Some of the best whale watching experiences in the United States can only be found here along Washington’s beautiful coast. Every year these migratory species make their way to the Pacific Coast during the spring and fall, giving visitors and locals alike a chance to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. And there’s no better way to see these giants of the sea up close and personal than by taking advantage of one of the many whale watching tours the Snohomish County area has to offer!

Snohomish County whale watching tours
A humpback whale enjoying playing in a bunch of bull kelp before deciding to approach the boat. Photo courtesy: Island Adventures Whale Watching

Island Adventures

402 14th St., Everett

In 1996, the first ship set sail for Island Adventures in Everett, and they have been delighting locals and tourists alike with one-of-a-kind whale watching experiences ever since. Orcas, humpbacks, minkes, gray whales, and more abound for those who climb aboard, all seen in record numbers during their spectacularly exciting tours. So much so that their tour has been voted the best in the Northwest many times over the years.

Their highly qualified crew will definitely make your trip unforgettable with multiple tour options to choose from, including an extended range tour that allows you to enjoy 10 to 12 hours on the sea!

Puget Sound Express

Snohomish County whale watching tours
Sea lions enjoy the weather during a Puget Sound Express tour. Photo credit: Bart Rulon

459 Admiral Way, Edmonds

Puget Sound Express in Edmonds also offers sea creature lovers a chance to see orcas, humpbacks, gray whales, minke whales, and the like out and about in the wild. Their Seattle/Edmonds Tours promise four to five hours of fun where your ship will set sail from Edmonds and head towards whale fun that awaits in Seattle. They guarantee you’ll see these fascinating creatures on the tour, having one of the best success rates in the industry in their 37 years of sailing the high seas in search of gentle giants.

Seattle Orca Whale Watching

Snohomish County whale watching tours
Lively orcas enjoying some water fun during a Seattle Orcas whale watching tour. Photo courtesy: Seattle Attractions

950 Westlake Ave. N, Seattle

A short drive to Seattle is all it takes to experience whale watching with Seattle Orca Whale Watching. Here, they’ve partnered with San Juan Safaris to offer people from all over the globe an incredible whale watching tour they promise you’ll never forget!

This tour’s location is perfect considering that the San Juan Islands are the best place to see wild orca whales in not only Washington but the entire United States. Sign up for a tour and see these incredible creatures’ tremendous power and beauty firsthand on their whale watching tours.

San Juan Clipper

Snohomish County whale watching tours
Splish splash says the orcas during a San Juan Clipper tour in Seattle. Photo courtesy: Victoria Clipper

2701 Alaskan Way, Pier 69, Seattle

Offering half-day whale watching tours between May and October is San Juan Clipper in Seattle. Lasting anywhere from four to six hours, those signing up for this tour can expect to experience the best Seattle whale watching tour that is the only half-day Seattle whale watching tour in the area that departs and returns to the downtown area.

Hop aboard and start your epic adventure across the Salish Sea, where you’ll discover and see a variety of sealife and wildlife along with the giants who call the water home. This is all thanks to the expert naturalist that will be on board to guide the tour and point out these magnificent creatures as the ship sails along, exploring some of the Pacific Northwest’s most scenic areas.

Of course, sailing the high seas isn’t always for everyone as seasickness is very real and not something to be taken lightly. Luckily there are still plenty of places to view the whales that share our waters along the shoreline. Edmonds itself is fortunate enough to have over five miles of waterfront, from the marina to Haines Wharf Park.

Snohomish County whale watching tours
All kinds of sea life make appearances during tours so keep your eyes peeled! Photo courtesy: Island Adventures Whale Watching

If you head over to the area hoping to catch a glimpse of the whales and intend to stay awhile, you can even spend the night at the infamous Whale’s Nest. This beautifully renovated guest house/meeting place is located in the heart of downtown Edmonds and is the perfect jumping-off spot for whale seekers as it is just a few blocks from the beach. Head on out to the water’s wayside and keep your eyes peeled along the horizon as you just might catch a glimpse of these playful creatures. Besides the Edmonds, the whales are also frequently seen along Shoreline and Alki Beach in Seattle.

If you follow the Orca Network across their social media platforms, you can keep up to date on the whales’ latest activity and a list of where they’re frequently seen for a better chance of catching a glimpse of them. When you head out to find them, keep the Whale Trail saved as a handy guide, as it consists of 46 designated sites dedicated to whale watching in our great state of Washington. Each spot along the trail offers a fantastic glimpse of all of Washington’s marine life — just remember to pack a pair of binoculars for the best up-close view possible and respect the rules while giving the animals space.

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