What are the best places for whale watching? There are plenty of places where you can catch a glimpse of these incredible behemoths. However, not all will offer the same breathtaking experience. Now you can discover 8 best places for whale watching, the best time to go, and what tours to take to see them:
1. Cape Cod
Cape Cod is one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world. The numerous humpback, minke, and herring whales come to Cape Cod annually to feed. Moreover, groups of humpback whales are so multiple that almost every tourist gets wet to the skin from the spray they create.
The Whale Watch Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown is one of the many charters to go with on a tour of these whales. They depart from Macmillan and Fisherman’s Wharf. Most trips last three to four hours and are led by experienced naturalists. In addition to whales, you can see seals and dolphins.
Best time for whale watching in Cape Cod: The best time for whale watching is between June and September, where Finback whales are most often seen.
2. Orcas Island, Washington State
Orcas Island is also considered one of the best whale-watching spots, where Orca whales are seen heading north during the spring.
Many charters on the Island do tours like the Orcas Island Eclipse Charters. The best opportunity for an up-close view is to take a kayak trip, a far more intimate experience than a typical whale watching tour.
As you sail through calm waters, in addition to Orca whales, you are likely to see all sorts of other wildlife, including bald eagles, porpoises, seals, and sea otters.
Best time for whale watching on Orcas Island: The best time for whale watching is spring.
3. Maui, Hawaii
As many as 3,000 Humpback whales come to mate and give birth in the warm and protected waters between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. Then they sail back to Alaska. What is unique about whale watching here is that you can eavesdrop on the whales’ mating calls.
Many companies offer day and evening whale watching tours on large and small boats. The Aloha Kayaks Maui and the Trilogy Excursions are the 2 main attractions that provide tours. Most give you a whale sighting guarantee, and if you don’t get to see whales during the tour, the companies will offer you another tour for free. Some companies also suggest you listen to whale songs with hydrophones. Diving in a submarine is another excellent way to see humpback whales.
Best time for whale watching in Hawaii: The peak season for humpback whale migration to Hawaii occurs from January to March.
Alaska is also one of the best whale watching destinations. Various whales can be seen, such as the Humpback, Orca, Beluga, Bowhead, Gray, Minke, and Northern Right. Boat tours are top-rated in Alaska as they are often the best way to see whales and glaciers.
In particular, Glacier Bay National Park is an ideal spot for humpback whale watching. They are remarkably acrobatic for their size, known for stunning spectators with their explosive full-body punches and pectoral fin strikes. Seeing this spectacle is truly a unique experience.
Resurrection Bay is a popular spot due to its food-rich water that attracts marine life, and sometimes you can even spot whales from the local beach. Another excellent spot for humpback whale watching is near the city of Juneau. It is possible to see a mother with a calf.
Best time for whale watching in Alaska: The best whale watching season there is during the summer.
5. Granville Island, Vancouver
On Granville Island, whale watching has become an incredibly popular pastime. There are many opportunities to watch for them, as not far from the coast of Vancouver Island, there is a major migration route for whales swimming across the Pacific Ocean. Whales sail from Mexico to the Bering Sea and stop in the bays of Vancouver Island to rest and eat. Therefore, there are many boat tours like The Wild Whales Vancouver that offer this experience.
While all types of whales are impressive, humpback whales are the most popular with most viewers. And not by accident. Humpback whales are known for their acrobatic skills and enchanting “songs.” When watching whales, you can often hear these magical sounds. In addition, dolphins, penguins, and sea otters are sure to mesmerize.
Best time for whale watching on Granville Island: The best time to watch is February and May.
6. Los Cabos, Mexico
Every year, in the early days of December, thousands of gray whales swim to Mexico from the cold waters of Alaska to the warm waters of California Bay.
The spectacular gray whale sails into Mexican waters to have fun, give birth to their young, and show off and show curious visitors one of the most incredible natural wonders of the world – the vertical jump. While watching the gray whale, you can also see dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, and thousands of birds.
Whales tend to stay in the shallow waters and often get close enough to shore that they are visible from land. El Arco is one of the tours that will take you.
Best time for whale watching in Las Cabos: It is best to visit Los Cabos for whale watching between December and April.
7. South Island, New Zealand
Most travelers come to Kaikoura for the chance to see whales. This town is the best whale spotting to see Mighty Sperm whales and can be spotted year-round.
This area has ideal conditions for the abundant growth of plankton and all its consumers. As a result, here, you will also meet other marine life representatives, such as fur seals and several species of dolphins.
There is no shortage of whale-watching tour companies here. However, Whale Watch Tours is an excellent place to start.
Best time for whale watching on South Island: You can see Orca whales between December and March, while Humpback whales in June and July.
8. Hermanus, South Africa
Hermanus is considered one of the best whale watching destinations. Whales have their own festival there. It takes place in a small bay in the city of Hermanus. It is here that whales come to give birth to their babies and stay here until the cubs grow up.
The best part about this experience is that you can easily spot them right from the shore. Observation platforms are equipped on the cliffs and rocks of the coast, from which all the somersaults and pirouettes of whales in the bay are perfectly visible, and sometimes about 20 individuals have fun jumping and fountains there at once!
In addition, sea excursions are organized, allowing you to admire these giants up close. So, if you prefer to take a tour, try Walker Bay Adventures. They offer sea kayaking tours to Walker Bay’s whale sanctuary.
Best time for whale watching in Hermanus: Between July and November, with peak times in October, is when Southern Right whales are spotted. Humpback whales are seen starting in May.
9. Azores, Portugal
The Azores is one of the best places to see whales in the world to catch a glimpse of whales, as there is a 98 percent chance of seeing at least one species of dolphin or whale here. The best way to watch the whales is by boat. Guided tours are available through various outfitters, which depart from Ponta Delgado on Sao Miguel Island.
Many species of whales choose the Azores, including blue whales, orca whales, sea whales, humpback whales, baleen whales, and fin whales. But perhaps the most exciting is the blue whale – the largest animal on the planet, weighing up to 200 tons and 100 feet long.
Best time for whale watching in the Azores: The whale watching season is from April to early October.
10. San Juan, Washington, USA
The San Juan Islands are located off the US West Coast in Washington State and are another best place to see whales. For example, orca whales, gray whales, humpback whales, minke whales, dolphins, seals, and otters are there.
The whale watching park is considered one of the best in the world. Go on a boat tour to watch whales and dolphins. It will be an unforgettable trip, full of emotions and impressions. Friendly mammals have long been accustomed to the presence of people. They pose for cameras without fear and even with pleasure.
However, if you don’t want to go out on the water in a boat or kayak, one of the best places to see whales from shore is at Lime Kiln Point State Park, AKA Whale Watch Park, where they come especially close to land.
Best time for whale watching on San Juan: Whales are often seen in the waters off the western coast of San Juan Island from late May to early October.
11. Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Untouched Arctic scenery, northern lights, an abundance of whales, and other marine life that can be admired from the shores of Hudson Bay, as well as a variety of wild land animals, attract many tourists every year.
More than 57,000 belugas inhabit the region during the summer, living in the warmer waters of the Churchill River after the ice breakup. The playful “sea canaries,” so named for their unique high-pitched whistles, have few natural predators, keeping the population relatively stable.
Several tours are available, including zodiac excursions and large passenger boats, where you can watch the white whales and even listen to their conversations via hydrophones. In addition, adventure lovers can go kayaking or go snorkeling with whales.
Best time for whale watching in Churchill: You can see whales in Churchill from late May to September.
12. Dominica, Caribbeans
Dominica is the best place to see whales and dolphins. These beautiful creatures often swim in the Caribbean and pass by Dominica. The strong underwater slopes around Dominica create deep, sheltered coves along the west coast, creating an ideal breeding and calving paradise for whales.
Boat trips are not uncommon to places where they accumulate, so arm yourself with waiting and a camera. You will see whales and dolphins. Watching these creatures in their usual habitat is an indescribable feeling.
Best time for whale watching in Dominica: The whale watching season in Dominica is from November to March.
13. Puerto-Madryn, Argentina
Puerto Madryn is a small town near the Valdes Peninsula in the Patagonian region of Argentina. It is the best place to see whales in South America and the world.
From September to the first half of October, small whales are born, which do not immediately know how to swim and lie at the bottom almost all the time, so female whales come with them very close to the shore in bays with warm and calm water, and they can be observed directly from the beach.
To get even closer, take a whale-watching tour by boat to see these massive creatures appear near you – this is definitely one of the most popular tourist spots in Puerto Madryn.
Best time for whale watching in Puerto-Madryn: You are welcome to watch whales from June to December. But it is better to visit this incredible area in September when the whales come to the bays to give birth and teach their children to swim.
With the chance to see humpback, minke whales, white-billed dolphins, and porpoises, it’s no surprise that Iceland is fast becoming a favorite destination for marine mammal lovers.
Skjalfandi Bay in Husavik has long been considered one of the favorite haunts of these sea giants. Here you can see how killer whales play with their cubs, throwing them high into the air with their heads. And also, you can hear the songs of humpback whales, which occupy the top of the hit parade among marine life.
You can take a boat trip with Laki Tours and enjoy sailing the beautiful rugged Snaefellsnes peninsula, which is also blessed with another awe-inspiring phenomenon: the Northern Lights.
Best time for whale watching in Iceland: You can watch whales in Iceland from April to October.
If you want to watch how whales hunt for schools of fish, you are in Norway. To do this, go to the Vesterålen archipelago, to the city of Andenes. In the cold waters of the Lofoten Islands, there are many tiny fish that whales and dolphins love to feast on.
Whales come to these fertile waters for food, and the chances of meeting a whale, even during a short trip, reach 95%! So you can watch whales in Norway all year round, and in winter, you can see them right from the shore.
Best time for whale watching in Norway: You can come to Norway at any time of the year. In summer, you can see a huge minke whale on a whale safari, and in winter, orcas and humpback whales.
16. Hervey Bay, Australia
Hervey Bay, a coastal town in southern Queensland, is a humpback mountain paradise between August and November, with the waters of the Great Sandy Marine Park protected by Fraser Island, a preferred holiday destination.
Mothers use this time to teach their newborns survival skills before returning to Antarctic waters. All this makes Hervey Bay one of the best places for whale watching spots on the east coast of Australia.
Best time for whale watching in Hervey Bay: Whale watching here is guaranteed from mid-July until the end of October.
Spain is also included in the Best Places for Whale Watching list. Tenerife offers brilliant whale-watching opportunities. Therefore, this island ranks first in Europe in terms of the number of people who were able to see these animals in their usual habitat.
More than twenty species of whales and dolphins can be found in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Tenerife. From the giant blue whale to the fearsome Orca whale, pilot whales are the most common. Therefore, it is best to purchase a sea tour on a ship.
Best time for whale watching in Spain: You can watch whales in Tenerife at any time of the year.
Below, we have compiled a list of the most interesting questions about the best places for whale watching:
Where is the best place in the world to go whale-watching?
What state is best for whale-watching?
What time of year is best for whale-watching?
Where is the most common place to find whales?
Whale watching is such an electrifying moment to experience up close and in person – an experience you just don’t go once and then move on. You will want to return as often as you can.
So now that you know the best whale spotting; you can now get started on your trip of a lifetime.