Top 5 Maui Whale Watches

There’s a reason why whale watching is the most popular Maui activity in the winter months (Maui whale watching season). Few things are as awe-inspiring as watching 40-ton humpback whales gracefully burst through the ocean’s surface — and the chance to see whales in Maui with your own eyes is a bucket list activity in its truest form. But add Maui’s epic backdrop, tasty cocktails, and top-notch hospitality to the mix, and you’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the making.

The only downfall to whale watching on Maui? There are about as many Maui whale watch tours as there are grains of sand on Kaanapali Beach — and choosing the right one for you can be a challenge. But don’t fret. We’ve got you covered.  We will help you find the best whale watching Maui has to offer.

Whale Watching Maui Arriving


Here are the top 5 Maui whale-watching tours — and what makes them stand out from the pack.



Maui Kayak & Snorkel Whale Watch

Whale watching in Maui is a whole new adventure with this tour. Triple threat alert! This tour combines three of Maui’s most popular ocean activities: kayaking, snorkeling, and whale watching. Head to Makena Landing, where you’ll hop aboard a trusty ocean kayak for a whale-watching tour of a lifetime — one that involves snorkeling with green sea turtles and taking in the gorgeous South Maui sights. The potential for up-close encounters with humpback whales is elevated, too — humpback whales are notoriously curious and sometimes like to sneak up on unsuspecting kayakers to say ‘hi.’

Whale Watching Maui Kayak

Know Before You Go:

  • Traveling with adventurous keiki? Children ages ten and up are welcome to join in on the fun.
  • Don’t worry about lugging your snorkel gear around with you. Your guide will provide all the snorkeling equipment you need to enjoy the day.
  • Beginners are welcome! Your expert guide will help you get the proper paddling technique down pat.
  • A light snack and dry bags to store your belongings are included.


Affordable Maui Whale-Watching Tour

Who said Maui whale watching in Maui is too expensive?! On Maui’s most affordable whale watch, you can bring your family of four aboard for well under $300 (although this doesn’t include gratuities). And don’t worry, inexpensive doesn’t equal lower quality. Whale-watching season means everyone can see whales! This tour boasts as many amenities as the pricier excursions — if not more! You’ll have access to three decks for optimal whale viewing, a premium bar and snack bar, and even a glass bottom viewing room where you can peer into the deep.  This is one of the best whale-watching tours on Maui without the hefty price tag.

Whale Watching Maui Breaching

Know Before You Go:

  • This whale-watching adventure departs from Maalaea Harbor, Maui’s most central tour boat hub.
  • Hoping to learn more about whales? An onboard marine naturalist narrates the whole experience and is on hand to answer any and all questions.
  • Claustrophobic? This 65-foot catamaran has three levels and 4,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor seating.


Maalaea Harbor Whale Watch

Want to see whales in Maui but don’t want to have to rush to the harbor at sunrise to do so? Or vice-versa — hoping to get on the water nice and early before the trade winds come up? This Maalaea Harbor whale watch is designed to fit into your vacation schedule, offering five departures daily from sunrise to late afternoon. Of course, scheduling isn’t this tour’s only boon. This Pacific Whale Foundation excursion operates at 67% capacity for a spacious experience, and you’ll have access to an onboard bar and certified marine naturalists for all your whale questions.

Whale Watching Maui Maalaea

Know Before You Go:

  • Want to take the edge off with a tasty mai tai? Pack your debit or credit card — this vessel is cashless.
  • Hoping to get a closer view? Binoculars and cameras are available for rent on board.
  • It can get a little chilly on the water, especially when the breezes are blowing. Pack a light jacket, just in case.


Lahaina Whale Watching

Operating out of Maʻalaea Harbor due to Lahaina fire recovery.

Humpback whales love Lahaina for its shallow, calm waters. As a result, Lahaina is known as Maui’s unofficial whale-watching capital — and humpback whale sightings here are off the charts. This two-hour tour leaves Lahaina Harbor and takes you into the heart of whale-watching territory. Enjoy a fully narrated experience that breaks down the nuances of whale behavior. You’ll have plenty of whale sighting opportunities from the boat’s double decks!

Whale Watching Maui Lahaina

Know Before You Go:

  • Three departure times are offered every day but Tuesday and Thursday during whale watching season in Maui.
  • This vessel is designed to easily navigate Maui’s often-windy seas. The double-hulled design makes for an ultra-smooth ride.
  • Need a break from the sun? The main cabin has plenty of shaded seating and large viewing windows.


Kihei Whale Watching Tour

Pssst — we’ll let you in on a little secret. If you’re staying in Kihei, there’s no need to drive all the way to Maalaea or Lahaina Harbor for a whale watch because one of the best ones departs from Kihei Boat Ramp. This rafting adventure only takes a maximum of 20 passengers for an intimate experience. Better yet, you’ll be at eye level with the whales as they cruise past your boat — and they tend to have no qualms about approaching smaller vessels like this one.

Whale Watching Maui Kihei

Know Before You Go:

  • You might be on a smaller vessel, but you’ll still get a similar experience as on the larger boats. A naturalist is onboard to narrate the excursion, and you’ll also get to listen to humpback whale songs via hydrophone.
  • This tour is only offered from January 15 to March 31, when whales are the most abundant in Maui’s waters.
  • Due to the speedy nature of this tour, this excursion is not recommended for pregnant women or people with back issues.


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