Great Spots To See Orcas Outside Of Sea World

Great Spots to See Orcas outside of Sea World

Killer whales, also known as orcas, are not really a whale at all but are members – the largest, fastest and most powerful members, in fact – of the dolphin family. They are called "killer whales" because they are skillful and effective hunters. While they are very big, seeing them is not guaranteed because they tend to split their lives between feeding and breeding grounds. Your best bet will be to go to places where they live for months at a time.

San Juan Islands, Washington

The San Juan Islands are one of the world's best whale watching spots. The majestic killer whales live in there year round, which makes this the perfect vacation escape for both nature-lovers and adventure-seekers alike. Your journey to the islands, whether by plane, boat, or float plane, will offer the opportunity to explore the great outdoors by hiking along beaches or through the deep woods of San Juan Island National Historical Park.


Antarctica is the coldest, driest, highest, and windiest continent in the world. It is also home to about 70 percent of the current world population of up to 100,000 of killer whales. Orcas actually have to move out of the Antarctic to regenerate skin, researchers have found. In a little over a month, Antarctic killer whales trek from their chilly residence to the warm waters off the coast of South America and back, according to Live Science. The orcas spend this time letting their skin slough off, replacing the old with new.

Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

You can go on adventurous Kayak Whale Watching tours whether for a day trip or excursions lasting two to eight days. More than 250 northern resident whales visit Johnstone Strait each summer. Telegraph Cove is world famous for being one of the best places in the world to go kayaking with orcas.

Peninsula Valdes, Argentina

Orcas season in the region is also unpredictable, according to Eco Hosteria. Orcas, are permanent residents in the Valdes Peninsula and do not migrate thousands of miles like other whales. There are just about 30 of them and they usually can be seen in Punta Norte from early March through April. The peak of this very short season lasts only about two weeks at most.

Westmen Isles, Iceland

The best time to see them is in July. Several tours are being offered that will take you on two-hour long trips by boat around Westman Island close to Heimaey so you get close looks at a the amazing bird life, volcanic formations, and of course, orcas. The Killer whale population in Iceland is unpredictable – it can vary considerably due to feeding strategies and available prey.

Southern California

It's not uncommon for the marine mammals to roam the water of Southern California looking for sharks, sea lions and other prey. It is unusual, however, to see them in large groups. Still, it did happen in 2012, as reported by local media. Sightseers spotted dozens of killer whales swimming from Dana Point to Long Beach.

Bremer Bay, Australia

This is where you can see the largest known group of killer whales in the Southern Hemisphere, according to Naturaliste Charters. Experts suspect this is due to a leak from an enormous hydrocarbon pocket under the seabed, which fuses with the surrounding water to create an ice-like reef. This in turn spurs a food chain involving crustaceans releasing billions of nutrient-rich eggs into the desolate waters.

Tysfjord, Norway

Just another reason to explore Norway is the thrilling opportunity to go on a killer whale safari. Once you encounter orcas, you will follow them and study their behavior. This is one trip you should take while you still can. There is not as much herring in the fjord anymore, and the orcas have been more difficult to find in the region, according to Tysfjord Turistsenter.

Shetland Islands, Scotland

Scottish waters are frequently visited by orca from Iceland. Scotland has a resident pod of older orcas, but these animals are usually seen off the west coast. The killer whales can sometimes be seen hunting seals close inshore between May and August.


The northern resident whales can generally be seen during the summer months, from June to September. About 1,000 have been identified and photographed in Alaskan waters, according to Whale Watching Alaska. In the state, well-known places with orcas are the Prince William Sound with approximately 250 animals in 15 pods and the Inside Passage with about 160 animals.