From November to May, the waters of Hawaii are abundant with humpback whales, making the islands a whale-watchers paradise. While these humpbacks can be seen from all of the Hawaiian islands, these are some of the best places to whale watch if you want a truly unforgettable sighting.
One of the best spots on Kauai for whale watching is the Kilauea Lighthouse on the north side of the island, because this area has actually been designated a humpback whale marine sanctuary by the Federal government. Shipwreck Beach is also an idyllic spot where you are likely to be able to see multiple whales from shore, whilst being surrounded by soft white sand and incredible scenery.
The south-eastern part of Oahu is the best area on the island for whale watching, from Hanauma Bay to the overlooks near Diamond Head. Makapuu Point has also always been a popular spot, with the winding Makapuu Point Trail to take you there. In addition to the whales, you will be able to have unobstructed views out across the island’s nearby shore islets, which are sanctuaries for many species of native seabirds.
Maui is considered to be one of the best of the Hawaiian islands for whale watching, and they can be seen from just about anywhere that provides a view of the water. However, if you want to watch them breach and play in ways that you have never seen before, then you need to head to the stretch of Highway 30 that runs between Ma’alaea and Lahaina. As breathtaking a viewing spot as this may be, this is also the windiest stretch of the road, making for quite dangerous driving during the winter months, which is when whale watching season is at its peak, so be sure to pull over at a safe spot in order to really be able to concentrate on the whales.
Whale Watching Tours
While it is relatively easy to watch the whales from shore, there is nothing quite like being able to view them out in the water. There are several whale watching tours available that you can choose from for this, with companies ranging from Hawaii Nautical to Star of Honolulu. These excursions are usually well worth your time, as you will also be able to see everything from Hawaiian Spinner dolphins to rare turtles.
Whale watching is a highly anticipated annual phenomenon in Hawaii, and has been an important part of local culture since the islands’ very early days. If you are viewing whales from the shore, or even from a boat, it can often be tempting to edge nearer, to enjoy a closer view, but keep in mind that the laws state that you cannot get closer than 100 feet to whales in the water, so as not to disturb them, so be sure to keep a safe distance. However, if the whales decide to come nearer to you, which, in local terms, is described as “being mugged”, then be sure to enjoy this rare experience.