The Ultimate Guide to

Orca Whale Watching in Washington

No trip to the Pacific Northwest is complete without a glimpse of our revered orca whales. Learn when to visit, where to go, and what to bring.

Let's dive in!

When to Go Whale Watching

Spring Grey whales migrate from March to May

Summer Minke whales can appear in the Salish Sea in summer

Summer /  Fall Humpback whales are visible from May to October

Year round Southern Resident Orcas are present and visible year-round 

San Juan Islands


From April to September, see orcas, humpbacks, and gray whales, lured by the abundance of Chinook salmon.

Seattle Whale Watching


Though not the best place in Washington to whale watch, there are ways to get creative without going far.

Choosing a Tour


We've evaluated the best tours in the area with expert guides, frequent sightings, and solid reviews.

What to bring


Must-haves: rain jacket, rubber-soled shoes, seasickness meds, and a camera. See our road-tested picks on the blog.