Among endless opportunities for outdoor adventures in Seattle are whale watching tours in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea. From March through May, gray whales take a side trip from their northern migration to feed on the abundant shrimp population around Whidbey and Camano Islands. While the gray whales are here, common loons and double-crested cormorants share the saltwater, prior to the birds’ inland migrations. The resident salmon-eating killer whales, or orcas, begin to roam the San Juan Islands in May and remain through early autumn.

San Juan Islands

The southern resident killer whales, also known as blackfish or orcas, frequent the west side of San Juan Island from late spring through early autumn.Whale watching tours depart daily from Orcas and San Juan Island allowing an opportunity for viewing the whales in the wild. These killer whales are the most researched marine mammals in the world, and whale watch naturalists know the whales’ individual nicknames and family histories back to the early 1970’s.


In the shadow of snow-capped Mount Baker, Bellingham is a northern launching point for a wildlife adventure on the Salish Sea. Departing from the downtown waterfront, or picturesque Fairhaven Cruise Terminal, whale-watching boats cruise out to view family groups of the resident salmon-eating killer whales and solitary minke whales.