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Start Planning For Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands in 2022

pod of orcas skimming the water

Though whale watching in the San Juan Islands is possible year-round, the peak season is between May and September. And though peak season for whale watching in the San Juan Islands may feel far away, now really is the best time to start planning your excursions and adventures for 2022!

As you can imagine, summer is a busy season up here in the San Juans, and that means space on the most popular whale watching tours is limited. Not only that but rooms at our exceptional San Juan Island Bed and Breakfast book up quickly, too. Your time here is sure to be a magical experience, as whale watching in the San Juan Islands is some of the best in the state of Washington. But for a truly memorable getaway, you’ll want to find the best place to stay in the San Juans.

The Tucker House Inn and the Harrison House Suites offer upscale pet and family-friendly lodging with individualized service and exquisite attention to detail. We pride ourselves on our hospitality from the moment you book your room to when you leave San Juan Island.

If seeing orcas and other whales in their natural habitat have been on your bucket list, then now is the time to plan your getaway to enjoy some of the best whale watching in the San Juan Islands. Book your room at our Friday Harbor lodging today!

A breaching humpback while enjoying some of the best whale watching in the San Juan Islands

The Best Whale Watching in the San Juans

As we’ve mentioned, the best time for whale watching in the San Juan Islands is between May and September. During these months, you’ll find many more whales in the waters surrounding us. Transient orca pods and other whales, such as Humpback Whales, visit the rich feeding grounds found offshore from the San Juan Islands.

There’s nothing more magical than witnessing the gentle breach of a fin or tail while whale watching in the San Juans – or, if you’re fortunate, seeing the playful jumping and splashing of these gentle giants. It’s truly the experience of a lifetime!

Several tour operators for whale watching in the San Juans, and many of them leave from Friday Harbor. Tours vary vastly by offerings, including small boats and zodiac-style adventures to more spacious and comfortable vessels. If you’re looking to enjoy the best whale watching in the San Juan Islands, we recommend choosing from one of the tour operators below. Our concierge would be more than happy to help you narrow down your choices and help you book a suitable tour for you, too.

  • San Juan Safaris offers two different tours; the classic larger vessel tours and the high-speed adventure boat tour. Both whale watching tours are 3-4 hours long and include a naturalist on board to help answer questions.
  • San Juan Outfitters offers whale watching tours out of Roche Harbor. They do a fantastic job of highlighting other wildlife as well, including Dall’s Porpoise, Harbor Porpoise, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, Bald Eagles, and more. Their tours also include a naturalist on board, and they boast a 90% success rate during peak season for whale watching in the San Juan Islands.
  • Maya’s Legacy Charters offers whale watching tours aboard their innovative boats and with a passionate crew of experts. Their tours are intimate and small, focusing on the natural ecosystem of the San Juan Islands and its inhabitants. They offer multiple whale watching tours to suit your needs and always have an experienced naturalist on board.
  • Western Prince Cruises offer shorter or long-range extended tours for whale watching in the San Juan Islands. They also offer private charters, perfect for traveling with a group.
  • The whale watching tours operated by San Juan Excursions also begin in Friday Harbor, aboard a converted Navy search & rescue vessel built in 1941. The boat offers multiple wrap-around viewing decks for a complete experience as you venture out in the waters around the islands in search of whales and other wildlife. They also provide a guarantee of seeing orcas on your trip, or they’ll give you a second tour for free.

You don’t have to go out on a boat to enjoy a bit of whale watching in the San Juan Islands, though. Lime Kiln Point State Park, commonly referred to as “whale watch park,” is a wonderful place to enjoy a bit of whale watching in the San Juan Islands. The orca’s feeding patterns in these waters often bring them close to shore, allowing for excellent viewing.

Finally, even though taking one of these whale watching tours is the best way to see and appreciate these magnificent creatures, it’s not the only way. We also love to send guests to the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, and it’s just a short walk from our Inn and offers a range of exciting exhibits and information related to whale watching in the San Juan Islands. 

Whale watching in the San Juan Islands from Lime Kiln State Park

The Best Place to Stay in Friday Harbor

After enjoying some of the best whale watching in the San Juan Islands, return to The Tucker House Inn or Harrison House Suites and get changed for dinner. Our Coho Restaurant is just down the street from the Inns and offers guests an exquisite taste of the islands. We use high-quality local ingredients whenever possible and make absolutely everything from scratch. Alongside dinner, choose a complimentary wine from our extensive list, featuring wines culled from the great producers of Washington, Oregon, and California, along with a fine selection of international wines.

After dinner, sink into comfort in one of the exquisite guest rooms, larger suites, or private vacation cottages found at Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites. We also offer plenty of pet-friendly lodging for those who don’t want to leave their family behind. In the morning, we’ll treat you to a sensational breakfast with ingredients made from scratch right here in our kitchen. We’ll also treat you (and your pets) to treats throughout the day. This attention to detail is just one of the many ways we set ourselves apart from other lodgings in Friday Harbor.

Let 2022 be the year you experience the magic of whale watching in the San Juan Islands. We’re here to help! Book your room at one of the best places to stay in Friday Harbor today!

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Recognized by Travel + Leisure Magazine

We have been recognized by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the best place to stay when visiting Friday Harbor and San Juan Island.