Whale Watching Tours on the Olympic Peninsula: Leave from Port Angeles or Port Townsend for short transit times and long whale watching times.
Majestic Olympic Mountains soar to the south. Vancouver Island rises to the north and west. The San Juan Islands dot the seas to the north and east. Calm waters and beautiful scenery make the perfect backdrop in an area known for excellent whale watching and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Here, the beautiful, calm inland waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca play host to five types of whales: gray, minke, southern resident orca, transient orca, and humpback; not to mention a wide variety of marine birds, such as puffins, loons, mergansers, harlequin ducks, bald eagles, and many more. Other marine life thrives here, such as porpoises, harbor seals and stellar sea lions.
Though whales can be seen throughout the year, the best times to spot them are March through November. They can be seen traveling singly, in pairs, mother and baby, or in pods of up to 50 individuals.
There are a few companies on the Olympic Peninsula
offering whale watching tours.
Each has very good TripAdvisor ratings,
experienced and knowledgeable crews, and comfortable amenities.
Port Angeles Whale Watch
Located at Boat Haven, Marine Dr., Port Angeles, WA 98363
Tripadvisor Reviews of Port Angeles Whale Watch Company - 5*
Certificates of Excellence from 2012 - 2015
Fares range from $29/children to $99/adults, children 2 and under are free; check the website for current schedules and discounts.
Port Angeles Whale Watch is a subsidiary of Island Adventures Whale Watching.
Description: Evening Magazine voted these guys #1 in the Pacific Northwest from 2010 through 2015. With three locations in the PNW, Port Angeles, Everett, and Anacortes, this company offers a variety of tours between March through November.
Their 85' Island Explorer 4, is fast enough to get you to where the whales are; has a wrap-around viewing deck with full upper deck, hot food and drinks, restrooms and indoor heated cabin. The company offers 4-5 hour whale watching tours from May to November. See their website for details about their locations in Everett and Anacortes.
Best of all, their success rate in finding the whales is unmatched. If your tour fails to find any whales, they will give you as many free trips as it takes until you have gotten what you came for - whale sightings.
The Water Limousine
Leaves from John Wayne Marina in Sequim, WA
Fare: $195 for two hours, up to $695/day, for up to 6 persons. , available May 1 through September 30.
Description: This is a private charter service for whale and wildlife viewing, and many more purposes.
Captain Charles Martin holds a Merchant Mariners Masters license with the Coast Guard. He has cruised the Strait of Juan de Fuca since 2007, ferrying over 1300 passengers thus far. His vessel, a fully enclosed 26-foot Glacier Bay catamaran named Livin' the Dream, has taken people on whale, wildlife, and sightseeing tours, lighthouse cruises, even wedding cruises.
Choose from a tour around Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge, the many
lighthouses in the area, or an all-day cruise around the San Juan Islands. Plenty of opportunity for whale and wildlife viewing.
Puget Sound Express
227 Jackson St., Port Townsend, WA 98368
Tripadvisor Reviews of Puget Sound Express - 4.5* including Certificate of Excellence
Rates: between $65 for a child to $135 for an adult, depending on the tour; infants are free. Some tours require a minimum of 15 passengers.
Rates for 3-day 2-night tours: $850/double-$925/single. This includes 2 nights at Roche Harbor Resort, plus cruising around the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands.
Description: This is a family owned, three generation company operating since 1985. Pete and Sherri Hanke offer a variety of whale and wildlife watching tours between Port Townsend, Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, and Edmonds/Seattle, departing from two locations: Port Townsend and Edmonds/Seattle. They also partner with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society hosting special bird watching tours.
They have three fast and comfortable boats. Each one is equipped with onboard amenities like snack bars, restrooms, and great viewing areas.
Peninsula Sportsman Guide & Outfitting Service
PO Box 763, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Rates: $425/1-2 people per 3-4 hours. Additional persons are $50/each (4 adult max); children under 14 are free. Contact their office for more information.
Description: Owners David and Tiffany Drewry offer whale, wildlife and bird watching, in addition to water fowl hunting, fishing and private charters around the Port Townsend waterways and the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge.
The Whale Trail along the Olympic Peninsula coast is a main thoroughfare for migrating whales. The best viewing spots are Kalaloch, Rialto and Shi Shi beaches. Here's a great reference chart for when and where to spot them: http://thewhaletrail.org/where-and-when-to-see-whales