Best Time to See Whales in Hawaii Humpback Whale Watching Season

Best Time to See Whales in Hawaii: Humpback Whale Watching Season

When is whale watching season in Hawaii? It’s during the winter months. Hawaii’s warm waters are home to thousands of Humpback whales during their migration, and there’s no better way to witness their majestic beauty than going on a whale-watching tour.

Whale Watching Tours in Hawaii: A Must-Do Experience for Nature Lovers

Imagine being in the presence of these gentle giants as they breach and play in the turquoise waters of Hawaii. You will never forget this experience and one you can easily do when visiting Hawaii.

Whale-watching boat tours are available on all major islands in Hawaii. A half-day tour costs around $100 per person, making it a relatively affordable activity. The best whale sightings tend to be on the north-western coast, where the whales migrate yearly. Smaller boats offer a more personal experience, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.

Oahu’s eastern point offers some great DIY opportunities for those who prefer to do whale watching on their own. Keep your eyes peeled – you might spot a humpback or two!

Here are some must-know tips for a successful whale-watching experience:

  • Look out for telltale signs such as spouting or breaching.
  • Don’t forget to bring binoculars to see better underwater.
  • Always respect wildlife by avoiding them and keeping noise levels down.

Migration Patterns of Humpback Whales in Hawaii

Every year, thousands of Humpback whales make the 3,000-mile journey from Alaska to Hawaii, making it one of the most spectacular natural occurrences in the world. 

The yearly migration sees 10,000 and 15,000 humpbacks embark on their long journey to Hawaii from Alaskan waters. The long trip officially starts on December 15 and ends around May 15 – although some may start as early as October. They swim at an average of 3-5 mph, rolling along day and night until the humpback whales arrive at their destination. 

This annual event has become part of the fabric of life in Hawaii. It’s not just tourists or whale watchers that appreciate these gentle giants; locals have come to depend upon them for spiritual solace, sustenance, and income. Thanks to the humpback sightings, tourism is booming, bringing much-needed money into local communities. And for Native Hawaiians, seeing these beautiful animals symbolizes renewal and hope after a long winter.

Whales play an essential role in the health of our oceans. They feed on krill and other small fish, keeping ocean populations in check. Their migrations also bring nutrients, fertilizing the water as they go, which helps promote coral growth and encourages the proliferation of marine life. Moreover, they remind us of how precious and fragile our environment is and the importance of protecting it.

Witness the Mating Season Show: A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience in Hawaii

From January to March, Hawaii becomes a breeding ground for Humpback whales, and you can witness the magic while staying in line with the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Witness the incredible mating season show of the majestic humpback whales in Hawaii! From the beginning of January until the end of March, the Hawaiian waters become full of life as these beautiful creatures come together to mate and give birth.

Here’s what you need to know about this fantastic event:

  • Peak season is from January to March.
  • You’ll find the greatest concentration of whales between Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. Whale watching in Maui is recommended.
  • The Marine Mammal Protection Act means you don’t have to worry about getting too close – it’s illegal to approach closer than 100 yards.
  • Plus, plenty of boat tours and whale-watching opportunities let you admire them from a safe distance.

When it comes to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, nothing quite compares to seeing humpbacks in their natural habitat during the mating season. So grab your binoculars and head to Hawaii for an unforgettable adventure!

Up Close Details of Humpback Whales in Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Lanai

Let’s get to know these gentle giants up close and personal.

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You can find the fifth-largest great whale species in Hawaiian waters off the coasts of Maui, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, and Lanai – where they migrate each year for mating and birthing season. During the winter season in maui, you can see humpback whales sing.

Here are some amazing facts about these majestic creatures you may not have known!

Tubercles and Barnacles

Did you know that humpbacks have tubercles on top of their heads? These bumps contain a bundle of hair follicles and help the whales move through the water effortlessly. They also grow barnacles beneath their fins which gives them an exciting look when seen from below.

Size & Weight

Adult humpbacks reach 40-45 feet in length, with females slightly larger than males. When calves are born, they’re 10-15 feet long and weigh 3,000 pounds or 1.5 tons. But don’t worry – they start packing on the pounds soon after birth at a rate of 8 lbs. per hour due to their mother’s high-fat milk, which is 45-60% fat (compared to 2-5% in human breast milk, or 4% in cow milk). As adults, they weigh up to 80,000 pounds or 40 tons. Their pectoral fins can even reach up to 15 feet long!

Hawaii Whale Watching Guide: The Best Time and Places to Go

Discover Hawaii’s best islands, months, and spots for whale watching, including the Maui Au’au channel, home to the highest concentration of Humpback whales.

Here’s what you need to know to watch whales in Hawaii, and learn when the best time to go is.

Best Time To Go

The best time to watch whales in Hawaii is from November to April. During these months, the ocean is filled with hundreds of Humpback whales who come to breed and raise their calves in the safety of the island’s protected waters. January and February are the peak months for whale sightings, but you can still find plenty throughout the season. The summer months are not good as the whales have moved on and you have to wait until winter for the pacific humpback whale population return to Hawaii islands.

Best Places To Go

The best places to see whales is on Maui, as it is the best island for whale watching in the Au’au Channel. This area is a sanctuary for humpback whales and has the highest concentration in Hawaii, so that you will have an unforgettable experience here. Small boats offer whale watching tours and give a more personal experience when out on the water, so check out some local tour operators before setting off.

When Is the Best Time for Whale Watching?

Early morning is usually the best time for whale watching as the seas tend to be calmer during this period. It’s also easier to spot the whales since they often come up for air multiple times within a few minutes. So, make sure you get there bright and early to catch a glimpse of these giants!

5 Tips For A Successful Whale-Watching Trip:

  • Choose the right boat – small boats offer a more personal experience, while larger boats may provide better views.
  • Get there early – the best time for whale watching is early in the day for calmer oceans and a higher chance of spotting whales.
  • Bring binoculars – having a good pair will help you look closer at the whales without getting too close.
  • Wear sunscreen – even though the weather may seem mild, the sun’s rays can still be intense.
  • Respect wildlife – remember to keep a safe distance from any marine life you encounter and never touch or feed them.

The 2022-2023 Whale Watching Season Has Begun in Hawaii: Don’t Miss Out

It’s officially whale-watching season in Hawaii, and the Humpback whales have arrived. Now is the perfect time to plan your adventure and book your tour for an unforgettable experience. On September 14, the first humpbacks arrived, and since then, sightings have been reported on Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii. By mid-December, humpback whale season will be in full swing – don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you miss it this year, you must wait until next season. So, grab your binoculars, rent a boat, and prepare for epic whale watching and listening to whale songs! 

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Good Places for Whale Watching in Hawaii on the Big Island: Discover Hidden Gems

Explore the lesser-known whale-watching spots on the Big Island:

  • Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site
  • Lapakahi State Historical Park
  • Kapa’a Beach Park

These hidden gems offer incredible views of the whales and their habitat and plenty of educational opportunities. So, if you want to see some truly spectacular sights, head to one of these locations – you won’t regret it!

Whale Watching as a Volunteer: Help Protect These Endangered Species

Do you want to make a difference in the world by helping to protect one of the most amazing animals on earth? Join the Ocean Counts program and be part of the annual count held each winter, where volunteers survey Humpback whales off the coast.

Humpback Whales Need Protection

Humpback whales are an endangered species that need our help. Volunteering with the Ocean Counts program, you can contribute to protecting these beautiful animals and their habitat. The annual count is held every January, February, and March, so if you want to get involved, now’s your chance!

Participate in the Annual Count

The Ocean Counts program takes place on the third Saturday of each month from 8 am until 12:15 pm. Safety factors determine how many volunteers can participate, so it’s important to register ahead of time on the Sanctuary Ocean Count website. In 2023, the counts will occur on January 28, February 25, and March 25.

So don’t wait – sign up for the Ocean Counts program and help protect these beautiful whales! It’s a great way to make a difference in the world while having fun out on the water.

Whale Watching Tips in Hawaii: Plan Your Trip Like a Pro

Let’s share tips on the best time to go, the peak months for whale sightings, and the importance of booking in advance to secure your spot.

Here are some essential tips to help you plan the perfect whale-watching adventure. The peak season for whale watching in Hawaii runs from January to March. You can expect to see many humpback whales – the state’s most popular marine mammal during this time. But if you don’t have the luxury of planning so far in advance, don’t worry – April also offers good opportunities for spotting them. However, November and December offer fewer sightings due to the fewer humpbacks during those months. As they migrate elsewhere, you won’t find humpbacks in Hawaiian waters from June to October.

Book ahead to maximize your trip and ensure you’re there when the whales arrive so you can observe the whale’s incredible behavior and admire their beauty.

Join a guided tour or head out independently; you’ll have an experience you’ll remember forever.

Where Can You See the Most Whales in Hawaii? The Best Spots Revealed

The best chance for whale sightings is in the North Kona and Kohala districts. Holoholokai Beach Park, Waipi’o valley, and Pololu Valley are all great spots to check out if you’re looking for whales.

According to aerial surveys, certain zones and areas have a higher concentration of whales than others. And even within those areas, January and February are the best months for whale sightings, and Whale sightings in the Kohala coast area during these months are two to three times more frequent than in other locations.

On Kohala Coast, January and February are the best months for whale sightings.

Reports show that sightings are 50% higher at 8 am than at noon, so it’s worth getting up early. On average, you could expect to see 3-6 whales per 15 minutes if you visit during the peak season.

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Check out North Kona or Kohala district between January and February to see the whales.

Whale Watching Tour: When’s the Best Time to Book for the Ultimate Experience?

Book a whale-watching tour during the peak season to ensure you don’t miss a thing. If you book at certain times, you can get more out of your trip and maximize your chances of seeing whales. The best time to book is between December and April, when the whale activity in Hawaii is the greatest, with January and February being the peak season.

On top of that, a professional guide will also be able to offer additional insight into the habits of humpback whales as well as give information about other marine wildlife in the area. You can view them from the comfort of a boat or even opt for a kayak excursion for an even closer encounter. Either way, it’ll be a fun and educational experience you will never forget.

Land-Based Whale Watching: Free and Accessible for Everyone

Watch the humpbacks from a safe distance on solid land. Whether in California, Alaska, or Hawaii, whale watching is an experience. Here’s a guide to help make your land-based whale-watching trip unforgettable.

Tips and Locations

You can do land-based whale watching from any shoreline where there are whales. Look for areas with rocky cliffs, headlands, and beaches that provide good vantage points for spotting the whales. Make sure to bring binoculars and keep an eye out for telltale signs like spouts, tails, and dorsal fins. The best times to spot them are during their migration season.

Advantages Over Boat Tours

Unlike boat tours, land-based whale watching is free and accessible to everyone. You don’t have to worry about getting seasick or being too close to the animals. It also allows you to observe the whales in their natural environment without interfering with their behavior.

Endangered Species

The humpback whale is endangered under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). It is illegal to hunt or harm these animals in any way. Unfortunately, they face numerous threats, including climate change and human activities such as overfishing and pollution. People and organizations should consider more conservation efforts to ensure the whales’ survival.

With land-based whale watching, you can get up close and personal with these gentle giants without leaving dry land. Leave your snorkel at home. You only need binoculars and a spot on the beach – you never know what you might see during whale season in Hawaii!


Hawaii’s waters are home to the North Pacific Humpback Whale and the Hawaiian Islands are a sanctuary for them. The season for whale watching in Hawaii is typically from November to May, with the peak of the season usually in winter months. During this time, the humpback whale population has grown and whales can be seen around the island of Hawaii, Maui, and the Big Island.

The best months for whale watching in Hawaii are February and March, when the humpback whales migrate back to the islands and the whale action is guaranteed. Whale watching tours are offered around Hawaii and the time of the day and the shallow waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands make it the best for whale watching.

You can often view whales from land, and you may even get the chance to listen to the whales singing, which is a unique experience. If you’re looking for the best whale-watching journey, the Hawaiian Islands are the perfect destination. With guaranteed humpback whale sightings and the chance to see whales, sharks, and other marine life, the time to visit Hawaii is now.