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An Insider's Guide to
San Francisco

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Gray Whale in the water

A Whale of a View

January 09, 2017

For avid whale-watchers and whale-watching wannabes, Point Reyes National Seashore is the place to be. From December through February, about 94 percent of migrating gray whales pass within one mile of the tip of this peninsula. January is usually the prime-time viewing month, with more than 1,000 of these magnificent mammals passing daily.

Point Reyes restricts access to the tip from December through March, but allows bus shuttles to pick up visitors at the parking lot and drop them off at prime viewing areas. For closer encounters, gray whale cruises are also available through early spring. Cruises usually depart around 8:00 a.m. from San Francisco’s Pier 39, and return in the afternoon.

Whether you plan to watch by land or by sea, be sure to wear extra layers and sturdy shoes; waterproof shoes if you’re cruising. Bring plenty of food and water, along with a pair of good binoculars and a camera or digital recorder. For details, call San Francisco Whale Tours at (415) 706-7364 or visit https://www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm.