Today, the san juan islands are an important tourist destination, with sea kayaking and orca whalewatching by boat or air tours two of the primary attractions. Best place for whale watching in the san juan islands. The orca whale, orcinus orca a familiar sight around san juan island in the summer months, mostly from may through october. When you join san juan safaris on a whale watching tour, youll have a great chance to observe orca whales in their natural environment. Whale watching san juan islands western prince whale. Two ecotypes are commonly found in the salish sea the critically endangered southern residents j, k, and l pods and transient, or biggs, orcas. During that time there are many great opportunities to see them in the waters around the islands. Transient or biggs, killer whales aka orca whales can often be seen yearround, as well as steller sea lions, harbor seals, porpoise, bald eagles. A day watching for whales and other sea creatures around the san juan islands. There are many opportunities to spot whales throughout the san juan islands. Whale watching in the san juan islands postcards to seattle. The ferry docks in friday harbor, a pleasant city in which to enjoy a leisurely wander and a glimpse of local galleries. Soak in the natural beauty of the pacific northwest aboard the finest whale watching vessel on. Sea currents keep them warmer in the winter and ocean breezes keep them cooler through the summer.
These three orca whale families come to the san juan islands each year may through september in search of their primary food source, the chinook. Proposed orcaprotection zone off san juan island would ban most motorized vessels originally published january, 2017 at 8. Whale watching is a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and appreciate killer whales and the other marine wildlife in this region. Be whale wise san juan islands washington visitors bureau. Baleen whales completely lack teeth and filter small prey such as plankton, worms, and. I am not a big fan of whale watching cruises, but it for most people it is about seeing and hearing orcas in the wild not a photograph. Help support the southern resident orcas by making a. The guarantee isnt a standby pass and there are no blackout dates, its a free ticket for life until you see whales in the wild. Get a group together and join us on a private boat charter in the san juan islands. The best time to see killer whales in the san juan islands. Island adventures was one of the first companies to guarantee whales in the san juan islands.
San juan islands lime kiln point state park is a prime whalewatching site with knowledgeable interpreters often on site politically, the san juan islands comprise, by definition, san juan county, washington. To help make the most of your time on san juan island, we have produced a helpful map with information about our whale watch tours as well as points of interest around friday harbor and san. One of my favorite places to go in the summer is the san juan islands. As much as i love to travel, its always so nice to spend the summer in the pacific northwest. San juan island is the center of whale watching in the pacific northwest and therefore friday harbor on san juan island is the best location for departing on a whale watch tour in washington state. Print a map san juan safaris san juan island whale watching. In addition to hosting the worlds only whale museum the san juan islands are also home to washington states hidden treasure. No matter where i travel to around the world, nothing compares to the beauty of these small, treefilled islands in the middle of the. This reputation developed from a commitment to the highest level of guest service, and our 2 exclusive sea kayak and whale watch facilities at roche harbor and friday harbor on san juan island. Orcas island eclipse charters whale and wildlife tours. The very best guarantee of seeing a pod is from a boat. In season, roughly june through september, travelers flock to the san juan islands, washington, in the hopes of spotting killer whales, gray whales, minke whales and even the occasional humpback. The waters of washingtons san juan islands support a great diversity of wildlife and baleen whales are the largest of all marine species we see on our san juan islands kayaking tours.
Experience the thrill of seeing orca whales, seals, porpoises and so much more wildlife on one of our whale watching trips off the san juan islands near seattle. San juan island is the largest of the populated big three. The island explorer was designed specifically for whale watching, as opposed to a ferry, dinner cruiser, or converted fishing boat like most of the other tour boats in the area. Orcas island washington is the largest of the san juan islands, at just over 57 square miles, with san juan island second largest, at just over 55 square miles. A visit to the whale museum, friday harbor, san juan. Magnificent orca or killer whales live in the san juan islands yearround, and this is the best place in the world to see them in the wild. Whale watching in the san juan islands and puget sound. Whale watching in the san juan islands is a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and. Into the whales world san juan islands washington visitors.
The san juan islands are one of the best places in the world to see beautiful blackandwhite orca whales in the wild. The best place in the world to see orca aka killer whales, and more. San juan islands scenic byway in washington alltrips. The calm waters near the san juan islands are one of the best places in the world to view wild orcas. These glacierformed islands are an outdoor playground with some of the best weather in the state. The whale museum, located in beautiful friday harbor, washington, opened to the public in 1979 as the first museum in the country devoted to a species living in the wild. San juan island is the secondlargest and most populous of the san juan islands in northwestern washington, united states. Well finish the day with dinner on orcas island before taking the ferry back home. From there you travel to san juan island and tour that lovely island before heading to hilly and majestic orcas island. The funky whale museum in friday harbor has the same quirky, historic feel of old museums back east in, say, nantucket or cape cod. Proposed orcaprotection zone off san juan island would.
Anglers can book charter fishing trips out of the marina while divers will find that these chilly seas offer some of the best coldwater diving in the world. Take your best shot at kayaking with killer whales near seattle, wa. If youve never heard of the san juan islands in northwest washington, then you dont know of the unspoiled beauty that awaits you. Today, our museum continues to promote stewardship of whales and the salish sea ecosystem through education and research. Orca whale watching in the san juan islands island. The san juan islands are one of the best places in the world to see.
The best time to see killer whales in the san juan islands this is one of the most asked questions that we get. Not only do numbers tend to be at their highest during these months, but its also the warmest time of year in these parts, which makes for a very. San juan island is accessed via the wa state ferry that departs from anacortes, wa. Friday harbor, wa united states whale cove san juan. Humpback whales, minke whales, and, gray whales also call the region home. San juan island whale watching day trip from seattle, wa. Our boats have lots of amenities to make your trip more comfortable, including two onboard restrooms, a large heated cabin with oversized windows, a snack bar with food for purchase, and a customdesigned interior. San juan safaris, located in friday harbor on san juan island, is in the perfect location to provide you with the thrill of seeing orcas in their natural habitat. A locals guide to whale watching in the san juan islands. Orcas has about 4500 yearround residents, as compared to about 7000 yearround residents on san juan. Washington state ferry fares to the san juan islands paid at the anacortes terminal include round trip travel. We are the leaders in guaranteeing whales in 2019, we saw whales on 532 of 540 tours. Whether its whalewatching and sea kayaking, touring an art gallery or browsing a local farmers market, the san juan islands offer pleasing diversions for every age and interest.
Orca whale watching is a huge draw to the islands, but they have plenty more to offer visitors great food, outdoor activities and beautiful scenery. The plane arrives in time to enjoy the town for friday harbor and its many shops and restaurants. The day began early since we had to catch a ferry from the city to take us up to the san juan islands. You may catch them passing by from some of the coastal locations on the whale. There is a reason so many people come from all over the world to the san juan islands north of seattle to catch a glimpse of the worlds top ocean predator. Seaplane lands in friday harbor looking back at friday harbor. San juan island with the county seat friday harbor, orcas island, lopez island and shaw island. There are 172 named islands and reefs in san juan county, however the four ferry served islands. Kayak whale watching in the san juan islands, seattle, washington. Where does the san juan islands scenic byway begin and end.
Follow the whale trail san juan islands washington. For the best chance to view orca whales and other sea life, plan your trip between april and september a number of tour operators are available throughout. Baleen whales of the san juan islands humpback whale, gray whale, and minke whale. You can also spot humpbacks, minkes, gray whales, steller sea lions, and many other underrated species. San juan excursions san juan islands whale watching. The islands are surrounded by water and mountains, which makes for stunning views everywhere you look. San juan outfitters is widely considered san juan islands premier sea kayak and whale watch tour company.
Footage of my trip whale, and wildlife, watching in the san juan islands of washington state on july 17, 2011. While my dad was in town visiting me, we decided to go whale watching in the san juan islands. Follow the whale trail san juan islands washington visitors. For reference on the water, 300 yards is about three washington state ferry lengths or. San juan excursions san juan islands whale watching whale. Baleen whales of the san juan islands seattle washington. Why whale watching in washington states san juan islands should be on your bucket list.
The scenic byway starts at the anacortes ferry landing. Fly back to seattle after the whale watch tour or stay the night and return the next day. To start with, the san juan islands are the best place in the usa to spot orca or killer whales and bald eagles, after alaska. Our coast guard inspected vessels travel farther and faster than other tours, allowing you the best chance to see whales and other wildlife. See orcas in the wild, learn about salish sea wildlife, and enjoy the ride into the whales world. Baker will rise above the clouds before you, as you gaze over countless islands. More than 500,000 people annually go whale watching in the waters of washington and british columbia around the san juan islands. Have a whale of a time in the san juan islands, washington.801 1092 587 840 482 1268 607 1059 1036 810 868 511 758 479 974 1198 1501 491 152 1409 1256 1248 1423 372 850 324 1043 1132 51 734 464 543 1213 1060 1007