Best Alaska Whale Watching Tours

Alaska whale watching tours are top shore excursions. Each experience has a unique take on your day of adventuring. Our tour guides and boat captains are experts on whales and know just where to find them. In fact, many ​of​ ​our​ ​adventures​ ​guarantee​ ​that​ ​you​ ​will​ ​see​ ​whales​ ​or​ ​your​ ​money​ ​back.​

Some of the largest creatures in the world’s oceans reside in the nutrient-rich waters of southeast Alaska: humpback whales. These gentle giants feed on krill, which they isolate by streaming ocean water through filter-like plates in their mouths called baleen. They often work together using bubble net feeding, where they surround the school and blow bubbles to confuse them and get them to gather conveniently together. It’s an unforgettable sight!

Read our picks for the best Alaska whale watching tours:

1. Juneau Whale Watching & Salmon Bake Combo

Port: Juneau

Highlights: Whale Watching, Gold Creek Salmon Bake, Live Alaskan Folk Music

alaska whale watching

The Juneau Whale Watching & Salmon Bake Combo takes you aboard a jet boat boat equipped with a hydrophone system for listening to whales as they communicate with each other in the water! It’s paired with perhaps the most delicious meal you will ever eat, at The Gold Creek Salmon Bake. They’ve been grilling up perfect salmon for nearly 40 years at this all-you-can-eat adventure, even being featured on Bravo Television’s Top Chef. Plus, they’ll also have live Alaskan folk music as accompaniment.


2. Juneau Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Tour

Port: Juneau

Highlights: Whale Watching, Glacier Tour, Best Alaska Tour

mendenhall glacier whale watching

The Juneau Whale Watching & Mendenhall Glacier Tour will get you a mammoth field of ice in addition to enormous sea creatures. Your experienced Naturalist will take you in search of humpback and killer whales, sea lions, porpoises and more in a specially designed boat. Afterwards, you will be shuttled out to the famous Mendenhall Glacier where you can take a hike out toward the ice, check out the Visitor’s Center, or just go on a meditative mission to find some soft silt (sand crushed by the ice to near dust.)


3. Juneau Whale Watching Adventure Tour

Port: Juneau

Highlights: Whale Watching, Southeast Alaska, 

southeast alaska whale watching

The Juneau Whale Watching Adventure Tour takes you on a tour through Favorite Channel, Stephens Passage, Lynn Canal, or Saginaw Channel in search of Alaska’s most incredible creatures. Two outdoor decks provide for up-close viewing as you cruise through the majestic glacier-carved waters of Southeast Alaska. Humpback whales feeding. 


4. Icy Strait Premier Whale Watching Tour

Port: Icy Strait Point

Highlights: Whale Watching, Hoonah, Glacier Bay, Wildlife, Hoonah

icy strait whale watching

We also offer the Icy Strait Premier Whale Watching Tour, in Hoonah. Humpback whales come there in large numbers to feed on the nutrient-rich waters of Glacier Bay and Icy Strait every summer before migrating south in the winter. Also look out for bears, deer, blue heron, puffins, orca, sea otters and more! 


Know Before You Go

The best port for whale watching is Juneau. There are so many whales, that seeing whales on your excursion is guaranteed. Icy Strait also has abundant whales, though sightings are not guaranteed. You may also see whales on excursions from Seward, via Ressurection Bay or Kenai Fjords.

The best time to see whales is June through August. Late July and August is especially good, as this is when the humpback whales begin "Bubble Net Feeding" and you can see 10-12 whales jumping out of the water at once.

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