Tours and Tickets
Whale Watching from Friday Harbor
5

Whale Watching from Friday Harbor

By San Juan Safaris
Recommended by 97% of travelers
97% of reviewers gave this product a bubble rating of 4 or higher.
About
The waters surrounding San Juan Island are full of salmon, the primary food source of orca whales, making it an ideal location for whale watching. With this tour, set out on a boat equipped with a heated cabin and large viewing windows to look for killer whales in their natural habitat. San Juan Island is rich in wildlife, and minke, humpback, and gray whales can also often be seen in the area.
from
$135.00
per adult
Lowest price guaranteeReserve now & pay laterFree cancellation

Ages 0-99, max of 40 per group
Duration: 4h
Start time: Check availability
Mobile ticket
Meets animal welfare guidelines
Live guide: English
More

Highlights
  • Visit an ideal orca whale-viewing spot off San Juan Island
  • Enjoy the views from a boat with a walk-around deck and heated cabin
  • Look out for other marine life including humpback and gray whales
  • Convenient departure times throughout the day

  • Whale Watching Cruise
  • Local taxes
What's not included
  • Transport to/from Friday Harbor from Seattle
  • Gratuities
  • Port Fee (USD1.00 per person)

Meet at Friday Harbor in San Juan Island at your selected time and board the boat for your whale-watching cruise. Climb aboard and choose a seat in the heated cabin with large viewing windows or head outside for a spot on the walk-around deck. As you cruise, be on the lookout for whales and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Stop in prime locations and observe the species up close. Your seasoned captain is on hand to teach you about the ecology and geology of the waters in the region. While it’s not guaranteed that killer whales will be seen on this tour, they are spotted more than 90 percent of the time. Minke, humpback, and gray whales are also often spotted in this area. The tour ends at Friday Harbor where it began.

Start:
  • Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA
    San Juan Safaris' office is located on Front Street, to the right, in the lower level of the 2 story gray building. Downriggers Restaurant is on the top floor.
End:This activity ends back at the meeting point.

    • Not wheelchair accessible
    • Service animals allowed
    • Infant seats available
    If you have questions about accessibility, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 3053WHALE_F

    • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
    • For maximum safety children under 2 should be in a harness carrier strapped to a parent and remain in the cabin
    • "Special Limited" tour not recommended for child aged 13 and under
    • Restrooms are available on board the boat
    • Most travelers can participate
    • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund
    • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers

    • For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience.

    How much is Whale Watching from Friday Harbor?
    Whale Watching from Friday Harbor price starts from $135.00. Discover and book Whale Watching from Friday Harbor on Tripadvisor
    What is the Whale Watching from Friday Harbor cancellation policy?
    Whale Watching from Friday Harbor cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Whale Watching from Friday Harbor on Tripadvisor
    Which company provides Whale Watching from Friday Harbor?
    Whale Watching from Friday Harbor is hosted by San Juan Safaris. Read reviews, discover additonal experiences or contact San Juan Safaris on Tripadvisor. Discover and book Whale Watching from Friday Harbor on Tripadvisor
    How much time do I need for Whale Watching from Friday Harbor?
    On average, this experience will take approximately 4h. Discover and book Whale Watching from Friday Harbor on Tripadvisor

    If you have questions about this tour or need help making your booking, we’d be happy to help. Just call the number below and reference the product code: 3053WHALE_F

    Reserve your spot
    About the operator
    Don’t take it from us – here’s what people have to say about this operator:
    • San Juan Safaris
      740
      United States
      Joined in August 2008
    • ritaryan2020
      0 contributions
      Sea kayaking is the way to see the San Juan Islands
      We did the sea kayaking at sunset out of Roche Harbor. We had a wonderful experience with Andrew as our guide. The group was great (four boats of guests). The area is beautiful. We went close to the Canadian border, could see Vancouver Island with the Olympics in the background, saw multiple seals (really just their heads) and a beautiful totem pole on one of the smaller islands. The San Juan Islands are absolutely stunning and this was a relaxing and healthy way to enjoy their beauty and serenity!
      Written June 28, 2021
    • 635allanw
      0 contributions
      Dream day on the Kestrel!
      We took the Kestrel Zodiac tour on September 9 and it was excellent. Both our naturalist (Erick) and our captain (Brian) were very knowledgeable and informative. It was a beautiful day out on the water, with a long trip down through Deception Pass to the Salish Sea. We observed a pod of 5 or 6 Transient Orcas hunt, play and lazily move north. We also were able to see Stellar Sea Lions and Harbor Seals as we made our way back north to Friday Harbor. Erick and Brian were knowledgeable, courteous, friendly and generally lots of fun to be with that day. I would HIGHLY recommend San Juan Safaris and our crew. We'll be back ourselves next time we're in Seattle!
      Written September 29, 2020
    • TDBrady12
      0 contributions
      Awe inspiring experience
      We have gone on 2 trips with this company and had great fun both times. The first trip was in July with my son. Saw a lot of Minke whales and other marine mammals that trip. The second trip was just my partner and I. The crew went the extra mile, literally, to find a pod of Southern Resident Killer Whales. We were about as far north as we could get without crossing into Canadian waters. (Border closed due to Covid-19). We stayed out for 4.5 hours to get the best experience possible. The naturalists do a great job explaining everything. Saw quite a few Harbor Porpoises on the trip out, too. Was just an excellent experience. Will be back for more rides in the future as I can’t see that this will ever get old for me. As a bonus, this company donates a portion of each ticket price back towards conservation efforts, which I applaud.
      Written September 23, 2020
    • AmberGogo
      0 contributions
      Amazing and Breathtaking
      Whale watching has been on our bucket list for years. San Juan Safaris was amazing! The captain was excellent and gave us the best front row Orca show. What a wonderful breathtaking experience!!! We have a three year old and they were able to accommodate for a small child and provide a safe and fun experience. I would recommend San Juan Safaris to everyone!
      Written September 7, 2020
    • M5424MDalejandrag
      0 contributions
      Amazing experience
      The most valuable and important thing for me was having a knowledgeable, passionate tour guide, who made this trip more enjoyable and full of amazing information about what we were watching. She found a group of whales from an insane distance and made it look easy. Nice, kind and knowledgeable staff, well equipped and safe boat. Totally worth the price (140USD total) and will do it again without blinking.
      Written September 7, 2020
    • SC98011
      0 contributions
      Great weather and whales, oh my!
      Left Friday Harbor for a long sunny boat ride to where whales had been spotted. Just beautiful scenery. The weather was perfect and the boat traveled at a faster speed than I expected (my 8 yr old grandson had a blast sitting up front with binoculars). We arrived at the designated spot to see a family of active Orcas feeding and splashing around. Everyone was very impressed and amazed at the sighting. Spent some time there and headed back. Saw eagles and porpoise along the way. The crew (Captain Sara and Naturalist Olivia) were very approachable and provided good comments along the way. Just a beautiful and exciting day. I give this trip a A++.
      Written August 7, 2020
    • R1928HXdavids
      0 contributions
      Fantastic Boat Ride!
      The team was great. Booking process fluid and we say all the animals! Minkes, Sea Lions, Seals, Otters, and all types of birds, even a couple of Bald Eagles.
      Written August 6, 2020
    • courtneyd545
      0 contributions
      WE SAW ALL THE ORCAS!!!!!!
      This was an AMAZING birthday trip for my mom and I!! Capt. Brian and first mate Alexandria were fantastic and very knowledgeable hosts! We saw at least 15-20 Orcas of all sizes during our trip. We also got to go under Deception Pass which was beautiful! The adventure tour was the way to go - the speed boat was super fun! Book early and sit up front for the best ride! The crew provided us with a cozy get up (pictured) but I would recommend bringing a buff for your face, it gets a little windy and we were glad to have had ours on us.
      Written July 23, 2020
    • cbinla
      0 contributions
      Great Time!
      We had a great time on the adventure tour. We highly recommend it! 😊 Captain Brian found the killer whales!
      Written July 21, 2020
    • 921deana
      0 contributions
      Awesome trip! Highly recommended
      Everything about this trip was awesome. Reservations were easy. Communication was excellent. Trip confirmation call was a pleasant surprise and helped me avoid some mistakes that would have ruined our day. The captain and naturist were friendly and informative. Their equipment is top-notch. The captain knew where the whales were and took us to them. Not the case every time, but these guys are good and we got to see two different pods. We also saw stellar sea lions, Harbor seals and bald eagles.I would highly recommend this trip. Aside from the whale watching the scenery is spectacular.
      Written July 20, 2020
    • sojourner04
      0 contributions
      Great company, great people
      Even if no whales. Everyone on the trip was disappointed we couldn’t find whales, no one more so than the captain and his first mate. These are wild animals though, in a big ocean. Brian and the others who offer these tours are doing so respectfully, no tracking nor otherwise disturbing the whales’ natural behaviors. That means sometimes, even in peak season and with the extensive network and experience of the professionals, you go out and the pods are nowhere to be found. I wanted to leave a review that is still 5 stars, even in this scenario. The captain and his crew still created an exceptional experience.
      Written July 17, 2020
    • L_RonnieM
      0 contributions
      Magical experience
      This was my second trip with San Juan Safaris and with Lola our naturalist during the excursion, we learned so much about the sea life and had so much fun as soon as we were on the boat ! We got to see orcas and bold headed eagles as well as seals, orcas are majestic animals and we got to experience them in their natural habitat in a very respectful way.
      Written July 16, 2020
    • currl22
      0 contributions
      San Juan Safari
      We had a great whale watching trip with San Jaun Safaris and were lucky enough to see humpback and orca whales, as well as getting terrific weather for the trip! Even with COVID restrictions, it was still a fantastic time and the staff took us right to the whales that had been spotted by other boats. It was a truly unforgettable experience to see these animals in the wild!
      Written July 14, 2020
    • 453brandonh
      0 contributions
      Can't Wait to Come Back
      Had one free day on a recent work trip to Seattle and decided to spend it at Friday Harbor. Ended up booking an Adventure Whale Watching tour with San Juan Safaris to get out on the water in their zodiac. Captain Brian (who just so happens to own the company) and his Naturalist Olivia had us suited up and on the whales in no time. This duo made sure we all had a great trip, and even walked away a little more educated than we were when we arrived. We were fortunate enough to see a handful or killer whales, and the closed out the trip with a humpback sighting. Overall it was a great experience with some great people. Will for sure look to come back with my wife and hopefully enjoy this experience again!
      Written July 14, 2020
    • Akira_1215
      0 contributions
      Most Amazing Experience with the best naturalist and captain!!! Highly recommend booking with San Juan Safaris!!
      Naturalist Laura and Captain Pete are the best guides to experience whale watching. We saw a pod of 5 Transient Orca Whales (Mama and Baby and 3 others). Our trip was 3-4 hours long and from the moment we found the whales till the end of the trip it was one amazing experience to follow the pod and learn about them. The rainbow at the end of the trip was like cherry on top
      Written July 14, 2020
    See all 740 reviews
    These reviews are the subjective opinions of Tripadvisor members and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

    Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

    Popular mentions

    5.0
    605 reviews
    Excellent
    562
    Very good
    25
    Average
    7
    Poor
    9
    Terrible
    2

    TooDelishToQuit
    Seattle, WA24 contributions
    Apr 2022
    Naturalist Maxx told us early into the trip that he and Captain Brian had good luck when searching for Orcas and they did not disappoint! They're in constant communication with other vessels and an app to make sure they know if any spottings occur. We went all the way to Mayne Island in Canada on a rumor of a whale sighting and witnessed an epic predation as a family of 3 hunted a Stellar Sea Lion. We saw the Orcas ram and flip and throw themselves onto their prey. They celebrated the end with breeching and tail slaps – It was a very exciting encounter! We stayed later than they had planned because it was so cool but they were very considerate and asked if anyone had conflicts with the schedule. I would highly recommend them!
    Written April 17, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Elizabeth B
    1 contribution
    Sep 2021 • Couples
    My husband and I did the Adventure Whale watching tour on September 15th, 2021 which included a puddle jumper flight from Seattle to San Juan Island which only took 40mins. If you are looking for a fast & affordable way to get to the island, this is the way to go and such a cool experience!

    This was by far the best whale watching tour I’ve ever done! We got to see 3 different pods of orca (T99, T18 & T65b) which was so magical. Our tour guides definitely went above and beyond to make sure we not only got to see the whales, but to also stick with them for a while to really enjoy the experience.

    Haleigh our guide was very knowledgeable & personable and our driver Solon (? Spell check) was equally as awesome.

    Would highly recommend this tour and I hope we get to do it again if we ever go back to San Juan Island (which we will!)

    * picture included is one of the males from the T65b pod (pretty sure).
    Written September 18, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    IowaPsychologist
    Des Moines, IA8 contributions
    Jun 2021
    An absolutely amazing adventure. We watched a mama humpback teaching her calf how to jump, tail slap, and fluke slap. The Captain and the Naturalists were great about answering any questions. They were very focused on our safety and the safety/comfort of the whales. Certainly there is no guarantee that you will see what my son and I did...but I can recommend these guys without any reservation.

    Dr. K
    Written June 15, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    IndTravelller
    United States48 contributions
    We set off on the ferry from Friday harbor. The boat was clean, decently sized so there was no overcrowding and the crew was welcoming. We were a group of 6 with my parents (seniors) and two your kids (11 and 7). We made ourselves comfortable on the top deck and were treated to some amazing weather, the vivid blue of the sea and the gorgeous San Juan islands surrounding us. Throughout the journey, there were informative announcements about the wildlife in the area. My 7 year old had a LOT of questions about sharks, octopuses and orcas of course! The crew patiently answered all of them, which I really appreciated. An hour or so into the ride we were amidst the Orcas. The captain shut the engine off and steadied the boat as we were treated to an experience of a lifetime. A big pod of Orcas, jumping up from the waters, tail up. It was breathtaking. We later headed out and saw an island full of sea lions and seals. The only thing I hope was a bit better on the ship was the food. There wasn’t much choice . The overall trip was about 3 hours and it was a truly memorable and fun experience.
    Written July 18, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Michael G
    1 contribution
    Jun 2022
    The vessel and crew were very nice. Snack bar had everything you needed. Plenty of room on the boat. However, we saw a few harbor seals which you could have seen from the docks. That was it. It was not worth the $150.00 per person fee. I know nothing is guaranteed, but I figured by charging that amount, we would definitely see some whales. Never again will I be suckered like that.
    Written June 26, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Julietravelsalot
    Plainview, MN106 contributions
    A group of 17 of us charted the M/V Sea Lion for a whale watch. We had a great time. The guide, Abi, and captain were both knowledgeable, eager to answer questions, and spotted wildlife for us. We watched a pod of 4 transient orcas. This was a great experience. We had plenty of room to move around on the boat. There is an indoor area if anyone gets cold. There are steps down to the toilet. This was well worth the extra cost of a charter vs buying tickets on a public tour.
    Written July 4, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Phil W
    2 contributions
    Jul 2021
    A Great time and great staff! My wife and I have been on several whale watching trips and this one was in the top 2. The other one was with San Juan Safaris also. Captain Gabe got us on orcas within 10 min. He knew when to cut the motor and the orcas began the show for more than 20 min. next to the boat. I hope we can have an experience like this one again someday.
    Written July 27, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Andy B
    Houston, TX7 contributions
    Jul 2021
    Went on a whale watching adventure safari with san juan safari today. Wow... it was fantastic. Laura and Eric were the best. Eric put us on several pods of orca's and Laura told us all about the pods, knew their names and stories. It was just awesome. Saw 11 orca whales from 3 diff pods... even saw 2 pods on one pass, 2 bald eagles and countless sea lions sun bathing. They even have all the gear needed to keep us warm out on the water. We highly recommend these guys. Thank you Laura and Eric...
    Written July 10, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    MAS9024
    Seattle, WA73 contributions
    Aug 2022
    The entire experience from making the reservations to disembarking the boat when the trip was completed was truly amazing. This company is organized! Online reservations, email, text messaging follow-up, one telephone conversation was professional. The boat was clean and there was plenty of space for everyone. They offer snacks and drinks for sale. The trip was amazing! The crew is very knowledgeable and gave lots of interesting information as we traveled. Our visitors from the East coast were so excited. We saw a humpback whale. THEN we saw Orcas! And, boy did they put on a show for us. Along with seeing the whales, it's a beautiful scenic ride. We recommend this company for Whale Watching from Friday Harbor. We live here and would do this again !!
    Written August 20, 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

    Sravya J
    1 contribution
    Jun 2021
    The entire experience was highly disappointing!

    We booked the Adventure Tour, and they changed it to the Classic Tour, without giving us even 24 hours notice. We had already booked a sea plane ride independently that couldn't be cancelled at such short notice. We had no choice but to go on the Classic Tour, even though we didn't want to.

    This is the second time we are taking this tour. The first one (in November last year) was disappointing as well, with zero whale sightings. We were hoping to see some on this trip, but alas! The website is not transparent about the probability of sightings, citing "90%" probability, which I believe is false. The website should provide statistics each month to allow visitors to make an informed decision. This company appears to be purely a money-making enterprise!
    Written June 10, 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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    Whale Watching from Friday Harbor provided by San Juan Safaris

    Product Overview: Whale Watching from Friday Harbor

    Prices From

    $135

    Number of Reviews

    605

    Number of Photos

    415

    Duration

    240 minutes