Orca Whales (San Juan Islands)
May-September is peak orca whale watching in the San Juan Islands. The return of the first salmon runs in May signals the highly anticipated return of orca whales. There is nothing quite as spectacular as the sight of a pod of orca whales splashing and cavorting along the protected coastlines of the San Juan Islands. You will also see harbor seals, porpoises, otters, bald eagles and various shorebirds and ducks. Numerous private companies offer whalewatching expeditions.
Gray Whales (Off Washington Coast & Cape Flattery)
Whale watching peaks during March, April and May as gray whales cruise along Washington's coast during migration. Gray whales make the longest journey of any mammal, traveling 10,000 to 14,000 miles round trip every year - from breeding lagoons in the Baja to their feeding grounds in North Pacific (Alaska). Because gray whales migrate close to the coast, they can often be seen from shore. Good places to watch whales include the Westport observation tower; Olympic National Park, Cape Alava; LaPush; Cape Flattery; and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Fort Canby State Park.
Other Indigenous Mammals
If you are interested in any experience in Washington that involves outdoor recreation, hiking or camping, you're in for a treat. You will find it very easy to locate scenic wildflower meadows and forest trails winding into the Cascade Mountains, along the Pacific coastline or through the semi-arid deserts and plains of eastern Washington. Be sure to keep your eyes open for sightings of our state's active population of Roosevelt elk and blacktailed deer. And use caution, you could encounter a black bear lumbering through a mountain meadow or rummaging through a campsite. And remember to keep a sharp lookout for the elusive mountain goats you'll observe casually grazing on the crags and cliffs high above.