5 of the Best Whale Watching Tours in Seattle

Looking for some of the best whale watching tours in Seattle? These large mammals have lured tourists from all over the world, creating truly spectacular encounters on the water, but we can easily say, without hesitation, that whale watching in Washington is the most exciting. These are the five best tours to book to see them.

  1. Island Adventures Whale Watching
  2. San Juan Cruises
  3. San Juan Safaris
  4. Puget Sound Express
  5. Clipper Vacations

orca jumping out of water in Puget Sound with Mt Rainier in background


Island Adventures Whale Watching

Island Adventures Whale Watching in Everett north of Seattle

Island Adventures is so serious about finding whales for guests, they guarantee sightings on every whale watch tour from March through November. The Pacific Northwest is home to a huge diversity of wildlife, incredible scenery and calm protected waters. In addition to whales, guests often see harbor seals, Stellar and California Sea Lions, Harbor and Dall’s porpoise, Bald Eagles and a wide variety of Seabirds. Island Adventures Whale Watching Tours are a great value for such a world class experience. They are easy to get to, the Everett location, from March to mid-May, is only 30 minutes from Seattle, and the Anacortes location, from mid-May through November is an easy 90 minute drive, with no ferry required from Downtown Seattle or Vancouver B.C. Island adventures whale watching tours have been voted #1 in Western Washington by King5, Evening Magazine (the local NBC affiliate) two years in a row. Gray Whale Tours from Everett 3 hour tours, March – April Orca, Minke, Humpback Tours from Anacortes 5–6 hour tours, May – September Humpback, Orca, Minke from Anacortes 5–6 hour tours, October – November Private Charter Opportunities.


San Juan Cruises

San Juan Islands Aerial View of Orca Whale Territory

San Juan Cruises is a local based company out of Bellingham, WA that operates three different vessels for different cruise tour options. They offer whale watching, dining cruises, sightseeing tours to other islands, and travel through out the San Juan Islands during the summer months. They also offer private charters.


San Juan Safaris

Orca whale jumping out of water near Seattle whale watching tour boat on Puget Sound

This company is known for providing high quality, small group size whale watching & wildlife tours. The boat, Sea Lion, is a new 55 ft vessel, warm and comfortable, walk around deck, U.S. Coast Guard Certified and fast. The faster speed gives greater range and more whale sightings. No one sees whales more than San Juan Safaris. Enjoy the thrill of seeing one of the most impressive animals on the planet – the orca whale. Serious Fun. Limited space, reserve your adventure now!


Puget Sound Express

Only Puget Sound Express offers a half-day Seattle whale watching option year round

Three generations of family have helped visitors have life-changing experiences with some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. To live in what’s been called “the American Serengeti,” with some of the highest concentration of whales and dolphins and sea life anywhere in the world — including orcas, is truly amazing! Few people know these waters like Puget Sound Express - offering Puget Sound's only half-day whale watching option ... year round! Their experience and dedication makes it possible for them to guarantee that you’ll see whales on your trip — or they’ll give you another trip absolutely free.


Clipper Vacations

The Victoria Clipper V leaving harbor in Victoria British Columbia offers many whale watching tours

Looking for a quick and easy international getaway from Seattle as well as go whale watching? See the sights of the Pacific Northwest aboard the iconic Victoria Clipper ferry. The Victoria Clipper V offers the only daily year-round direct ferry service from Seattle to Victoria, BC in less than 3 hours and features panoramic views of the Puget Sound. With multiple whale watching tours that depart from the Inner Harbour of Victoria, Victoria makes for an easy day trip from Seattle. Have an extra day? Save on your Clipper ferry ride with an overnight package. 

Summer 2021 Whale Watching Update

Half-day Whale Watching Trip out of Seattle Tues-Thur.

Seattle to San Juan Islands Full-day Whale Watching Trips Fri-Mon. 


Seattle Whale Watching FAQs

Q: What is the best time to visit Seattle for whale watching?

The best time for whale watching in Seattle is in the Summer between May and October.


Q: Is Seattle good for whale watching?

Yes. Every year whale watching is one of the most popular things to do for both locals and tourists. Migrating whales can be seen year-round, along with resident Orcas. The peak whale watching months are between late Spring and early Fall.


Q: Are whale watching tours worth it?

Yes! Whale watching can be an exciting adventure on the water in Puget Sound. It's a great thing to do for making memories taking beautiful photos of seabirds, dolphins, and various types of whales. Imagine breathing in the fresh smell of the ocean while scanning the horizon for a whale spout.