Whale and Wildlife Tours Departing from Anacortes

The world's best opportunity to see wild orcas is right here in the San Juan Islands, February through November.

Anacortes is our flagship location where Island Adventures first began back in 1996. Just a 90-mile drive from downtown Seattle, Anacortes is a convenient starting point for your wildlife adventure - no ferry required! The calm waters near the San Juan Islands are one of the best places in the world to view wild orcas. Humpback whales, minke whales, and, gray whales also call the region home. Soak in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest aboard the finest whale watching vessel on the entire west coast, the Island Explorer 5.

Spring and Fall Guaranteed Whale Watching Tours

11:00 AM Departure

February 17th - May 3rd and September 3rd - November 30th, 2024

Our 11:00 AM departure allows us to maximize our encounters with whales and still return to the dock with plenty of time to enjoy some shopping and a late lunch or early dinner in the charming town of Anacortes before heading on to your next adventure. Don't miss out on the #1 whale watching tour in the Pacific Northwest!

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Summer Guaranteed Whale Watching Tours

10:00 AM Departure

May 4th - September 2nd, 2024

Our summer 10:00 AM departure allows us to be the first whale watching boat out of Cap Sante Marina in search of as many whales and as much wildlife as possible. Return to the dock with plenty of time to enjoy beautiful Anacortes in the summer. Don't miss out on the #1 whale watching tour in the Pacific Northwest!

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3:30 PM Departure

May 4th - September 2nd, 2024

During peak season, we offer a 3:30 PM departure from Anacortes as well! This afternoon departure is popular with locals and wildlife photographers, and is the crew's favorite tour. Enjoy fewer people on the boat with the same whale sighting success rate as the 10 AM tour. There's no better way to finish your day than on the water with whales!

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Which Tour Should I Choose?

Often times, deciding on a departure time can be one of the hardest parts of the reservation process. We can confidently say that there isn't a tour time that's better than the other. If we knew of a trip that saw more whales over the other, we wouldn't run the bad trip!

We recommend choosing the departure time that works best in your schedule. Whales aren't on a rigid schedule, so both tours have the same whale sighting success rate. The benefits of morning versus afternoon come into play on the human side. Morning tours are great because you're first out on the water and have the rest of the afternoon to do as you please. If you're not a morning person, choose the afternoon tour! You don't have to get up early, and you end your day with whales and some pretty incredible lighting for photographs.

All tours are fantastic, so choose the one that works in your schedule best!



$20 for 30

Big savings for booking in advance!

Adults save $10 when you book 30+ days in advance and an additional $10 with military ID, AAA, AARP, seniors 65+, or a student (age 13yrs - college). This deal cannot be combined with promotion codes or other discounts and is valid on whale-watching tours only.

Save $10 for booking 30+ days in advance + Save $10 with adult discount = $20 Savings

What Vessel Will I Be On?

South of the Border Cafe

The Island Explorer 5 features some of the best food in the Salish Sea!

See the Menu

What's the Weather like? How to Prepare

Anacortes is known to have some of the best weather in the San Juan Islands. In the summer months, the temperature averages between 60 and 80 degrees fahrenheit. Even though the weather can feel warm on land, we always recommend bringing layers – sweatshirts and jackets – as it feels 10-20 degrees cooler on the water. Rain doesn’t have a negative impact on our tours as our excursion vessels are set up to go out in the elements and have lots of indoor space and cover.

Online Reservations

Make a reservation online with our secure system and receive an immediate email confirmation.

Online Reservations

Whale Report

See what we've seen on the water. There's a detailed account from every tour since 2003!

Whale Report

Prepare for your tour

It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.  See our tips, suggestions, and frequently asked questions.

How to Prepare

Our Guarantee

We guarantee whales on every tour!

Our Guarantee