See up to 4 Types of Whales from 4 Departure Locations!
The one stop shop for all the details you'll need for your tour.
We want you to be as prepared as possible for your upcoming tour with us. Below, find information about our onboard menus, photo sales, whale watching etiquette and much, much more. We look forward to seeing you on the water!
Prepare for Your Tour
All guests must be checked-in and ready to board the vessel 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. Everett, La Conner, and Port Angeles tours check-in directly at the dock. In Anacortes, we ask that you check in to our main office to pick up a parking pass. If you're taking a tour from Anacortes or Port Angeles, be sure to set aside time to check out the gift shop and ask for local recommendations!
Onboard the majority of our tours, you'll have the opportunity to take home a one of a kind souvenir. Photos are available for sale on USB thumb drive during and after your tour. Forgot to grab one? Simply call or email our office and we'll send a USB from the date of your tour!
Feel free to bring your own camera to capture some amazing shots!
The Island Explorer vessels boast the best food and beverage in the San Juan Islands. Aboard the newest Island Adventures vessel – Island Explorer 5 – you'll find the South of the Border Cafe, serving up surfer burritos, tasty wraps, and a variety of other local offerings. Our other vessels (Island Explorer 3 and Island Explorer 4) offer a simple but delicious menu featuring local favorite, Ivar's Clam Chowder. Feel free to leave the picnic basket at home!
Your ticket includes more than just a whale watching tour. Onboard, you'll be able to pick up the full color Wildlife Viewing guide for only $1, free binocular use, a punch on our Frequent Floater card, and much more!
Recent Whale Sightings from the Island Explorer Vessels
See whales from space with our sophisticated whale spotting interface. We utilize a spot transmitting network to mark each and every whale sighting. This gives us accurate information on whale movement and patterns throughout the season. Other organizations such as Cascadia Research also use this information in whale sighting data. Check out where we've been on our recent tours and where we've seen whales!
Whale Watching Etiquette
How close do we get to the whales and wildlife from the Island Explorer vessels?
The global standard for whale viewing distances is 100 yards. We also recognize all County, State, and Federal laws but at times, orcas do surface close to our boats when we are shut down and quietly drifting. This is by their own choice and when this occurs, we simply let the animals pass by, waiting to start our engines again or to move until they are at least 400 yards away.
Truth in Aerial Whale Spotting
The truth about aerial whale spotting is that it just doesn’t work in most conditions. So how do we find whales? Let me take the mystery out of our whale spotting system.There are other companies who advertise they use spotting planes and imply they use them daily to find whales; this is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.
Amazing images are captured aboard Island Adventures tours daily. Aboard each trip, we have the opportunity to see resident orca, transient killer whales, minke, humpback, and/or gray whales. In addition to the 5 different types of whales, we see a wide variety of wildlife and world-class scenery. On our gallery, we highlight the past seasons, building of the brand new (state-of-the-art) Island Explorer 5, and showcase each whale species.
Check out the photo gallery to experience a tour!
Whether you're interested in booking a whale watching tour or already have a reservation, take a moment to review some of our guests' most frequently asked questions to help prepare for your upcoming adventure!
Our Passengers Come from Far and Wide!
At Island Adventures, we carry over 30,000 passengers each season – all of which come from nearly every corner of the globe! We track where each passenger is from, and update the map to show how far away some people travel to see whales in the San Juan Islands.
Click below to see if anyone from your home state or city has been on an Island Adventures tour!
Where Are We Located?
Island Adventures has the tour for you, regardless of where you are in Washington state. Our five departure locations – Anacortes, Everett, La Conner, Port Angeles, and Seattle – are strategically set up to offer the best whale viewing opportunity. Every tour has the opportunity to see up to five types of whales (resident orca, transient killer whale, minke, humpback, and grey). Check out the links below to see which departure location is closest to you!
At Island Adventures, we pride ourselves on offering the best service in the industry. We understand (and share) the passion to see whales in the wild, and we want to make sure you have the best trip possible. No two tours are the same, which makes every trip truly special!
Check out the letters that passengers have send in, or check us out on trip advisor.com to see our latest reviews!