Classic Whale Watch & Wildlife Tour from Roche Harbor, WA

San Juan Outfitters & San Juan Safaris248 Reuben Memorial DriveRoche Harbor, WA 98250
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If you’re traveling as a family, this classic Whale Watch and Wildlife Tour is for you! Go in search of orcas, humpback whales, seals, eagles and more aboard the M/V Sea Lion vessel. With the marine naturalists on board, all of your curious questions will be answered. Plus, there is a field guide library and children’s books on board so kids are sure to be entertained.

up to 4 hrs 1 or more people

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Roche Harbor Travel Experts
  • The vessels offer heated inside cabin areas and can take out up to 40 passengers at a time.
  • A field guide library and children's books available on board for the kids.
  • Tour duration is about 3 to 4 hours.
  • San Juan Island is accessed via the WA State Ferry that departs from Anacortes, WA.


from Classic Whale Watch & Wildlife Tour from Roche Harbor
This Classic Whale Watch & Wildlife Tour from Roche Harbor on San Juan Island is on the M/V Sea Lion. San Juan Island is accessed via the WA State Ferry that departs from Anacortes, WA. Anacortes is an easy 2-hour drive north of downtown Seattle. The ferry schedule changes seasonally and the ferry departs at specific types typically around 9 am.

The waterways surrounding the San Juan Islands are considered the best place in the world to observe Orcas (Killer) Whales in the wild, and the best location in the islands to access those waters is San Juan Outfitter’s exclusive marine adventure center at Roche Harbor. This location allows access to all the major waterways the whales travel, and you will often view whales within the Haro Strait, just a few miles from Roche Harbor. During the peak season, whales are seen on 90% of our tours, in addition to a variety of marine wildlife.

This Flagship Tour is 3-4 hours in length and is the best tour for those traveling with young children, the elderly, and large groups. With 1-2 Marine Naturalists on board, all your questions will be answered, and you will walk away with knowledge about the local wildlife, ecology, and geology of the San Juans. Enjoy the comforts of the M/V Sea Lion as you cruise through the San Juan Islands in search of orcas, seals, eagles, sea lions, porpoises, and much more!

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Frequently Asked Questions about Classic Whale Watch & Wildlife Tour from Roche Harbor

Where does this tour depart?

This Classic Whale Watch & Wildlife Tour departs from Roche Harbor located at 248 Reuben Memorial Drive, Roche Harbor, WA 98250.

Is the tour appropriate for children?

Yes, it is great for all ages. There are also children's books on board for the kids. Parents of children under 2 years of age are asked to stay in the windowed, heated cabin or use a "wear on" baby carrier for safety reasons.

Is there a bathroom?

Yes, the Sea Lion vessel has a large marine restroom on board.

What should I wear?

Temperatures are significantly cooler on the water so warm layers and flat shoes with a rubber bottom, such as tennis shoes, are recommended. Other recommended items include a hat, rain jacket or windbreaker, and gloves (ideally for spring and fall tours).

What should I bring?

The following items are recommended: sunglasses, sunscreen, binoculars, camera, water bottle (no glass please), and snacks. Alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products are prohibited.

Will the vessel accommodate a person in a wheelchair?

Due to safety reasons, the vessel can accommodate the person but not the wheelchair because all seats must be anchored to the boat itself. If the person can stand, walk up two steps on the outside of boat, then one on the inside, the tour operator will do their best to pre-board them. If you need assistance, please note your request in the comment section above when booking your reservation.

What is the best month to see the whales?

Peak season is considered the summer months of mid-June through early September. During this time, you will see whales (orcas, humpbacks, greys and/or minkes) on over 90% of these tours. There are whales in the San Juan Islands year round, but much less predictably outside of those summer months.

What will I see on this tour?

This tour offers breathtaking scenery and marine wildlife as you cruise in search for orcas, whales, seals, bald eagles, sea lions, porpoises, and much more.

Are whale sightings guaranteed?

While sightings of marine wildlife are guaranteed, whale sightings are not guaranteed. However, 20 years of sightings data shows that you will have a 90% chance of seeing whales during the peak months of June – September.