Insider’s Guide to Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are one of the best places in the world to see orca whales in the wild. Visitors can also see humpbacks, minkes, and the occasional gray whale. Here at Northwest Island Escapes, we recommend booking a whale-watching tour to get the best experience. A major perk of doing a tour instead of trying to find these beautiful creatures yourself is that they are pros at finding likely locations for whale watching due to their spotting network. In addition, tours have a certified naturalist or trained captain on board to point out wildlife and describe their behaviors.

whale watching

3 Best Whale Watching Tours in the San Juan Islands

A number of whale watching tours operate year-round from the San Juan Islands. The team Northwest Island Escapes has curated a list of our favorite whale watching tours in the San Juan Islands. Check them out below!

1. Deer Harbor Charters

Enjoy an informative, narrated cruise through the San Juan Islands in search of orca whales and minke whales when you choose Deer Harbor Charters. They work with local researchers to ensure their footprint remains as small as possible during their tours, while also giving you the best experience possible!

2. Outer Island Excursions

Outer Island Excursions has one of the highest whale sighting rates due to their high-speed boats and experienced captains. They also offer fishing charters, bird watching, guided kayak tours, and more!

3. San Juan Safaris Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours

Voted the #1 Eco-Adventure Tour in the Pacific Northwest, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours is sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience! A three to four-hour whale watch tour on San Juan Safaris’ 55-foot M/V Sea Lion is the ideal choice for families with small kids, larger groups, or people who get easily seasick. 

Luxury Vacation Rentals in the San Juan Islands

After a day on the water witnessing the majestic beauty of killer whales and other wildlife, come back and unwind in your Northwest Island Escapes San Juan Islands vacation rental home. With 70+ exceptional vacation rental homes and a knowledgeable staff that’s eager to help, finding you the perfect San Juan Islands vacation rental will be no sweat! To plan your San Juan Islands adventure with Northwest Island Escapes, check our availability online or give us a call at 1-800-391-8190.