The best whale watching spots in the US

Whale watching is an unbelievably powerful experience that all lovers of marine life must have at some point. Sometimes, though, it can be a disappointment because you never know if the whales will show up while you’re waiting on the boat or at the beach. Wildlife spotting is a quite unpredictable thing to do because the animals are, by definition, wild! With whales, things are a bit better because marine biologists and local fishermen know exactly when these majestic and massive sea mammals are migrating. Knowing their migration path, it’s easier to follow their movement in the ocean waters. The US is famous for whale watching activities. There are many places to visit and many different species of whale to see, depending on where you want to go and when. Here are some of the best whale watching spots across the States.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Glacier bay – Author: Christopher Michel – CC BY 2.0
Glacier bay – Author: Christopher Michel – CC BY 2.0

From June to August Glacier Bay in Alaska is the best place to see different whale species including Humpback, Minke, Orca, and Blue Whales. Use the opportunity when the temperatures are temperate and go to see the Blue Whales whose calls can be heard from Alaska to Japan. Awesome, right?

Juneau, Alaska

From April to November, humpback whales can be seen from the shore of Alaska’s capital, while from a boat you can see orca pods in the wild. Make sure you don’t forget your camera because you never know if what you see today will be there tomorrow.

Kodiak Island, Alaska

Kodiak Island is a whale lovers’ paradise because the whale spotting season lasts longer than at other places. In April, you can attend the 10-day festival that every year celebrates the return of the Eastern Pacific gray whales to the area. Then, from June to November humpback whales, minke, and fin whales are a regular sight. If you’re lucky enough you can also see Sei whales in the waters around Kodiak.

Big Sur, California

Point Sur from the north
Point Sur from the north

As a whale fan, you may have thought about moving to Big Sur because the whale spotting here is available year-round. This is one of the best places to visit on the west coast, and there are plenty of opportunities to see humpback, blue, and gray whales. It is even better if you have a whale expert next to you who can teach you the differences between different whale species. But, even if you have no idea what it is that you’re seeing in front of you, it doesn’t matter. All whales are impressively awesome and beautiful.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

One of the top ten places in the world with a 99% chance of whale spotting success. This means that if you go on a whale watching tour, you will see humpbacks, minke, or fin whales for sure.

San Diego, California

Whale watching choices in San Diego are virtually endless. You can see gray whales if you go on a tour or just head to the western overlook of Cabrillo National Monument. The peak season is in January. Blue and fin whales are present in the area from June to September.

Jacksonville, Florida

The North Atlantic Right Whales are still fighting their way back from near extinction, but they can still be seen around. From November to April you can see them anywhere on the northeast coast of Florida between Jacksonville and Cape Canaveral.

Maui, Hawaii

Whale watching on Maui – James Brennan Molokai Hawaii – Author: James Brennan Moloka – CC BY 3.0
Whale watching on Maui – James Brennan Molokai Hawaii – Author: James Brennan Moloka – CC BY 3.0

From December to April you can see around 3,000 humpback whales that come here for mating. There are actually more than 20 different whale species that can be seen here, but the humpback is the star of Hawaii.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Anytime between December and March you can spot humpback whales at Virginia Beach. When the weather is warmer, then you can see bottlenose dolphins as well.

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival