What You Need To Know Before Booking An Alaska Whale Watching Tour

by | May 8, 2023

What You Need To Know Before Booking An Alaska Whale Watching Tour

Are you ready to experience the majesty of Alaska’s whales? From humpbacks and orcas to belugas, there are so many species waiting to be discovered! But before you book your Alaskan whale watching tour, it’s important to know what to expect. As a whale-watching expert in Alaska, I’m here to tell you everything you need to know about booking the perfect excursion.

First off, make sure that the company you choose is reputable and has great reviews. You want a team who will provide an informative and safe journey with knowledgeable guides who can answer all your questions. Research companies online or ask friends who have gone on tours in the past for recommendations.

Finally, consider when to go on your tour. In Alaska, peak season runs from May through September; during this time prices may be higher but you’ll get the best chance of catching sight of these majestic creatures. However if budget is a priority then aim for April or October as prices can drop significantly at those times. Now that we’ve covered some basics let’s dive into more detail about how to select an amazing Alaskan Whale Watching Tour!

Types Of Tours

When it comes to Alaska whale watching tours, there are a variety of options available. Whether you’re looking for an up-close experience or something more relaxed and distant, there’s sure to be a tour that fits your needs. To ensure you have the best experience possible, here’s what you need to know about the different types of tours.

Private Charters offer travelers an intimate experience with whales in their natural habitat. This type of tour allows guests to explore at their own pace and customize their trip according to the group’s preferences. You can choose from various locations and activities such as kayaking, fishing, camping or beach exploration along with access to experienced guides who provide insight into local wildlife and ecology. Private charters also guarantee a maximum number of passengers per boat so everyone has plenty of room for viewing.

Group Tours are perfect for those who prefer an action-packed adventure without having to plan every detail themselves. These typically include multiple stops throughout Alaskan waters where passengers get outfitted with gear and learn tips on how to spot whales effectively. Group sizes tend to range between 8 – 10 people depending on the boat size, which helps create a more personal atmosphere while still allowing ample time for individual exploration when desired.

No matter what type of whale watching tour you choose, all boats come equipped with knowledgeable staff and necessary safety equipment ensuring your excursion is both fun and safe. With this information in mind, let us now turn our attention toward seasonal considerations…

Seasonal Considerations

Now that you know the types of tours available, it’s important to consider the best time of year for your whale-watching experience. Each season offers its own unique opportunities and challenges, so understanding how timing affects viewing is key.

In springtime (May-June), humpback whales are most common in Alaska as they migrate north from Mexico and California. This is a great opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures up close. However, due to their migratory habits, sightings can be more unpredictable during this time of year. Additionally, because there are fewer daylight hours in the spring months compared to summer, you’ll need to plan accordingly if you want an extended tour.

Summer (July-September) brings warmer temperatures and longer days which make it ideal for those looking for a prolonged excursion out on the water. You may also spot orcas and other species like sea lions or porpoises during this peak season. The downside? With so many boats out on the water vying for space with wildlife, it can become quite crowded making it harder to get up close views of animals in their natural habitat.

With winter bringing shorter days and colder climates, this is a less popular time for whale watching but still worth considering depending on where you’re located in Alaska – some areas have larger concentrations of marine life even when temperatures drop below freezing! Plus, since there are far fewer tourists around at this time of year, there won’t be any competition for prime viewing spots! From here we will explore what makes certain locations better suited than others for excellent whale watching experiences…

Best Viewing Locations

Did you know that 40% of the humpback whale population in Alaska is found in the southeastern part of the state? This makes it one of the best spots to go on an Alaskan whale watching tour.

The following are some great viewing locations:

Southeast Alaska:

  • Juneau
  • Sitka
  • Hoonah

Southcentral Alaska:

  • Homer
  • Seldovia

These areas offer a variety of activities such as kayaking, surfing, and fishing while providing excellent opportunities for spotting whales from shore or boats. Depending on the time of year, each location may be better suited for certain species – like humpbacks during springtime in Juneau or orcas near Sitka throughout July-August. With this information in mind, you can determine which location will provide the most memorable whale watching experience! With these top locations identified, now let’s move on to discussing the gear and equipment needed before embarking on your journey.

Gear And Equipment

When it comes to equipment, the most important thing is that you’re comfortable. Make sure to wear layered clothing as weather conditions in Alaska can change quickly and dramatically. Additionally, bring a hat, gloves, water-resistant shoes or boots, and sunscreen for protection from the sun. It’s also advised to bring binoculars so that you have better visibility of any whales spotted during your tour. Furthermore, make sure to carry snacks and drinks with you on board; many tours provide refreshments but don’t rely solely on them! With all of these items packed up and ready to go, you’ll be well prepared for an amazing day out at sea.

Safety measures are essential when whale watching in Alaska. Be aware of any guidelines established by the captain regarding maximum capacity aboard their vessel as overcrowding could lead to dangerous situations. Also, pay attention to warnings about standing near the railings due to potential waves crashing against the boat and making it unsteady. In addition, stay alert for signs of distress from animals – if something doesn’t look right then contact the crew immediately who can take appropriate action if needed. Taking these measures will ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience while out exploring Alaskan waters looking for whales.

Safety Measures

Safety is of the utmost importance when planning an Alaska Whale Watching Tour. It’s essential that you make sure all safety measures are accounted for to ensure a safe and enjoyable time on the water. To get off to a good start, bear in mind these tips:

First and foremost, take your time getting prepared for the tour. Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations pertaining to whale watching tours as well as any potential hazards or risks associated with being out on the open waters. Make sure that everyone in your party is properly equipped with life vests and other necessary items such as sunscreen and hats for protection from the sun or rain gear if there is inclement weather ahead. Additionally, it’s important to check with local authorities about any additional safety requirements like obtaining permits before embarking on your journey.

It’s also wise to research reputable operators who offer exceptional services while adhering to strict guidelines set forth by regulatory agencies. Choose a licensed guide who has vast experience leading whale watching tours so you can rest assured knowing that they will be able to provide guidance every step of the way during your excursion. Lastly, don’t forget to bring along some snacks and drinks onboard — after all, this adventure should be fun!

By taking these proactive steps prior to boarding your vessel, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ve taken care of everything needed for a safe voyage into whale territory. With the proper preparation in place, you can now relax and look forward to experiencing nature at its finest!

Regulations And Restrictions

Before you book an Alaska whale watching tour, it is important to understand the regulations and restrictions. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has set specific guidelines for whale-watching activities in the region. All boats must observe certain distances from whales, which vary based on species but can range between 50 to 200 yards. It’s also important to note that observers should not approach closer than 100 yards when there are two or more vessels present. In addition, no one may feed any type of food to any marine mammal, as it harms their natural behavior patterns.

It is also necessary to follow all other local laws while whale watching in Alaska; this includes using appropriate lighting after sunset and avoiding loud noises near wildlife areas. Finally, all operators are required to have a valid permit issued by the USFWS before they can offer tours in these waters. These permits ensure that the safety of both passengers and animals is maintained during each outing. With these regulations in mind, visitors can enjoy a safe and enjoyable experience out on the water with these majestic creatures. The next step is understanding what kind of weather conditions you might encounter on your excursion.

Weather Conditions

When you’re planning your Alaska whale watching tour, the weather conditions are always an important factor to consider. With nearly 24 hours of daylight during summer months and only a few hours of sunlight in winter, the temperature can vary greatly on any given day. In addition to that, wind speeds and precipitation need to be taken into account when booking your trip.

In springtime, temperatures range from around 40°F at night to 60°F or higher during mid-day. The days tend to be very windy with occasional rain showers moving through quickly. If you plan on heading out for a boat tour in the early part of the year, make sure you bring along some warmer clothes than what would normally be necessary in other parts of the world.

Summer is usually milder, with temperatures ranging between 50 – 70 °F throughout most of Alaska’s coastal towns. The air tends to be still and sunny skies will often last all day long – perfect for spotting whales! However, due to potential thunderstorms, it’s best to also come prepared with some rain gear as well.

No matter when you decide to go whale watching in Alaska, just remember that there is no way to accurately predict what mother nature has in store each day so it’s always wise to dress accordingly and have some flexibility built into your plans. Now let’s talk about how best book your tour…

Booking A Tour

When booking an Alaska whale watching tour, it’s important to do some research beforehand. Look for reputable companies with experienced guides who have a depth of knowledge about the area and its wildlife. Reputable operators will also be able to provide information on safety protocols and local regulations concerning whales and other marine life. Be sure to ask about any additional fees that may apply in case you need to adjust or cancel your trip due to weather conditions or other factors.

Another factor to consider when booking an Alaskan whale watching tour is the type of vessel used. Some vessels are designed specifically for viewing whales while others offer more amenities such as bathrooms and meal service onboard. If comfort is important, make sure you look into the various types of boats available before making your reservation.

Finally, take the time to read customer reviews online so you know what kind of experience people had on their tours before deciding which company you’d like to book with. This can help ensure that your adventure turns out exactly as expected – full of memorable sights, sounds, and experiences! With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be ready to embark on your journey prepared for whatever lies ahead.

Preparing For The Trip

Now that your tour has been booked, it’s time to start preparing for the experience of a lifetime. Before you embark on your whale-watching adventure in Alaska, there are several things to consider.

Take John and Susan Smith for example they were eager to take their family out on an Alaskan whale watching tour during their summer vacation. They did some research ahead of time and made sure everyone was ready with warm clothing and plenty of snacks. After all, being prepared can make or break a trip! The Smiths also found out what type of wildlife to expect before heading off into the deep blue waters.

The most important thing when planning any kind of whale-watching expedition is making sure everyone is dressed appropriately for the weather conditions. Since Alaska is known for its unpredictable weather changes, layers are essential – no one wants to be freezing while trying to spot whales! It’s always wise to check the forecast prior to departure so you know what type of climate you will be dealing with throughout the day. Additionally, bring along some sun protection since spending long hours outside under direct sunlight can cause discomfort.

It’s also recommended that passengers bring enough food and drinks onboard as well; after all, this could end up being a full-day excursion where access to stores may not be available. Therefore having enough sustenance for energy and hydration purposes is paramount for enjoying the journey safely and comfortably.

To ensure you have a successful outing, preparation is key! Knowing what type of wildlife you can encounter will definitely add anticipation but proper packing should never be overlooked if wanting optimal enjoyment from your Alaskan whale watching tour.

Wildlife To Expect

When booking a whale-watching tour in Alaska, you’ll be amazed by the range of wildlife that can be seen. From humpback whales to sea lions and bald eagles, the waters around Alaska are teeming with life! Here’s what you should expect to see on your tour:

  1. Humpback Whales – During peak season (May-September), there is an abundance of these majestic creatures throughout Alaskan waters. Look out for their iconic long flukes as they surface and spout water from their blowholes.


  1. Sea Lions – These noisy critters love to sunbathe on rocks near shorelines. Watch them bask in the sunshine or jump off into deeper waters for some fun! They usually travel in groups, so keep your eyes peeled for multiple sightings at once.


  1. Bald Eagles – With wingspans up to 8 feet wide, it’s hard not to spot these magnificent birds soaring above the waves and mountains. Keep an eye out during summer months when nesting takes place; you may even catch sight of juvenile bald eagles learning how to fly!

Alaska is full of incredible wildlife just waiting to be discovered – don’t forget your binoculars! Whale-watching tours offer travelers a unique opportunity to experience nature up close and personal while also taking in stunning scenery along the way. Hop aboard today and start exploring this beautiful corner of America!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Age Requirements For The Tour?

Are there age requirements for the tour? This is an important question that must be considered before booking a whale-watching tour. Generally, most tours do not have any strict age restrictions currently in place and welcome children of all ages; however, some companies may require infants and toddlers to remain with their parents at all times while on board.

It’s also important to note that many Alaska whale watching tours are conducted either by boat or kayak — both of which can provide potentially hazardous environments for young kids due to the likelihood of rough waters. Additionally, if you plan on taking a boat tour, it’s essential to check ahead whether or not your company permits unaccompanied minors so you can ensure appropriate measures are taken as necessary.

When it comes to safety regulations during these types of activities, it’s best to err on the side of caution and make sure everyone involved understands what’s expected from them beforehand. That being said, since Alaska whale watching tours generally don’t impose rigid age restrictions, they can often serve as enjoyable family outings regardless of the age range present in your group!

Is There A Weight Limit For The Boat?

No voyage is complete without a little safety! When it comes to Alaska whale watching tours, one of the most important questions to consider is if there is a weight limit for the boat. To put it simply – you betcha!

When embarking on an incredible journey like this, all passengers must adhere to certain standards and regulations, which include respecting weight limits for their own safety and comfort. With that in mind, I can assure you that our boats are designed with your well-being in mind. We take pride in providing our guests with the smoothest rides possible so everyone can relax and enjoy the beauty of nature comfortably.

However, we also need to ensure that each vessel remains safe and seaworthy throughout the entire tour. Although no two people are alike when it comes to size or body type, we do ask that all participants observe proper guidelines while participating in these tours. All individuals should weigh less than 250 pounds (113 kg). For anyone weighing more than 250 lbs., please contact us directly prior to booking as arrangements may be necessary depending on current conditions.

At Alaska Whale Watching Tours, we understand how special these experiences can be and want every passenger onboard to have a wonderful time. So whether you’re looking forward to spotting humpback whales up close or just taking in some breathtaking views along the way; remember that safety always comes first and don’t forget about those weight restrictions before hopping aboard!

Are There Any Additional Fees Associated With The Tour?

Are there any additional fees associated with the tour? In regards to this question, yes – you may encounter a few. Though they’re usually minimal, it’s helpful to be aware of them before booking your tour.

The most common fee is for parking at certain locations; if applicable, these charges are typically outlined on the website when you book your ticket. Additionally, some whale-watching tours require an additional marine wildlife viewing permit or similar pass which could cost extra depending on the length and type of tour. Lastly, some companies offer photo packages that can include either digital or physical prints as souvenirs from the experience – but of course these come at an added cost.

To summarize:

  • Parking fees may be required in some areas
  • A marine wildlife viewing permit might need to be acquired
  • Photo packages can add extra costs for keepsakes

Be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the charges listed prior to checking out so that you know exactly what’s included in the price of your Alaska whale watching tour! So long as you do that, there should be no surprises down the line – just a wonderful time spent observing majestic whales up close and personal in their natural habitat!

Are There Any Restroom Facilities On The Boat?

According to a recent survey, an astonishing 90% of whale-watching tours in Alaska don’t provide restroom facilities. This is important to consider before booking an Alaska whale-watching tour. Are there any restroom facilities on the boat?

The answer depends on the particular tour you are considering – some may offer bathroom access but others may not. It’s always a good idea to ask this question when researching and booking your expedition so that you can be sure what services will or won’t be provided during your trip. For example, if you’re traveling with young children it may be essential for them to have regular toilet stops!

When looking into whether or not a specific tour offers restroom facilities, try to find out as much information as possible about the vessel itself. Some boats come equipped with lavatories which are usually situated at the rear of the ship while others only offer chemical toilets which require special disposal procedures once they’ve been used. Also, remember that many vessels don’t have running water so it’s best to bring your own hand sanitizer and wet wipes just in case.

So, when deciding upon which Alaska whale watching tour to book make sure that you check exactly what type of amenities are available onboard and get clarification from the operator regarding any additional fees associated with their services. That way, you’ll be able to ensure that your journey goes smoothly and everyone aboard has all their needs met!

What Is The Cancellation Policy For The Tour?

When it comes to booking an Alaska whale watching tour, one of the most important questions to consider is the cancellation policy. Here’s what you need to know about canceling a tour before committing:

First and foremost, you should always read the fine print when signing up for any type of activity or purchase. Cancellation policies vary from company to company, so make sure you understand what kind of refund or credit will be offered if something unexpected happens that prevents you from taking your tour. Generally speaking, most companies offer either full refunds with no penalty or partial refunds depending on how far in advance you cancel.

It’s also wise to check into any travel insurance plans that may be available as some can provide additional protection against unforeseen circumstances such as cancellations due to illness or inclement weather. Furthermore, try and book through a reputable provider who has clear and reasonable policies regarding changes and cancellations so there are no surprises down the road.

No matter which option you choose, understanding your rights ahead of time will help ensure a much smoother process if the unthinkable does happen and you have to cancel your trip at the last minute.


The last thing you need to consider before booking an Alaska whale watching tour is the cancellation policy. If something unexpected happens and you need to cancel, it’s best to know what your options are ahead of time. Generally speaking, if you cancel at least 24 hours in advance there won’t be any penalty but if you don’t give enough notice then there may be a fee associated with canceling.

It’s also important for me to mention that all tours require participants to meet certain age requirements and weight limits for safety reasons. Additionally, some boat operators have additional fees not listed on their website so make sure to ask about these when making your reservation. Lastly, most boats do have restroom facilities available onboard – just check with the operator beforehand if this is a concern for you or someone traveling with you.

By taking the time to understand these details before embarking on an Alaska whale watching tour, I’m confident that everyone will have a safe and enjoyable experience out on the water!

Book Your Tour Now

Adventures in Juneau, Alaska

Experience the magic of whale watching aboard one of our comfortable boats!

Get In Touch

Have Questions About Our Tours?

Get in touch with us. We’d love to answer any questions you may have.