Killer whales are commonly perceived as misnamed, which was confirmed when linguists discovered their original name as given by surfers to be: “Totally killer whales, brah.” Establish your own nickname for the noble orca with today’s deal: for $54, you get one ticket aboard a whale-watching tour with Western Prince Whale & Wildlife Tours, up to a $108 value including tax and the port fee. The adventure begins in Friday Harbor, located nearly three hours north of Seattle, factoring in driving and ferrying time on the Washington State Ferry (for those who have never used the ferry, it is suggested that you arrive 30 minutes early). Groupon customers will ride aboard the Western Explorer, which can be reserved online for tours departing daily.
The month of May kicks off the peak of orca-sighting season, a time when land lovers float out to experience the enchantment of killer whales and avoid the temptation to shamelessly reference freeing Willy. As the captain's log reads, 90% of Western Princes's tours encounter orcas, and 100% of orcas are absolutely adorable when imagined with a bowler hat on their head. Additional sightings of porpoises, harbor seals, sea lions, and bald eagles are common along with occasional celebrated guest appearances by minke whales, lush gray whales, and paparazzi-swarmed humpback whales.
The intimate 15-passenger capacity allows the biology-backed naturalists to spread orca awareness at close range while respectfully keeping regulatory distance from the gentle giants. For tours of more than six passengers, Western Prince ups the consumption of marine mind candy with two naturalists aboard. The boat cruises at speeds of up to 30 knots, allowing the adventure to unfold through vast stretches of ocean during the 2.5- to 3-hour tour. As the boat slices through the water and the wind whips through your hair, take comfort in your provided Coast Guard–approved anti-exposure suit and in Western Prince’s promise to donate 4% of its profits to conservation efforts.
The months of May, June, and September are the least crowded whale-watching months, while July and August to be more crowded.
TripAdvisors give Western Prince Whale & Wildlife Tours the full five-owl-eye rating and name it the Number One Attraction in Friday Harbor. Western Prince also placed in the Top 5 for Best Whale Watching in 2010 and 2009 by CityVoters who give it five stars; Yelpers, not wanting to be left out, also give it five stars.
- The crew was courteous and obviously passionate about the wildlife they were sharing with us the passengers. The captain took care balancing good views for the passengers and appropriately navigating to ensure the safety of the whales. – RoyfromTEXAS, TripAdvisor
- I had a wonderful time on the Western Prince tour! Ivan and his staff of naturalists were extremely knowledgeable about the diverse wildlife in the area both above and below the water. I will always remember this trip as my first encounter with orcas! – kckandi, CityVoter
- Overall, this was my favorite experience in the San Juans, truly worth the time and the money we spent. Seeing the orcas in their native and wild habitat was something I'll never forget. – Kgrove, TripAdvisor
#1 Spring St.
Friday Harbor, Washington 98250Get Directions