There are many places where whales, dolphins, whale sharks, stingrays etc. can be seen by a guided boat tour, a snorkel trip or even from the costal line.
The park opens all year at 8 a.m., but closing before sunset to protect the wildlife and to avoid disturbance (like deer, foxes, bobcats, and owls) Camping is not permitted.
Clearer skies, warmest average temps and the best time for a visit are September and October followed by April and May during the harbor seal pupping season.
Crowds during summer
This magnificent and popular State Reserve is located close to Carmel on HW 1. Point Lobos is a year-round destination and super busy during summer and especially at weekends. Limited parking within the reserve; 150 cars only. At weekends and especially Sundays in summer it’s advisable to arrive before 9 a.m. or later in the afternoon. Otherwise, you have to line up or park your car outside on the shoulder and walk in.
If possible visit the reserve mid-week. Anyhow, Point Lobos is also much loved by school classes due to the many opportunities to experience and learn about nature and wildlife. The foundation supports schools with transportation and offers in summer adventure programmes for 8 to 12 years old youth which fills up soon.
It’s a moderate cool coastal climate. The average temperature ranges from about 55 to 65°F / 13-18 °C year-round. Spring is sunny and cool before the foggy summer season starts with fog until the afternoon. Fog banks emerge from the cold water (around 50 °F / 10°C) and the warm coastal air to condense into fog. Fall from September to November is the sunniest time of the year although evenings are cooler. In the winter mist and showers occur between November to March.
Harbor seal pupping season
From March until June you may spot harbor seals giving birth to a puppy at China Cove. It’s amazing that the new-borns start to swim just 20 minutes later. The best months to witness this spectacle are April and May.
- Southern Sea otters may be spotted offshore in the kelp beds during calm days. On windy days they are more often found in protected coves. They are living in waters with a temp between 35°F and 60°F / 1,5°C up to 15,5°C. This is important for their constant body temp of almost 100 °F / 37°C. They mate and give birth in the sea throughout the year with a peak for pupping from January to March, fewer from August to October.
Whales can be spotted throughout the year. Very good spots to observe whales are South Point and Sea Lion Point.
- Grey whales; are most commonly seen from late December to January and again from March until early May.
- Humpbacks are frequently seen from March until December.
- Minke whales are sometimes spotted from January until April. They migrate in larger numbers but due to their smaller seize often missed.
- Blue whales are sometimes spotted in summer.
- Orcas; three different species of orcas can be found. The transient orcas feed on mammals, therefore, frequently seen when gray whales migrate with their calves their preferred prey. They can also be spotted at other times of the year hunting seals, porpoise, and dolphins. The resident orcas feed on fish especially salmon and always stay in the same area. Nowadays resident orcas from Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca can be found around Monterey. The offshore orcas are mostly seen during winter feeding on squid, fish and even sharks.
- The sea lion population is much smaller in late spring and summer due to migration to the south for mating.
- Birding; spring and summer is the nesting season. The bird island trail is great to spot lots of birds in the morning or late afternoon. Two cormorant species can be found year-round; nesting on rocks offshore from March to August. We spotted several birds like the scrub jay and dark-eyed junco.
- The wildflower season in spring; California Poppies, Douglas Iris, lilac Ceanothus and many more
A permit is required, and reservations can be made up two months in advance. 15 diving teams always two divers are allowed to dive at Whalers Cove and Bluefish Cove each day. Some caves are accessible in calm seas.
Diving map of Point Lobos State Reserve
The Orcas usually approach the bay to rub against the pebbled beach in shallow water close to the shoreline, in as little as 1.8 m (6 feet) of water. It can be very close to the beach during high tide. The sea should be smooth and avoid windy days.
The chance to spot them increase if you overnight at the campground at Bere Point Regional Park and select an ocean view site. The campground is serviced during summer only.
In the evening we spotted Humpback Whales and in the morning Orcas.
The precipitation of Vancouver Island's east coast is just 700-800 mm per year. In contrast, the west coast of the island is exposed to moisture-packed winds blowing from the Pacific Ocean and receives plenty of precipitation from October to March. Summers are in general relatively dry.
Spring is always a great time to visit Vancouver Island. Daily temperatures range from 11-15 ºC. It's a great time for wildlife viewing. The Pacify grey whales are on their route to Alaska, Grizzly and black bears finish their hibernation a looking for food along the shoreline.
From June through September, Vancouver Island is typically sunny and mild although the temperature at Malcolm Island seldom goes beyond 15-17°C but can reach up to 25°C.
In fall you may see a lot of fog especially in the morning which could last until mid-day or afternoon. The temperature is on average around 12°C.
Vancouver Island enjoys a moderate and mild winter in most regions. This allows outdoor activities such as fishing and hiking in the south-coastal areas even in January.
Whale watching tours are offered from April to October.
Tarifa is the capital city of wind. From time to time the Levante is too strong that neither fisher boats nor whale watching boats can leave the harbor.
If there is too much fog in the morning whale watching trips are also canceled. Book your trip in advance and confirm a day before.
Dolphins and Pilot Whales:
They can be seen throughout the year. Pilot whales are night active diving deep for hunting their prey like squid. At day time they rest on the surface of the sea.
Orcas follow the tuna migration into the Mediterranean Sea and out. They come for the tuna in June and can be spotted until August. The tuna is too fast for them to catch with 90 km/h and orcas are clever. They only appear when the fishermen are out in the sea, and they try to catch their tuna from the hook. Tours are offered in July and August in the morning and last for about 3 hours all other whale watching tours last around 2 hours.
They can be spotted from April to August. They appear at the surface for about 8 minutes to breathe before diving again.
They cross the Strait and can sometimes be spotted. In 2016 firmm had 27 sightings.
Peak season in summer. Prices for hotels and apartments increase, and advanced booking is essential. Most of the rental houses are offered from Saturday to Saturday. Spring, September, and October are less busy and less expensive. Anyhow the orca season runs from July to August only.
May to October is the best time for whale watching from Boston with great sighthings. Each summer the whales migrate to Massachusetts and back to warmer water when the weather gets cold.
Time of Day:
In terms of sightings there is no big difference between mornings or afternoon. Mornings are usually less crowded though.
Weather and Sea:
During the months of July, August and September the weather is generally more consistently pleasant. However, the whales even come out in the rain. If sea sickness is an issue for you check the weather forecast first to choose a calm day for whale watching. Marine weather Boston Harbor
The best period to visit Hong Kong is october to april. The northern summer is the time of the monsoon. Keep in mind that HK is very busy during the Western and Chinese holiday periods.
Basking Sharks season usually starts in May and last until October. Actually best time: mid-May until mid-July. Anyhow, there is now guarantee to spot them. In 2017 the best time was April until the beginning of May.
Blue Sharks season starts end of June. It's more reliable to spot them but not predictable.
Seals season from mid-May until October.
Important are good weather conditions, sunny and calm wind to spot them on the surface of the sea. You may also spot common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, minke whales (very shy), pilot whales, leatherback turtles and even sunfish is possible.