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 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.