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Hello and Welcome to Avila Beach Whale Watching

 My name is Mark Kocina, I started my boat tour company back in 2012 with the goal of providing a fun, family oriented educational boating experience here in the San Luis Obispo area. To that end I personally captain every trip and and 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. Check us out on Tripadvisor and Yelp where we have been ranked as the best whale watching in the San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach and Avila Beach area for the past 10 years. There are no age limits, all are welcome.  If you have any questions please call or text me at (805) 540-4667. 

Respectful whale watching and wildlife viewing

Wild animals need to stay wild. While viewing them is wonderful and amazing it is easy to get carried away and get too close which might disturb their feeding or stress them. We do not want to harm the animals as we observe them in their habitat or encourage this behaviour in any way.  On our tours we observe the NOAA guidelines for safe and respectful wildlife viewing by staying at least 150 ft from any whales and 50 ft from any other marine mammals. This is close enough for beautiful sightings and far enough away to let the animals thrive without being disturbed.

Covid-19 Update: Masks are no longer required. If you would like to reduce your contact with other people we do offer a private tour option for $300 per hour weekdays and $325 per hour weekends.  If you have any questions or concerns please call me at (805) 540 4667

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. 


Two hour whale watching trips are $99 per person on weekdays, $109 on weekends and holidays . One hour Coastal Explorer tours are $299 for your group of up to 6 people. There is a 5% non refundable service fee on all credit card transactions.

Closed periods this summer 2022

This summer we will be closed the following dates: June 3-6, June 16-18, July 16-25, August 5-7 and August 18-19. 

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When to go whale watching?

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

  • January - April: 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 9:30 am.
  • April - mid-November:  This is the season to see the Humpback whales! For the Humpback whale season we offer 2 departure times per day at 8:30 am and 11:00 am. These trips are 2 hours in duration.
  • Due to changes in the seasonal migration patterns we no longer offer whale watching from November 15th through January 2nd, durring this time we do offer 1 hour coastal trips to see Otters, Seals and Sealions along with some discussion about the ports rich history.

To find out more about more information about when you would like to book your trip, click on the yellow menu icon to explore the Gray Whale and Humpback Whale Season pages, as well as our Recent Whale Sighting page.

What to wear, physical requirements, pets and service animals.

  • Our trips are usually run in reasonably smooth sea conditions under beautiful sunny skies, but there will be days when it is cold, windy and rough. On many days when it is very warm onshore it will be 15 degrees or more colder offshore. To be ready for these temperature changes please dress in warm layers so you can adjust as necessary. You will want a waterproof jacket and pants as the outer layer. Gloves and a warm hat are also recommended year round. 
  • We do not have any age limits, but we do not recommend our whale watching trips for children under age 4 unless you book a private tour.
  • There are some physical requirements to get on to the boat. Everyone will have to walk down one flight of stairs to get to the landing where we load onto the boat. We do not have wheelchair access  and it is difficult to access our dock with a cane or crutches due to the grating that makes up the walkway on the pier. Once underway the boat might move around in an unpredictable manner while at sea, if you have back, neck or other issues that might be aggravated by this motion you should seek the advise of your physician before  joining a tour.
  • Unfortunately due to a few bad experiences we do not allow pets or service animals on board as we are in a confined space and animals that are normally sweet, well trained, and wonderful can become unpredictable and aggressive at sea. Please call me if you have any questions or concerns. (805) 540-4667 

Learn more about us, our tours and ash scattering services

Please click on the yellow menu icon in the upper left corner of your screen to learn more about us.  You will find links to our recent whale sightings page and also information about where to meet us , what to wear, the cancelation policy and more. 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. 

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