archway at anacapa island

Viewing Anacapa Arch along the way

Anacapa Arch, an iconic natural landmark off the coast of Anacapa Island, is a striking rock formation shaped by centuries of wind and wave erosion. This picturesque arch is a popular subject for photographers and a highlight for visitors exploring the Channel Islands National Park.

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In Search of More Whales…

Viewing whales at Channel Islands National Park offers an unforgettable experience, especially during the annual migration of gray whales between December and April. Visitors can also spot blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, in the surrounding waters during the summer months, making the park a prime location for whale watching year-round.

FAQ

From February 14th to April 7th we guarantee you will see gray whales or another type of large whale species. We almost always see dolphins, which are toothed whales :), but these are not included in our promise to you.

If we don’t see whales, you can return on any whale watching trip we operate during the same season. An email will be send post trip with a code to rebook for free!

No, we do not land at Anacapa but if we have time, we will circumnavigate the entire island on the SUNFISH.

All bookings are final and non-refundable unless you purchase trip insurance at check-out. Trip insurance grants you a 100% refund as long as you don’t cancel the day of the trip.

Book Now

$99

Adult

$79

Senior

$49

Child

Trip Reviews

Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Definitely recommend - Truly an amazing and unique experience. Recently I had the opportunity to join on the kayak/snorkeling trip at Anacapa Island with CIX. First of all, they have an awesome crew of knowledgeable individuals who love their job. They make sure you're comfortable and taken care of while also guiding you through a one of a kind experience. I learned so much and...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Taylor o.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Once in a lifetime experience!!! The crew (John, Randy, Beth, Jake, Bryson, Savannah and Max) were all amazing hosts and guides. They have thought of everything to make this a truly unique and memorable experience. The food was incredible, the activities and tours were fun and beautiful, and the Channel Islands and it's wildlife make you feel like you're in a different...

Molly Culp
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Molly Culp

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

We signed up for the Sea Cave Combo package and it was the best trip ever. Originally we were put on a waitlist for a different (and more expensive) company that had us inconveniently book the ferry + activity separately, but then came across CIE last minute and booked through them. It was a much better choice. From start to finish the whole crew, especially...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Brian Owen

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We went out on our 20th anniversary and really enjoyed the whole trip. The crew was great Marc was very informative and helpful. Ally bubbly personality made the experience great. Our captain was awesome.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Chris M.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Channel Islands Expeditions has a top notch kayak trip experience. As a native, I had never made it to the islands just a few miles of the coast of my hometown; Craig our guide and Alex the captain made sure we had a memorable experience. We kayaked the northern tip of Anacapa which is closed most of the year into sea caves and along the...

Lauren C.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Lauren C.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Amazing trip! I loved the boat. We had a great time kayaking. The crossing was incredible with dolphins, sea lions, and humpback whales literally breaching out of the water! We really explored the sea caves with guides so far in we could get not see without the help of the guides light. It felt like an adventure but also safe as we had a...

Robert Turner
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Robert Turner

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

If you are interested in whale watching and an up close visit to the Channel Islands, we highly recommend booking with Channel Islands Expeditions. Captain Tim and First Mate Travis were top notch - Experienced, Knowledgeable, Outgoing, Patient and Accommodating. We could absolutely not have had a better day! The trip to Anacapa Island was full of wildlife encounters and the details...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Gail Wills

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty also! The crew was also awesome...

Simone Shomaker
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Simone Shomaker

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

Garrett, Phil and the other crew members who guided us through Anacapa were outstanding! I would definitely put this on your Summer bucket list. A great way to get fresh air, exercise and actually go through not one, but like 10 sea caves. Emerald Cave and Roller Coaster Cave were favorites. We even jumped out of our kayaks and swam through a cave. We also...

Tracy E.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Tracy E.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Awesome experience. Did a day trip to Santa Cruz Island and went on a guided kayaking tour. Captain Dan and his crew were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Also, the crew member Bailey made some delicious chocolate chip cookies with three different kinds of chocolate for everyone on board, would book this trip again just for the cookies alone.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Anthony L.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

My recent kayaking trip with Channel Islands Expeditions was an absolute gem. We departed from the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. There was a CIEx sign set out so I knew I was in the right place to meet. Right from the start, the crew's professionalism and attention to safety made me feel secure and excited. The crossing on the Sunfish was awesome! We got...

Genelise Hazen
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Genelise Hazen

5/5stars
Day Trip

Anacapa Tour

We had such a wonderful time kayaking the Channel Islands with Channel Islands Expeditions! The crew was fun, friendly and knowledgeable and made our day perfect. The food onboard was delicious and they even took care of my weird dietary needs. Kayaking through the island caves was so beautiful and they made it easy even for those of us kayaking for the first time. Leaving...

Kristi K.
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Kristi K.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

Amazing! So happy I went with this company. You can bring coolers on board & dry bags with snacks are allowed on the kayaks, & take a ball cap for helmet. Dan was our guide Super friendly, very patient, all staff was great. Went on a Thursday, the experience was more intimate, because all the caves were empty, & our group was only 5 visitors.

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Cynthia P.

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

What an amazing adventure! I had the honor of going on a kayaking and snorkeling tour hosted by CIEx out of Santa Barbara. I was delighted with a boat vs dolphins race as we exited the Santa Barbara Harbor and headed towards the Channel Islands. We were escorted to the islands by a pod of dolphins HUNDREDS strong. It was like a dream! CIEx provided...

Guidance Moon
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Guidance Moon

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

This was a wonderful and beautiful experience. We came here on my birthday, it was my 53rd birthday. My husband is semi handicapped and we were pleasantly surprised that the group were very helpful and in helping him with the kayaking and the snorkeling so that way he can experience everything just like a full able-bodied person can. We are also gluten-free vegans which...

Nereida La Sirena Rojas
Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Nereida La Sirena Rojas

5/5stars
Day Trip

Painted Cave Tour

We had the best day out with CIX on our trip to Painted Cave. The trip was a kayak and snorkel day trip. The crew was amazing, everyone was very friendly and knowledgeable. The kayaking was so beautiful and it was cool to get into the caves and learn about them through the guides. The snorkeling was super pretty, and we enjoyed the day out...

Rated 4.9/5 based on 16 customer reviews

Simone S.

5/5stars

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