PRIVATE & SMALL GROUP TOURS TO THE WORLD'S BEST DESTINATIONS
Three Amazing Alaskan Vacations To Choose From!
Summer Trips To Alaska
Grizzlies & Glaciers Tour
Winter Trips To Alaska
See The Northern Lights
Summer Trips To Alaska
Denali Discovery Adventure
Can You Go Whale Watching In Alaska?
The great state of Alaska is surrounded on three sides by water, including the waters of the North Pacific Ocean along the Inside Passage and Gulf of Alaska, around the Aleutian Islands to the Bering Sea, and into the Arctic Ocean. More than a dozen species of whales can be seen in Alaska’s coastal and marine ecosystems, including the humpback whale! Every spring, thousands of humpback whales travel from the warm waters of Hawaii and Mexico, where they feed in these nutrient-dense waters. This makes Alaska whale watching tours one of the most popular activities of the summer tourist season!
Five Fun Facts About Humpback Whales in Alaska
Alaska’s humpback whale is one of the most popular whales to see on a whale watching cruise in Alaska. Here are five fun facts to know about this magnificent sea creature before you embark on a tour to see it in its natural habitat:
- Humpback whales belong to the same family as the blue whale, sei whale, and minke whale.
- When the male whales sing a song to attract a mate, the song can sometimes last for more than 20 minutes.
- Humpback whales are famous for their acrobatic moves and can often be seen breaching the ocean water.
- These whales have a hump-shaped back, a small dorsal fin, a knobby head, long flippers, and a broad tail fluke.
- Once hunted almost to extinction, there are now an estimated 40,000 humpback whales spread throughout the world’s oceans.
The Best Time To Go Whale Watching In Alaska
Whale-watching season begins in March and ends in November. This is the time of the year when you can see whales migrating around Alaska. However, if you want to see humpback whales in Alaska, the best time to go whale watching is during the months of June and July! Alaska whale watching tours are in full swing during these two months, and the weather is a lot warmer than in the early spring months. This makes Alaska whale watching cruises more enjoyable – simply for the fact that you won’t have to wear multiple layers of clothes while you are searching out whales.
Another good thing about planning an Alaska whale watching tour during June and July is the amount of daylight Alaska receives during the summer months. The Midnight Sun, a phenomenon seen throughout the entire state, guarantees almost 24 hours of daylight in some Alaskan cities and towns. This means you have time to take a cruise or boat tour to see whales in the morning and still have plenty of time to go hiking or exploring late into the evening hours.
How To See Whales In Alaska
Visitors are drawn to Alaska for the towering mountains, seemingly endless landscape, massive brown bears, and whales! Seeing whales for yourself is a spectacular experience. Alaska whale watching cruises are one of the best ways to see these magnificent creatures. And you may even hear them communicate – many tour boats carry hydrophones that allow tourists to listen to vocalizations that are picked up underwater!
Humpback whales begin arriving in Alaska waters from Hawaii in the spring and start heading south again to warmer waters in the fall. The best time to view humpback whales in Alaska is May through September when the greatest number of whales are in the area to feed on plankton and krill in Alaska’s nutrient-rich waters. The best areas to see humpback whales are the waters outside of Juneau, Sitka, and other Inside Passage communities; Kenai Fjords National Park; Prince William Sound; the waters around Kodiak Island and the Barren Islands; and the eastern Aleutian Islands.
Day Cruises To See Whales In Alaska
Day cruises offer visitors one of the best ways to see whales in Alaska. Most day cruise ships have warm, indoor cabins with windows that visitors can stay in if the weather is bad. Believe it or not, gray days make for some of the best Alaska whale watching tours! Cooler temperatures and limited sun bring the whales’ food closer to the surface, which means you may have a better opportunity to spot a whale even while you are shivering.
Most boat tours or cruises have at least one staff member who doubles as a naturalist guide that will help you spot wildlife. Many cruises explore national parks, and often have a national park ranger onboard to provide insights into the park ecosystem. Day cruises often offer lunch or dinner options, and many feature short side excursions like hiking or kayaking. Cruises can range from a couple of hours to a full day, with a wide variety of routes and budget options for all!
For a list of the top three places to see humpback whales in Alaska, keep reading!
- Resurrection Bay (Seward) – This 970-foot-deep fjord extends south from Seward toward the Gulf of Alaska and Kenai Fjords National Park. Its pristine waters are only a few miles from the open ocean, making it a food-rich location for many sea animals. Humpback whales can be spotted by visitors on most summer days, along with killer whales. Partial and full-day trips are offered by multiple tour operators, making Resurrection Bay a whale-watching haven!
- Kodiak – this commercial fishing town, located on an island in Cook Inlet, is the perfect place to view humpback whales all summer long. Why? The island’s geography allows tour operators direct access to the deep ocean along a rugged coastline, which makes Alaska whale watching cruises a popular tourist attraction from the city’s docks.
- The Inside Passage – Juneau, and other Southeast Alaska towns, are a summer paradise for humpback whales in Alaska. Every summer, these massive whales descend on the passages and fjords of this region in such high concentrations that tour operators offer visitors a money-back guarantee if they do NOT see a whale during the cruise. Killer whales, Dall’s porpoise, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, and sea otters are also easy to spot in this region of the state.
A Whale Of An Adventure In Alaska!
Taking a whale watching cruise in Alaska is sure to be an adventure you won’t forget. Whether you opt for a partial-day or full-day cruise, there are many options to choose from – and most guarantee a whale sighting. So layer up, grab a rain jacket, and get ready to see these amazing creatures swimming through their natural habitat!