The Best Places for Whale Watching Adventure Trips from The Best Places for Whale Watching Adventure Trips

The Best Places for Whale Watching Adventure Trips

Whale watching anywhere in the world is, for many, once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the giant marine mammals. Depending on where you are, breathtaking towering blue icebergs, mountains or endless black seas swirling around may be in the background. Just imagine witnessing the rare sight of a whale clearing its blowhole…This is a show to relish and appreciate.

Kodiak Island, Alaska

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Kodiak waters include fin, minke, sei, humpback and gray whales, according to Discover Kodiak. Whale migration to northern waters begins in April starting with the gray whale. In June you can expect to see the others as well. Fins and humpbacks are common June through November. Many charter boats and marine wildlife tour are available. You can also spot whales from many cliff sides or beaches including Miller Point at Fort Abercrombie State Park.

Hawaii

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Winter is the only time in Hawaii you can see migrating humpback whales, which is why then is the best time to visit the magnificent islands. Thousands of them come to the islands’ protected waters to mate. January, February and March are the peak months for humpback whale watching. The best places are Maui, Lanai, and the Big Island, according to GoVisitHawaii.com.

Hermanus, South Africa

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Many private whale watching tours, including hotel-pick up from anywhere in Cape Town and travel to the town of Hermanus, are organized mostly between June and December. A typical trip includes exploring the magnificent coastline and bay while looking for whales, dolphins, sharks, seals and seabirds. You’ll see southern right whales, Bryde’s whales, humpback whales, and even great white sharks. 

Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego

Each winter, the Pacific gray whales pass by the western overlooks of Cabrillo National Monument, according to NPS. Mid-January is the peak of the migration, but the grays are visible from mid- to late December through March. The best viewing spots are the heights around the park’s Whale Overlook and Old Point Loma Lighthouse. Don’t forget to bring binoculars.

The Azores, Portugal

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The autonomous region of Portugal is an archipelago formed by nine volcanic islands and a few islets. They are still relatively undiscovered, yet they offer a wide range of adventurous activities. Many tours to see blue whales are offered to visitors. The Blue Whale Migration is a special Whale Watching and research program focusing on the biggest animal to ever live on the planet.

Dominica, Caribbean

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Dominica’s underwater drop-offs create deep sheltered bays that are feeding grounds for about 20 different species of cetaceans. The most commonly seen are the short-fin pilot whales, false killer whales, melon head whales, pygmy, and humpback whales. However, the country’s most impressive ocean giant is the sperm whale, the largest predator on earth, according to Dive Dominica. They can be seen year-round.

Provincetown, Massachusetts

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New England is not all about foliage in the fall. Whale watching is an adventure many have probably not thought of yet. The season starts mid-April and the tours run through October. April through June may be the best time to take a trip as an unprecedented number of whales are usually spotted during these months, according to Provincetown Hotel.

Húsavík, Iceland

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Get closer to the whales in the whale capital of Iceland – Husavik. Several different kinds of tours are offered. Other than the standard boat trip, offered daily between March and October, you can go carbon-neutral on the Húsavík Silent Whale Watching tour, which is offered May through December. Also, you can see the puffins on a whales and puffins tour, which is available on an authentic sailboat.

San Juan Islands, Washington

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The San Juan Islands are one of the world’s best whale watching spots. The majestic killer whales live in there year round, which makes this the perfect vacation escape for both nature-lovers and adventure-seekers alike. Your journey to the islands, whether by plane, boat, or float plane, will offer the opportunity to explore the great outdoors by hiking along beaches or through the deep woods of San Juan Island National Historical Park.

Antarctica

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The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the best places in the world to see minke whales. They have been known to approach boats. They are one of the most commonly spotted whales on Antarctic cruises, and are often seen around the pack ice, according to Responsible Travel. Tourists are also likely to spot humpback whales, which are easily recognizable by their enormous flippers. Blue whales migrate to Antarctica in the summer. It’s also common to spot orcas on cruises.

New Zealand

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Southern Ocean humpbacks migrate thousands of miles between high-latitude (Antarctica) summer feeding grounds and low-latitude winter breeding and calving grounds, according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation. The whales travel mainly along the east-coast of the South Island and through Cook Strait during winter, and return along the west-coast during spring.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

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The waters of Virginia Beach are rich on food like menhaden and bay anchovies that attracts different sea species including migrating whales in colder months. Excursions are offered by two tour operators in the town, according to Visit Virginia Beach. Humpback, fin and sometimes right whales are seen most often as they complete their Atlantic migrations.

Baffin Island, Canada

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Get on a boat alongside a group of playful beluga or white whales, which is sometimes called the sea canary due to its high-pitched squeaks, squeals, clucks and whistles, according to Nunavut Tourism. Living in both arctic and sub-arctic waters, pods of belugas often congregate near the mouths of rivers. Belugas are common along the eastern shores of Baffin Island, from Qikiqtarjuaq and Clyde River as far north as Pond Inlet. You can see bowhead whales.

Monterey Bay, California

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You can go whale watching any time. Tours are available year round.  You’ll see humpback, blue whales and orcas from April to December, and gray whales from December to April. The coast also attracts dolphins. There are marine biologists on all trips.

Baja California, Mexico

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This is one of the most adventurous Spring Break destinations. Kayak by day and camp on the beach by night; you’ll find yourself surrounded by an abundance of wildlife. Pacific gray whales return to their traditional breeding and birthing grounds in sheltered San Ignacio Lagoon on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula in the winter, according to Natural Habitat Adventures. You can go on a 6-day trip to see them come at the end of their nearly 6,000 miles move from Alaska to Baja.

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

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Going on a tour there will give you an opportunity to see orcas, Pacific grey whales, humpback whales and a lot of other marine wildlife. It is estimated that 79 killer whales live in the waters around southern Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands, while the northeast coast is home to about 250, as well as minke and humpback whales, according to Hello BC. About 20,000 Pacific gray whales make their annual migration along Vancouver Island’s west coast. Go there in time for the whale festival, Pacific Rim Festival, to celebrate their journey.

Bar Harbor, Maine

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Whales travel to Maine’s cool waters to feed for the summer and return to warmer climates to mate and give birth. A boat tour takes whale watchers miles offshore to see these creatures, among the largest on earth – humpbacks, finbacks, minkes, and right whales, according to Bar Harbor Info. Humpbacks are the most playful. Finbacks are among the fastest of the great whales and called the “greyhounds of the sea.”

Cunningham Inlet, Nunavut, Canada

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The shallow waters of Cunningham Inlet, on Somerset Island, are a hot spot for these absolutely adorable whale species. They come to mate, raise their young and bask in the Arctic midnight sun. Another reason, according to scientists, is that the whale could molt. Every July they come to rub their old, yellowed skin in the shallows of the inlet, revealing the snow-white epidermis beneath, according to Quark Expeditions.

Santa Barbara, California

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The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the best venues in the country, and in the world, for seeing sea life, especially whales. This is because its nutrient-rich water which is home to hundreds of species of marine life as well as a wide variety of seabirds, according to Santa Barbara CA. The best time to go on a tour is from late November through April when thousands of Pacific gray whales migrate through the Channel, heading south to the warm water lagoons of Baja California.

The Maldives

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The Maldives is home to a very rich whale and dolphin fauna. Dolphins are also seen all the time. Twenty-three species of whales and dolphins have been recorded, according to The Whale & Dolphin Company. Short-fin pilot whales and dwarf sperm whales are abundant. People on cruises also often encounter blue whales and Bryde’s whales. The Maldives has an international reputation for its beaked whales.

The Best Places for Whale Watching Adventure Trips