The Best Time for Whale Watching in Alaska

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The Best Time for Whale Watching in Alaska
The Best Time for Whale Watching in Alaska (Image: Photo by Peat Bakke)

Various species of whales migrate between the warm coastal waters of Mexico and the frigid waters of Alaska. Prince William Sound in Alaska is the summer habitat for gray, humpback and orca whales, making April through September some of the best months to whale watch. Blues and minke whales also feed in Prince William Sound during the summer.

Gray Whales

Gray whales winter off the coast of Baja California, Mexico and by February start making their way north to Alaska, reaching the Bering Sea by April. April and May are the best times to spot them from Ketchikan, Seward, Sitka and Kodiak.

Beluga Whales

Beluga whales live in the Cook Inlet and Shelikof Strait year round. From spring through fall they can be seen in bays near Anchorage. In spring and summer they are found near shallow tidal flats and large river mouths near Kasilof. During fall and winter, they head south to Kachemak Bay.

Blue Whales

Blue whales also spend their winters off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, which is also their breeding ground. In July and August they can be found in the eastern and northern ends of the Gulf of Alaska. They are seldom seen near the shore of Alaskan waters, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Humpback Whales

During the spring, summer and fall months, humpback whales are found mostly in the Bering Sea, Prince William Sound and Glacier Bay. There are approximately 500 humpbacks that live in Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage during the summer months.

Orcas

One thousand resident orcas have been documented in Alaska. The best time to see orcas in Alaska is during the months of June through September. In the waters near Seward, Alaska, the best time to see killer whales is during early May and the first part of June.

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