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
Ocean Light II AdventuresOcean Light II Adventures
Ocean Light II is a beautiful and spacious 71ft sailboat offering comfort, a classic natural wood interior, 5 guest cabins, fishing gear, 7 seakayaks, and a 19ft hard-bottom inflatable. 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.
Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & VacationsWildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
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 AdventuresFive Star Whale Watching Adventures
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.
Broughton Archipelago Paddler’s InnBroughton Archipelago Paddler’s Inn
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 410 Sointula BC V0N 3E0 postalAdventure Location: Simoom Sound Broughton Archipelago BC homePhone: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
Sea Kayak in comfort based from our ocean-side, or float-house accommodations in the wilderness of the Broughton Archipelago, a kayak paradise. Enjoy sumptuous catered meals, or cook for yourself. Guided kayak tours, lessons and rentals are available, as well as charter boat tours and kayak transport. We also offer Acupressure massage on-site. Surround yourself with ocean, beaches, trails, an inland lake, and quiet beauty.
Spirit of the West KayakingSpirit of the West Kayaking
P.O. Box 569 Heriot Bay Quadra Island BC V0P 1H0 postalPhone: 250-285-2121homeFax: 1-888-389-5736homefaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
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!
Tofino Resort and MarinaTofino Resort and Marina
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.
Quatsino LodgeQuatsino Lodge
Quatsino Sound, BC
Located in Quatsino Sound, Quatsino Lodge specializes in guiding clients to the best sportfishing and sea kayaking on northern West Coast Vancouver Island. We offer saltwater and freshwater fishing packages as well as mothership kayaking and superb wildlife viewing. Quatsino Lodge is an intimate family-run business catering to small personal and corporate groups. Any group size from 2-12.
Grizzly Bear Lodge & SafariGrizzly Bear Lodge & Safari
Lodge Location: Knight Inlet BC postalBooking Office: #10 3100 Kensington Crescent Courtenay BC V9N 8Z9 homePhone: 250-334-8858homeFax: 250-334-8858homefaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
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. We offer 3-day trips out of Campbell River on Vancouver Island to the world capital for grizzly bear safaris.
Steveston Seabreeze AdventuresSteveston Seabreeze Adventures
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.
Orca Spirit AdventuresOrca Spirit Adventures
Trip Departures: Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel – Marina Level 146 Kingston Street Victoria BC V8V 1V4 postalPhone: 250-383-8411homeFax: 250-383-4666homefaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
Victoria’s Original and Authentic Whale Watching Experience will stay with you for a lifetime. You’ll come to face to face with some of nature’s most spectacular creatures — orcas, humpbacks, porpoises, sea lions, seals, and bald eagles. It’s something that has to be seen to be believed.
Victoria experiences the longest season and most active whales and marine mammals in BC! Our focus is on conservation, education, safety, fun, and exhilaration. As we own and operate the spotting network which locates the whales, we have the highest whale watching success rate. Proud to be the only company using environmentally friendly engines.
Orca Spirit also offers cruises of Victoria’s Inner Harbour, Victoria dinner cruises, charter wedding cruises, charter tours from Vancouver, fishing charters, and tours to Butchart Gardens. Located in the Coast Harbourside Hotel in the Inner Harbour.
Heriot Bay Inn & MarinaHeriot Bay Inn & Marina
West Road & Heriot Bay Road Box 100 Heriot Bay Quadra Island BC V0P 1H0 postalPhone: 250-285-3322homeFax: 250-285-2708homefaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
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.
SpringTide ChartersSpringTide Charters
SpringTide Whale Watching is family owned and operated with an office perfectly located in the heart of downtown Victoria. We have shared Vancouver Island’s marine ecosystems with visitors for over 21 years, earning a local and international reputation for excellence in Whale Watching, Eco Tours and Special Event Charters.
Get ready to explode your senses through up-close encounters with Southern Vancouver Island’s wild and unforgettable marine life and coastline. Experience the joy, excitement and wonderful memories of our whales, porpoise, seals and marine birds!
WHALE WATCH with SpringTide on the 84-passenger, 61-foot Marauder IV, or join an exhilarating excursion onboard one of our high-speed, open Zodiacs. Enjoy complimentary beverages on Marauder while listening to professional biologists provide informative narrations, or have a thrill of a lifetime with the wind in your hair on our Zodiacs.
Want another terrific experience while visiting Victoria? Then SPORTFISH year round for Salmon and Halibut on SpringTide’s 42’ Sportfisher. We are open all year, offering whale watching tours seven days a week April through October, and our Zodiac Marine Wildlife Tours November through March.
Stubbs Island Whale WatchingStubbs Island Whale Watching
Stubbs Island Whale Watching was the first whale watching company established in British Columbia. Operating out of Telegraph Cove, on north eastern Vancouver Island, we cruise the calm protected waters of the Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Archipelago. Stubbs Island Whale Watching is dedicated to responsible wildlife viewing and birding tour adventures with true educational merit. These waters are home to the incredible Orcas (Killer Whales), humpback whales, Steller sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, bald eagles and so much more.
Vancouver Whale WatchVancouver Whale Watch
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.
Discovery Marine SafarisDiscovery Marine Safaris
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.
Bluewater AdventuresBluewater Adventures
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.
The Whale CentreThe Whale Centre
Box 111 411 Campbell Street Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 postalPhone: 250-725-2132homeFax: 250-725-2136homefaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
Experience the thrill of seeing whales up close – Killer whales (Orcas), Humpback whales, and Gray Whales – or watch otters, black bears, and birds in their natural habitat in beautiful Clayoquot Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. For a true west coast safari, combine whale watching with a soak in the natural hot spring at Hot Springs Cove.
Ocean Outfitters LtdOcean Outfitters Ltd
Adventure Seekers and Nature Lovers – OCEAN OUTFITTERS is the place to kick off all your Tofino activities! Our experienced, passionate guides will pilot you through beautiful Clayoquot Sound to view whales and bears aboard one of our luxury covered vessels or, for a real thrill, aboard a Zodiac! Whether you’re headed up to Hot Springs Cove, in search of a gentle inlet tour, or want to meet up close and personal our local Gray Whales, Humpbacks, Transient Orca and other wildlife… we are your ‘Gateway to Adventure’.
Ocean Outfitters is proud to bring you the best fishing itineraries that Tofino has to offer! Salt and freshwater fishing for salmon, halibut, trout, and our specialty, steel head. Charters are available for both the hard-core fisherman and families looking for fun. Tofino offers 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. Our guides have generations of fishing history in their blood, they maintain the utmost professionalism, and they ensure a safe, productive day on the water every time.
Programs Offered: Fresh and Saltwater Fishing, Whale Watching Excursions, Tidal Black Bear Watching, Coastal Hot Springs Cove Explorer, Pelagic Bird Tours, Meares Island Big Tree Trail Water Taxi Service (Guided & Solo), Meares Island Lone Cone Taxi, Interpretive Harbour Tours, and Custom Tours
Reservations are recommended. Our waterfront location on Main Street in the Shore building has an in-house organic espresso bar.
Ecosummer ExpeditionsEcosummer Expeditions
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 156 Clearwater BC V0E 1N0 postalEcosummer Orca Camp Warden Beach Vancouver Island BC homePhone: 250-674-0102homeFax: 250-674-2197homefaxToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
Awaken to the song of the Humpback whale. Fall asleep beneath the hushed canopy of a temperate rainforest. Fill your days whale-watching, kayaking with Orcas, observing sea lions romp through an underwater forest of kelp, and eagles fishing along the shore. Linger over lunch on a deserted island, scanning the horizon for signs of Orca activity.
Sign up for Ecosummer’s guided Orca Camps to kayak in the realm of Killer Whales. Explore the rainforest, hiking to waterfalls, or along ancient First Nation trails. Marvel when dolphins swim so close you wish you could reach out and touch them. Tune in to the rhythm of the tides. Escape the hubbub of your everyday world and restore life’s equilibrium on the shores of BC’s Johnstone Strait, one of the best places to whale-watch in all of British Columbia. Paddle the same waters as these gentle giants on three, four, or six-day kayaking adventures with Ecosummer Expeditions for a family vacation you’ll always remember.
Clayoquot Wilderness ResortClayoquot Wilderness Resort
380 Main Street P.O. Box 130 Tofino BC V0R 2Z0 postalPhone: 250-726-8235homeFax: 250-266-0412workfaxToll Free: firstname.lastname@example.orgINTERNETVisit Website
West Coast Vancouver Island
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is a small, privately-owned and operated Relais & Chateaux eco-safari-style resort Outpost in the remote wilds of Vancouver Island, near Tofino, open seasonally to guests from all over the world. We are a true resort destination in that we own and operate our own adventures and activities, and, working with the Ahousaht First Nation, provide unprecedented access to the UNESCO-designated Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve.
With just 25 guest tents and an over-full complement of staff, wilderness guides and food and beverage artisans, our clients receive respectfully intimate attention from the moment they arrive via floatplane until they wave goodbye from the horse-drawn wagon carrying them back to the dock.
Adventure unfolds in tandem with the rainforest, tides, seasons, and the call of the wild. An impressive menu of equestrian, marine, hiking, fishing, interpretive, and restorative activities is offered daily – each outing custom-built to suit age, skill-level and expectation.
The resort in Bedwell Sound provides 21st-century-safari style lodging in opulently outfitted prospector tents, and a massage and therapeutic treatment centre with the soul of an outpost spa. Activities include whale watching, bear watching, horseback riding, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and hot springs tours.
Remote Passages Marine ExcursionsRemote Passages Marine Excursions
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.
Eagle Wing Tours Whale WatchingEagle Wing Tours Whale Watching
Fisherman’s Wharf Near Pier #2 Next to Barb’s Fish And Chips Victoria BC V8W 3H9 postalPhone: 250-384-8008homeToll Free: email@example.comINTERNETVisit Website
Eagle Wing Tours is proud to be Canada’s first award-winning whale-watching company to become carbon neutral and support 1% for the Planet. With more comprehensive tours, longer tour times, custom boats and experienced crew, Eagle Wing Tours’ commitment to sustainability is unsurpassed.
Explore the Salish Sea, at the centre of the world’s highest concentration of orca, with guaranteed whales, and guaranteed adventure. For travellers demanding more, Eagle Wing Tours is Trip Advisor’s top rated whale-watching experience in Victoria since 2007. As industry leaders, Eagle Wing Tours inspires the conservation of the marine environment, with a thrill!
Campbell River Whale WatchingCampbell River Whale Watching
558 Thulin Street
Campbell River, BC V9W 2L1
Campbell River Whale Watching invites you to experience some of the most spectacular Orca Killer whale watching and wildlife viewing in the world. You can take a Grizzly Tour, go Orca Whale Watching, see Bald Eagles, and experience the life of seals and sea lions on an adventure tour of a lifetime.
Mills Landing Cottages & ChartersMills Landing Cottages & Charters
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.
Archipelago Wildlife CruisesArchipelago Wildlife Cruises
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.
Wir sprechen Deutsch!
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.