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Everything You Need to Know About Whale Watching in Lahaina, Maui

Planning a trip to Lahaina, Maui? Be sure to leave some room in your itinerary for a whale watching tour! You don’t want to miss this incredible experience on the beautiful waters of Maui. 

When is the best time to see whales in Maui?

Maui whale watching season runs from mid-December to mid-May, giving you lots of flexibility to plan a trip to Lahaina. Even better, you can still see whales outside of this window, but if you have your heart set on an awe-inspiring Maui whale watching trip, we recommend planning your visit during those months. With around 10,000 humpback whales migrating through the area from Alaska, your chances of a whale sighting are pretty high!

Peak whale sightings occur between January and March, so join us in Lahaina then to see humpback whales up close!

What kind of whales can I see on a Maui whale watching tour?

Maui is famous for its humpback whale sightings – in fact, it’s got the world’s densest population of humpback whales that arrive in Maui to mate and give birth. 

These incredible whales can grow up to 60 feet in length and weigh 40 tons! Since they travel in pods of several whales, when you spot one from a whale watching tour, keep your eyes peeled for more humpbacks nearby.

While humpback whales are the most commonly spotted whale in Maui, you might see some other species like the false killer whale. These whales are much smaller, just 15 to 20 feet in length, and they like to hang out closer to shore.

Another species is the pilot whale, a small, black whale found in the deep waters offshore. They’re actually one of the largest members of the dolphin family, which brings us to dolphins…

Keep your eyes peeled for these friendly marine mammals during your Maui whale watching tour! Dolphins are incredibly social and love showing off. Hopefully you’ll see a few during your charter!

a whale jumping out of the water

What’s the best way to see whales in Maui?

Booking a whale watching tour is always a great way to see whales in Maui! While you might spot them on a sailing tour or snorkel adventure, a dedicated whale watching excursion is an experience specifically tailored to seeing these amazing animals. Plus, the experienced captains of these Lahaina whale watching tours know exactly where to take you for the best chance of seeing whales in action. 

If you’re vacationing in Lahaina, whale watching is right at your fingertips! There are some amazing cruises departing from Ka’anapali Beach that go out to sea and visit spots where humpback whales are frequently sighted.

When you go whale watching with a licensed tour operator, you’re more likely to see whales and you can make a whole day of it! Most cruises have an open bar as well as on-board naturalists who will educate you on humpback whales and other Hawaiian animals like seals and sea turtles. 

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, Maui Ocean Sports offers a whale watch and snorkel eco adventure that includes kayaking and snorkeling for a more relaxing way to see whales off the coast of Lahaina. 

A Maui whale watch is a must-do activity during your time in the Hawaiian islands! Don’t forget to pack a warm layer, your binoculars, and a camera or cell phone to capture the excitement.