Majestic Sunsets of the San Juan Islands


Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands


Orca Whales swimming in the waters of the San Juan Islands


Whale Watching in Washington State

The Washington Coast offers some of the best whale watching in the world. Visitors and residents are treated year-round to sightings of orca whales (killer whales), minke whales, gray whales, and humpback whales.

Some of the best sightings are made from whale watching cruises that set out from several Washington waterfront destinations and communities. San Juan Island whale watching is the best known in the region, but whale watching tours also operate from Orcas Island and Anacortes as well as Bellingham, Everett, and Port Townsend.

Some of these companies guarantee sightings on every tour, and in part, that's thanks to three resident pods of orca whales that live in the waters around the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound - one of the best studied orca populations in the world.

However, whale migration also makes the Washington state coast great for spotting minke whales, humpback whales (which produce the renown whale songs), and gray whales, which are found only off the coast of Korea and the West Coast of North America as they migrate from Alaska to the Baja Peninsula in Northern Mexico.

While whale watching in Washington is one of the most popular attractions in the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands, Washington coast vacations also provide stunning looks at many species of birds and marine life, including seals and sea lions, porpoises, bald eagles, albatrosses, pelicans, and other seabirds.

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Basic Listings

Adventure Associates of Washington

  • PO Box 16304
  • Seattle, WA 98116
  • Region: Puget Sound
  • Phone: 206-932-8352

Anacortes Kayak Tours

  • 1801 Commercial Avenue
  • Anacortes, WA 98221
  • Region: Northwest
  • Phone: 800-992-1801

Captain Carli's Whale Watching

  • P.O. Box 2569
  • Friday Harbor, WA 98250
  • Region: San Juan Islands
  • Phone: 360-378-0302

Deception Pass Tours

  • 41229 State Route 20
  • Oak Harbor, WA 98277
  • Region: Puget Sound
  • Phone: (360) 679-7222

Deer Harbor Charters & Whale Watching

  • 414 Channel Rd
  • Deer Harbor, WA 98243
  • Region: San Juan Islands
  • Phone: 360-376-5989

Discover Sea Kayak

  • 185 First St.
  • Friday Harbor, WA 98250
  • Region: San Juan Islands
  • Phone: (360) 378-2559

Elakah Expeditions

  • P.O. Box 28514
  • Bellingham, WA 98228
  • Region: Northwest
  • Phone: (360) 734-7270

Emerald Isle Sailing Charters

  • 202 Blanchard #8
  • Eastsound, WA 98245
  • Region: San Juan Islands
  • Phone: (360) 376-3472

Exotic Aquatics Scuba & Kayaking

  • 148 Winslow Way W
  • Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
  • Region: Puget Sound
  • Phone: (206) 842-1980

Orca Whale Watching

  • 2 Spring Street
  • Friday Harbor, WA 98250
  • Region: San Juan Islands
  • Phone: 360-378-5315
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