All Day Farallon Islands Whale Watching Excursion

SF Bay Whale Watching

Zerve Seller: SFBayWhale
Activity #4994

Available Dates & Times Price Duration
All times listed are Pacific time zone


Get outside the Gate!

Join us for a day of adventure in the Gulf of the Farallones, an oceanic wilderness on San Francisco's doorstep. This all-day expedition takes you across the Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and 27 miles offshore to the incredible and beautiful Farallon Islands, also known as "Devil's Teeth."

We will be traveling through waters shared by a rich diversity of marine and bird life - and hopefully spotting a few whales! Once at the Farallones, you will be amazed at how many different species of birds flock to the islands.

Depending upon the season, migration patterns and of course, our luck, we may see during this 6-hour excursion:
  • Humpbacks and Gray Whales
  • Orcas or Killer Whales
  • Dolphins and Elephant seals 
  • A variety of seabirds
  • The magnificent Blue Whale, Earth's largest living animal
  • Of course, beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay
Our local and knowledgeable captain, crew and naturalist will ensure you have a fantastic and unique experience. Take this opportunity to learn about the Gulf of the Farallones and catch sight of wildlife while enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery. During migrations, the waters just off Point Reyes are among the best locations to observe Gray Whales on their long seasonal journeys.

We can't predict the weather, or the behavior of our marine friends, but we can confidently predict that a day on the California Coast with us will be an adventure you'll remember for a lifetime.

>>Check the FAQ's for a recent whale sightings report!<<


What Is Not Included?

Food and beverages are not included on this cruise. Please bring your own food and beverages with you! Keep in mind that beer and wine are allowed on board, but hard alcohol is not.

Meeting Location

Pier 39, off the Embarcadero (San Francisco, CA) (Exact meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of tickets.)
Have you been seeing whales? What kinds of whales and marine life have been sighted recently?
Yes! We are seeing whales! We've had recent sightings of Humpback whales, and the sightings we typically get are as follows. --June through November: Blue & Humpback Whales. December through May: Gray & Sperm Whales. Join us to see these magnificent creatures!
----------------------QUESTIONS ABOUT TICKETS/POLICIES----------------------
Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
Advance purchase is required, and trips often sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please buy your tickets well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
What if I want tickets for a trip in the future that's not listed?
If our schedule does not yet include the date you are looking for, please click on the "Contact SFBayWhale" link to request a tour on a specific day.
What happens in the event of bad weather?
Trips will continue rain or shine. In the event of dangerous or severe weather, you will be notified of cancellation and will be allowed to reschedule your tickets to another time depending upon availability.
Are children allowed?
Children under 3 years of age cannot attend the cruise because it would be unsafe. Children between the ages of 3 and 15 have a reduced price ticket and are more than welcome to come along!
Is the cruise suitable for pregnant women?
Pregnant women should consult their doctors before participating in any active activities. We do not recommend that pregnant women attend for safety reasons. If you have any questions, please click on the "Contact SFBayWhale" link to the left of the page.
Do your trips depart on time?
Yes, our trips depart promptly! We kindly ask that you arrive 30 minutes early to check-in and board. Don't miss the boat!
How far are you from the major airports?
We are approximately 30 minutes from the San Francisco and Oakland airports, depending on traffic.
-------------------QUESTIONS ABOUT WHALE WATCHING----------------------
Do you guarantee whale sightings on every trip?
Yes! If you don't see a whale on the Gulf of The Farallones & Coastal Expedition, your next trip is on us.
What kind of whales will I see?
Depending on the season, you may see Grey, Blue, and/or Humpback whales. See our sightings report for the most recent sightings.
When is the best trip of the day?
Both morning and afternoon trips are equally exciting. Your own personal preference should dictate your choice, as both trips produce equal marine and wildlife sightings. The captain and crew favor the afternoon trip (when offered) because it is exceptionally beautiful to view marine life as the sun sets. Afternoon trips produce an excellent opportunity for unique photos!
How close up can we view whales?
We will stop 300 ft. from any whale we see and let it come to us, according to federal whale watching guidelines. We do not touch, swim with or feed the wildlife.
What happens if I don't see a whale or any dolphins during my trip?
We will try our best to ensure a great experience for you, but we cannot control where the whales are at any given time. If you don't see any whales or dolphins during your trip, we kindly invite you to come back again for another trip!
What other marine life should I expect to see?
Some of the other marine and wildlife you might see include: Western Gull, Brandt's Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre, Cassin's Auklet, Tufted Puffin, Black Oystercatcher, Rhinoceros Auklet, Ashy Storm-petrel, Leach's Storm Petrel, Northern Elephant Seal, Harbor Seal, Steller's Sea Lion, California Sea Lion, Northern Fur Seal, Dall's Porpoise, Risso's Dolphin, Northern Right Whale Dolphin, Orca, and White Sharks.
How far do we have to travel to view whales?
Our destination (weather permitting) is always the Farallon Islands, which are located 27 miles off shore, but whales have been known to appear as soon as we leave the harbor!
How long is the trip?
The trip will last between 6 and 8 hours. Generally, we leave the dock at 8am and return between 2:00 and 4pm. The return time is dependent on the wind and the sightings of the day.
Will I get off of the boat?
No, you will not get off of the boat at any point during the excursion.
Where do the trips end?
The trips end at the same dock from which they depart.
What is the difference between this tour and the San Francisco Whale Watching Wildlife Eco-Tour?
This Gulf of The Farallones & Coastal Expedition focuses on whale watching, but also the Farallon Islands specifically. During this trip the boat will stop at the Farallon islands to let you view some of the magnificent wildlife nearby. The San Francisco Whale Watching Wildlife Eco-Tour concentrates on whale watching in the Gulf of the Farallones without focusing on the other wildlife in the area nearly as much.
--------------------------QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BOAT--------------------------
What kind of boat will I be on?
Most of our Farallon Island expeditions take place on a 65 foot, high-speed catamaran. For some of our trips, we will take out a smaller 43 foot vessel. If you have any questions or concerns, please click on the "Contact SFBayWhale" link to the left of the page and reach out to us directly.
Will I get seasick?
There are great remedies to try if you are prone to seasickness. Please be prepared and take preventative measures after consulting with a doctor. Keep in mind that this is an intense expedition and the boat WILL stop at the Farallon Islands (but you will not get off) which may result in some light rocking. Fortunately, our boat is one of the best out there and its modern technology helps make every trip a great ride.
Are there restrooms on the boat?
Yes, the boat is equipped with a clean restroom for your convenience.
Are the boats safe?
Absolutely. Our boats meet the current United States Coast Guard regulations and our experienced captain and crew make every effort to ensure a fun and safe adventure. Your safety is our first priority.
Are there life jackets on board?
Yes. We carry life jackets on board for all passengers.
Are your boats handicapped accessible?
There are 4 steps you must take to board the boat, but our crew would be glad to assist you onto the boat with the best of their ability if your mobility allows. The bathrooms on board are not wheelchair accessible but can be used by a passenger with limited mobility. If you'd like to make a request for any special accommodations, please click on the "Contact SFBayWhale" link to the left of the page.
Can I smoke on the boat?
No, smoking is not permitted on board.
-----------------------------WHAT SHOULD I BRING-------------------------------
Can I bring my own food and beverages on board?
Yes! Please feel free to bring your own food or non-alcoholic beverages on board. Beer and wine are also allowed on board, but keep in mind that hard alcohol is prohibited.
Can I bring alcohol on the cruise?
You may bring beer or wine but nothing with a higher alcohol content. Hard liquor is not allowed on board.
How should I dress?
Dress for warmth and in layers. Waterproof jackets are great and comfortable, sturdy shoes are a must.
-------------------PRIVATE CHARTERS AND GIFT CERTIFICATES------------
Can I purchase a gift certificate?
Yes, gift certificates make a great gift for any occasion! If you are interested in purchasing a gift certificate, please click the “Contact SFBayWhale” link to the left and include the following information: how many tickets you want the gift certificate to be good for, the mailing address you want them to be sent to, and your phone number so that San Francisco Bay Whale Watching can contact you to process the gift certificate. Thanks!
Do you have translators for non-English speaking people?
Trips are narrated in English, but the scenery is enough to take in even if English isn't your first language. Click on the "Contact SFBayWhale" link to the left for private trips if you would like to have a translated trip and we will try to accommodate you.
Can I book a private trip?
Yes, we do offer private charters. To inquire further, please click on the "Contact SFBayWhale" link to the left of the page for more information.


Refund/Rescheduling Policy

Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.

Weather Policy

Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
The activity usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. If the seller cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.

Other Policies

Activity may be re-routed due to unexpected severe weather.
If the weather does not allow us to travel to the Farallon Islands while at sea, we will offer a $20 credit towards a future trip to the Farallon Islands.
This cruise is not suitable for children under 3.
For safety reason, children under the age of 3 should not attend.


SF Bay Whale Watching

For over 10 years, SF Bay Whale Watching has been providing whale watching and natural history expeditions from San Francisco Bay to the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Since the beginning, SF Bay Whale Watching has been committed to showing both locals and tourists all the beauty that the San Francisco Bay has to offer.
Its goal has always been to introduce people to the stunning California Coast while teaching them about the endangered wildlife that calls the San Francisco Bay home. It strives to offer attendees a personal experience by providing a local expert naturalist on board to narrate the trip and answer any questions passengers might have.
SF Bay Whale Watching's experienced captain and crew ensure your safety as they guide you out into the Pacific aboard a US Coast Guard certified vessel. Nature is unscripted and every trip is different, but the view of the California Coast is always stunning, and the experience of passing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge is unforgettable.
You never know who you’ll meet...Outside the gate!
Please call Zerve at
1 (800) 979-3370
to get more information or
book this activity now
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