The Alaskan coast is an amazing place for viewing America’s most spectacular marine environment. You can see porpoises, sea lions, seals, walrus, and sea otters as you navigate past magnificent glaciers. But the greatest attraction is seeing the majestic whales that swim along the coast on their way to and from their feeding and mating grounds.
Which whales you can see depends on the season you visit. Gray whales come up from Baja California in late March through May on their way to the Bering Sea. Humpback whales make their way along the southeast coast of Alaska between May and September. Orcas (killer whales) aren’t actually whales at all; they’re the largest member of the porpoise family. Even so, they’re thrilling to witness off Alaska’s coast in the summer months. It’s also possible to see humpback and beluga whales in Alaskan waters.
If you’re taking an Inside Passage tour (Great American Things, June 10, 2009), during these seasons, whale watching will definitely be a featured part of your itinerary. To make a visit just to see whales, head for the southeast Alaskan towns of Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Skagway. Or visit the south central region, including Homer, Seward, and Kodiak. It’s not hard to find a reputable tour operator who can be sure you see these spectacular animals up close. Just don’t forget your camera!