San Juan Island Whale Watching & Wildlife Cruises
San Juan Island is the seasonal home to three pods of orca whales, and whale watching is among the island’s most popular activities. Peak season is from May-September, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting during the off-peak months. If you do, you’ll see more eagles, stellar sea lions, porpoises and other kinds of wildlife.
Choose whale and wildlife cruises by boat size. The adventurous are best served by one of San Juan Island’s small operators, while mid-sized boats offer the most flexible schedules. Large boats are best for small children and people unaccustomed to the water.
San Juan Safaris offers one of the best-organized and most professional trips in San Juan Islands in their new, fast 55-foot boat, departing from Friday Harbor.
Western Prince has provided quality San Juan Island tours since 1986. The Western Prince II is large enough for safety and comfort, yet small enough for a more interactive experience.
San Juan Outfitters specializes in providing high quality whale watch, kayak, and adventure tours for groups small and large, families, and independent travelers out of Roche Harbor.
Kestrel is San Juan Island’s fastest zodiac vessel—perfect for anyone looking for a high-speed adventure! Kestrel has a wraparound observation deck and restroom. Includes high-quality exposure suits! 35 feet long, 24 or fewer passengers.
Western Prince's bright, orange Zodiac seats 15. You get suited up in wind-and-weather-tight gear and go on a fast, fun, exhilarating ride, lasting about 2 1/2 hours.
Enjoy year-round, daily whale & wildlife tours on a personalized tour in a 30' Albin fast-express cruiser.
Maya's Legacy Whale Watching offers a premier experience with never more than 15 passengers per tour. Brand-new, custom designed boats feature theater style seating and a heated cabin for comfort in all conditions. There is excellent viewing from the outdoor bow and stern viewing decks, as well as unparalleled indoor visibility through the large cabin windows. You are never seat-bound, and can move freely between the cabin and all viewing areas. There's plenty of elbow room and no competition for prime viewing space. Tours and private charters available year-round.
More Whale and Wildlife Tips
- Lime Kiln State Park, the only US state park dedicated to whale watching, is less than 10 miles from Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island’s west side. Whales typically pass the park once or twice per day in season. If you left your car behind, San Juan Transit offers a regularly scheduled bus. Fantastic, picnic-perfect sunsets.
- Don’t miss Friday Harbor’s renowned Whale Museum, featuring interactive exhibits, a gift shop, gallery and friendly staff available to answer all your whale and wildlife questions.