One of our favorite paid activities to do is Capt Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari out of Dana Point. Being at the beach is so much fun but you really miss out on the experience if you don’t get out on the water. We have been to Southern California on vacation (I lived there as a child) over 10+ times, and have tried many different free and paid activities.
Capt Dave’s is by far the best dolphin, whale cruise in southern California. They have some thing all other boats do not have – 2 glass underwater pods. When you are in a huge pod of dolphins you can go into these pods (3 kids or 1 adult and 2 kids at at time) you can hear the dolphins echos and see them diving under the water. It gives you a totally different feel than watching them jump out of the water. (if you are claustrophobic I don’t advise going down.
Another thing we love is that the staff loves the ocean and wildlife. These people have dedicated their lives to these animals. Not only do they love taking people on tours to see them, they also have saved whales trapped in nets. They are knowledgeable and teach us all about the animals.
The tour is 2.5 hrs long. Every time we have gone out we have seen hundreds of dolphins. Whale are hit and miss. At the end of the cruise you will get Mrs Capt Daves famous chocolate brownie. They are SO good.
Capt Daves departs out of Dana Pointe harbor. There is plenty of free parking here. There is also a baby beach (no waves) in the harbor that is fun to play at after the cruise. Another note, if you are a return customer you get 10% off.
Tip: Cruising in the morning makes for calmer waters