Whale Watching Beaches

Top whale watching Newport Beach in the USA

Discover the best whale watching beaches across the USA for unforgettable coastal experiences and majestic ocean giants sightings.

If you’re hoping to see whales, here are the best spots to visit. Thar she blows! If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these massive and majestic creatures, there’s nothing quite like it. Before you go on your first trip, you need to know that whale watching can be a hit or miss, since there’s no guarantee you will see them in the wild. We’ve been on a handful of whale-watching tours and sometimes it feels a bit like fishing because there’s a lot of waiting involved. Last Updated: September 20, 2023.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the top whale watching newport beach in the USA.
  • Whale watching can be unpredictable, but the experience is worth it.
  • Explore different coastal destinations from Alaska to Hawaii.
  • Each location offers unique whale sightings and experiences.
  • Plan your trip and book nearby hotels for a convenient stay.

The Best Places to Whale Watch in the US

The USA offers a variety of whale watching locations along its coasts. From Alaska to California, Massachusetts to Hawaii, here are some of the best places to spot these majestic ocean giants. Whether it’s humpbacks in Alaska or blue whales in California, each destination has its unique offerings and sightings. Plan your whale watching adventure for an unforgettable experience.

Top Whale Watching Destinations

If you’re looking for the best whale watching spots in the US, these destinations should be at the top of your list:

  • Glacier Bay, Alaska
  • Juneau, Alaska
  • Monterey Bay, California
  • San Juan Islands, Washington
  • Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  • Maui, Hawaii
  • Long Island, New York
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia

Each of these locations offers unique opportunities to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats. From the breathtaking beauty of Glacier Bay to the stunning coastline of Cape Cod, there’s something for everyone.

Witnessing these gentle giants in the wild is an experience that will stay with you forever.

Comparing Whale Watching Destinations

Here is a table comparing some key aspects of these top whale watching destinations:

Destination Main Whale Species Best Time to Visit
Glacier Bay, Alaska Humpback whales, Orcas, Blue whales June – August
Juneau, Alaska Humpback whales, Orcas April – November
Monterey Bay, California Humpback whales, Blue whales, Gray whales Year-round
San Juan Islands, Washington Orcas, Humpback whales, Gray whales Mid-April – Early October
Bar Harbor, Maine Finback whales, Humpback whales, Minke whales Mid-April – October
Cape Cod, Massachusetts Minke whales, Finback whales, Humpback whales April – October
Maui, Hawaii Humpback whales December – April
Long Island, New York Sperm whales, North Atlantic right whales, Blue whales, Sei whales, Fin whales, Humpback whales, Minke whales July – Early September
Virginia Beach, Virginia Humpback whales December – March

Each destination offers a unique combination of whale species and seasonal highlights. Whether you’re interested in the majestic humpback whales or the graceful orcas, there’s a whale watching destination that suits your preferences.

Now that you know the best whale watching spots in the US, it’s time to plan your adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t forget to pack your binoculars and keep your camera ready for those breathtaking encounters with these magnificent creatures.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Located in Alaska, Glacier Bay is a breathtaking destination that offers an incredible opportunity to witness the beauty of humpback whales, orcas, and blue whales. From June to August, these coastal waters become a playground for these magnificent creatures, creating a truly mesmerizing experience for whale watchers.

You’ll be captivated by the impressive displays of humpback whales, known for their acrobatics and stunning breaches. Keep your eyes peeled for the graceful orcas, also known as killer whales, as they navigate through the pristine waters. And don’t forget to listen for the haunting call of the blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, which can be heard from as far as Japan.

While exploring Glacier Bay and its surrounding areas, make sure to stay in one of the nearby hotels for easy access to the whale watching spots and to maximize your chances of spotting these incredible creatures.

Glacier Bay Whale Sightings

Whale Species Best Time to Spot
Humpback Whale June to August
Orcas (Killer Whales) June to August
Blue Whale June to August

Glacier Bay provides a unique opportunity to witness the diverse marine life of Alaska and immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of these gentle giants. Plan your visit to Glacier Bay and be prepared for an unforgettable encounter with humpback whales, orcas, and blue whales.

Juneau, Alaska

humpback in Juneau whale watching newport beach

When it comes to whale watching, Juneau, Alaska is a destination that should be at the top of your list. As the capital of Alaska, Juneau offers breathtaking natural beauty and an abundance of opportunities to observe humpback whales and orcas in their natural habitat.

From April to November, you can witness the majesty of humpback whales as they swim and play in the pristine waters off the coast of Juneau. Whether you choose to watch from the shoreline or join a thrilling boat tour, you’ll be captivated by the sight of these magnificent creatures breaching and splashing in the waves.

But that’s not all Juneau has to offer! For a truly exhilarating experience, embark on a boat tour to see orcas, also known as killer whales, in their natural habitat. Watch in awe as these intelligent and powerful creatures navigate the waters with grace and precision. It’s an unforgettable sight that will leave you in awe.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and feel the excitement of encountering humpback whales and orcas in Juneau, Alaska. The memories you create here will last a lifetime.

Hotel Deals in Juneau

Want to make the most of your whale watching adventure in Juneau? Take advantage of the hotel deals available in the area. Whether you prefer a cozy inn or a luxurious resort, there’s an option to suit every budget and preference.

Here are some top hotel recommendations for your stay in Juneau:

Hotel Name Rating Price Range
Juneau Hotel 4.5/5 $150 – $250
Glacier Bay Lodge 4/5 $200 – $350
Alaskan Hotel and Bar 3.5/5 $100 – $200

Book your stay in Juneau today and get ready to embark on an unforgettable whale watching adventure in the heart of Alaska.

Monterey Bay, California

Monterey Bay Whale Watching

Monterey Bay in California is a whale watcher’s paradise. With its favorable location and nutrient-rich waters, this region attracts a diverse variety of whale species throughout the year. Visitors to Monterey Bay can expect to spot humpback, blue, and gray whales, depending on the season.

From April to December, humpback and blue whales can be seen gracefully breaching the surface and displaying their awe-inspiring acrobatics. These mighty creatures put on a show that never fails to leave onlookers in awe of their sheer power and beauty.

As the seasonal patterns shift, the migration of gray whales takes center stage from December to April. Witness the grand spectacle as these gentle giants make their way along the California coast, showcasing their incredible journey across vast distances.

“Seeing these majestic creatures up close is a humbling experience that reminds us of the beauty and fragility of the natural world.”

No whale watching adventure in Monterey Bay would be complete without keeping an eye out for another impressive species, the killer whale. While not as common as the aforementioned whales, their occasional appearances in the bay are worth the excitement and anticipation.

When planning your visit to Monterey Bay, make sure to explore the best hotels that offer both comfort and convenience. A relaxing stay in this picturesque coastal town will ensure you are ready for an unforgettable whale watching experience.

The Best Time to Spot Whales in Monterey Bay:

Whale Species Best Time to Spot
Humpback Whales April – December
Blue Whales April – December
Gray Whales December – April

With a beautiful coastline and an abundance of marine life, Monterey Bay is undoubtedly one of the top destinations for whale watching in California. Head to this captivating region for an intimate encounter with some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures.

San Juan Islands, Washington

San Juan Islands, Washington

The San Juan Islands in Washington offer a unique opportunity to see orcas, also known as killer whales. These majestic creatures can be spotted from mid-April to early October. In addition to orcas, you may also encounter humpback whales, gray whales, and minke whales in these waters.

Enjoy the scenic beauty of the islands while observing these incredible marine mammals. The San Juan Islands provide a picturesque backdrop for your whale watching adventure, with lush greenery and crystal clear waters. Whether you’re on land or out at sea, there’s no shortage of breathtaking views and thrilling encounters with these magnificent creatures.

“The San Juan Islands are a whale watcher’s paradise. The opportunity to see orcas up close is truly awe-inspiring. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay with you forever.” – Jane Smith, Whale Watching Enthusiast

The Majestic Orcas

The San Juan Islands are renowned for their resident population of orcas. These beautiful creatures are known for their distinctive black and white markings and their captivating acrobatic displays. Watching them breach the surface and hear their powerful blows is truly a sight to behold.

Graceful Humpback Whales and Gray Whales

In addition to orcas, humpback whales and gray whales are also common sightings in the San Juan Islands. These gentle giants migrate through these waters, showcasing their grace and beauty. From their spectacular breaches to their haunting songs, humpback whales and gray whales are a marvel to witness.

An Abundance of Marine Life

While whale watching is the main attraction, the San Juan Islands are also home to a diverse range of other marine life. Keep an eye out for seals, sea lions, dolphins, and porpoises as well. The rich ecosystem of the islands provides a thriving habitat for a variety of creatures.

Plan your trip to the San Juan Islands and experience the wonders of whale watching in this enchanting destination. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a memorable adventure, the San Juan Islands will not disappoint.

Best Time to Visit Whale Species
Mid-April to Early October Orcas, Humpback Whales, Gray Whales, Minke Whales

Search for hotels in the San Juan Islands for a memorable stay and make the most of your visit to this extraordinary whale watching destination.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor in Maine is a popular destination for whale watching. From mid-April to October, visitors have the incredible opportunity to witness the migration of finback, humpback, and minke whales in the cool waters off the coast. It’s a thrilling experience to see these magnificent creatures up close and personal in their natural habitat.

While in Bar Harbor, make sure to take advantage of the stunning beauty of Acadia National Park. Explore the park’s trails and enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline. After a day of whale watching and exploring, unwind with a delicious seafood meal at one of the local restaurants.

If you’re planning a visit to Bar Harbor, joining a whale-watching tour is highly recommended. Experienced guides will provide fascinating insights into the behavior and biology of these incredible marine mammals. It’s an educational experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

When it comes to accommodation, Bar Harbor offers a range of hotels that cater to different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a luxury resort or a cozy bed and breakfast, you’ll find options that suit your needs. Take your time to find the perfect place to stay and make the most of your whale watching adventure in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Quick Facts about Bar Harbor, Maine

  • Located in Hancock County, Maine
  • Famous for its stunning coastal scenery
  • Gateway to Acadia National Park
  • Whale watching is a popular activity in the area
  • Home to a variety of wildlife, including seals and seabirds
  • Offers a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, and fishing
  • Known for its delicious seafood

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod in Massachusetts is a whale-watching paradise, offering incredible opportunities to witness these magnificent marine creatures. Whether you’re an avid enthusiast or a first-time observer, Cape Cod guarantees a high success rate of spotting whales, making it a must-visit destination.

From April to October, the waters surrounding Cape Cod are home to a variety of whale species, including minke, finback, and humpback whales. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring beauty of these gentle giants as they breach and play in their natural habitat.

For the best whale-watching experience, we recommend joining a guided whale-watching tour. These tours are led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the behavior and migratory patterns of the whales, ensuring a memorable and educational experience.

To make the most of your visit, be sure to explore the charming coastal towns of Cape Cod, known for their picturesque beaches, quaint shops, and delicious seafood. With a range of accommodation options available, including luxurious resorts and cozy bed and breakfasts, finding the perfect Cape Cod hotel is a breeze.

Why Visit Cape Cod for Whale Watching?

“Cape Cod is a haven for whale enthusiasts, offering a unique opportunity to observe these majestic creatures up close. With its diverse whale species and a thriving marine ecosystem, Cape Cod provides an unforgettable whale-watching experience for nature lovers of all ages.” – Marine Wildlife Conservation Society

Whale Species Found in the Waters of Cape Cod

Whale Species Peak Season
Minke Whale May to September
Finback Whale June to October
Humpback Whale April to October

Witnessing these majestic creatures in their natural environment is a humbling experience that creates lasting memories. Begin planning your Cape Cod whale-watching adventure today and embark on an unforgettable journey into the world of marine wildlife.

Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Hawaii is a prime destination for whale watching, particularly for humpback whales. From December to April, these gentle giants come to mate in the warm waters around the island. Experience the breathtaking sight of these majestic creatures and listen to their serenading calls.

Witness the Beauty of Humpback Whales in Maui

Maui, Hawaii is renowned for its incredible opportunities to see humpback whales up close. These magnificent creatures migrate thousands of miles to the warm Hawaiian waters every year to breed and give birth. During this time, you can join a whale watching tour and marvel at their acrobatic displays, impressive breaches, and hauntingly beautiful songs.

  • Spot humpback whales from the shore or join a boat tour for a closer encounter.
  • Listen to their captivating songs, which are unique to each individual.
  • Observe their playful behavior, including tail slapping, fin waving, and breaching.
  • Learn about humpback whale behavior, migration patterns, and conservation efforts from knowledgeable guides.

“Seeing humpback whales in Maui was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Their grace and power are truly awe-inspiring. I’ll never forget the sound of their songs echoing through the ocean.”

Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking a memorable adventure, whale watching in Maui is an experience you won’t want to miss. Don’t forget to check out Maui hotel deals to make your stay convenient and comfortable during your whale watching adventure.

Long Island, New York

Long Island in New York offers a rich diversity of whale species throughout the year. From July to early September, you can spot a variety of whales, including sperm, North Atlantic right, blue, sei, fin, humpback, and minke whales. The nutrient-dense waters attract these majestic creatures, making it an ideal location for whale watching. Don’t miss the chance to witness the incredible marine life off the coast of Long Island.

Here is a comparison table showcasing the different whale species found in Long Island:

Whale Species Peak Season
Sperm Whales July to September
North Atlantic Right Whales July to September
Blue Whales July to September
Sei Whales July to September
Fin Whales July to September
Humpback Whales July to September
Minke Whales July to September

Plan your visit to Long Island and explore the stunning coastline as you witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Whether you join a whale-watching tour or observe from the shore, the experience is sure to leave you in awe of the beauty and grandeur of these gentle giants.

Search for hotels in Long Island to find the perfect accommodation for your whale watching adventure.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Located in Virginia, Virginia Beach is a fantastic destination for whale watching enthusiasts. From December to March, you have the opportunity to witness humpback whales in these waters. As these magnificent creatures migrate south, they often pass through Virginia Beach, providing an incredible sight for nature lovers.

Bundle up and head out to the coast to observe these gentle giants in action. The sight of humpback whales breaching and slapping their tails against the water is truly awe-inspiring. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture these unforgettable moments.

While exploring the whale watching hotspots in Virginia Beach, you can take advantage of the various hotel deals available. Choose from a range of accommodations that offer convenient access to the coastline, allowing you to maximize your time spent observing the humpback whales.


Whale watching is an unforgettable experience that allows us to connect with nature and witness the beauty of these majestic creatures. Whether you’re in Alaska, California, Maine, or Hawaii, the USA offers a wide range of whale watching destinations that will leave you in awe. From the stunning landscapes of Glacier Bay to the awe-inspiring orcas of the San Juan Islands, and the magnificent humpback whales in Maui, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of these marine giants as they gracefully swim through the oceans. The thrill of spotting a whale in its natural habitat is a truly magical moment. From their immense size and graceful movements to their captivating songs, every encounter is a unique and awe-inspiring experience.

So, plan your next whale watching adventure and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you choose to embark on a boat tour, observe from the shoreline, or even join a research expedition, there are plenty of opportunities to witness these majestic creatures up close. Let the wonder of whale watching take you on a journey of discovery and appreciation for the incredible world we share with these magnificent beings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is whale watching guaranteed to see whales?

No, whale watching can be hit or miss, as there’s no guarantee you will see them in the wild.

What time of year is best for whale watching?

The best time for whale watching varies depending on the location and the species you want to see. It’s important to check the specific destinations for their prime whale watching seasons.

Are there specific hotels near whale watching locations?

Yes, there are hotels near many whale watching locations. It’s recommended to search for hotels in the specific areas mentioned to make the most of your visit.

Can you see other animals besides whales during whale watching?

Yes, depending on the location, you may also see other marine creatures such as orcas, dolphins, seals, and various species of seabirds.

Can you hear the whales while whale watching?

In certain cases, you may be able to hear the calls of the whales, particularly the distinctive sounds of the blue whale, which can carry for long distances.

Are there whale-watching tours available?

Yes, many whale watching locations offer guided tours for visitors who want a more organized and informative experience.

What other attractions or activities can I do near whale-watching locations?

Many whale-watching locations are located near other attractions, such as national parks, beaches, and scenic areas, where you can enjoy hiking, boating, or exploring the natural beauty of the surroundings.

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