Where Is The Best Place to Kayak With Orcas? (Best Places to See Them)

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are beautiful marine mammals. They’re known to be powerful predators and, sadly, have become endangered in recent years.

Although they’re named killer whales, orcas are actually dolphins. In fact, they’re the largest species of dolphins and are easily identified with their distinctive black and white coloring. 

Kayaking with orcas is on many nature enthusiasts’ bucket lists. So, in this article, we listed the best places to kayak with orcas so you can book your next adventure. Let’s begin!

The 9 Best Places to Kayak With Orcas in the World

This is a list of the nine best places where you can see orcas and get the chance to kayak with them. Here are the places where you’ll be able to take a closer look at the killer whales and observe their routine in their natural habitats.

#1 Washington 

Seattle, WA, is one of the best destinations for kayaking with orcas. The city is blessed with several resident killer whale pods. You’ll definitely see one or two orcas here while kayaking!

San Juan Island is probably the most popular place for orcas spotting. This is because it’s where they do most of their hunting and playing.

There are lots of guided tours offered on San Juan Island. If you choose San Juan Island as your next kayaking destination, consider looking for a tour at Whale Watch Park.

Orcas Island and Lopez Island are also great sighting destinations for spotting orcas. In addition, they’re popular places people visit to go kayaking with orcas. Many camping and touring trips are offered on both islands with overnight facilities.

The Salish Sea is home to 73 orcas and is also a great place to go on a kayaking tour. You might even learn how to identify the different orcas living there. 

Plan your trip for the summertime, as that’s when orcas make their way to the Seattle area. You’ll have a better chance of spotting a whole family of orcas!

#2 Oregon

Oregon is another state of the United States blessed with orcas visits. It features several places where you can book kayaking with orcas tours.

You can also see gray whales whose babies attract many orcas to the area. Mid-April is the best time to spot orcas in Oregon. So, make sure to book your tour before they run out.

Look for tours around the coast of Newport, where there’s a more significant chance of spotting orcas. Also, Astoria, around the mouth of the Columbia River, is another place to spot orcas and whales, including humpback and minke whales.

Dolphins are also pretty popular in those areas. This way, you get the pleasure of seeing orcas along with other dolphins.

#3 Alaska 

Alaska is famous for its nature and wildlife. It’s also an excellent destination for many nature lovers who can handle the cold.

Southeastern Alaska is a great place to go on a kayaking tour with orcas. Resurrection Bay is the go-to spot for whale watching in Alaska.

However, keep in mind that many whale watching tours available in this area are basically large boat tours. Yet, you can still find kayaking tours. You just need to do your research and book your tour early.

Resurrection Bay is a place for residents, offshore, and transient orcas. Another great place to kayak with orcas is the Blank Islands, where you’ll find plenty of kayaking tours.

The best time to visit Alaska to kayak with orcas is early May to early June or throughout the summer.

#4 California 

California is home to several whale pods, including orca pods. The best place in California to spot orcas while kayaking is Monterey Bay, where there are many kayaking tours. This way, you can go kayaking not only with orcas but also with humpback whales.

Many of the orcas in this area are transient orcas from Mexico. They also sometimes pass through the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

California is your best bet if you’re interested in kayaking with orcas and various whale species. Make sure to book your kayaking tour in December and January when these gorgeous animals are more abundant.

#5 Canada

Canada has two unique spots visited by more than 30 species of whales and orcas. The first place to mention is Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Johnstone Strait is probably the most popular spot for kayaking with orcas on Vancouver Island. There, you’ll find single-day kayaking tours and multi-day kayaking trips to observe orcas in their natural habitat.

The best time to go kayaking with orcas in British Columbia is in the summer. It’s one of the best orcas sighting destinations, with more than 200 resident and transient orcas. Plus, you get to see many other marine mammals all in one convenient location.

#6 Norway 

North America isn’t the only place blessed with marine nature. Europe is another great place for that, with Norway as a great example.

It’s one of the most amazing destinations to go kayaking with orcas. Lofoten and Tromso are especially popular orca spotting destinations.

You’ll find many guided kayaking with orcas tours, especially in winter. 

This is when you’ll have the biggest chance to spot orcas.

If you plan your trip just right, you can also get a chance to view the mesmerizing Northern Lights. Winter is the ideal time to see the Northern Lights, and Tromso is the perfect place to do that. 

Another place to go kayaking with orcas in Norway is Andenes. You can find kayaking tours offered there. You might even have a chance to snorkel with the orcas as well!

#7 New Zealand

Moving to the South Pacific Ocean, we have another excellent destination for kayaking with orcas: New Zealand. The city of Auckland in New Zealand is a great place to observe orca pods.

Your best chance to see orcas is from March to November. However, you might get lucky and spot various species of whales and other marine wildlife as well.

#8 Western Australia

Bremer Bay, Australia, is home to the largest orca gathering in the southern hemisphere. It’s a great place to go dolphin, whale, and orca watching!

You can find several kayaking tours and other activities that you can do near the orcas. The best time to visit Bremer Bay is during the summer months.

This is when you can watch them while they’re feeding on squid and fish. Of course, they’ll be going on with their daily life routine while you’re on the sidelines watching.

#9 English Channel: The Channel Islands 

Moving back to the northern hemisphere, the Channel Islands in the English Channel is our next stop. The Channel Islands is a renowned destination for nature enthusiasts. First of all, you’ll find many nature-inspired guided tours and activities.

One of these activities is kayaking with not just orcas but also a wide range of marine mammals. The area is home to various species of whales, including humpbacks, blue whales, and finbacks.

So, if you’re an enthusiast for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, the Channel Islands should be your next destination.

Final Word

Being able to kayak with orcas and get so close to them is, for sure, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So if you were ever wondering about the best places to kayak with orcas, you’re in luck! 

There are many great guided kayaking tours and other activities that will allow you to observe these beautiful animals in their natural habitats.

Just make sure to book your kayaking trips early on so you can find something available for you. Also, check the best times to visit the above-listed destinations for a guaranteed chance to spot orcas and various other marine animals.

Related Articles