Whales and Alaska are about as synonymous as Alaska is with glaciers – but when is the best time to see whales in Alaska? Though there are resident whales that live in Juneau’s harbors and surrounding waters year-round, and thus it’s possible to see whales in Alaska no matter when you’re here, there are some times that are better than others. We’ll discuss the best time to see whales in Alaska in more detail below, but the answer to that question also depends on which species you want to see most. Gray whales, orcas, and Humpback whales tend to appear at slightly different times throughout the year.
If you time your trip right, you will come away forever changed. Seeing these massive yet gentle marine mammals breach just feet in front of your boat is nothing short of life-changing. If seeing whales in Alaska is on your bucket list, let’s talk. We’re happy to help you narrow down which Juneau whale watching tours match your style, and we’ll even help you arrange them.
These perks and more are waiting for you at our #1-rated downtown Juneau hotel – the ideal location for all of the best wild Alaskan adventures. We’ll treat you to breakfast each morning of your stay, help you plan all of your big (or small) adventures, and treat you to a warm soak in our rooftop hot tub when you come in at the end of the day. There’s not much else you could want from your stay in Juneau. So, are you ready to see whales in Alaska? Book your room at our #1-rated Downtown Juneau hotel today.
The Best Time to See Whales in Alaska
Having the opportunity to see whales in Alaska is a bucket-list item for just about everybody. Though there are ample opportunities to see these gentle giants in Juneau’s cold waters, there are better times than others to visit. The waters surrounding Alaska are also home to several different species, including Humpbacks, orcas (killer whales), fin whales, and gray whales. Sometimes, you can spot Blue, Sperm, and Minke whales in Alaska!
There are plenty of Cetaceans in the water – but when is the best time to see whales in Alaska? The short answer: between April and November. Orcas can be seen hunting year-round, but the summer months are truly the best time to see whales in Alaska.
Gray whales start to arrive in their seasonal migration in April. More transient Orcas show up to hunt these waters in early May, and by the end of the month, 600+ Humpback whales are here feeding for the season. Given this timeline, the “peak” time to see whales in Alaska is May through September. This, coincidentally, is also when most Juneau whale watching tours begin and end their seasonal operations.
The Best Juneau Whale Watching Tours
Now that you know when is the best time to see whales in Alaska let’s talk about how best to go about it. There are a lot of Juneau whale watching tours to choose from, some of which offer a far superior experience to others. Choosing from these Juneau whale watching tours be overwhelming, but that’s where we come in.
We work with select tour companies in Juneau who provide excellent excursions specifically tailored to the kind of experience our guests are looking for. In other words, these aren’t your standard just-off-a-cruise-ship tours. There’s a mix of high-end luxury and traditional tours with a twist. We’re confident you’ll have a great time no matter which Juneau whale watching tours you choose! After all, you’ll more than likely see whales in Alaska!
- Alaska Sea to Shore is our go-to choice for Juneau whale watching tours. They offer the best opportunity to see whales while exploring the islands and scenic beauty of Juneau from the water.
- Alaska Luxury Tours offers a Luxury Whale Watch tour on a sweet Mercedes land yacht. Aboard the vessel, you’ll sip champagne or coffee and nibble on cheese and charcuterie while keeping watch for breaching Humpbacks.
- Harv & Marv’s Juneau whale watching tours take you by the Mendenhall Glacier during your search for the giant sea mammals. They have boats that can accommodate up to 18 people, so this could be the best pick if you’re traveling in a larger group.
- Adventure Bound Alaska combines whale and wildlife viewing with the exploration of Tracy Arm Fjord, about 45 minutes South of Juneau. You’ll most likely get to spot Humpbacks, but you’ll get an up-close and personal look at the Sawyer Glacier as the ice calves and crumbles into the sea.
The Best Place to Stay in Downtown Juneau
There’s no doubt that the high likelihood of seeing whales in Alaska at some point in your trip is one of the biggest draws to the Juneau area. That, and the chance to see other incredible wildlife like black bears on Admiralty Island. Juneau truly is home to a vast and breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to explore. Spend a few days (or more!) at our downtown Juneau hotel, and let us help you see the very best of it, away from the busy crowds of the cruise boats.
More than just being a great place to explore Juneau’s natural world, downtown Juneau is also a hub of activity worthy of exploring in its own right. In downtown Juneau – steps from our hotel – you’ll find plenty of great restaurants, breweries, distilleries, historic architecture, culture, and more. It’s an extremely walkable town, and we’re in the heart of it.
Aside from being well-located to the best of downtown Juneau, we also offer a fantastic range of guest suites for all varieties of travelers, from solo explorers to multi-generational families traveling together. Each of our modern rooms fits a different footprint—some feel like an urban apartment, perfect for more extended stays with the whole crew in tow, while others have that romantic, luxury vibe, best for a couples getaway or some solo time.
Explore the best of Juneau with us this summer. Book a room at the Silverbow Inn and Suites today!