Whales are Back: Maui Whale Watching Tips

Categorized as Hawaii Vacation Information

February – March is the peak of whale season in Maui. Humpback whales head to the Au’Au Channel to enjoy the warmer waters of spring. We have many beachfront properties where you can literally see whales from your front porch. You can also see whales from your beach towel on DT Fleming, Launiupoko and Ka’anapali Beach. If you are planning your trip around whale watching, you might want to stay in Lahaina or Ma’alaea as their harbors are the jumping off point for the whale tours. One of the largest tour companies, the Pacific Whale Foundation, offers tours from both harbors.

Insider Tips for Whale Watching in Maui:

  • Take the ferry from Lahaina to Lanai for an affordable tour and great day outing. The ferry departs in the morning, afternoon and evening giving you time to explore Lanai during the day before heading back in the evening. One-way tickets are $30 for adults and $20 for children.
  • If you are looking for a more intimate encounter with the whales you can take a tour in a rigid inflatable boat that accommodates groups up to 12 people. You will be lower in the water and might even get splashed by a whale!
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, is a great place to spot the whales from land. If you look closely you are bound to see a mother-child pair breaching and flapping the water.
  • Bring binoculars on the ferry, especially if it is a little bit windy, as it will make it easier to spot the whales.
  • Catamaran cruises are another fun (and romantic) option for whale sitings. There are several outfitters offering two-hour sunset cruises.
  • Ocean kayak tours are also available for adventurous whale watchers. Humpback whales are an Endangered Species so if you do go on a kayak adventure be sure to stay at least 300 feet away from these marine mammoths.