It’s February, and if you need Alison Mytych, she’ll probably be on a bluff, counting. She has been keeping what she terms an “unofficial census” in Malibu since 2013, counting the whales as they make their trip from the freezing waters of the north to more reasonable temperatures in the south, and then back again.

But while she might spend more time on the bluffs and cliffs above the Pacific Ocean than most, she won’t be alone. The Malibu coast has become a favorite location for whale watchers, especially those who would prefer to stay on dry land rather than go out on a boat. Whale watching at Point Dume, along with several other places along the beaches and ridges, has grown in popularity.

Malibu’s Gone to the Whales

As a town, Malibu has long had a love affair with the gray whales that make their way up and down the coast. In 2014, the city council even proclaimed that whales and dolphins have the right to “safe and fair passage in our coastal waters.” It has dedicated public art to the sea giants as well, in the form of “Whale Watch,” a bench shaped like a cetacean’s tail that provides seating for locals and visitors alike who want to stare off into the sea from Malibu Bluffs Park.

But while the park even has old-school tower viewers for visitors to try and catch a glimpse of a whale off the coast, it is whale watching at Point Dume that’s become the star attraction in Malibu’s portfolio of vistas. And there may be no better time to visit than the next couple of months.

Whale season in Malibu generally runs from December to April, but it’s those latter months, as the behemoths return north, when they are more likely to be visible from shore; their southern migration paths are generally further out from the coast, says Mytych.

More Than the Point

Point Dume is not the only Malibu locale that makes for a strong vantage point. A trip to Sycamore Canyon makes for an excellent day out; bring a picnic, get in some hiking, and spend time looking for new sea-faring friends. Leo Carrillo State Park Whales have even been spotted from the patio at Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market.

“Malibu is kind of blessed with places [to watch],” Mytych says, “and because of its location, you can see whales from several different locations around.”No matter where you go to try and spot the massive cetaceans, pack both binoculars and your patience.

“I used to say two hours but now it’s really like 3 to 4 hours,” Mytych says. “They tend to come in pulses and so you could hit the jackpot and see six whales in a row – [and then] there might not be anything for eight hours.”