Washington Activities

Whale Watching

San Juan Excursions San Juan Excursions

Orca sightings 90% of the time, Heated cabins, padded outdoor seating, Certified Naturalist Guides. 800-80-WHALE
Crystal Seas Kayaking Crystal Seas Kayaking Crystal Seas Kayaking
Kayak the west-side of San Juan Island. See orcas, seals, eagles and more. Naturalist guides. 16th season. Owner operated.
Mystic Sea Charters

San Juan Excursions. #2 Spring Street, Friday Harbor, WA. 98250. Phone: 360-378-6636; Toll-free: 1-800-80-WHALE. E-mail

Our Guarantee: We see orca whales on over 90% of our tours. If you do not see orca whales on your tour, then your next tour is free of San Juan Excursionscharge. Cruise in comfort aboard the classic motor yacht 'Odyssey' with certified Naturalist guides. Enjoy heated lounge style cabins and outside viewing decks with padded seating while viewing orca whales, sea lions, seals, porpoise, bald eagles and a variety of sea birds in their natural habitat. Two amazing certified Naturists will be on board to share information about the flora, fauna and Salish Sea region. Carbon neutral business and locally owned operated by second generation islanders. Established 1994.

Whale watching in Washington typically focuses on Orcas (Killer Whales) in and around the San Juan Islands of Northwest Washington. Whales, however, also are often seen up and down the Washington coast and the species is not confined to the Orca. Gray whales and humpback whales also are seen as well as a wide variety of other marine wildlife.

Whale watching seems to be all about the Orca

Orca whales, also popularly known as "Killer Whales", are the most sought after whales for watching. Orca's typically travel in family groups called pods and generally are recognized as either transient or resident groups.

Gray whales also are sought after by whale watchers. Grays are seen offshore up and down the Washington's coast.

Whale watching from ship or shore

Passengers on charter boats probably account for the greatest number of people engaged in whale watching, but many other people enjoy sightings from kayaks, fishing boats, sail boats and power boats of every size and description. Other watchers flock to well - known spots on island or mainland shores.

One of the most popular shore locations in Washington for whale watching is Lime Kiln Point State park on the west side of San Juan Island. The 36-acre day-use park is about 10 miles from the town of Friday Harbor and is open year around from 8:00 AM to dusk. During summer months transit buses are available to island visitors arriving by ferry that didn't drive a vehicle.

Whale watching Season

Orca whales in Washington are seen year around though most often during the whale watch season beginning in April and running through September.

Whale watching for Gray whales is best during the months of March, April, and May as they migrate to summer feeding grounds in the North Pacific from their summer breeding waters of Baja California.

Whale Watching in Washington's San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands draws more whale watchers, but the Orca whales are seen all along the coast of Washington as well as in and around the San Juan Islands and the Puget Sound, part of the Salish Sea.

Whale Watching Outfitters and Operators

A number of charter boat companies run whale watching cruises and you can find such charters at various ports around Puget Sound. We have listed below a number of well-know charter operations according to their home ports. The ports are listed alphabetically. In most cases it is a good idea to call ahead and make reservations in advance of the date you might want to join a whale watching cruise.

Each of the ports listed below also offer a variety of accommodations from bed and breakfast lodging to hotels and motels should you wish to make an overnight trip and enjoy your whale watching outing at a more leisurely pace. To learn more about each port, just click on the name and a link will take you to the respective town in a new browser window.

Scroll down to see listings for whale watching charter boats and cruises.

Island Adventures, Inc. 1801 Commercial Avenue, Anacortes, WA 98221. Phone: 360-293-2428; Toll-free: 1-800-465-4604; Fax: 360-299-8708. E-mail

Island Adventures welcomes you to an outstanding whale watching experience! Anacortes is the ideal departure point as there is no need to hassle with the ferry! On our 5-6 hour Island AdventuresGUARANTEED whale watching tours you have to opportunity to see a variety of wildlife. You can expect many including a full time naturalist on every trip, free binocular use, a 64 page wildlife viewing guide, on board food service, two spacious bathrooms, full walk around viewing decks, and a large indoor heated cabin. This tour was voted the #1 whale watching tour in western Washington three years in a row!

Orcas Island Eclipse Charters. 8368 Orcas Road, PO Box 353, Orcas, WA 98280. Phone: 360-376-6566. E-mail

Whale~Wildlife Watching, Lighthouse & Eco Tours ~ Since 1990. In the heart of the San Juan Islands Orcas Island Eclipse Charterson Orcas Island, start where the whales are. Join us for a 3+ hour cruise aboard 56' "Orcas Express" through 172 beautiful islands. Daily departures: 1:30 to 5:00, May to October. Naturalist guided, hydrophone equipped (listen to the whales), heated cabin, great outside decks, hot and cold beverages, binoculars, restroom, as well as cold weather gear on board for you. We also offer monthly boat trips. See "Five Light by Sea" Historic Lighthouse tours. USCG licensed & AAA rated

Mystic Sea Charters. Office: 719 28th Street, Suite B, Anacortes, WA  98221. Gray Whales check-in at 228 Wharf Street, Langley, WA 98260; (March 8 – April 29); Orca/Humpback/Minke Whales check-in at Cap Sante Marina Dock A, 710 Seafarers Way, Anacortes, WA 98221 (May 4 – October 13). Toll-free: 1-800-308-9387.

Guaranteed Whale Sightings. Five Star Rating and Best Rates! Come aboard the 100-foot Mystic Sea for fun whale watching cruises and see wildlife – Gray Whales, Killer/Orca Whales, Humpback Whales or Minke Whales. Bald Eagles, Puffins, Porpoise, SeaMystic Sea Charters Lions, & more! We have a highly experienced crew, onboard naturalist, large viewing windows, heated, enclosed aft deck, outside viewing area, free binocular use and onboard food service (Anacortes Location) Discounts: AAA, Military, Seniors, Students & Groups. For whale watching cruises, book online & save! Also vailable for dinner cruises, weddings, transportation & corporate events. 360-588-8000 or toll free at 1-800-308-8387.

Crystal Seas Kayaking. 70 Spring Street, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. Phone: 360-378-4223; Toll-free: 1-877-SEAS-877. E-mail

Kayak the beautiful west-side of San Juan Island with our naturalist Crystal Seas Kayakingguides. Crystal Seas offers 3 hour, day (6 hour) and multi-day tours and provides free transportation from Friday Harbor to our kayak docks on Mitchell Bay. While kayaking be on the lookout for orca whales, harbor seals, sea lions, porpoise, bald eagles and a variety of sea birds. We specialize in small groups but can take large private groups as well. Book both your kayaking and a whale watching cruise though us and receive 10% off. Owner operated since 1994 by second generation islanders.

Outer Island Expeditions. PO Box 653, Eastsound, WA 98245. Phone: 360-376-3711. E-mail

Personalized Whale Watching and Wildlife Trips. Hop aboard one of Outer Island Expeditions custom high-speed aluminum vessels for an up close and personal experience. All our vessels Outer Island Expeditions Whale Watchinghave an enclosed cabin and restroom. We have scheduled trips and custom private trips. We can accommodate singles, couples, families, and larger groups (up to 24 people). Our fast vessels mean you spend more time with the whales and wildlife. All our trips are led by trained naturalists. Check out our website for more details: www.outerislandx.com. Please contact us at (360) 376-3711 or outerislandx@hotmail.com with any question or to book your trip.

Island Mariner Cruises. 2621 S Harbor Loop Drive, Bellingham, WA 98225. Phone: 360-734-8866; Toll-free: 1-877-734-8866; Fax: 360-734-8867. E-mail

On our 70-90 mile whale watch cruise around the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands, you will experience a seven-hour narrated scenic Island Mariner Cruisestour by qualified naturalists. The San Juan Islands are home to extensive bird species as well as harbor seals, porpoises, sea lions, Minke and Gray Whales. Our naturalists will speak to the history, geology, significant landmarks (Light Houses, etc.) and our specialty the Orca or Killer Whales. The experience of seeing the whales in their natural setting is extraordinary, and at times they breach so close to our boat that our passengers get splashed!

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