Wildlife Road Trip: Whale Watching in Washington State

If you haven’t yet met Washington’s official state marine mammal, this summer is a great time to introduce yourself. Of course, from afar. The orca was named our state’s official state marine mammal—after a two-year expedition by a second grader from Oak Harbor, Washington.

Summer whale watching season brings humpback whales, southern resident orcas, bigs (transient) orcas and other whales to our waterways. non profitable whale trail Promotes a range of 100+ Pacific Coast destinations perfect for viewing marine mammals, from California to Canada. The site offers excellent Tips for identifying whales from shoreIncluding how to scan the horizon for plumes, fins and flukes.

Where to See Whales in Washington

Whale Trail sites dot the Washington Coast from Long Beach to the Olympic Peninsula, then around the Salish Sea and deep into the Puget Sound. Pack binoculars to visit a few stops Washington Whale TrailLearn about the creatures at a museum, or go on a whale watching road trip to one of the following areas.

Washington Coast and Peninsula Whale Watching

While you can choose any place for whale watching along the coast, some are closer to accommodation, dining, and non-whale entertainment options.

Salish Sea/Island Whale Watching

The area is prized for its proximity to Seattle – and migratory and resident whales. Many tours depart and cruise through the area.

puget sound whale watching

While you may not find the variety of areas above, you won’t need to drive far to scan the horizon or spend an hour or two enjoying a picnic.

Washington Whale Museum and Institute

Aptly named the granddaddy of whale-focused museums Whale Museum In Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The museum’s Gallery of Whales offers interactive exhibits, mammoth skeletons, and historical exhibits on local marine mammals, including orca pods, in the surrounding waters. If you spy a whale during your stay, report a view on the museum’s whale hotline, or use whale alert app To identify and report whales.

But many other aquatic-themed destinations offer the chance to learn about and meet marine mammals, including Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (seals, walruses, beavers), Port Townsend Marine Science Center And this Langley Whale Center On Whidbey Island.

whale watching tours near seattle

Whale watching tours can be a more efficient way to find beautiful mammals. Few can even guarantee whale sightings, which have a 90% or higher viewing rate during the summer season. Boats can get closer to wildlife than you can on shore, although the crew must comply with local, state, and federal whale-watching regulations (typically, staying 100-400 yards away).

The routes are popular in the summer and offer the opportunity to see orcas, doll’s porpoises, harbor porpoises, minke whales, and humpback whales. You will see other wildlife, such as sea lions, seals, porpoises, otters, bald eagles, and other seabirds.

Tours can be half or full days and cost around $100-$120 per adult for children. Most depart from ports near the Salish Sea, the body of water between Washington and Vancouver Island. Snacks or meals may be given or included with naturalistic guidance.

clipper holidays Pier 69 operates the only whale watching tour departing from Seattle. The half-day cruise takes 4-6 hours and includes onboard naturalists, the ability to order locally sourced food and drinks, and seat selection.

Summer half- and full-day excursions Puget Sound Express Depart from Edmonds, Port Townsend in the summer, and, by 2022, Port Angeles. It is possible to order box lunches in advance, and a galley serves snacks and freshly baked blueberry buckles. Onboard naturalists help to understand the surrounding geography, history and wildlife.

San Juan Island Outfitters Departing from Roche Harbor on San Juan Island, the waterway begins tours near the San Juan Islands. On the 55-foot boat, naturalists and captains share information and point wildlife, and there is also a field guild library.

on Whidbey Island, deception pass tour Offers high-speed catamaran whale-watching tours on Saturday mornings. These half-day tours offer local waters, background history on regional characters, and a ride through a nearby whirlpool of deception.

outer island tour Depart by fast, small boats from Anacortes and the various nearby islands – Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Lummi Island. Naturalist riders are on hand to guide you through the 3-4 hour tour.

Further north from Bellingham, San Juan Cruises Departs for full day whale watching tours with wildlife guides. A trip on the 100-foot boat includes complimentary onboard lasagna lunch and a full bar.

Comment: meeting Bewhalewise.org To read more about orca recovery efforts – only 74 resident orcas remain in local waters – and learn more about what you can do to protect local marine mammals and other wildlife. More information is available at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife,

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