Port Townsend 4-hour Whale Watching Tour

Want an amazing whale watching experience, but don’t have all day to spend on the water? Our 4 Hour Port Townsend Whale Watching Tour is the perfect trip for visitors and travelers with a busy schedule. Visit the Olympic National Park. See Victorian Port Townsend. Explore Sequim’s lavender fields – AND see whales!

  • Tour Overview

    Our 4-hour whale watching cruise departs Port Townsend both in the morning (10am) and in the afternoon (2:30pm). We head out towards the San Juan Islands, or to wherever the whales are on the Red Head, our comfortable and fast, 40-seat tour boat. Tours require a minimum of 15 passengers for departure.

  • This trip features indoor seating for everyone, a wrap-around outside viewing deck, as well as a snack bar and restroom.  Along with viewing whales, we often find bald eagles, harbor seals, California and Steller sea lions, tufted puffins and many other species of marine life. Just like in our full day tour, there is a trained marine naturalist guiding you through the many sites along the way, and if the whales are “talking,” you’ll be able to hear them with our hydrophone.

As of August 16, 2021, per guidance from Jefferson County Department of Public Health, all guests must wear facemasks over nose and mouth when inside the vessel. PSE does not provide masks, so please be sure to bring masks with you!

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 Courtyard Cafe in Port Townsend (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.

Want to learn more? Here’s what you can expect:

Check in at the office

30 minutes prior to departure, check in at the PSE Office in Port Townsend.

Safety first

Right out the office front door, we board the comfy 40-seat Red Head. In the fall, depending on bookings, we may use our 61-seat foilcat Chilkat Express.

Board the boat

Your safety is our number one priority – once aboard, your captain will tell you everything you need to know to enjoy your trip.

Leaving Port Townsend

The Red Head leaves Point Hudson in the Victorian Seaport of Port Townsend. A great destination for a day, weekend, or longer. Our round trip tour departs Port Townsend and heads across the magnificent Strait of Juan de Fuca, to the San Juan Islands, or wherever the whales happen to be that day. Along the way, the natural history and wildlife are pointed out by our trained marine naturalist.

Blueberry buckle

Don’t miss a PSE exclusive – Sherri’s famous blueberry buckle – made fresh daily and available in our galley.


Usually, about ninety minutes into the cruise, we are able to see whales. Humpbacks, minkes, and of course the famous orcas! The Southern Resident orcas are actually a large extended family, or clan, comprised of three pods: J, K, and L pods.Within each pod, families form into sub-pods centered around older females, usually grandmothers or great-grandmothers. Both male and female offspring remain in close association with their mothers for life. ​​Each Southern Resident pod uses a characteristic dialect of calls (sounds) to communicate. Certain calls are common between all three pods. The calls used by the Southern Resident community are unlike the calls used by any other community of killer whales. These calls can travel 10 miles or more under water. We also often see Transient Orcas – these are the mammal-eating killer whales that put on quite a show!

Our Guarantee

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.

Wildlife on Smith Island

See where the Red Head is now.

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.



Port Townsend


April 30 – Sept 26, 2021
10am departures
(plus 2:30pm Saturdays in May)
June 19 – Sept 12, 2021
additional 2:30 departures
Sept 27 – Oct 31, 2021
12pm departures


Average tour time = 4 hours.
Depending on whale location, tours can fluctuate by 45 minutes either way.


Whale watching


Adult: $95
Child (2-10): $65
Infants: FREE

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