Whale Watching

Whale Watching in North America.

Whale watching is a hugely popular activity around the world, with the last survey suggesting that as many as 13 million people took part in 2008. The survey was conducted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2009. North America has many places where a variety of whales can be seen, sometimes from land, but more often from a boat. The coast of Eastern Canada has perhaps the widest variety of the beautiful creatures to be seen with as many as 22 different species frequenting these ice cold waters.

Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador are the places to see: Humpback whales, minke whales, fin whales, beluga whales and killer whales. One of the rarest to see there is the Sowerby’s Beaked Whale.  Humpbacks usually reach Cape St Mary’s ecological preserve in early June, then continue up the coast in July and August, passing through Witless Bay, Trinity Bay and Notre Dam Bay before reaching St Anthony in northern Newfoundland in late August.

Killer whales in McMurdo Sound

Given the wild nature and the vast distances involved, the best and safest way to see these magnificent creatures is through a proper tour, but to help you get the most out of your stay you can collect a hire car from Halifax Airport on Nova Scotia.  At TripWheels we are happy to offer car hire from both Dollar and National from this location.

Further down the Eastern seaboard another excellent place to view whales as they migrate is Virginia Beach, Virginia. From December to mid-March humpbacks, fin whales and right whales can be seen off the coast and during December huge pods of the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale can be seen migrating down to Georgia and Florida to calve.  These can often be seen just from the coast, or a tour can easily be taken. TripWheels can offer US car hire with Budget rent-a-car at Virginia Beach.

Over on the west coast, Seattle, Bellingham and the San Juan Islands offer a triangle of viewing opportunities for humpbacks, minke and gray whales along with orcas, both resident and transient. Puget Sound is a very reliable place to view whales with successful viewings occurring over 95% of the time. You can easily hire a car here from Seattle Airport, or downtown Seattle if you only need a car for part of your vacation.

Continuing down the coast on US Hwy 101 from Washington state is the state of Oregon, where gray whales can be seen off the coast year round. You can collect hire cars from Portland, Eugene or Medford if you use the search box to the right.

California is a good state for viewing blue whales, particularly as they migrate in pairs from July to October. Humpbacks, sperm whales, gray whales and orcas are also frequently seen in the Pacific waters off the southern Californian coast. You could take a whale watching tour to the Farallon Islands off San Francisco to see humpbacks, blue and gray whales.  California is the perfect state to combine whale watching with beautiful National Parks like Yosemite, vineyards, snow sports or beaches!  To hire a car in California is pretty much essential if you want to see as much of this beautiful state as possible, and at TripWheels we have locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego as well as Downtown Disney, to name just a few of the many California car hire locations.

Whale Watching Tower on Maui

Right out in the Pacific Ocean is the humpback whale’s play-park and breeding ground, also called Hawaii! Every year around 6,000 humpbacks migrate to Hawaii (some years as many as 10,000) arriving from late October, peaking during February and March, and then by mid-May they are all gone again! Maui is the best island to see the whales, but tours from the different islands will be able to take eager viewers to see the visitors. Year round, dolphins, false killer whales and pilot whales can also be seen around the islands. Many people choose to visit the islands on arranged packages and tours, or via a cruise, but one can easily hire a car for a few days to have a little independence and to get off the beaten path. We have car hire locations on Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and of course, at Hilo and Kona.

4 thoughts on “Whale Watching

  1. AirportsMadeSimple

    Hello, Elle! It has been a while! I have been (go figure) traveling a lot. Good to see you are still creating wonderful information here on this site! I will continue to keep it handy… 🙂

Comments are closed.