There are many destinations for watching whales in their natural habitats, up close and personal. The west coast is truly the best coast, it seems, if you want to see orca, humpback or blue whales. Most of these places also have additional fun attractions surrounding the experiences. Along the coast from Hawaii to Alaska, beautiful scenery and photo-worthy memories await you. So grab your binoculars, cameras and sunscreen and enjoy the view from these locations.

One of the world’s most important whale habitats is the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary which spans 1,400 square miles and hosts nearly 10,000 North Pacific humpback whales each winter to bear and nurse their calves. Many sights can be seen from land or sea.

From San Diego to San Francisco there are many prime spots for whale watching. Monterey Bay, California is a great location for spotting the beautiful creatures year round. Specifically, humpback and blue whales can be seen from April to December and gray whales from December to April. Keep an eye out for killer whales too as they are natural hunters of gray whales.

Washington State is perfect for a guided whale watching tour. Visit the San Juan Islands to see orcas from mid-April to early October. You can also spot seals, sea lions, gray, minke and humpback whales off the coast as well.

One of the most popular destinations to see killer whales is Vancouver Island, with an estimated 85 orcas living in the waters around southern Vancouver and the southern Gulf Islands. A large number of Pacific gray whales also make their migration route along the island’s west coast. The best time to visit is between March and November to spot these creatures.

Juneau is the place to be to see humpback whales from the coast, or hop on a tour boat in downtown Juneau for your chance to see orcas. Whale watching season takes place here from April to November.

What’s your favorite whale watching spot? Share with us and other Fast Park guests on our Facebook page!