Bucket List Adventures | #4 Whale Watching

Whale watching was always something I wanted to do. When I started creating my bucket list a few years back (see here for the complete list) it was one of the first things added to the list (along with going up the Seattle Space Needle). With their sheer size and undeniable grace in the water, whale’s always amazed me. Living in Seattle, we had no excuse not to go whale watching and check it off the bucket list.

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Orca whales near San Juan Islands, Washington | Whale Watching | The Spectacular Adventurer

When we first arrived to the Seattle, we looked into the best times to go. May-October was the best time to see Orca and Humpback whales in the Seattle area. So we planned to go in June.

As soon as the month hit, we signed up for a tour with Island Adventures leaving from the San Juan Islands (about an hour north of downtown Seattle). Our tour was a half day tour (lasting about 5 hours). There are also downtown Seattle tours that are full day trips offered through other companies.

Docks of San Juan Islands, Washington | The Spectacular Adventurer

What I Wore

Heading north from Seattle and being on the water, I bundled up for this adventure. Even in June with temperatures in the mid-50/60s throughout the day, I planned for much cooler temperatures on the water. I wore a Gap striped shirt (old, similar here) with this Helly Hansen wind breaker/rain jacket. Since it was sunny, I also brought my favorite Ralph Lauren sunglasses. If I was going again, I would also pack an additional sweat shirt for added warmth (like this cute Vineyard Vines one or J.Crew one).

What to wear whale watching near Seattle, Washington | The Spectacular Adventurer
Outfit Details: Gap striped shirt (old, similar here), Helly Hansen wind breaker/rain jacket and Ralph Lauren sunglasses

Whale Watching Adventure

We left the dock at 4PM with about 30 other people on the multi-storied boat. We brought a few snacks on board to enjoy on the water; however, the boat also offered a variety of snacks and drinks on board. After a quick safety briefing, we were off to find the whales!

Sail boats near San Juan Islands, Washington | The Spectacular Adventurer

With the mountains surrounding us, we enjoyed the breath-taking views as we sailed. Once we got outside the main harbor, even though it was sunny, it was very windy. I was so glad I brought my Helly Hansen wind breaker jacket for the added warmth! Along the journey, we passed smaller islands and sail boats. After about 30 minutes we had our first whale siting!

Orca whale pod near San Juan Islands, Washington | The Spectacular Adventurer

We first ran into a pod of 2 Orca whales. Seeing these majestic animals in the wild was incredible. Other boats also found this pod and were amazed by the orcas swimming in the water.

Whale watching boats near San Juan Islands, Washington | The Spectacular Adventurer

After about 1 hour watching this pod play in the water, the boat decided to head to other areas. Along the way, we saw harbor seals, harbor dolphins (so cute and tiny!), and bald eagles. We ran into another pod of 2 orcas that were on the hunt. We watched them for the remainder of the afternoon.

Bald Eagle near San Juan Islands, Washington | The Spectacular Adventurer

Going whale watching was a Spec-tacular adventure and seeing these mighty and beautiful animals in the wild was amazing! It was another bucket list item accomplished off the list …

Orca whale watching San Juan-Islands Washington | The Spectacular Adventurer

Also see: My Seattle Travel Guide and Bucket List #3 Seattle Space Needle



  1. March 25, 2019 / 2:24 pm

    This looks like so much fun! This is def I’m my bucket list as well too!

    • Liz
      March 25, 2019 / 6:59 pm

      It was so much fun! Such an amazing experience to see them in the wild!

  2. March 25, 2019 / 5:57 pm

    Oh my gosh this experience looks absolutely incredible!

    Laura || afinnontheloose.com

    • Liz
      March 25, 2019 / 6:58 pm

      Thanks so much! It was a total blast! 🙂

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