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.
You can also visit Lime Kiln Point State Park (aka “Whale Watch Park”) on San Juan Island. The Friends of the Lime Kiln Society (FOLKS) offer many free services, including an informative interpretive center, lighthouse, intertidal and park-wide tours, and fun special events during the tourist season. Also find information along the Whale Trail at www.thewhaletrail.org.
Captain Ken has observed whales and many other marine life from Alaska all the way down to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico and the Atlantic ocean. He has seen Humpback Whales “bubble net feeding” in Alaska and scratched the heads of curious Gray Whale calves in Mexico. One of Ken’s greatest passions is to share his experience with others and now he is able to do just that by taking you out on our boat the ‘Spirit of Orca’ to meet the whales in their natural environment. [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...]
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...]
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...]
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. Celebrating 25 years in the whale watching and wild life business! [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...]
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...]
We offer unique whale watching and wildlife tours with no more than six passengers on board. Small group size, your expert captain, and informed biologist/naturalist, assure the most authentic and personalized experience available. Our 30' vessels offer comfort, plenty of elbow room and unobstructed viewing from the front bow, back deck and cabin.
We have professional grade hydro-phones and binoculars on board, so you can listen to whales as well as see them. Tours depart from Snug Harbor Resort - the closest marina to where we most often see whales!
Whale sightings on over 90% of our tours! See orca whales in the wild. Sit comfortably on a 45 foot- long whale watch boat with a walk-around deck, inside cabin and bathroom.
Other whales around San Juan Island are Humpback Whales and Minke Whales. We also can see Dalls Porpoise and Harbor Porpoise. Whale Watching tours also see Bald Eagles, Harbor Seals and many exceptional sea birds.
San Juan Outfitters also offers private whale watch tours, private boat charters and water taxi service to the many San Juan Islands and Canada [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...]
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...]
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...]