Whale watching around Vancouver Island in British Columbia is an exceptional experience that will leave you awestruck after watching whales that weigh thousands of pounds frolic in their natural habitat. Killer whales (Orcas), Gray whales, Humpback whales and Minke whales ply the waves and perform their watery rituals. Whale Watching tours are operated along the east coast of Vancouver Island, from Victoria to Campbell River and Port Hardy, on the west coast of the island out of Tofino and Ucluelet, and from the BC Gulf Islands and Discovery Islands. Whalewatching at its best!
Select a region below for whale watching companies offering tours in that area.
Whale Watching Companies around Vancouver Island: By Region
- Whale Watching: Victoria
- Whale Watching: Vancouver Island North (Alert Bay, Broughton Archipelago, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Quatsino, Sointula, Telegraph Cove)
- Whale Watching: Vancouver Island Central (Campbell River, Nanaimo, Desolation Sound)
- Whale Watching: Vancouver Island South (Port Renfrew, Sooke, Sidney, Victoria)
- Whale Watching: Vancouver Island Pacific Rim (Bamfield, Barkley Sound, Tofino, Ucluelet)
- Whale Watching: Vancouver (Richmond, Steveston)
- Whale Watching: Gulf Islands (Southern Gulf Islands)
- Whale Watching: Discovery Islands (Cortes Island, Quadra Island)
- Whale Watching: BC Coastal Inlets (Bute Inlet, Kingcome Inlet, Knight Inlet, Toba Inlet)
- Whale Watching: Discovery Coast
Orcas (Killer Whales) B.C’s killer whale population is divided into 2 distinct groups which, curiously, never mingle. Residents travel in large pods within predictable ranges and feed primarily on fish. Transients roam in smaller groups over large areas of the coast, feeding on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and other whales. The resident orca population is divided into 2 communities, each with its own geographical range. The ocean around Victoria is home to the southern resident community of 3 pods totalling approximately 90 magnificent animals. The northern residents total 217 whales in 16 pods, which patrol the Johnstone Strait and the waters of northern Vancouver Island and the mainland coast. The transient killer whales comprise 30 small pods of about 160 whales, and travel much farther than the resident pods. The best viewing time is from May to October.
Pacific Gray Whales migrate north along the west coast of Vancouver Island during March and April. They are easily accessible by boat, or can be viewed from mounted telescopes in the Long Beach area. Over 20,000 Gray whales participate in the longest migration of any animal, some stop to feed and rest in our protected bays, while 40 to 50 grays will spend their summers feeding off Vancouver Island.
Humpback Whales will thrill you to the north of Vancouver Island, at the outer edges of the Inside Passage, with their acrobatic behaviour and elaborate underwater song. Treasure lifetime memories of these magnificent whales breaching within metres of your boat.
Minke whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins, Harbour porpoises, Dall’s porpoises, Harbour seals and Steller‘s sea lions are also viewed in the waters around Vancouver Island.
Whale Watching Companies in British Columbia
Tofino Resort and Marina is a resort “Inspired by Adventure”. We are nestled in the Clayoquot Sound Biosphere; ideally located just steps from Tofino’s village and local beaches. Take our onsite shuttle to explore Pacific Rim National Park, or watch the sunset at Long Beach. Reserve pet-friendly ocean-view lodging, surf rentals, whale watching, bear watching, fishing, and hot-spring tours. Onsite dining features wood-fired pizzas and craft beer on three different patios, an oceanfront restaurant, and Tofino’s only pub.
Cameron Ocean Adventures operates off the pristine Canadian shores of beautiful Ucluelet, home to Vancouver Island’s #1 trail, the Wild Pacific Trail. Cameron Ocean Adventures offers adventures in the waters of the Broken Group Islands and Barkley Sound in Pacific Rim National Park.
Experience first-class sport fishing for salmon and halibut, whale watching on the largest vessel in Ucluelet, and year-round custom charters with professional guides aboard clean, safe, luxury motor yachts that depart right from the convenient Ucluelet Harbour.
Join us for an experience you won’t forget.
For an experience unlike any other, step aboard our luxurious 53-foot motor yacht, the “Raincoast Maiden”, to view whales, bears, sea lions, eagles and other wildlife in comfort. We offer a relaxing wildlife cruise with a personal touch. With a spacious cabin, washroom, comfortable seating inside and out, guests can sit back and take in the abundant wildlife and magical scenery with a taste of luxury. Truly a nature cruise of a different nature!
More than just wildlife viewing, our interpretive and very personal tours include a scenic cruise through the sheltered waters and breathtaking scenery of the Broken Group Islands and an optional gourmet meal while at anchor. Romantic Evening Cruises and Private Charters are also available. We will share our love and enthusiasm for the area and make your West Coast experience an unforgettable one.
West Coast Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island’s celebrated luxury outpost Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge skirts the banks of its namesake ocean inlet, Clayoquot Sound, and offers an escape to the still, tranquil beauty of Canada’s remote wilderness. Set among magnificent conifer forests, the lodge offers guests an unforgettable experience of the landscape and its wildlife. Twenty-five canvas tents designed with contemporary interiors complement period and local artisan-designed pieces to offer a decadent retreat.
Guests have direct access to 600-acres of gloriously wild nature reserve where opportunities for adventure, education, natural enrichment and personal connection abound. Experiences span equestrian, marine-based, land-based, helicopter and fishing adventures.
Drawing inspiration from Vancouver Island’s wild beauty, Executive Chef Asher Blackford translates the landscape to the plate through the sights, scents and tastes of the region and uses premium sustainable, locally grown and foraged ingredients to deliver a 5-star taste of the destination.
Adventure-filled days are bolstered by the freedom to unwind at the spa, where physical and spiritual sanctuary are found in restorative treatments for body and soul. Featuring a waterfront massage tent, saunas and cedar hot tubs for relaxing and drinking in the view.
Orca Spirit Adventures is Victoria’s premier whale watching company, offering carbon-neutral covered vessel and zodiac tours led by certified marine naturalists whose knowledge and passion for Vancouver Island’s marine wildlife is unequaled in the industry.
Tours are three hours in length, with April through October being the ideal whale watching months. In this peak season, Orca Spirit Adventures boasts a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including humpback whales, Bigg’s and resident orcas (killer whales), and gray whales!
Other wildlife you may encounter include harbour seals and elephant seals, sea lions, Dall’s and harbour porpoises, otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles.
Unlucky tour? Join us again using our WHALE GUARANTEE for a complimentary whale watching tour!
Ocean Light Adventures introduces their new vessel for summer 2021. The powerboat Afterglow is a 60ft Monk designed Gulf Commander with 5 staterooms and 3 heads, offering amazing wildlife viewing from all windows and from the spacious top deck. Her crew has 34 years of experience offering natural history and photography tours on the BC Coast, including Haida Gwaii, and specializing in grizzly viewing tours in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, and spirit bear and grizzly tours in the Great Bear Rainforest. We also offer whale watching and eco tours, from totems to intertidal treasures, rocky shores to sandy beaches, and spawning salmon to towering trees. We offer five spectacular adventure trips between May and October, each to a different region and each highlighting the awe-inspiring beauty of the beautiful BC coast.
EXPLORE. INSPIRE. CONSERVE. Rated Victoria’s #1 whale watching company on Trip Advisor since 2007, Eagle Wing Tours guarantees adventure and the most transformative marine experiences on the Salish Sea. With four vessels, multiple daily departures, and our knowledgeable and passionate staff we consistently provide our guests with the marine wildlife experience of a lifetime!
Environmental stewardship and sustainability are core values of our family-owned, award-winning company. We are Canada’s first 100% carbon-neutral whale-watching company. We are certified Platinum with Green Tourism Canada. And we are proud to support 1% for the Planet and many other conservation initiatives that directly benefit the Salish Sea and its inhabitants.
You will come as a tourist but return with a deeper understanding and passion for this incredible ecosystem.
Sea Kayak in comfort based from our ocean-side, or float-house accommodations in the wilderness of the Broughton Archipelago, a kayak paradise. The phrase ‘Walking Softly in the Wilderness’ has always been a guiding principle for our homesteading lifestyle and approach to developing our inn. Paddlers Inn has earned a Gold rating from Green Tourism Canada for our efforts to continually reduce our impact on the environment, while supporting others to do the same. We also offer Acupressure massage on-site. Surround yourself with ocean, beaches, trails, an inland lake, and quiet beauty.
Explore BC and Southeast Alaska with Bluewater Adventures aboard our 70′ yachts sailing the BC Inside Passage, the Queen Charlotte Islands, Gwaii Haanas National Park, the Great Bear Rainforest, and Vancouver Island. You’ll see whales, Grizzly, Black and Kermode bears, and experience ancient native villages and Haida culture, primeval forests, wilderness, and amazing coastal wildlife.
1561 Galerno Road
Campbell River, BC
As Campbell River’s largest tour operator, we offer excursions on and off the water. With a spacious 14-passenger van, we run Guided Hikes, Winery, Distillery, and Brewery tours. We also have 7 marine vessels that include Zodiacs and covered boats, meaning we have something for all comfort levels!
Grizzly, Whale, and Wildlife tours are available ranging from 3 hours to a full day where you can expect to see Humpback Whales, Orca, Dolphins, Porpoise, Eagles, Sea Lions, Black Bears, and Grizzly Bears!
We are the only company on Northern Vancouver Island that is Carbon Neutral, and protecting the environment is something we deeply care about. For every guest that joins us, 1 square metre of old-growth forest is protected. Join us to create memories that last a lifetime! Boasting 6 consecutive years with a certificate of excellence, you can expect to have a fantastic experience with us!
Mills Landing is a private oceanfront cottage resort located on the edge of Barkley Sound. Our cedar cottages are fully self-contained and very comfortable. Mills Landing offers accommodation, moorage, fishing charters, whale watching, nature adventures, and marine tours of the Broken Group Islands near Bamfield. Perfect for anglers wanting access to the best fishing on Vancouver Island, and for those looking to get away from it all.
Steveston Seabreeze Adventures offers exciting Westcoast ecotours from historic Steveston, 30 minutes south of Vancouver – you don’t have to go to Vancouver Island to see the whales! Travel the scenic Fraser River and tranquil Gulf Islands; Go whale watching, wildlife viewing and bird watching around beautiful Vancouver; embark on a guided fishing adventure; or rent a bike and discover by bicycle tour the magical beauty of historic Steveston fishing village. Book your whale watching or Eco Tour today.
Whether watching whales, dipping into Hot Springs Cove, or kayaking to a rainforest trail, people of all ages have enjoyed our excursions since 1986. We launch out of Tofino in Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, just minutes from Long Beach and Pacific Rim National Park. We look forward to welcoming you aboard for a Clayoquot Sound adventure by Remote Passages.
Fly-in for spectacular raincoast wildlife viewing in remote Knight Inlet in the spectacular Coast Mountains – Grizzly Bears and Black Bears, killer whales (Orcas), humpback whales, dolphins, stellar seals, sea lions, eagles and more. Knight Inlet is a famous natural fjord world renowned for its Grizzly Bear viewing. Get close to the action with our privileged access to special Grizzly Bear viewing stands. We offer 3-day trips out of Campbell River on Vancouver Island to the world capital for grizzly bear safaris. Explore the pristine natural world of British Columbia’s coastal grizzly bear. Whether you’re photographing the grizzly and black bears or waiting for that elusive shot of a whale breaching, we’ll bring you right to the wildlife hot spots so you can capture all the action.
Kayaking British Columbia is the ultimate way to view BC’s abundant wildlife.
We want you to fall in love with kayaking and our unique coast, and our passion shows in everything we do. Choose among several professionally-guided 4-8 day trips for all experience levels around Vancouver Island. ‘Glamping’ basecamp-style with wood-fired hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or expedition-style paddling from camp to camp and paddling between 100s of islands through the Broughton Archipelago, famous Desolation Sound and the wild Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast. Savouring a fresh salmon BBQ in the open air, explore and view fascinating wildlife and wilderness and wake up on remote islands with the sound of the whales. Unique and breathtaking.
Our adventures are for everyone and are designed to cater to all levels of experience and abilities. We take care to introduce you to the sport in a fun and safe manner. All that we ask is that you welcome adventure with an open mind and are able to laugh and have fun when encountering the unexpected. Our groups are small, ranging from 8 to 13 people, depending on the trip, in order to provide you with the best experience possible. We provide everything you need for a once in a lifetime kayaking adventure. We provide high-quality fiberglass kayaks, paddling equipment, camp cookware, eating utensils, and camping gear.
Our guides take care of you for the entire duration of your tour, prepare delicious, organic and local meals, and have extensive training and experience in sea kayaking and in sharing the natural and cultural history of the area.
During the Northern Hemisphere winter, we also offer kayaking trips to the glacier-fed South American wildlife paradise, the Chilean Patagonia Archipelago, and multi-day escapes to sun, sand, remote beaches and the warm crystal clear waters of the Bahamas. Please contact us for all details of these amazing winter getaways!
The Heriot Bay Inn is Quadra Island’s adventure resort. Adventure: Kayak, whale or grizzly watch. Dine: Casual seaside fare in Herons, HBI Pub with live music Fridays. Stay: accommodations range from hotel rooms to ocean-view housekeeping cottages. Also onsite: marina, RV & tent campsites with full service hook-ups, wireless internet.
Adventure Seekers & Nature Lovers – OCEAN OUTFITTERS is the place to kick off all your Tofino activities! Our experienced, local guides will pilot you through beautiful Clayoquot Sound to view gray whales, humpbacks, orcas (killer whales), black bears, sea otters, sea lions, wolves, eagles and other seabirds aboard one of our luxury covered boats, or one of our Zodiac boats.
Whether you’re headed to Hot Springs Cove, joining us for an inlet tour to view Black Bears, or wanting to meet up close and personal with our local gray whales, humpbacks, and orcas… we are your gateway to adventure!
Looking for a calmer and more intimate experience? Join us on a beautiful 4.5 hour guided kayak trip in a remote part of Clayoquot Sound. While kayaking through the calm waters and discussing the history of Clayoquot Sound, we will also be looking for Harbour Seals, Black Bears, Bald Eagles and various other forms of wildlife that out populate humans in this area!
Interested in fishing? We are proud to bring you some of the best fishing itineraries that Tofino has to offer! Charters are available for both experienced fisherman and families looking for fun. Tofino offers world-renown deep sea salmon fishing, as well as excellent ‘family friendly’ fishing areas with calm, protected waters, and LOTS of fish. Helping kids and novice boaters explore the wonders of our area and wildlife is a big part of what we love to do. Also available on our Fishing Charters, is our sea-to-fork ‘Gourmet At Sea’ add-on, where our guide (who is a professional trained chef) will prepare your freshly-caught seafood for you while you’re still on the water!
Our programs are not only a ton of fun, but they are also educational and encourage stewardship. We are a certified green business and are committed to connecting you with nature and to inspiring conservancy. Live the experience with Ocean Outfitters!
Our waterfront location on Main Street, in the Shore building, has all of gear needed to get you out there, as well as organic coffee to fuel your adventures! We are proud retailers of Arcteryx, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses, Vortex binoculars, Pendleton, and a great collection of books. Feel free to enjoy our lounge/cafe before or after your trip.
Wildcoast provides memorable kayak vacations for adventure travellers that combine spectacular scenery, scrumptious food, and abundant wildlife encounters, including whales, dolphins, bears and eagles. Kayak with Killer Whales at our Orca base camp in Johnstone Strait, or take one of our kayak expeditions to Desolation Sound or the Discovery Islands. Our top-rated service caters to both local and international clientele. All kayak tours are fully inclusive and no kayaking experience is required. Only have a day? Visit our storefront for paddleboard and kayak Rentals or Day Tours in the stunning vistas surrounding Quadra Island.
Five Star Whale Watching helps you discover the picturesque southern Vancouver Island, Victoria, and the Gulf Islands, home to the largest population of Killer Whales (Orcas) in the world. Come aboard one of our two 40-passenger Expedition Catamarans, each of which combines comfort, speed, safety, and your choice of 3 viewing platforms. With 20 years experience watching whales we offer more that just a “point and photograph” tour.
The diversity of wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery that exists so close to Campbell River is unparalleled. Ideally located near the south end of Discovery Passage, the area is critically important habitat for Killer Whales, Humpback Whales, and so much more. Travel along stunning shorelines and inlets in search of Killer Whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Dall’s Porpoises, Seals, and magnificent Bald Eagles. Embark on our Grizzly Bear Expedition and observe these incredible creatures feasting on salmon in their natural habitat far away from human civilization. Our tour boats feature an enclosed and heated cabin, two outdoor viewing decks, and an onboard washroom.
Vancouver’s Most Experienced Whale Watching Company offers 3 to 5-hour tours and is the only company from Vancouver with zodiacs. First-class vessels: choose between the open or the semi-enclosed style of zodiac. For the adventure of a lifetime, travel through the spectacular Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands to watch the magnificent Orcas. Professional naturalists interpret each trip. We emphasize science and conservation while maintaining a fun and professional atmosphere. Shuttle service available from Vancouver to the departure point in Steveston.
Orca Dreams offers twenty years experience hosting people from around the world in the wildlife-rich waters of Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Orca Dreams now offers Canada’s first whale-watching camp, with BC packages that include 4 days of luxury camping.
Watch surfacing humpback whales, a passing pod of orcas, or a curious seal pass by while sipping your morning coffee from your waterfront safari-style tent. Whale watch from camp, kayak or boat, surrounded by the rich wildlife of coastal BC.
Orca Dreams is situated within the traditional territory of the Mamalilikula-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em First Nation, on Compton Island on the edge of Blackney Pass, one of the most wildlife-rich marine ecosystems in the world. Blackney Pass connects Queen Charlotte Strait with Johnstone Strait where the strong currents churn up nutrients from deep below, feeding everything from small herring to the 40-ton humpback whales.
Blackney Pass is also one of the best places in North America to view Orcas – also known as Killer Whales – as they make their way to and from Johnstone Strait and the rubbing beaches of Robson Bight on Vancouver Island.