4-5 Hour Tours
October through March
Winter whale watching from the iconic Seattle waterfront aboard the area's most comfortable whale watching vessel.More Info
Guaranteed Whale Watch Tours from 5 Departure Locations
The early Spring provides one of the best whale watching opportunities in Washington. Over 20,000 Gray whales migrate North up the West Coast and some find the rich feeding grounds near the South end of Whidbey Island.
The first tour of its kind with the backing of the industry’s best guarantee. New for 2017! The Island Explorer 4 is moving to the beautiful waterfront community of La Conner, offering full-day guaranteed whale watching tours with a stop for lunch on an island.
At Island Adventures,
we pride ourselves on being the most experiences and most dedicated whale watching company in Washington state.
Because of our , Island Adventures was one of the first and only companies to on every tour — but it's our team of highly qualified crew that will make your trip unforgettable! We boast over 100 years of combined experience in the islands, over 6,630 wildlife tours conducted, and have led excursions for over 270,000 satisfied guests.
The San Juan Islands provide one of the best whale watching opportunities anywhere in the world, offering calm waters and a huge variety of wildlife which includes our three pods of resident Orca whales. There are also humpback, minke, and grey whales that frequent the waters surrounding our departure locations.
If you are visiting the Northwest or are lucky enough to live here, don't let this opportunity pass you by!
The Island Adventures fleet are the perfect excursion vessels for whale watching in the Salish Sea and Puget Sound. They are fast, safe, and comfortable - all with full upper viewing decks, walk-around lower decks, and indoor heated cabins with his and her's restrooms.
The Island Explorer 5 is simply the best whale watching vessel anywhere.
She is 98' long, 30' wide with a cruise speed of over 25 knots. She is also incredibly quiet which will enhance your whale watching experience. 20+ years of whale watching experience has gone into the design of the Island Explorer 5. She has three full walk-around outside viewing decks with cathedral bow seating that provides more outside viewing area than any tour boat in the region. There are also two large heated cabins with seating for all guests, state of the art A/V system, and large comfortable bathrooms. Onboard guests will enjoy our South of the Border Cafe with hot food, fresh products, beer and wine for sale.
The Island Explorer vessels all look very similar. IE3, IE4, and IE5 have full walk-around lower decks, huge upper decks and great sound systems. These designs separate a whale watching boat from a repurposed fishing boat or crew boat. Our vessels are the only boats in the area with outside rail viewing space on either side of the boat for all guests. They are also very stable, making them fantastic photography platforms. Island Explorer vessels are safe, fast, and comfortable.
The waters surrounding our five departure locations offer some of the most diverse whale and wildlife viewing on the west coast. Onboard each of our tours, an experienced naturalist helps identify all of the whales, wildlife, and rich history that this area holds.
The Southern Resident Killer Whale population is comprised of three pods (J, K, and L) numbering around 88 whales. Uniquely, they have been listed as endangerded although their population in recent years has been increasing. 2015 was a year we’ll never forget – eight Southern Resident Orca calves were born!
While transient orcas and resident orcas look the same, the similarities stop there! Transient offspring typically disperse from the natal group to form their own pod once mature or when females have their first calf. The biggest difference, however, is diet. Unlike the salmon-eating residents, transients prefer marine mammals!
Humpback whales hold the record for having the longest migratory pattern of any whale, stealing the title from the gray whale. While once common to see in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in late August/early September, the ”humpback comeback” of 2016 brought sightings in early May and deep into the fall.
Often when a bait ball forms, a minke whale isn’t too far away! Sometimes we see them lunge feed right through the middle, taking in all the bait fish and an occasional sea bird! Fun fact: minke whales are found in all oceans of the word, yet they’re one of the least studied whales in the world.
Gray whales are commonly seen from March through May around the south end of Whidbey Island and the Saratoga Passage area, but sometimes they’re spotted in the Salish Sea in the summer months. Gray whales don’t write, but they do favor one side of their mouth over the other when eating!
The waters surrounding our five departure locations offer some of the most diverse whale and wildlife viewing on the west coast. Onboard each of our tours, an experienced naturalist helps identify all of the whales, wildlife, and rich history that this area holds
Each day and every experience is completely unique and unpredictable! The beauty of these waters is that no two tours are the same, and we're seeing different wildlife each and every tour. Check out below to see the common types of wildlife that can be spotted on the tour, and be sure to see what we've seen on the water by checking out our whale report!
Island Adventures’ webcam is overlooking south Rosario Strait, gazing west toward the San Juan Islands from Fidalgo Island (Anacortes). These waters, located 90 miles inland from the open Pacific Ocean, are considered to be one of the best whale viewing territories in the world.
"Great time for all"We took our 6 yr old. We all had a great time! Saw two humpbacks, otter, eagles, porpoises, and many Orcas including a calf. One Orca jumped straight out of the water. The crew was knowledgeable and friendly. The captain let our daughter stand next to him and even take a turn steering (with help). Tamara was our naturalist and she was great! Would highly recommend and would definitely go again.
Adults save up to $30 off any tour by booking over 30 days in advance or by taking a Wednesday tour. There are discounts for AAA, AARP, seniors 65+, military, or students with an ID. Midweek deals can be found March-June and September-November. Click below for more information on how to save big in 2016!