Gray whales wintering in Mexico's Sea of Cortez are easy to spot as they surface to breathe.

Family Vacations in Mexico: Whale Watching in the Sea of Cortez

If you think your family is traveling a great distance to go on vacation, consider that every year, thousands of gray whales migrate to the warm coastal waters of Mexico's Baja Peninsula to mate and give birth. They migrate from their summer homes in the Bering and Chukchi seas between Alaska and Siberia, a journey of more than 6,000 miles. While other types of whales also winter in the Sea of Cortez, the gray whales provide the most rewarding experience for whale watchers -- particularly those who may be young and impatient -- because they surface about every four or five minutes.

Three locations on Baja's Pacific coast offer particularly good vantage points for watching grays: Scammon's Lagoon, about 430 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border; San Ignacio Lagoon, about 525 miles south of the border; and Magdalena Bay, about 800 miles south of the border. These areas are government-protected marine parks, and whale watching is restricted to boats operated by trained guides.

A number of travel companies specialize in whale-watching trips to the lagoons and other areas of Baja's Pacific coast from mid-December to mid-March, when the numerous gray whales migrate to the area. During this peak season, it's not uncommon to actually pet a whale or see babies just a few days old swimming alongside their mothers. Now that's a family vacation to remember!

Continue to the next page to discover a family vacation destination in Mexico that takes you out of the hustle and bustle and into soothing relaxation -- what vacations are all about.

Mexican Vacation Information

Mexico Tourism Board - Los Angeles

Address: 1880 Century Park East, Suite 511

Los Angeles, CA 90067

Phone: 310/282-9112

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.