See up to 5 Types of Whales from 4 Departure Locations!
Welcome to the Wild West of whale watching in Washington.
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 seen as well.
The Strait of Juan de Fuca has been home of the famed "Humpback Comeback" of the Pacific Northwest, with hundreds of humpbacks now choosing these cold, nutrient-rich waters as their summer feeding grounds. After facing extinction in the early 1900's, protective measures have since helped humpback whale populations rebound. Despite their size (40 feet long and weighing 40 tons), humpback whales have the reputation of being the most acrobatic of the whales. Few things compare to seeing a trademark humpback breach!
The addition of the bigger, faster Island Explorer 3 in 2017 increased our comfort, range, and capacity, permitting even more visitors to experience this up-and-coming whale hotspot. From Port Angeles, our tours can head west into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, east toward the San Juan Islands, or north toward Race Rocks Ecological Preserve - no passport required! We visit Race Rocks more than any other company in Washington, marveling at elephant seals, Steller sea lions, and if you're lucky, maybe even a sea otter! The variety of wildlife seen on our Port Angeles tour is second to none.
Port Angeles Tour Information and Times
4-5 Hour Guaranteed Whale Watching Tours
9:30 AM Departure
Our AM departure from Port Angeles is one of our most popular tours. This departure time allows us to maximize time with whales and gets back early enough for a late lunch/early dinner in downtown Port Angeles before heading on to your next adventure. Don't miss out on the #1 whale watching tour in the Pacific Northwest!
3:30 PM Departure
There's nothing like ending your day on the water with whales! The 3:30 PM departure from Port Angeles is most popular with groups of two, professional photographers, and locals. The lighting tends to soften in the afternoon, making it absolutely incredible for photographs!
Which Tour Should I Choose?
We can confidently say that there isn't a tour time that's better for whale sightings than the other. There are subtle differences between both tours, making them both world-class.
We recommend choosing the departure time that works best in your schedule as both tours have the same whale sighting success rate. The benefits of morning versus afternoon come into play on the human side! Morning tours are great because you're first out on the water and have the rest of the afternoon to do as you please. The afternoon tour is great because you don't have to get up early, and you end your day with whales and some pretty incredible lighting for photographs.
Both tours are great, so choose the one that works in your schedule best!
$30 for 30
Big savings for booking in advance!
Adults save $20 when you book 30+ days in advance and an additional $10 with military ID, AAA, AARP, seniors 65+, or college student ID. This deal cannot be combined with promotion codes or other discounts and is valid on whale watching tours only.
Save $20 for booking 30+ days in advance + Save $10 with adult discount = $30 Savings
Port Angeles Tour Range
When whales are in the center of the map, most companies do see them – we just get more time. When the whales are up north or out west, the Island Explorer fleet are often the only American boats watching whales
Because of our vessel speed, size, and duration of our tour, we're able to guarantee whales. Often times, whales can move up to 100 miles in a 24 hour period. Every day is a new adventure, but rest assured that you're choosing the company with the highest whale sighting success rate in the area.
Whales have been spotted on 6,431 of 6,630 tours since 2002. No other company compares.
What Vessel Will I Be On?
Island Explorer 3
The Island Explorer 3 is one of the most popular whale watching vessels on the west coast.
She is 101' long, 24' wide with three engines and two generators. She was recently re-powered which made her faster, quieter, and more fuel efficient. Island Explorer 3 has a huge upper viewing deck with a sun/rain cover, wind block doors, and outside heaters. She also has a full walk around lower deck with large bow pulpit. The inside heated salon has padded booth style seating and snack bar with beer and wine for purchase. Guests will enjoy our quality sound system with flat screen TV hooked to our navigation system to follow our route throughout the tour. We also have full sized his/her restrooms.
- Outside rail viewing space on one side of the boat for all guests
- Indoor heated seating with restaurant-style booths
- Two viewing decks for an incredible vantage point over the water
- Galley with local menu – quality food at a reasonable price and cashless for your convenience
- 101 foot monohull with speeds capable of 17+ knots, perfect for the Strait of Juan de Fuca
- AED defibrillator onboard with highly trained/qualified staff and crew
Port Angeles Check In Procedures
For our Whale Watch tours from Port Angeles, please check-in at the Landing Mall ramp ½ hour prior to departure. A crew member will come to the top of the ramp to check you in and guide you to the boat. It is imperative for you to be on time, the boat will leave the dock promptly at the scheduled departure time. Get directions to our Port Angeles departure location.
Parking can be found across the street at 150 E Front Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Check In Tips
- Recommended parking is at 150 E Front Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362
- Arrive 30 minutes prior to departure
- No need for paperwork
- Bring layers and sunscreen
- Remember your debit or credit card
- Bring your camera
Port Angeles sees considerably less rain than other areas in Western WA. In the summer months, the temperature averages between 60 and 80 degrees fahrenheit. Even though the weather can feel warm on land, we always recommend bringing layers – sweatshirts and jackets – as it feels 10-20 degrees cooler on the water. Rain doesn't have a negative impact on our tours as our excursion vessels are set up to go out in the elements and have lots of indoor space and cover.
Continue Your Marine Education in Port Angeles
Port Angeles offers some of the Northwest's best wildlife, and there outlets to learn more about the area's diverse population. Swing by the Feiro Marine Life Center to learn about nearly everything living underwater, all collected within 20 miles of Port Angeles from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Pop into the NOAA Olympic Coast Discovery Center for information about where to experience shore-based wildlife viewing after your tour!
Feiro Marine Life Center
The Feiro Marine Life Center showcases sea stars, crabs, scallops, anemones, fish and a giant Pacific octopus, all collected within 20 miles of Port Angeles from the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Get a hands-on view at the microscope station and check out some of the area’s natural history through displays of whale bones and shells, sculptures and murals, and three touch tanks.
The Marine Life Center is a fun, safe and easy way for people of all ages and physical abilities to experience the marine waters of the North Olympic Peninsula.
NOAA Olympic Coast Discovery Center
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary has a total area of 3,188 square miles - it's kind of hard to miss. But your first stop should be The Olympic Coast Discovery Center, on the Port Angeles waterfront. It's a great place to begin your learning adventures on the Olympic Coast.
Find out what makes National Marine Sanctuaries so important in our efforts to protect the oceans, marine ecosystems and marine wildlife. And because each National Marine Sanctuary is a unique world of its own, you'll discover why the Olympic Coast is so important. You'll meet its marine mammals, seabirds and its habitats, including tidepools and deep sea canyons.