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Whale Watching from Friday Harbor

Seattle, United States

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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icon4 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds


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

Departure Point

Friday Harbor, Washington

Return Details

Returns to the original departure point approximately 4 hours after departure
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.


We recommend you bring the following:

• Hat
• Sunglasses
• Sunscreen
• Snack
• Binoculars
• Camera
• Extra Film
• Extra batteries
• Water Bottle (no glass please)
• Snacks
• Gloves (optional)
• Jacket or Windbreaker - comfortable clothing
• Flat, rubber bottomed shoes are recommended

The crew and other guests would appreciate it if you would leave behind:

• Cell Phones
• Smoking Materials
Stop At:  
San Juan Island National Historical Park
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
San Juan Safaris
Admission Ticket Free
  • 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
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers
  • OPERATED BY San Juan Safaris

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

  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the maximum group size during Whale Watching from Friday Harbor?
This activity will have a maximum of 40 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by Whale Watching from Friday Harbor.

Traveler Photos


523 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 523 reviews
They care
, Aug 2020
I felt they really cared about us making there and our experience. They called me several times to see if I had any questions and when I was running late they called to make sure I was still on the way
Blah except for the eagles we saw
, Jul 2020
Nice guide and decent boat. No whales spotted, so very disappointing when they claim 90% sightings. We were even in prime whale season, so I can't give them any better than an average grade.
, Jul 2020
Saw 2 different species of whales and was worth every bit of money we spent. Would recommend San Juan Outfitters to anyone in the area!
icon Response from Host , Jul 2020
Thanks, Heather! So glad you had a great experience and enjoyed the company of some whales! Hopefully we'll see you again sometime.
Seeing the whales
, Jul 2020
It was a great experience. Had fun and the weather was beautiful. The guide was on point with everything. Will do it again
Great Day Whale Watching
, Sep 2019
It was a great time spent watching whales. The two naturalists were very knowledgeable and wonderful about answering questions! Learned a lot that day!
Great Ride
, Jul 2019
I really enjoyed our trip. Our guide was most knowledgeable about all the animals we saw. The whole experience was delightful. And all of the employees were very helpful from changing our reservation because we were late, helping with parking, and helping us suit up. I would recommend this trip to all my friends.
Great experience
, Aug 2018
The staff was excellent, the craft was as well. The naturalists were quite knowledgeable and gave great insights into Orca behavior and research . The experience exceeded our expectations in every way. You need to take this excursion at least once in your life, probably more than once actually!
To start this trip, my wife and I...
David L
, Sep 2017
To start this trip, my wife and I took a Seaplane from Seattle. The day was perfect for it. Clear, visibility was so good, Mt Baker was in sight the entire flight. Went to San Juan Safaris, checked in, the employees were wonderful. The boat wa s the Sea Lion of course. The best part of the sightseeing is that there were so many whales. The guides talked about the different species and pointed out their characteristics as the Orcca's moved through the water. A Wonderful day. The return ride offered rock islands full of sea lions. Porpoise's were plentiful during the ride home. Absolutely a wonderful day.
Best whale watching trip ever. Saw...
Lana O
, Jul 2016
Best whale watching trip ever. Saw about 10 whales from j pod. Nice boat. Fun day
We loved the tour. We went early in...
Kelly C
, Jun 2016
We loved the tour. We went early in the season so we only saw a couple of humpbacks. Great crew! I would recommend this trip.

Product code: 3053WHALE_F

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