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LA Boat Tours

Los Angeles Harbor Tours, Dinner Cruises, Ferries, Water Taxis and more

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There are a variety of boat tours offered in Los Angeles and Orange County, ranging from romantic gondola tours of inland canals to harbor tours and open ocean whale and sea life tours. Being out on the water is a great way to cool off in summer, but be sure to bundle up fall through spring, and take a jacket or sweatshirt even in summer. Below are some of the most popular boat tours and other cruises in the LA area.

If you love ships, but a cruise isn't in your future, you can still visit one of LA's Museum Ships and Maritime Museums.

1. Harbor Tours and Whale Watching Tours from Long Beach and San Pedro

Harbor Tour
Photo © 2006 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
I lump these tours together because the same companies offer harbor and sea life cruises out of the twin Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Spirit Cruises and Yacht Parties offer Long Beach and LA harbor tours and whale and sea life tours from Shoreline Village in Long Beach and Ports O' Call Village in San Pedro. They also partner with the Aquarium of the Pacific who sends along a marine specialist for some whale watching and sea life tours booked through the Aquarium. Spirit Cruises also offer public dinner cruises from San Pedro and is available for charters.

Harbor Breeze Cruises offers public harbor cruises and whale watching tours from Shoreline Village in Long Beach and is also available for charter dinner cruises and wedding cruises.

More on Southern California Whale Watching Tours & Tips and Aquarium Whale Watching Photos.

2. Whale Watching from Marina Del Rey and Newport Beach

Blue Whale Fluke on an Aquarium of the Pacific Whale Watching Tour
© 2010 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
They don't go as far as the Ports, but you can also take Whale Watching Tours in season in Marina Del Rey, Redondo Beach and Newport Beach. If you're interested in whale watching from Newport Beach, you many also find discount tickets at Stubdog.com.

3. Dinner, Brunch and Party Cruises

Hornblower Yachts' Endless Dreams
Photo © 2005 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
In addition to the two companies above from Long Beach and San Pedro, you can depart from Marina Del Rey and Newport Beach for Dinner Cruises or Champagne Brunch Cruises. There are also Friday Night Blues Dinner Cruises from Marina Del Rey.

Search Goldstar.com for discount tickets on dinner and party cruises.

4. Sport Fishing Cruises and Charters

Sport fishing in Long Beach
Photo © 2011 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
Sport Fishing Cruises and Charters are offered at Pierpoint Landing in Long Beach, in Marina Del Rey, Redondo Beach and Newport Beach.

5. Tall Ship Tours

Living History Sailors at Work
Photo © 2007 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
Some tall ships based in Southern California marinas offer regular public sails including dinner or BBQ sails, whale watching and adventure sails, and others only have periodic public excursions, since most of them are kept busy by youth training programs. See the full list of Southern California Tall Ships

6. Gondola Tours

Gondola Company of Newport Beach
Photo courtesy of Gondola Company of Newport Beach
You don't have to go to Venice, Italy to enjoy the romance of a gondola ride. There are many companies offering gondola tours of LA and Orange County marinas, canals and islands. See the full list of LA Gondola Tours.

7. Newport Harbor Duffy Electric Boat Tours

Duffy Boat Party
Photo © 2008 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
A Duffy electric boat tour is a quiet and intimate way to explore the inland waterways of Newport Harbor around the attractions of Balboa Island, the luxury yacht harbor and the waterfront mansions of Newport Beach. The canopied boat seats 11 with a table in the middle to enjoy the provided lunch.

8. Water Taxis and Buses

Long Beach AquaLink Water Taxi
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
For an inexpensive boat ride and a fun way to get around try the summer water taxi or water bus service in Long Beach and Marina Del Rey. Long Beach has large AquaLink water taxis and smaller AquaBuses that run between different coastal attractions like the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Marina Del Rey has the WaterBus with seven stops around the Marina to facilitate easy shopping and dining. Bikes and strollers are welcome. Fares range from $1 to $5 per passenger.

9. Catalina Island Ferries

Queen Mary and Catalina Express
Photo © 2005 Kayte Deioma, courtesy of www.KayteDeioma.com
Santa Catalina Island is just off the coast of Southern California and has a variety of shopping, dining and outdoor activities to enjoy in a day trip or overnight at several hotels and B and Bs. The island's main city, Avalon, is reachable by ferry from Long Beach, San Pedro, Newport Beach and Dana Point. You can also get Catalina Cruise tickets from your Anaheim or Buena Park Hotel, but then you spend a lot of time in the hotel shuttle and only have about three and a half hours on the island, which isn't nearly enough for most people. Check out the Top Catalina Island Adventures.

10. Cruises from Los Angeles

Carnival Splendor Cruise Ship
Photo by Bob Maguglin courtesy of the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau
Another way of getting out on the water is to take a cruise out of the Port of Los Angeles or Port of Long Beach. Cruises range from a weekend getaway to Mexico to 55 days down to the South Pacific. A variety of cruise lines including Disney Cruises, Norwegian, Holland America, Princess and more depart from the LA Cruise Terminal in San Pedro. Carnival Cruises depart from the Long Beach Cruise Terminal in the Dome next to the Queen Mary. Browse cruises departing from Los Angeles and Long Beach.

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