If whale watching is on your bucket list, look no further than Maui, Hawaii! The best time to see whales on Maui is November through May when thousands of North Pacific Humpback whales grace Hawaiian waters during their annual winter migration. At 25 to 40 tons, Pacific Humpback whales are the fifth largest whale species in the world. They’re a spectacular sight to behold! Check out our tips for enjoying Maui’s whale season below and access our free Adventure Guide for even more activity recommendations.
How to Experience the Maui Whale Season
North Pacific Humpback whales travel over 3,500 miles from Alaska to Hawaii every year to mate and give birth. Marine scientists believe that Kohola (Humpback whales) have been visiting the islands since the ancient Polynesian Era (1-600 AD) and enjoy Hawaii’s deep, warm ocean, underwater visibility, and lack of natural predators.
The island of Maui is the best place in Hawaii to whale watch from the shoreline. Admire Kohola breaching and nursing their young in South Maui coastal areas like Kihei and Wailea, or off of North Shore beaches like Paia Bay and Ho’okipa Beach Park. You can even take a whale watching tour to see these playful creatures up close.
Hawaii Whale Watching Tours
The best way to experience Maui whale watch season is to take a guided boat tour with a professional captain and crew. You can learn about whale habits, find out how to spot them in the ocean, and maybe hear a whale song! Here are a few of our favorite guided tours.
Pride of Maui
For a once-in-a-lifetime whale watching experience, book a 2.5-hour boat tour or a one-hour snorkel tour with Pride of Maui. Each trip guarantees whale sightings and features beautiful views, prepared food, and an open bar with fabulous cocktails.
Did You Know? Humpback whale songs can be heard from 12 miles away! Many of our guests have captured recordings on underwater cameras and have heard whale songs with their own ears while snorkeling or swimming underwater in Lahaina, Ka’anapali, and Kapalua.
Leilani Boat Trips
On this small group tour, knowledgeable naturalists help educate guests on the island of Maui and the Humpback whales that spend their winters here. As an added bonus, you’ll visit two of Maui’s finest snorkel destinations: Molokini Crater and Turtle Reef. Check out their whale watching trip options and make your reservations in advance.
Pacific Whale Eco-Adventures
The Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui is another top-rated company, offering tours from both Ma’alaea and Lahaina Harbor. Their marine naturalists provide the fun and educational ecotours that draw from nearly 40 years of whale research and ocean conservation. Check out their list of whale sails, photo safaris, sunrise whale watches, and more.
Visitors can see North Pacific Humpback whales from a truly awe-inspiring perspective with Hawaiian Paddlesports. Watch them swim right by you in the water as you paddle a kayak, outrigger canoe, or a stand-up paddleboard.
Maui Kayak Adventures
Get up close and personal with the whales by paddling out to greet them! With no engine noise, Maui Kayak Adventures allows you to view whales with less disturbance to their natural routine. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, turtles, and other local sea life during your adventure!
Begin Your Adventure at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono
Few things compare to seeing these magical mammals in real life. When you’re ready to start planning your trip to Hawaii, book a stay at The Old Wailuku Inn! Our historic B&B is an easy drive to the beach and is the perfect place to stay during Maui’s whale season. You can even reserve a room for Christmas and spend the holidays here!
Take a look at our gorgeous Plumeria Room. This second-floor accommodation boasts bamboo floors, a king-size bed, and a vertical spa in the private bathroom. Start your day with a homemade, gourmet breakfast before heading out to whale watch in Hawaii’s epic waters. We can’t wait to hear about your experience!