Vancouver is one of the best places to go whale watching in the Pacific Northwest.
I visited back in 2017 and thoroughly enjoyed my time there.
It’s the perfect haven for enjoying wildlife – on land and in the sea.
Every year, thousands of whales migrate through the area on their way to feed on the spawning Salmon.
The waters off Vancouver are rich with marine life and this makes whale watching in Vancouver perfect.
It’s also very convenient going from Downtown Vancouver as you don’t have to travel very far!
- What Whales Can You See in Vancouver?
- Vancouver Whale Watching Season
- Best Whale Watching Tours in Vancouver
What Whales Can You See in Vancouver?
Around Vancouver, there are two types of whales that you could see: Orcas and Humpbacks.
There are 3 pods of Killer Whales that frequent the Vancouver area and totals around 80 whales.
The Orcas are attracted to the area to feed during the Salmon spawning season, which runs from May to October.
The whales return here every year to feed on these Salmon.
Vancouver Whale Watching Season
Whale watching season in Vancouver runs from April 1st to October 31st.
There are two groups of Orcas here: resident and transient.
So during these months, you’ll have the best chances of seeing a whale in the wildlife.
Visit during June to September to really make the most of being out on the water.
The temperature should be regularly warm and that makes all the difference when out at sea!
Best Whale Watching Tours in Vancouver
I’ve outlined the top five whale watching experiences in the Vancouver area.
All of these companies are reputable and have a high number of reviews on Viator and TripAdvisor.
1. Whale Watching Tour (Vancouver Whale Watch)
Duration: 3-5 hours | Price from $118.87 (Book on Viator)
One of the best parts of this whale watching trip is the professional naturalist that will guide you.
With their expert knowledge, they’ll be able to tell you everything you want to know from all the animals that you’ll see.
The marine wildlife you can expect to see include the famous resident orcas, sea lions, seals, bald eagles and porpoises.
Not only will you get to see some amazing animals, you’ll also be front row to some of the fantastic scenery of the Gulf and San Juan Islands.
2. Half-Day Whale Watching (Prince of Whales)
Duration: 3-5 hours | Price from $142.62 (Book on Viator)
Explore the beautiful Strait of Georgia as your search for wild whales on this half day fully guided whale watching tour.
Leaving from Granville Island, 3-4 certified marine naturalists will be on board to answer any questions as you cruise along the west coast.
Don’t fret if you worry you won’t see any whales – you can join another tour for free until you do!
3. Whale Watching Tour (Wild Whales Vancouver)
Duration: 3-6 hours | Price from $120.22 (Book on Viator)
Choosing between 3 different departure times in the morning, you’ll head out to see the best of British Columbia by sea.
As you set off tracking the resident and transient orcas in the area, your experienced guide will share some interesting facts with you.
And once you’re back to land, you’re in a prime position to check out the tasty Granville Market!
4. Seaplane & Whale Watching Tour (Orca Spirit Adventures)
Duration: 3 hours | Price from $361.43 (Book on Viator)
If you feel like being a little more adventurous, head over to Vancouver Island in a seaplane and start your whale watching tour in Victoria.
Not only will you get some amazing views on the way over, you’ll also get to see a little bit of the stunning Victoria harbour as well.
The nearby Haro Straits are home to 3 pods of resident killer whales and with over 85 whales in total, you are in with a very good chance of seeing them!
5. Whale Watching Adventure (Steveston Seabreeze Adventures)
Duration: 4 hours | Price from $115.60 (Book on Viator)
About 30 minutes outside of Downtown Vancouver is the small town of Steveston.
The journey will be worth it as they tend to have fewer people on their tours, enjoying a little more exclusivity.
They boast a high success rate for seeing killer whales, humpbacks, seals, sea lions and porpoises.