Whale watching is a quintessential part of the Southern California experience, attracting visitors from all over the world. One of the top charter companies that shuttles them out to catch a glimpse of the majestic creatures and other fascinating sea life that inhabits the Pacific, is Oceanside Adventures in Oceanside. The organization, which is part marine education and part adventure tourism, is run by Carla Mitroff, who turned her part-time hobby into a fulltime adventure business 15 years ago. is Mitroff, who is Oceanside Adventures’ operations manager, shared her passion for the ocean and firsthand insight into what makes the organization unique and community oriented.
“We’re located at the harbor which is just about a mile from the train stop. We’re an outdoor activity. We’re the first and only company here that runs year-round whale watching trips daily in Oceanside. We run every day, all year round, and usually offer two trips a day (weather permitting). We came to Oceanside harbor five years ago. We’re a family-run business on our third generation right now under our parent company the Dana Wharf whale watching company.
Frequently, we collaborate with Visit Oceanside and the chamber. We have strong connections with them. With the pandemic, we’ve reduced our capacity to 50% to keep our guests safe. We have expert marine naturalists on the boat, and the captains are also all certified naturalists. Our tours are narrated and educational.”
Rated number one on TripAdvisor as an outdoor activity, Oceanside Adventures has built its reputation among visitors and locals alike who are impressed with the crew’s knowledge and overall experience. “They walk away having learned something new about the ocean,” Mitroff says. “We serve guests of all ages – there are no age restrictions – and since so many kids are being homeschooled right now, there are a lot of parents bringing their kids out to learn firsthand about the ocean. We do school groups, wine tours, private charters, and more.”
“When I had the opportunity to do this for a living it was a no-brainer. I’ve always been fascinated by what you don’t know about the whales and the ocean. Even I’m constantly learning new facts about them – to watch them jump out of the water and think ‘how do they do that as a massive, one-ton animal just propelling out of the water?!’ — it never gets tiring.”
Depending on the season, adventurers will get the opportunity to see whales or dolphins in their natural habitat. “Sometimes we see thousands of dolphins at one time. We’re unique because many companies only do whale watching tours during the gray whale migration in the winter – December – April – but people should know they can get out here year-round to see whales and dolphins. It’s not just winter!”
When SoCal Explorers show their digital loyalty card at Oceanside Adventures they’ll receive $5 off any two-hour whale watching tour.