What Is The Best Time To Go To Alaska To See Whales?

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Everything You Need To Know About Whale Watching In Alaska

Alaska is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching because of how easily accessible it is for tourists to see the whales! But before you charter a boat for a whale-watching tour, it’s important to know the best time to go whale-watching in Alaska. Like many Alaskan adventures, whale watching is a seasonal activity that ebbs and flows with the migration patterns of these mammoth sea creatures. Keep reading to learn more!

humpback whale tale out of water in Alaska

The Best Time Of Year To See Whales In Alaska

Many people ask whens the best time to go to Alaska on a whale-watching excursion. The answer depends mainly on what type of whale you want to see or what region of the state you are planning to visit. But as a general rule of thumb, whale watching season begins during the first week in March, with the return of the gray whales. The gray whales migrate from the warm waters of Baja California in Mexico to the cooler feeding grounds in Alaska, passing through the Pacific coastline to the delight of whale-watching enthusiasts.

However, if you want to see different types of whales in Alaska, April through September is considered the prime whale-watching time for most species. During these months, you may have the chance to spot magnificent creatures such as humpback whales, orcas, and gray whales as they migrate to their summer feeding grounds.

Here is a quick rundown of the best time of year to see specific species of whales in Alaska:

  • Humpback whale – best viewed from May through August
  • Orca whales – can be spotted year-round, but the best time to see these killer whales is between May and June
  • Gray Whale – early March through May
  • Minke Whale – May through September
  • Fin Whale – May through September

Now that you know the best time to go whale watching in Alaska, you’ll need to know the best places to see these magnificent marine mammals.

Seeing Sea Creatures In Seward

The sleepy coastal town of Seward comes alive in April with the arrival of migrating Gray whales. By May, the Orcas begin to show themselves, followed by the humpback whales in June. Alaska natives will tell you the best time to go whale watching in Alaska is during the peak whale season from May through September, which is also the same time that most boat tours are in full swing!

If you visit Seward for whale watching, a wildlife cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park or Resurrection Bay is one of the best ways to see whales in Alaska. Visitors will be sure to see Orca and humpback whales, but you can also spot minke, fin, and gray whales at different times of the season.

Spending The Summer In Homer

When someone asks what is the best time to go to Alaska, the answer is easy – the summer months! During this peak season, all tour operators are open for business and the wildlife (including whales) is easy to spot. The best time for a whale-watching trip in Homer is during the summer months, too! Humpback whales arrive in huge pods during June and are easy for visitors to spot in the waters around the city.

Spending the summer in homer alaskaOne of the most popular places to spot whales in Homer is at Kachemak Bay State Park. Kachemak Bay is home to many types of wildlife, including whales. In addition to humpback whales, Orcas are quite common around Halibut Cove – especially when the salmon runs are in full swing. The Lower Cook Inlet is also a great spot to see whales as well as dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, seals, and sea otters. And if you visit Gull Island, you may be treated to the sight of many different species of birds including eagles, gyrfalcons, and puffins!

Juneau – The Whale Watching Destination

I’ll bet you didn’t know that Juneau has been crowned the whale-watching destination of Alaska! The rich waters of the Gulf of Alaska provide humpback whales with a fish-tacular feast during the summer months before they begin their trip back to Hawaii in the fall. The proximity of Juneau to multiple waterways also makes this city a prime whale-watching location for visitors who hope to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures breaching and playing in the ocean.

Whens the best time to go to Alaska, specifically Juneau, to see whales? The best time to go whale-watching in Juneau is from April to November. During this part of the year, more than 600 humpback whales call the northern Inside Passage home. Whale-watching tours are offered in Juneau, with daily boat tours to Tracy Arm. There are so many whales in the waterways near the city that tour operators guarantee visitors a sighting.

The waters around Juneau are a major marine thoroughfare, meaning any whale-watching trip is a great opportunity to see other wildlife.  It’s not unusual to see harbor seals, Steller sea lions, porpoises, and bald eagles during a whale-watching cruise in Juneau's waters.

Whales, Whales, And More Whales!

The best time to go whale-watching in Alaska is from Early April through November. During these months, you can see Humpback Whales, Gray Whales, Killer Whales (or Orca), and Beluga Whales! With a little research, figuring out the best time to go to Alaska to see whales is easy. So, do your homework, pack your binoculars, and get ready to be awed by these magnificent sea creatures!

Download all three Alaska tour brochures for tour dates and pricing.