Founded in 1888 by Captain Thomas Coupe, Coupeville is the second oldest city in Washington State. With its picturesque boardwalk, shops, and Victorian homes, the town is a favorite getaway. The Whale Trail site in Coupeville is at the Coupeville Wharf.

Where the Whales Are

Seals and sea lions can be commonly seen from the Wharf. Gray whales are also occasionally seen. Orca sightings from Coupeville are relatively rare.

However, Coupeville played an important role in our history with orcas. During the 1970s, Coupeville and nearby Penn Cove served as the center for two major capture operations.

  • Lolita, the sole surviving southern resident orca in captivity, was one of seven whales captured at Penn Cove in 1972. She is currently kept at the Miami Seaquarium.

Today the Coupeville Wharf is home to a marine mammals exhibit co-sponsored by the Port of Coupeville and the WSU Extension Beach Watcher's program. The exhibit features interpretive displays, and skeletons of a juvenile gray whale and a Dall's porpoise.

Programs and Events

Each Spring, the town of Coupeville hosts the Penn Cove Water Festival, featuring booths, environmental displays, and canoe races.

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The Whale Trail

Address / Contact

Port of Coupeville P.O. Box 577 Coupeville WA 98239 (360) 678-5020


  • restrooms
  • telephone
  • accessible
  • lodging
  • picnic-area

Marine Mammals Commonly Seen Here

Marine Mammals Occasionally Seen Here

Marine Mammals Rarely Seen Here

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries