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Hello and welcome to Avila Beach Whale Watching. We offer a unique, educational whale watching / wildlife viewing experience on 28 ft powerboat with only 6 passengers on each trip. For the past 11 years we have been rated as the best whale watching excursion on the central coast of California. Family owned and operated since 2012.

Welcome to Avila Beach Whale Watching, If you are planning a trip to our area we hope you will consider a trip with us to see the whales. Our trips are family oriented, educational boating adventures in the San Luis Obispo area and are unique in that we only take out 6 passengers per trip to ensure a personalized experience. My name is Mark Kocina I am the owner and founder of Avila Beach Whale watching and I have been captaining boats for over 40 years and I will be your captain / naturalist on every boat tour. I would greatly enjoy the opportunity to share an adventure with you aboard our wonderful boat the "Pacific Flyer".  She is an amazing power catamaran which provides an exceptionally smooth ride through the waves. With two hulls she is also a very stable boat, which makes her a great platform for taking pictures. We have been ranked as the best whale watching and best boat tour in the central coast area every year for the past 11 years. Our departure dock is located very close to Avila Beach, Ca. on a quaint, historic pier known as the Harford landing at Port San Luis. This is just 15 minutes from Pismo Beach, Ca. or San Luis Obispo, Ca. and 45 minutes from Paso Robles, Ca.  If you have any questions please call or text me at (805) 540-4667. 

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When to go whale watching?

We have great whale watching most of the year here on the Central Coast.

  • January - March is Grey Whale season: During these months we enjoy excellent opportunities to see the California Grey whales as they migrate past our shores. The trips are 2.5 hours in duration and they depart at 9:00 am with additional 12:00 pm departures on weekends. Additional times are also available for private trips.
  • April through early December is Humpback season:  For the Humpback whale season we offer 2 departure times each day, one at 8:30 am and another at 11:00 am. These trips are 2 hours in duration. The 8:30 am trip usually has calmer sea conditions and a bit cooler temps.  The 11:00 am trip is commonly a bit warmer but might experience rougher sea conditions as the afternoon winds may begin to blow. 
  • December Whale Watching / Wildlife Viewing 

    These tours depart at 9:30 am with other times available for private tours. This is a transitional time for us with the Humpbacks that have been here all summer beginning to head south and the Greys just starting to show up as they pass by us on their migration south. Most of these trips will find whales of one kind or another. the best part of this time of year is the weather, is often fantastic and the seas very calm which makes for excellent boating conditions. So for those that want to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Central Coast this is a great time to go on a boating adventure. We tend to find many species of dolphins and porpoise on these trips and there is always a place to observe the Sea Lions , Harbor Seals and Sea Otters that are here year round. Depending on the year we may find an abundance of whales or none. If you are here during this time and up for a beautiful adventure with a bit of an unknown destination but a good chance to see either Humpbacks or Greys then please join us on one of these great tours. All ages are welcome. 

Please click the yellow menu icon to learn more about our whale watching and wildlife viewing scenic tours, recent sightings, ash scattering services and more.

  • Recent whale and wildlife sightings
  • Ash scattering services
  • Reservations and our cancelation policy
  • What to wear to be comfortable and prepared 
  • Directions
  • Private tours
  • About us
  • Contact us
  • Our boat the Pacific Flyer and why she is so perfect for what we do
  • Gift certificates
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What Makes our Tours Special?

Six Passenger Maximum on a 28ft boat

Unlike most whale watching tours on boats with as many as 100 people on board, my tours are unique in that I only take 6 passengers at a time to ensure that everyone can enjoy an unobstructed view of the whales  and other wildlife that we encounter with no crowding. We also have the advantage of being able to move quickly to a new location if we see something exciting going on. Personally, my favorite part of the smaller boat with only 6 passengers is that we will have the opportunity to talk about the animals as we observe them and I am available to answer questions about what we are seeing. 

Local Experience

Local experience matters when looking for whales and I have been in continuous, year round operation on the waters of San Luis Bay since 2012. I have also worked as a boat captain / naturalist / adventure travel guide / white water rafting guide for over 40 years in many countries around the world and I bring all of that experience to bear on these trips. In my time at Port San Luis, I have personally taken over 13,000 guests out onto these waters to see the whales and other animals that frequent this area. If you are looking for a knowledgeable, friendly captain to escort your family out for a safe, educational and memorable whale watching experience please join me for a tour. 

Are you guaranteed to see a whale?

The short answer is no as this is not a zoo. Please understand that I am taking you out to see wild animals that live freely in the real world. That is the beauty of this experience. I will always use every bit of experience I have to find them for you but no one on earth has control over mother nature.  While we do find whales on the majority of our tours there will be trips that will not.  Please have realistic expectations when you join one of my tours and know that I will alway give you my best efforts. Unfortunately my expenses are higher when we do not find whales as we search more, so we do not offer refunds or credits for future trips when we do not find whales. I appreciate your understanding as I am not in control of the weather or the animals. 


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