Looking for the best whale watching in Lahaina? Whale watching is undoubtedly one of the most sought after experiences that Maui has to offer. Because the whales only travel to Maui from the cold Alaskan waters for a limited period, once a year, it is vital that you secure your spot early for a whale watching tour.
The best experience that you can have with the humpback whales that travel to the valley isle to mate and raise their newborn calves; is through one of Maui’s qualified whale watching tours.
While many are content just seeing the breaches and tail slaps from the shore-- nothing compares to the awe and thrill of a mother whale and her offspring playing close to your tour boat. While federal regulations of distance are always observed by experienced captains, often the whale will approach the boats on their own, giving whale watchers an experience they will never forget.
Types of Whale Watching Adventures in Lahaina?
There are a few options that you can count on when it comes to embarking on a whale watching tour from Maui’s bustling Lahaina town. At Hawaii Ocean Rafting, our tours range from 2 to 6 hours and you are sure to see a whale (if you don’t the tour is free and you just get the pleasure of boating off the coast of Maui’s main isle among other incredible sea life).
Another way to experience whale watching in Lahaina is booking a larger tour with 100 or more guests. While you aren’t as able to as low to the water for eye-level viewing of the whales and run the risk of not being able to see the moms or their calves as they play in the warm waters on this adventure; this is still a popular option for many of Maui’s visitors as it is often more discounted because of the higher number of guests and slower moving boat.
Lastly, as mentioned, you always have the chance to see the pods of humpback whales form the comfort of your hotel balcony. We say that whales have no daily time table-- they will swim, play, and come to the surface at all hours the day (even at night, though we can't see them as easily!).
What Makes the Best Whale Watching Tour?
What makes an incredible whale watching experience is the blend between adventure and education. On our tours at Hawaii Ocean Rafting we aim to achieve this through the wealth of knowledge that our captains have gained through years of experience.
You want your whale watching tour guides to not only know exactly where to find the pods but how to approach and position your boat safely and respectfully as to not interfere with the whales behavior.
Many people make the mistake of trying to track down or approach these pods by themselves. Since the reopening of the island there has been reports of paddle boarders and kayakers from the coastline resorts embarking out and getting within arms reach of these creatures. This is ill advised and illegal. While whales are considered gentle giants, like most mammals they are protective over their young; it is not your fault if you look down and happen to notice one of these 100+ foot beings gliding under you but we advise you try and get away to avoid being accidentally trapped under a breach or arm slap. You will also receive large fines and jail time if you are intentionally approaching a humpback whale closer than 100 yards. It's best to leave the whale watching to the experts and hop on a guided tour.
If you are looking for a quick trip out where you can see some whales, experience them closely and safely, and have a great story to take home we recommend our two hour whale watch excursion.
If you are looking for more of an immersive experience that not only blends whale watching but a more in depth tour of Maui’s coastline and the marine life that inhabit within or outside the reef like sea turtles, monk seals, and even dolphins; we recommend either our intimate four hour whale watch and snorkel combo tours.
The type of tour that you book for your whale watching adventure is dependent on your goals for the experience. Those who love the water and sun will fall head over heels for the half day excursion either privately or in a small group-- however if this is a quick bucket list item to check off and experience our two hour tour is the perfect bite-sized amount of aquatic fun!
How to Choose a Whale Watching Tour in Lahaina?
As stated, there are many whale watching tours you can opt for either within the Hawaii Ocean Rafting offerings, in Lahaina, or along Maui’s South and West Coasts. We believe that our tours give visitors the greatest blend of adventure, education, and unforgettable whale encounters.
If you are looking to see whales make sure to come during their peak season which spans broadly from mid fall to late spring-- the height of which occurs from mid December (Christmas) to March. Make sure to put this experience on your bucket list and make a memory that you nor your family will ever forget.