Whale & Wildlife Watching
Magical. Awe-inspiring. Stunning. Amazing. Unforgettable.
Count on your sighting of whales in the waters of the San Juan Islands to be the experience of a lifetime.
Most of the whales seen in the San Juan Islands are orcas—three pods, the “Southern Residents”—are typically in the area from mid-April to early October, but your best chance to see them is from late May through mid-October. One of the pods is often seen year round, as are transient orcas. You have a great variety of whale watch boat tours to choose from.
On your whale watch tour, you may see not just orca whales, but different species as well: gray, minke, and humpback whales also visit these waters. Not to mention seals, porpoises, sea lions, otters, bald eagles, and numerous seabirds. And you’ll pick up a whole new whale-related vocabulary—spyhops, breaches, and single and double tail lobs. On some whale watch tours, you’ll hear via hydrophone the whales calling to one another. Most boats have an onboard naturalist to explain what you’re seeing.
Local whale watch operators adhere closely to state and federal guidelines developed to ensure the whales’ behavior and life cycles aren’t disturbed. Our “Southern Residents” are endangered and protected by state and federal law, and there is a strong local culture of respect for the whales. Boats must not approach closer than 200 yards—but that’s plenty close enough when you’re looking at a 30-foot mammal. The San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau supports responsible whale watching as a sustainable model for environmental stewardship.
You can also consider trying your luck at shore-based whale watching at “Whale Watch Park” (Lime Kiln Point State Park) on San Juan Island.
Join owner Captain Hobbes aboard "Natsilane" for an intimate whale & wildlife tour of a lifetime. Limited to only 6 passengers, come discover the unique ecosystems of the Salish Sea in a comfortable and stable boat with a heated cabin, indoor & outdoor seating, and a restroom. Tours depart one or two times daily depending on the season. [more...]
Enjoy an informative, narrated cruise through the San Juan Islands in search of orca whales and minke whales. The thrill of seeing one of these majestic creatures will be an unforgettable experience. Discover the other abundant marine life and wildlife that call these waters home. You'll pass by unspoiled, pristine islands and historic landmarks. Established in 1988. [more...]
Why Choose Captain Carli's Whale Watching Tours? Captain Carli has lived on San Juan Island for over 30 years and first started driving whale watching boats professionally in 1995. Small boats are personal and offer direct access to Captain Carli, (have a question…just ask him). Walk off the Washington State ferry in Friday Harbor and two minutes later you are on-board "Soulmate,” Captain Carli"s boat. He belongs to an orca whale spotting network located on Vancouver Island. If the whales are in the area he will know about them. [more...]
Whale watching and wildlife tours. Sea kayaking tours and custom adventure tours from Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Tours depart from the best locations in the San Juan Islands. See killer whales, seals, eagles and porpoise. Join our expert staff for a unique adventure. [more...]
Join us on a 2 ½ to 3 hour tour to view the orcas and other wildlife. We take only 6 people at a time aboard our beautiful catamaran, Peregrine. Capt. Jim not only informs our guests with his experience and knowledge, he will also entertain you! [more...]
Professional guided whale and wildlife tours. Boat departs next to the Orcas Island ferry landing. See abundant wildlife and 172+ islands. 56-foot Orcas Express offers heated cabin with seats and tables inside, and top and lower viewing decks. Historic guided lighthouse tours, too. [more...]
Located steps from the Friday Harbor ferry terminal, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours has an excellent reputation for respectful wildlife viewing. On the water since 1995, this company is known for providing high-quality, small-group size whale watching & wildlife tours. [more...]
Adventure awaits you! Join Western Prince Whale Watching on an intimate sized tour (limited to 32 passengers on the Western Prince II and 15 passengers on the Western Explorer) as we explore protected waters and discover the islands' abundant wildlife and spectacular beauty. [more...]
Outer Island Expeditions offers whale watching tours -- see whales or ride again free! -- from Orcas Island, Lopez Island, San Juan Island and the Bellingham area. Last year we saw orcas on over 95% of our summer tours, and whales on 97%. [more...]
Whether you are looking for a premier whale watch tour, quality family adventure, or a fun-filled fishing excursion, Legacy Charters is here to make it happen. Offering whale watching and fishing charters for groups of six or less assures the most authentic and personalized charters available. [more...]
Experience premiere whale watching with San Juan Excursions aboard the 65-foot, twin-engine, classic motor yacht "Odyssey". The largest whale watching boat in the islands, the "Odyssey" offers guests excellent, comfortable indoor and outdoor viewing with heated cabins, lounge-style seating, a snack bar, two restrooms, padded outdoor seating, and wrap around decks. We see orca whales on a high percentage of our tours and if you do not see an orca, then you are welcome to come out another day -- free of charge. [more...]
Half & Full Day Sails, Whale Watching & Nature Sails, Sunset Sails, Private Charters and Schooner Adventures on the Salish Sea and beyond! Step aboard with San Juan Classic Day Sailing and take your opportunity to let go of the hustle and bustle of the daily grind and and connect with the the natural rhythm of the sea, traditional maritime heritage and our pristine marine environment. We offer a variety of sailing charter opportunities, giving you the chance to experience the joy of being on your own classic yachting adventure in the Islands! [more...]
Experience the islands with a cruise on the “Bee”! A proper little yacht, the Bee is a Grand Banks 32 and is one of the most comfortable boats in the harbor. A sunny flying bridge or a heated cabin offer all weather comfort as we see wildlife in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Captain Greg’s stories of the colorful history of soldiers, smugglers, and the wildlife in this corner of the world will keep you entertained and informed. Try a sunset cruise or our “Round the Rock” day trip that circles the island with a lunch stop at Roche Harbor. [more...]
The Clipper Vacations whale watching tour includes round-trip transportation from Seattle to the San Juan Islands, a 2.5 hour Orca Whale Watching and Sealife Search with an onboard naturalist, a 2.5 hour stop in historic Friday Harbor, plus a souvenir guidebook to the San Juans for a fun and family-friendly educational day trip or overnight getaway. Daily departures aboard the Victoria Clipper high-speed passenger vessel from downtown Seattle’s Pier 69 to Friday Harbor are mid May – September. [more...]
For 27 years, Puget Sound Express has provided thousands of travelers with fun-packed and fascinating tours on the waters in the San Juan Islands and around the Victorian seaport of Port Townsend, Washington. Three generations of the Hanke family work to make your trip a lasting memory. We began wildlife tours long before there was a wildlife watching movement and with that experience comes knowledge that puts us on the right spot, at the right time, every time. [more...]