Best Whale Watching Locations in the U.S.

Visit these famous whale watching spots to see Humpbacks and Orcas.

Invite family and friends to enjoy a whale watching excursion. The unpredictable nature of whale watching is what makes it so exciting. If you see whales on the journey, the experience of interacting with the Earth’s largest animals will stick with you forever. In fact, different regions provide unique species of whales to observe.

It is important to know when to go whale watching, since tours often run year round, while whale migration moves the population all over the world depending on the time of year. With this in mind, we have the best places to whale watch in the U.S.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is world-renowned for its whale spotting season, which lasts from spring to fall. Large pods of humpbacks, minke, and fin whales thrive off the New England coast. Some boats advertise a 99 percent success rate on their excursions. It may sound outrageous, but it’s as close to a sure thing as you can find in the whale watching world. Since you’re in Cape Cod, make sure you grab a lobster roll on the way.

Monterey Bay, California

The best thing about whale watching in Monterey Bay? The season lasts all year long! The area is a hotspot for migrating whales, and you never know what you might see. Blue whales stick around during the summer months, along with humpbacks and gray whales. You may even spot a few Orcas in the colder months.

Long Island, NY

The massive feeding frenzy attracts a diverse group of species from thousands of miles away. Humpbacks, minkes, right whales, blue whales, fin whales, and sei whales call Long Island home for a little while, giving you the rare chance to cross multiple types of whales off your list in one trip.

San Juan Islands, Washington

The ocean’s apex predators thrive in the frigid Pacific waters off the coast of Washington state.  Orca’s appear so regularly in the region that one of the islands is appropriately named, Orca island. 

Make sure you have a big enough boat if you plan to encounter the heavyweight champions of the sea. Grays, minkes, and humpbacks are also seen regularly throughout the islands.

We recently went whale watching and had an incredible time. Humpbacks slap their tails on the surface of the water to create confusion amongst schools of bait fish. While the “bubble nets” created by the disturbance hold the small organisms in place, the whales dive deep and then speed to the surface with their mouths open. Often times if multiple whale watching tours are in the same area, the whales will swim back and forth between the boats to hello to the eager onlookers. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.