Whale Watching Off Ventura County Coast Earns Worldclass Designation

Whale watching off the Ventura County coast in the Santa Barbara Channel has earned a worldclass designation.

Thanks to the work of a group of local whale enthusiasts, the Santa Barbara Channel has recently achieved a prestigious milestone by being designated as the 9th Whale Heritage Area in the world.

Here are the nine designated Whale Heritage Areas:

  • Santa Barbara Channel, California
  • Harvey Bay, Australia
  • The Bluff, South Africa
  • Tenerife-La Gomera Maine Area, Spain
  • Dana Point, California
  • Algoa Bay, South Africa
  • The Azores, Portugal
  • Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
  • Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica

What is the Whale Heritage Area Program

The Whale Heritage Area (WHS) program is an initiative created by the World Cetacean Alliance, and currently runs in partnership with World Animal Protection, to formally recognize and accredit destinations around the world that support and demonstrate the importance of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and their ocean habitats.

Why Is the Santa Barbara Channel Unique?

The Santa Barbara Channel, extending from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County south to Point Dume in Ventura County, is renowned for its rich biodiversity and thriving marine ecosystem.

The channel has been a haven for more than 25 different species of cetaceans including resident common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, plus visiting species of dolphins: Risso’s dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, and even occasionally orcas. Larger great whales, like blue whales, fin whales, and humpback whales who feed seasonally in the Santa Barbara Channel, are also frequently seen here. In addition, more than 15,000 Pacific gray whales migrate through the channel on their way to their breeding grounds in Baja, Mexico in the winter and their feeding grounds in the Arctic in the summer.

How to Access the Santa Barbara Channel for Worldclass Whale Watching

For those eager to witness the majestic marine life in person, the Channel Islands Harbor serves as the perfect starting point for whale watching journeys.

Island Packers, Channel Islands Whale Watching, and Channel Islands Expeditions all operate vessels out of the Channel Islands Harbor, offering unforgettable experiences. The height of whale watching season in the Santa Barbara Channel lasts from January 2024 through April 2024. Visit this link for more details: https://www.channelislandsharbor.org/event/2024-whale-watching-season-is-here/

Check Out Some of Last Season’s Unforgettable Whale Watching Content! 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Island Packers (@islandpackers)


  1. […] Story continues […]

  2. […] Thanks to the work of a group of local whale enthusiasts, the Santa Barbara Channel earned the prestigious milestone by being designated the 9th Whale Heritage Area in the world. […]