When Is the Best Time To See the Whales in Hawaii?

If you’re a fan of whales, then you’d surely love to experience going out in the ocean and seeing them in person. However, you can’t just go out on any day and expect to see whales. You have to know when and where to find them.

Hawaii is a common home for whales, with eighteen known species living in its waters, including the humpback whale. But despite being a common whale location, you won’t find whales in Hawaii all of the time. You need to plan your whale-watching trip according to the season and the migration pattern of the whales.

Continue reading this article if you want to learn more about when is the best time to see whales in Hawaii. We’ll also look into other useful information about whales to make your trip more worthwhile.

Whale Season in Hawaii


The whale season in Hawaii is December through April. This is the period when most of the whale species are in Hawaii waters. You have a greater chance of seeing whales during this time than any other time of the year.

Humpback whales appear more often during this season since it’s their breeding season. You’ll find them in Maui from the months of January to March. If you go whale watching in Maui during this time, you have a bigger chance of seeing humpback whales.

The main reason why whale season falls during this period is that during the winter months, Humpback Whales migrate back to Hawaii from Alaska to breed. This is also the time when the water temperature in Hawaii is warmest, which makes it more comfortable for the whales. During this event, whales travel roughly three thousand miles to Hawaii – specifically on the island of Maui.

While the whale season in Hawaii is from December to April, the humpback whale breeding season is from January to March. This is why you’re more likely to see humpback whales during this time in Maui. If you want to have a higher chance of seeing whales on your trip, then plan it around these months.

Whale Watching Activities in Hawaii


If you’re planning to go whale watching in Hawaii, you should have an itinerary planned out, so you make the most of your trip. There are some whale activities you can do during your trip to Hawaii.

The first thing you can do is to take a whale watching tour. There are a lot of reputable tour companies that offer whale watching tours in Hawaii. This is among the ideal ways to see whales since the guides know where to find them and when is the best time to go.

In addition, you can also join a whale research expedition. Joining a whale research expedition is the best way to go if you want to learn more about these creatures. This is a great activity for those who are interested in whales and want to contribute to their conservation.

Moreover, you can visit the Maui Ocean Center. The Maui Ocean Center is an excellent place to learn about different marine life, including whales. This is a truly fun and enjoyable activity for families with kids who are interested in marine life.

Common Whales Species in Hawaii


While Hawaii is known as a sanctuary for Humpback Whales, there are many other species of whales found in the Aloha State. Here are some of the most common whale species you’ll find in Hawaii:

  • Humpback Whale: As mentioned earlier, the Humpback Whale is one of the most common types of whale found in Hawaii, especially during the winter season.
  • Sperm Whale: The Sperm Whale is considered the largest toothed whale and can be found in Hawaii all year round.
  • Orca Whale: Also known as the killer whale, the Orca is a toothed whale that can be found in Hawaii waters. Orcas have distinctive features, such as their black and white coloration.
  • Melon Headed Whale: The Melon Headed Whale is a small-toothed whale that can be found in Hawaii waters.
  • Beluga Whale: Just like Orcas, it’s very easy to spot Beluga Whales because of their white color. These creatures are toothed whales that can be found in Hawaii during the winter season.
  • Pygmy Killer Whale: The Pygmy Killer Whale is a small-toothed whale that can be found in Hawaii waters.

These are the whale species found in Hawaii. While Humpback Whales are the most common, there are many other types of whales that you might see on your trip. So keep your eyes open, and you might just spot one of these majestic creatures.

What to Bring When Whale Watching in Hawaii


Just like any other vacation trip, knowing what to bring with you is essential when whale watching. There are different items you should bring to make sure you’re whale watching experience is memorable and enjoyable. Here are some of the items to bring for your whale watching trip:

  • Bring your sunscreen and hats. The sun in Hawaii can be very harsh, especially during the summer months. It’s important to protect yourself from the heat of the sun so you don’t get sunburned.
  • Bring your binoculars. Binoculars will help you see the whales better. This is a must-have item if you want to get a good view of the whales.
  • Bring your camera. You’ll want to take pictures of the whales you see during your trip. Make sure to bring a camera that’s waterproof so you can take pictures even when it’s raining.
  • Bring your snacks and drinks. It’s important to stay hydrated when you’re out in the sun. Bring plenty of water and snacks, so you don’t get hungry. However, you should check the establishment’s policies first to make sure you’re allowed to bring snacks; some areas prohibit food and drinks.

These are just some of the important things to keep in mind when planning your whale-watching trip to Hawaii. Take note of these things to make sure you have a great time on your trip.

Final Thoughts

Hawaii is indeed a popular place to go whale watching. Its abundant whale population makes it a perfect place to see these creatures in their natural habitat. However, it’s important to remember that the best time to see whales in Hawaii is during the winter months. So if you’re planning a trip, make sure to schedule it during the winter.