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Maui Whale Watching Tours

Whale Watching Begins Dec 15th and runs through April 15th

Make the Best Out of Everything on Your Maui Whale-Watching Tours

Maui is one of the perfect destinations in the world to see humpback whales. What could be more magnificent than witnessing a creature the size of a school bus leap from the water? Smack its 60,000-pound body against the surface before disappearing below, against the stunning backdrop of the Hawaiian islands. Whale watching in Maui will undoubtedly inspire your child’s inner marine biologist and explorer with the world’s largest mammals.

(Whale Watching Available December 15th – April 15th)

Whale Watching Tours

Combination Snorkel and Whale Watching Tours

Sunset Whale Watching Tours

Almost all Maui whale-watching tours include experienced marine biologists who share their encounters with these magnificent sea creatures. In addition, the beauty and size of the Maui humpback whales will astound children; whale watching for children aged seven and up is recommended. So be on the front-row seat to one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular shows while on the island. 

Below are five things you should know about Maui whale-watching tours to make your experience as memorable as possible!

The best time of the year to have a Maui whale-watching tours

The majority of the whales arrive in Maui between October and November. The whale watching season officially begins on December 15th. `Whale-watching season ends in early April when the whales begin to migrate north. Therefore, every month between December and March is ideal for whale watching on Maui. Because whale arrival and departure times vary, January and February often have the most whales in the water.

The months to avoid going whale watching in Hawaii are May through October. You might see a few whales in the water, but they won’t be as active as in winter.

The best time of the day for whale-watching in Maui

During Hawaii whale season, any time of day is fantastic! However, we recommend that you check the weather before you go. You can avoid choppy waters and ensure clear skies this way. If you want to take a lot of whale photos, the best time to see whales in Hawaii is late afternoon, when the beautiful golden hour light is at its best.

The ideal island in Hawaii for whale watching

Although whales can be seen from any Hawaiian island, Maui offers the best whale-watching opportunities. It is because most whales migrate to the warm and shallow waters of the Auau channel, which connects Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. As a result, Hawaii is a perfect location to go whale watching. You don’t need to board a boat to see whales; you can see them from various locations along the Maui coastline.

Begin your trip by going whale watching.

The majority of whale-watching tour companies guarantee sightings. However, it will not reimburse you if your boat does not see a whale. Though it is extremely rare not to see whales, plan to go whale watching early in your journey to take advantage of the sighting guarantee.

The cost of whale watching in Maui

Prices will vary if you go on a tour rather than watching whales from shore on your own. Some of the larger boats will have specials and discounts, so you might be able to find a whale watching tour for less than $50 per person. However, smaller boats and more intimate experiences are priced at $100 or more per person.

Five Types of Maui Whale Watching Tours


Catamarans are used by several whale watching tour operators who transport extensive groups of whale watching. On the large catamarans, groups of over 100 people are common. During peak whale season, however, you shouldn’t have to worry about being unable to see through the crowd — they often do an excellent job of rotating the boat or spreading people out to ensure everyone gets to see something.


Sailboat whale watching is a more intimate experience than catamaran whale watching. Typically, sailboats will only take out groups of 60 or less. Because fewer people are on board, you can usually get great pictures and videos of the whales. They may also provide more upscale amenities like breakfast or mai tai drinks.


Rafting is another popular tour option; you’ll be in an even smaller group. Rafts provide a faster ride, allowing you to cover more ground than a catamaran or sailboat. You’re also closer to the water, so if a whale does come close, you’ll have a better view. However, these can be bumpier rides, so don’t expect a smooth and luxurious sailing experience.


Kayaking is another option for whale watching that allows you to get up close and personal with the whales. You can get some exercise by paddling out to the whales and back. Of course, you won’t be able to get as far out in the water as you would in a catamaran or sailboat, but that’s usually not a problem because whales prefer shallow water.

Outrigger Canoe

For centuries, locals have been paddling around the water in outrigger canoes. Take an outrigger canoe tour to get an authentic Hawaiian experience during whale watching. You won’t be able to paddle very far into the water, but there will be plenty of opportunities to see whales up close. This unique way to get out on the water and see the whales is powered by your arms.

The essential things to bring during your Maui whale-watching tour

You won’t need much for your whale-watching excursion, but the following items will make your time on the boat more enjoyable:

  • Reef-safe sunscreen to protect your skin from UV and sunburn
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • A light jacket is recommended for early morning tours.
  • Bring a towel if you sit up front on a sailboat or raft. You might get wet.
  • For underwater photography, use a camera or a GoPro.
  • Binoculars can be helpful when watching whales that aren’t yet close to the boat.
  • Don’t forget to bring sea sickness medication with you if you need it!

Don’t overlook the island’s other attractions as well! With Sea Maui, you can see more of Maui, Hawaii. We provide a variety of tours and water adventures that you and your family will undoubtedly enjoy. Contact us today to book Maui whale-watching tours!

More About Sea Maui Whale Watching