Orca with Seattle Skyline
Alki Beach, West Seattle
View our guide on when, where, and how to watch marine animals from shore.
Washington state is home to diverse and abundant species of marine mammals, from the inland waters of the Salish Sea to the wild Pacific Coast. Explore the sites using the interactive map below or click the button to find a filterable listing of sites, amenities, and commonly seen marine mammals.
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Alki Beach Park, Seattle
Alki Beach Park is a long sandy beach that stretches from Duwamish Head to Alki Point in West Seattle. Featuring a jogging/biking path, firepits, picnic tables and a bathhouse/art studio, the beach is popular and widely used year-round.
Bush Point has public beach access at its boat ramp facility on the southwest side of Whidbey Island. Walk the shores and look for whales across the narrowest point of the North Puget Sound towards Marrowstone Island.
Cape Alava is the westernmost point of the continental U.S. Located in Olympic National Park and the Ozette Indian Reservation, the Cape is accessible via a 3.5 mile hike along the Ozette Loop. The spectacular beaches at Cape Alava feature petroglyphs and abundant marine mammals sightings. Gray whales can be seen off the coast in…
Cape Flattery is the most northwest tip of the contiguous United States. Located on the Makah Nation at Neah Bay, the Cape offers stunning views of marine mammals, birds, and dramatic marine landscapes.
Charles Richey Viewpoint, Seattle
This viewpoint is named for Charles Richey Sr., who operated Richey’s Alki Community Drug Store in the early to mid-1900s. Located just south of Alki Point, this is one of the best spots in Seattle to see whales and other marine life. The intertidal area below you is part of Constellation Park Marine Reserve. Complex…
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.
Destruction Island Viewpoint
Located approximately one mile south of Ruby Beach, this viewpoint looks out on Destruction Island. Former home to a lighthouse, the island is now part of the Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge and the Washington Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Over a dozen species of seabirds nest in this sanctuary. The total population of seabirds may exceed one million during migration.
Dosewallips State Park
Dosewallips State Park is a year-round camping park located on the west side of Hood Canal, and both sides of the Dosewallips River. The park features both saltwater and freshwater habitats, and abundant wildlife. A resident herd of Roosevelt elks can often be seen in the Park.
Emma Schmitz Overlook, Seattle
Emma Schmitz donated this shoreline overlook to the City of Seattle in 1945. Me-Kwa-Mooks Park, behind the viewpoint, is located on land that was once the Schmitz homestead.
Fay Bainbridge State Park
Step onto the 1,420 foot stretch of sandy beach and cast your gaze across the Puget Sound looking for whales while taking in the view of the Cascades, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker. Make sure to check out Old Man House which is located nearby on the site of the home of Chief Seattle.
Feiro Marine Life Center
The Feiro Marine Life Center is an educational and scientific organization located on the City Pier in Port Angeles. Through its exhibits and programs, the Center promotes marine education and conservation.
From the shores of Fort Casey, scan the scenic view for whales across the Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The park is the site of Admiralty Head Lighthouse. A coast artillery post features two 10-inch and two 3-inch historic guns on display. The park features 10,810-feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget…
Freshwater Bay County Park
Freshwater Bay County Park is a 21-acre park on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The tranquil bay features a boat ramp, and is a popular place to fish, kayak, and canoe. Freshwater Bay was given its name by Captain George Vancouver, during his exploration of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound.
Jetty Island is a two-mile-long, man-made island in the City of Everett, featuring a wide swath of sandy beach. The park is open during the summer months only, and is accessible via foot ferry from the Everett waterfront.
Kalaloch is known for its wide sandy beach. The Kalaloch area has two campgrounds, a concession-operated lodge, a ranger station (open daily in summer only) with exhibits and information desk, a picnic area, self-guided nature trails.
La Push is the home of the Quileute Nation, located at the mouth of the Quillayute River on the Olympic Coast of Washington State. The nearby waters of the Pacific Ocean teem with salmon, cod and other prey. Diverse and abundant marine mammal species are found here, including a thriving population of sea otters. Marine mammals…
The City of Langley is located on Whidbey Island in Washington. Overlooking Saratoga Passage, the picturesque town offers close-up views of a wide variety of marine mammals. Langley is known for its art, charm, great restaurants and inns, and Whale Bell Park. The Whale Trail site is located at Whale Bell Park.
Langley Whale Center
Langley Whale Center is run by Volunteer Docents and open Thursdays through Sundays, 11 am till 5 pm. Free Admission to our Educational Exhibits, which include a Harbor Porpoise skeleton and other bone and pelt specimens. Learn about the Endangered Southern Resident Orcas, Transient Orcas and Gray Whales. Great outing for all ages!
Lime Kiln Point State Park
Lime Kiln State Park is one of the best places in the world to watch whales from shore, and is the inspiration for The Whale Trail. The 3.6-acre day use park is on the west coast of San Juan Island, abutting Haro Strait. A meandering path along the rocky shore connects the Karen Munro Outlook…
Lincoln Park, Seattle
Lincoln Park offers 4.6 miles of walking paths, 3.9 miles of bike trails, five picnic shelters, and an outdoor heated saltwater pool and bathhouse. Colman Pool is near the site of the “Old Mudhole," a natural lagoon that was widened to serve as a pool in 1928. Tidal currents and supportive habitat make this point a…
Marina Beach Park, Edmonds
Explore beautiful sandy Marina Beach while gazing out across the Puget Sound looking for whales. Bring your kids and your four-legged friends too as there are play toys and an off-leash area at this picturesque park in Edmonds.
MaST – Marine Science and Technology Center
The Marine Science and Technology (MaST) Center is the marine science laboratory for Highline Community College. The MaST Center is dedicated to expanding knowledge about the Puget Sound and the surrounding environment through teaching, outreach, and research. The 2,500 square-foot facility offers public space, classroom, laboratories, offices, research areas with state-of-the-art equipment and an aquarium.
Olympic Coast Discovery Center
The Olympic Coast Discovery Center is part of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary which spans 65 miles of coastline which is shared with the Olympic National Park. Hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking and diving are among a few of the popular attractions to this area. There is an abundance of protected wildlife and marine life…
Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium
The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is located in Point Defiance Park northwest of downtown Tacoma. Exhibits include Asian Forest Sanctuary, Rocky Shores, Arctic Tundra, and Pacific Ocean just to name a few. Marine mammals on display include harbor seals, pacific walruses, and sea otters. The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium focuses on education and conservation…
Point No Point Lighthouse
Point No Point is located on the north tip of the Kitsap Peninsula, about an hour north of Seattle. The long low sandspit faces Admiralty Inlet to the north and Puget Sound to the east and south. Strong currents flow around the point, which attract baitfish that in turn draw salmon and marine mammals close to shore.
Point Roberts Lighthouse Park
Come to this unique part of the Washington coastline and visit the Orca Center on the boardwalk which has interpretive exhibits. The 21 acre park has come to be known as one of the best places to view Orcas from land in the area, especially in the summer months when 3 local pods pass by…
Point Robinson is between Seattle and Tacoma located on the northeast corner of Maury Island in Puget Sound. This narrow strip of land connects Maury Island to Vashon Island.
Port Townsend Science Center
Founded by two teachers in 1982, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTMSC) is an educational facility located in Fort Warden State Park.
Redondo Beach, City of Des Moines
Stroll along a 1.1-mile boardwalk adjacent to Puget Sound. This urban waterscape is a hub for diving, fishing, and dining. Stop by the MaST Environmental Center
Rialto Beach is accessible by Mora Road, off of La Push Road. Rialto Beach has fabulous features encompassing rocky beaches, miles of giant drift logs, pounding waves and "seastacks" which are offshore islands.
Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
This serene L-shaped beach is approximately 1,300 feet long and a great place to watch for resident orcas in the winter months. The park contains 40 acres of land with trails and picnic shelters perfect for spending a day at the beach.
Salt Creek Recreation Area
For decades, Salt Creek Recreation Area has been a highly regarded site for wildlife viewing. Mammals, marine invertebrates, birds, and marine mammals can all be seen from the Park. Marine life can be seen from many vantage points in the park. Numerous interpretive kiosks throughout the park help with their identification. At low tide, the tidepools…
San Juan County Park
This beautiful park, located on the west side of San Juan Island, includes rocky bluffs and gravel beaches that overlook Haro Strait with views to the Straits of San Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island. Look for orcas in the summer months while picnicking or camping. Enjoy the glorious sunsets and breathtaking views.
San Juan Island National Park
San Juan Island National Historic Park is a National Park located on the southern section of San Juan Island. Here you can learn why in 1859 that the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war over a dead pig! A visitor center also displays four cases of archaeological objects where you can learn more…
The Seattle Aquarium is an educational facility located in downtown Seattle overlooking Elliott Bay. Visit the six major exhibits: Window on Washington Waters, Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Puget Sound Fish and Dome Room, Puget Sound Orcas Family Activity Center, and Marine Mammals.
The Strait of Juan de Fuca is an important shipping lane, and a critical passageway for marine mammals, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the inland waters of the Salish Sea.
Shi Shi Beach
Shi Shi Beach has long been revered as one of the most beautiful spots on the Washington coast. This destination beach is known for its wild, rugged atmosphere, the beauty of its offshore rock formations, tide pools, grottos and abundance of marine and bird life.
Shipwreck Point is a 3-mile stretch of beach along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, east of Neah Bay. The landscape of the Strait of Juan de Fuca was carved out by ice-age glaciers 13,000 years ago. The retreat of the glaciers created deep fjords which provide abundant food and habitat for many species of marine…
South Beach is just south of Kalaloch and part of the Olympic National Park. For thousands of sea creatures these waters are a safe haven.
Stamm Overlook Park, Edmonds
This small park is a favorite spot for locals at lunchtime. Bring your binoculars and relax on the comfortable park benches at Stamm Overlook for a breathtaking view of the Puget Sound. As you're watching for whales, take in the beauty of Whidbey Island and the Olympic Mountains in the distance.
The Burke Museum, Seattle
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, on the University of Washington campus, offers its members and visitors opportunities to learn about whales through exhibits, programs, and educational materials for classroom use. Specimens in the research collections include skeletons of both fossil and contemporary whales.
The Whale Museum
The Whale Museum is located on San Juan Island in the quaint town of Friday Harbor. Located in the historic Odd Fellows Hall, the museum houses exhibits, artwork, models, and artifacts, and is a premiere destination for visitors and locals alike to learn about whales. Visitors love to listen to whale calls in the Whale…
Three Tree Point
Public beach access at the end of SW 170th in Burien. Popular with divers and a great place to watch for orcas. Limited parking and no facilities.
Washington Park sits on a peninsula at the west end of Fidalgo Island. The 220-acre city park features camping, a boat launch, day use picnic sites and a group tenting area. A scenic paved 2.2-mile loop road winds through the park’s forested hills and meadows with views of the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains.
Washington State Ferries
Washington State Ferries operates the largest ferry fleet in the United States, carrying over 23 million passengers to 20 different ports of call throughout the Sound. From Tacoma to Sidney, B.C., the ferries provide a tremendous opportunity to view marine wildlife.
West Beach is a location in Deception Pass State Park on the southwest side of the iconic Deception Pass Bridge. From West Beach looking to north, you look straight at Lighthouse Point, Rosario Head, and Deception Island. To the east, you look directly back at Deception Pass, Pass Island, and Canoe Pass. To the west…