Whale watching from Washington has never been better!
Since our very first tour in 1996, Island Adventures has had some truly spectacular encounters on the water, but we can easily say, without hesitation, that whale watching in Washington has never been more exciting.
There have never been more orcas in the Salish Sea with more than 100 new calves born to the mammal-eating Bigg's killer whale community since 2012. Humpback whales we first saw years ago as calves are now returning with babies of their own, and several new gray whales have joined the familiar “Sounders” at local feeding grounds.
Come see what makes Washington one of the world's greatest whale watching destinations!
Why choose Island Adventures?
At Island Adventures, we pride ourselves on being the most experienced and dedicated whale watching company in Washington. It's not a fluke that our tour has been voted the best in the Northwest for years. Island Adventures holds the industry's highest orca sighting success rate and was one of the first and only companies to guarantee whale sightings on every tour. Our team of highly qualified crew will make your trip unforgettable! We boast more than 100 years of combined experience and have led thousands excursions for hundreds of thousands of satisfied guests over the last 24 years. Experience counts!
- No Ferry Hassles!
- Locally Owned and Operated
- #1 Whale Sighting Success Rate
- Best Value in the Industry
- Professional Marine Naturalists
- Convenient Schedule and Locations
- Online Daily Whale Report
- 5 Star TripAdvisor Rating
- Free Binocular Use
- Onboard Hydrophones
- 10% Off in Our Gift Shops
- State-of-the-Art Vessels
- No Passports Required
- Onboard AED’s
Guaranteed Whale Watch Tour Locations
No matter where you are in Washington, we have the tour for you. Our locations are strategically placed to offer the best whale viewing opportunities. There's no company that sees more whales than Island Adventures. As members of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, we have access to the best whale-sightings network in the world. If whales in the area, we know it. High-speed, low profile vessels often travel past whales without seeing them. Our elevated wheelhouses and upper decks allow us to find more whales, spot them sooner, and view them better than smaller boats.
4-5 Hour Tours
Anacortes is our flagship location where Island Adventures first began back in 1996. Just a 90-mile drive from downtown Seattle, Anacortes is a convenient starting point for your wildlife adventure - no ferry required! The calm waters near the San Juan Islands are one of the best places in the world to view wild orcas. Humpback whales, minke whales, and gray whales also call the region home. Soak in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest aboard the finest whale watching vessel on the entire west coast, the Island Explorer 5.
Check in at Our Gift Shop: 1801 Commercial Avenue, Anacortes, WA 98221
Port Angeles, Washington
4 Hour Tours
Port Angeles is a premier whale watching destination located just outside the popular Olympic National Park. In recent years, the surrounding waters have become one of the leading destinations for viewing humpback whales in North America. Both salmon-eating and mammal-eating orcas are often spotted here as well. From Port Angeles, the comfortable Island Explorer 4 can head west into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, east toward the San Juan Islands, or north to Race Rocks Ecological Preserve, a memorable spot we visit more than any other U.S. company. Best location for guests coming from Tacoma and the Olympic Peninsula!
Check in at the Landing Mall: 115 E. Railroad Ave, Port Angeles, WA 98362
3 Hour Tours
Our Everett tours are the greatest whale watching value in the state. While it’s always possible to see orcas, humpbacks, or minke whales on this tour, our main focus are the gray whales that return to the protected waters of Puget Sound each spring. Everett is just minutes away from the rich gray whale feeding grounds, allowing us to spend more time viewing these gentle giants. Our naturalists will teach you to identify individual whales that have returned to this area for decades. In addition to whales, this wildlife-packed tour also sees harbor seals, sea lions, porpoise, eagles, osprey, and a variety of seabirds. Only 30 minutes from Seattle!
Check in at 1726 W. Marine View Drive, Everett, WA 98201
From private charters to our annual Fourth of July Fireworks cruise, Island Adventures offers more than just guaranteed whale watching tours. Check below to see what's available!
Safari in the San Juans
We're proud to announce Island Adventures' first ever multi-day safari in the San Juan Islands! Join us Monday, May 18th through Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 for an all-inclusive cruise with stops on Lopez and San Juan Islands and packed with whales, wildlife, and breathtaking scenery. We've reserved the entire Lopez Islander Resort to ensure a more exclusive experience for our guests. Space on this deluxe tour is limited.
School Field Trips
Island Adventures is proud to offer a variety of on-the-water marine science field trips for students in Western Washington! Take your class out into the field where they will learn to engage their scientific minds while observing marine wildlife and participate in hands-on learning. Led by an experienced marine naturalist and skilled crew, venture out into the beautiful Salish Sea and be ready for a day of fun, excitement, and learning!
Choose a location, focus, and length, and select from a number of hands-on activities to find a field trip that best fits your needs!
We'll take care of the details on your next family, company, or crew outing.
Island Adventures is known as the area's premier whale watching company, but we also offer private charters throughout the year. The Island Explorer 4 and Island Explorer 5 feature full walk around lower decks, upper viewing decks, great sound systems, heated cabins, galley service, his and her restrooms, and the best crew in the area. Whether it is a whale watching tour, wedding, corporate team building event, or a family reunion, give us a call and we will help you set up an event your guests will never forget.
Online Tour Calendar
See when we're running tours and how many spaces are left!
Our state-of-the-art online booking system makes it easy to make reservations anywhere, at any time. You'll receive an immediate email confirmation with a receipt, driving directions, and a satellite image your departure location. Reservations are highly recommended, but we'll gladly take walk-ups if space is available.
Tour Calendar Features
- Up-to-the-minute records of tour availability
- Immediate email confirmations
- Automatically applies the best discount possible
- Reservation system never sleeps – book a tour anytime from anywhere!
Meet the Fleet
Our boats were specifically built for whale watching.
Our goal is to show you as many whales as possible, and with our fleet of specifically designed whale watch vessels, we do that better than any other company. To ensure comfort and quality, we don't book our vessels to full capacity. Every passenger has unobstructed front-row viewing. You won't be stuck inside looking through glass or forced to stand behind other guests.
Due to the design and stability of our vessels, we don’t force you to to sit down while we’re underway. Grab a hot Ivar’s clam chowder or a cold local brew while moving freely around our fully walk-around viewing decks. When you’d like to sit, however, we have plenty of options for everyone. All of our vessels have comfortable indoor heated cabins and outdoor, wind-protected areas with padded seating. No other vessel comes close to the comfort of the Island Explorer fleet.
Some of the features that set us apart from the pack are things you’ll never see. Our vessels are equipped with large, low-noise propellers and above-water exhaust to create a quiter experience for the whales. While watching whales, our vessels make less noise than the ambient sound of rain hitting the surface. We’ve modernized our vessels by investing in equipment that not only meets but exceeds current emissions standards.
We guarantee whales on every whale watching tour.
If you do not see a whale (orca, minke, gray, or humpback) with us, you can come again for FREE, for life, on any tour until you do. This is not a gimmick — it is a passion to show our guests whales. Notice there is no fine print and this is not a standby pass or a discounted ticket. Just give us a call, and your next tour is on us. It’s that simple.
- Species Covered: Resident Orca, Bigg's Orca, Humpback, Minke, and/or Gray Whales
- Date Range: Year-Round
- Sighting Success Rate: Over 97% since 1996. Our Whale Report shows a detailed account from every tour. We rarely miss!
Where do we see whales?
We've integrated SPOT satellite technology to upload the precise GPS coordinates of the day's sightings to an interactive map on our website. As you'll see from the map, whales don't live in one spot. In fact, whales travel more than 100 miles in a 24 hour period! The Island Explorer fleet has the largest range in the area with the highest whale sighting success rate. It's a common misconception that small boats get closer to whales. Each vessel – regardless of size – is required to adhere to state and federal whale viewing laws. Large boats offer more stability, comfort, and added amenities (real bathrooms, onboard cafés, and much more). Our spacious vessels with multiple viewing decks offer an unparalleled photography platform that small boats simply cannot offer.
Our daily Whale Report is the most comprehensive record of whale sightings by a whale watch company in the industry. Every day, our professional naturalists record an account of the day and upload images. Check it out –– the Whale Report dates back to 2003!
Rosario Strait Webcam
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.