Seattle Whale Watching Tours
Go whale watching in Seattle! Enjoy the experience of a lifetime with Seattle’s ONLY half-day, guaranteed whale watching tour. See orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, gray whales and all the majestic wildlife in the Salish Sea on our tour departing from Edmonds – just minutes north of downtown Seattle.
Cruising at over 40mph, the Saratoga and the Chilkat Express will take you throughout the Salish Sea and San Juan Islands to find whales. Our vessels are the fastest and most comfortable whale watching boats in the Northwest. Combine that with three generations of dedication and experience connecting Seattle visitors with the great outdoors. We guarantee you’ll see whales or your next trip is free!
This extraordinary half-day tour features spacious, comfortable indoor seating and large windows, restrooms, outside viewing decks, and a great galley/cafe — which of course also serves up our signature, freshly baked “blueberry buckle” on every trip. Outside, it’s a menagerie of whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals, sea lions, otters, shorebirds and many other species of marine life, something different every trip.
Highly Recommend! We saw many whales and the boat and staff could not have been nicer. It was the perfect amount of time for an 11 and 14 year old on the half-day trip from Edmonds. The entire boat was very comfortable and clean. Very memorable and the favorite part of our Seattle family tripKristina S.
35th Anniversary Family Run Business
Three generations of our family have helped visitors have life-changing experiences with some of the most majestic creatures on the planet. We’re blessed to live in what’s been called “the American Serengeti,” with some of the highest concentration of whales and dolphins and sea life anywhere in the world — including our totem species, the orca. Few people know these waters like we do. Our experience and dedication makes it possible for us to guarantee that you’ll see whales on your trip — or we’ll give you another trip absolutely free.
Whale-wise Whale Watching
Puget Sound Express is a proud member of the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA), dedicated to responsible, sustainable marine wildlife viewing and conservation in the Pacific Northwest. We’re also dedicated to reducing our footprint out there. The Saratoga and Chilkat Express are sound-proofed, hydrofoil jet boats with no propellers, making them the quietest vessels in the whale watch fleet.
Things to Know
Note: For confirmed trips, any cancellation 48 hours prior to departure incurs a $10 charge. Changes to confirmed reservations within 48 hours are subject to a $10 per person rescheduling fee. After 48 hours, there are no refunds available. Travelers must be checked-in no later than 30 minutes prior to sailing. Boarding closes 15 minutes before departure. Due to stringent departure requirements, late arrivals will be cancelled with no refunds.
Don’t Forget Lunch!
When making your reservation, you’ll have the option of preordering gourmet box lunches from The Cheesemonger’s Table in Edmonds (ham sandwich, turkey, or caprese). Lunch orders must be placed prior to 3pm the day before a tour.
Are you traveling with an infant?
Children under the age of 2 can travel for free; however, if the boat is full that day, your child will be required to sit on your lap. You also have the option of purchasing a child’s rate ticket to ensure seating for your infant.
Are you visiting Seattle without a car?
No problem – Dial up a taxi, Uber or Lyft to get dropped off right at our office.
Get to Know Edmonds!
Art galleries, performance halls, an historic downtown with sandy beaches – Edmonds is a terrific play to stop, breathe, and linger! Learn more.
We are located at the Port of Edmonds, across the street from Anthony’s Homeport Restaurant.
Please arrive for check-in no later than 30 minutes prior to departure. Note that for our afternoon departure, our staff will man the kiosk once they return from the morning whale watching tour.
We depart from the Edmonds Marina in beautiful downtown Edmonds, north of downtown Seattle. We’ll cross the magnificent Strait of Juan de Fuca, to the San Juan Islands, or head south towards Tacoma – wherever the whales happen to be that day! Along the way, the natural history and wildlife are pointed out by our trained marine naturalist.
Don’t miss a PSE exclusive – Sherri’s famous blueberry buckle – made fresh daily and available in our galley.
We’re blessed to live in what’s been called “the American Serengeti,” with some of the highest concentration of whales and dolphins and sea life anywhere in the world — including our totem species, the orca. We frequently see 4 -5 types of whales:
Bigg’s orcas (aka Transient orcas)
Bigg’s orcas are apex predators – mammal-eating orcas that feed on a variety of prey – from harbor seals to sea lions, and even dolphins and small whales. Bigg’s orcas generally travel in small groups, usually of two to six animals, and can range from Southern California up to the Arctic circle. These are the orcas that we see most often in the Salish Sea these days. Bigg’s orcas are named in honor of cetologist Michael Bigg.
The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale, and has a distinctive body shape, with long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. They are known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors. One of the larger whale species, adults range in length from 39–52 feet and weigh nearly 40 tons. Their diet consists mostly of krill and small fish. Humpbacks have a diverse repertoire of feeding methods, including lunge-feeding and the bubble net technique. Until commercial whaling was banned in 1996, humpbacks were nearly hunted to extinction. Their population has rebounded, however, and we are thrilled to have them back in our neighborhood.
The gray whale is a species of baleen whale, with a dark slate-gray color, and frequently covered by gray/white scars left by parasites which drop off in its cold feeding grounds. Gray whales have two blowholes on top of their head, which can create a distinctive heart-shaped blow at the surface. Adults range in length from 43–49 feet and weigh up to 40 tons. Each spring, gray whales migrate from the southern waters near Baja, north to Alaska. In Washington, gray whales were once thought to be strictly seasonal travelers along the outer coast. We now know that these waters are more than just a stop on a migratory route for some. A small group of Grays nicknamed “Sounders” often turn east into Washington’s inland waters, usually during the spring northern migration.
The elusive minke whale is among the smallest of the baleen whales. Previously known as a ‘piked whale’ or ‘lesser finback’, the minke has a dark gray back and white undersides. Their pectoral fins have a distinctive white patch or band. Minkes range in length from 23-33 feet and weigh up to 10 tons. Minke whales are widely distributed throughout the North Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They migrate seasonally from polar feeding grounds to equatorial waters, where they breed and calve. Minkes feed on small schooling fish, crustaceans, and plankton.
Southern Resident orcas
The Southern Resident orcas are a large extended family, comprised of three pods: J, K, and L pods. Within each pod, families form into subpods centered around older females, usually grandmothers or great-grandmothers. Both male and female offspring remain in close association with their mothers for life. The Southern Residents are the only orca population listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and primarily feed on salmon. Due to the lack of salmon in the Salish Sea, we do not commonly see the Southern Residents.
If you don’t see whales on your trip, we will give you a voucher for another trip on us. Guarantee is not valid for a specific whale species, or cash back.
Time permitting, we’ll also pass by Smith Island Wildlife Refuge, home to an array of sea lions, seals, and birds.
Three generations of our family have helped visitors spend time with orcas, humpbacks, grays, and minke whales – that experience and dedication makes it possible for us to guarantee that you’ll see whales on this trip – or we’ll give you another trip absolutely free.