San Juan Islands

Whale Watching from Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor, United States
Whale Watching from Friday Harbor

From $135.00

Select Date and Travelers

Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance.
  • 4 hours
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Get up close with the orca whales off the San Juan Islands near Seattle on this 4-hour whale-watching cruise. San Juan Island is where the southern resident killer whales live about six months out of the year, from mid-April to October. It’s also considered the best place to view orca whales.
  • Seattle whale watching
  • Experience the best killer whale watching area, off San Juan Island, near Seattle
  • Whales have been viewed on over 90% of the tours
  • You will be guaranteed see marine mammals

What's Included

  • Whale Watching Cruise
  • Local taxes
  • Transport to/from Friday Harbor from Seattle
  • Gratuities
  • Port Fee (USD1.00 per person)

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • Friday Harbor
    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 point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

For the best whale-watching in Seattle, enjoy the beauty of San Juan Island on a whale-watching cruise from Friday Harbor, a quaint town on the island. San Juan Island is considered the best place to view orca whales because of the large salmon population, which is their primary food source. Salmon travel up and down the west coast of the island and some of the outlying areas, so it makes it a perfect place to see orca whale activity.

Climb on board the fast, new 55-foot MV Sea Lion, complete with a heated cabin, with windows, that seats up to 24 travelers. Add the walk-around deck and 40 or fewer guests can fit comfortably on this vessel.

While it’s not guaranteed that killer whales will be seen on this tour, there is more than a 90 percent chance. Plus, there is an even greater chance of seeing minke, humpback and gray whales. Seeing marine mammals, well, that’s a sure thing.

Want a more intimate tour? Join the special small-group tour, with a maximum capacity of 12 people.

Note: The schedule for the ferry to San Juan Island changes seasonally and has specific departure times. Please ask about the latest Washington State Ferry schedule to ensure you arrive with enough time to make your way to the tour departure point.

San Juan Island

Admission Ticket Free

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 3 days of travel. In this case confirmation will be received within 48 hours, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • 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
  • Service animals allowed
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
It was a great experience. Had fun and the weather was beautiful. The guide was on point with everything. Will do it again


691 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 691 reviews
Awesome - we saw whales too!
Laurie_W, Sep 2023
Elle & Gabe did a great job. Elle so friendly - knowledgeable. Learned so much about the area and whales!
Safe, exciting and we saw Orcas, a humpback whale, harbor seals, sea lions, and porpoises
Deborah_M, Sep 2023
Well run tour. Enjoyed all the information provided by the guide, who was a marine biologist intimately familiar with all the wildlife we saw. Safe, exciting and we saw Orcas, a humpback whale, harbor seals, sea lions, and porpoises. Highly recommend!
Really great experience
Joseph_W, Sep 2023
We had a wonderful experience in the classic whale watching tour from Friday Harbor. We got to see 3 orcas and 1 humpback whale. The ride was smooth on a comfortable boat that did not feel overly crowded, which gave us space to move around for pictures and videos. The staff was also very informative. Highly recommend!
The staff were friendly,...
Rob_S, Aug 2023
The staff were friendly, the boat was comfortable and well maintained. We got to see sea lions and a bald eagle in addition to an elusive Minke Whale. I was hoping for a more complete whale watching experience (blowholes, breaching and the like) but you can’t always get what you want.
Nice long time viewing a humpback.
Donna_G, Jul 2023
Our captain got word of a couple of whales north of us he got us to the whale pretty quickly. This whale actually turned south and we were able to spend some significant time. It was an amazing experience. We also saw sea lions, Harbor seals, bald eagles, and Harbor porpoise. The crew and the boat were great.
Susan_K, Jun 2023
Boat tour was on time and staff was very informative. We followed some humpback whales and got some good views. The boat ride was comfortable and not over-crowded. Weather was sunny with clear skies. I was very impressed with all aspects of this beautiful tour. A highlight of our family visit.
Jacquelyn_T, Jun 2023
We were taken to one spot where one Orca was swimming and spent more than a hour there to see his black fin occasionally. The boat was large and comfortable and plenty of room but I think we could have spent more time looking for a pod rather than focus that much effort on one whale
Great time whale watching
Diane_M, May 2023
Experienced and knowledgeable crew! Captain Gabe, Olivia and Katie were all wonderful! Highly recommend.
Wow what a Whale of a time we had celebrating our 42nd wedding Anniversary!🥰🥰
Victoria_F, Oct 2022
Both Hostesses were AWESOME! They were very professional and very friendly! Highly recommend this whale watching your to Family & Friends!❤️🐳❤️
Wonderful experience,...
Rebecca_S, Oct 2022
Wonderful experience, would definitely love to attend this cruise again. The captain and first mate were awesome! Very knowledgeable as well!
We really enjoyed talking...
Deborah_D, Sep 2022
We really enjoyed talking about the wildlife and island with the very knowledgeable crew. Fascinating!!
When in Friday Harbor, contact these guys!
Chet_B, Sep 2022
The crew onboard was extremely knowledgeable and willing to engage with us. They were just as excited as us to encounter the family of killer whales. Definitely recommend this tour!
Lovely day
Renee_J, Sep 2022
We saw a Minke whale surface several times, a cluster of sea lions of varias coloring, dozens of sea birds (especially the ones that swim underwater). No orcas butvone day. Crew were fantastic
Sunny day for a whale watch
Linda_A, Aug 2022
Excellent field guides on board. Only saw 2 orcas, not much activity. But, whales, nonetheless. Would do it all over again despite only seeing two.
Incredible Adventure with a humpback whale
Elaine_G, Aug 2022
We loved our adventure with San Juan Safaris. We had 3 professional female naturalists on board who taught us all about the area and the animals. We saw a humpback whale, harbor porpoises, seals, and a bald eagle on our 3 hour trip. We had the best time with captain Mike!
Found the Orcas
Kaelyn_J, Aug 2022
Excellent trip! The Captain and Naturalists did a great job pointing out all the highlights during our tour around the islands. We got to see porpoises, harbor seals, stellar sea lions, and some orcas.
A great tour!
Don_R, Aug 2022
The captain and crew were awesome! We didn’t see any whales, but we definitely saw lots of other wildlife!
Awesome trip
Theresa_P, Aug 2022
The crew were so excited about what they do that it made us more excited to go on the trip. They are very informative and explained where we were and what we should look at to see the natural environment. We loved being on the boat too!! Lots of places to stand it sit to see a wide range of the landscape.
Friday Harbor is OK. ...
Payal_S, Jul 2022
Friday Harbor is OK. However we were only by the port so maybe further in Friday Harbor is beautiful. Also the whale watching was OK. Didn’t really get too close and you had to have binoculars to get a good look, but we did get to see whales so it was worth it. And crew did a great job pointing out different wild life.
First time seeing...
Jiabang_W, Jul 2022
First time seeing humpback whales. Staff were helpful and friendly. Be prepared with layers. It can be very cold.

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