Winter is a great season for whale watching in Southern California, and many sites around L.A. provide a great view. One of my favorite sites is Point Dume State Park in Malibu, CA.
Point Dume is a tranquil, lightly trafficked site for whale watching north of Los Angeles. It’s no easy task to find this State Beach in Malibu (I relied on personal accounts on the Internet for directions), but it’s worth the trip. Parking spaces are hard to come by. Patience is required, as you’ll likely have to wait for one of roughly ten spots to open. I left my boyfriend to the task of parking while I sought a path to the ocean across a wide, vacant lot in an otherwise typical, Southern California suburban neighborhood. The best path for whale watchers of all ages (including seniors) is the one to the right where a chained metal gate attempts to restrict path use to pedestrians only. Surfers make use of the other paths, confidently balancing their boards on their heads, drawn by the taste of salt in the air and the point on the horizon where Gray whales dive and spout.
From the gate, the dirt path ahead quickly narrows and presents a fork. Stay to the left and you are gifted with a wide, steady boardwalk that leads to the ideal perch from which to spot bountiful whales. A large wooden deck edged with weathered but sturdy bench seats invites you to settle in with binoculars and await a splendid view of some of the largest and most intelligent swimming mammals in the world. If the tide is in, you may not even need binoculars. If Blue, Orca, Killer, or Humpback whales make a showing, which they sometimes do, you might make better use of a simple, everyday camera. Radiant smiles are a natural part of the scenery!