Watch orcas in the wild near the San Juan Islands. This Washington whale watching tour departs from Anacortes, located 90 miles from downtown Seattle, and is one of the best opportunities to see wild orcas, in addition to humpback whales, minke whales, and gray whales that also frequent the area throughout the year. The tour lasts about 4 to 5 hours and covers 60 miles through the calm waters of the Salish Sea aboard a state-of-the-art catamaran that features 3 viewing decks and indoor heated seating. Learn about local wildlife from onboard naturalists, and if conditions are right, even listen to whale conversations via underwater microphones (hydrophones).
When is the best time of year to go whale watching?
It depends on what you want to see! You can see whales at any time of year, and the vessels move to different locations throughout the year to optimize our chances. The spring tours from Everett are best for gray whales, summer and fall are historically best for humpbacks, orcas, and minkes, and the winter, while not necessarily peak season, still offers plenty of opportunity for seeing a variety of different whales.
What should I wear?
It is encouraged to dress in layers, even in summer. The air temperature often feels 10-20 degrees cooler than the water. Island Explorer vessels have large heated cabins and wind-blocked outdoor seating, but the more comfortable you are, the more time you'll spend viewing wildlife!
Where does this tour depart from?
This tour departs from Anacortes, Washington, about 90 miles north of Seattle. Check-in at Cap Sante Marina, A-Dock: 712 Seafarer's Way, Anacortes, WA 98221.
Is the tour appropriate for children?
Yes, this is a family-friendly tour.
Is the tour wheelchair/stroller accessible?
A small folding stroller that can be stowed easily is allowed. Please be mindful not to block walkways or doorways for safety reasons. Many of our guests with young children find it most convenient to wear their infants or use a car seat carrier.
The Tour can accommodate almost any situation, however, there are a few limitations. At this time, the tour can not accommodate electric wheelchairs, and a few stairs are required to board the vessel. All of the vessels have restrooms, indoor and outdoor viewing, and cafe service on the main floor, but due to a few Coast Guard requirements, the vessels can not be fully ADA-compliant. Please contact the Island Adventures office with specific questions.
Can I bring my camera?
Yes, lots of photo opportunities.
How long is the tour?
The tour is approximately 4 to 5 hours long.
Can I bring my own food/beverages?
The vessels have great food and drink options available for purchase, but you are permitted to bring your own food and drink items as well. Because we sell beer and wine on our vessels, however, Washington state does not permit any outside alcohol aboard.
Can I bring my pet?
Only registered service animals are welcomed on the tours. Please notify the office if you'll be bringing a service animal with you on your tour.