When Does Maui’s Whale Watching Season Begin?

Maui is a special place year-round, there is always something to do or see on the island. But one of our favorite times of year here at Dive Maui is rapidly approaching: whale watching season! The opportunity to see one of nature’s largest mammals is something no one should pass up if they get the chance. But when does whale watching season begin in Maui exactly? We’re glad you asked!


The first annual sighting of Humpback whales is an eagerly anticipated event each year and commonly occurs by late November. The season officially begins on December 15th, through mid-February is generally considered the season’s peak.


Now that we know roughly when whale watching season begins, let’s look at some of the details to help you get the most out of any whale watching experience. Below, we will look at what you can expect during Maui’s whale watching season, how to maximize your chances of seeing a whale, and more of your most frequently asked questions! So, if a whale watching excursion is something you dream of, be sure to read on to see how it can become a reality!


When is Maui’s Whale Watching Season?

As stated above, Maui’s whale watching season can be broken roughly into three different periods. Let’s look at each one in a little more depth below.


  • First sightings: The first whale sightings are an eagerly anticipated event that usually occurs in late November or early December, though seeing a whale earlier is not uncommon. Some years Humpbacks have been known to show up in September! 


  • Start of the season: Whale watching really kicks into high gear on the island around December 15th, considered the traditional start of the season by many. It is after this date that you have the best chance of seeing a whale in the wild.


  • Peak whale watching season: The middle of February is generally considered the peak of the season, with abundant opportunities to see whales in the water. And though this may be the peak, the height of the season is sustained for some time, with whales continuing to be sighted through April and into May.


What Can I Expect to See on a Whale Watching Excursion?

The most common type of whale sighted are the majestic Humpback Whales which are attracted to the warm waters that surround the island, especially in the Au’au Channel, which lays between Maui and Lana’i. Other whales that can be found in the area include Pilot Whales and False Killer Whales, though both of these species are much, much more rarely seen.


And whales aren’t the only aquatic creatures you may find if you decide to whale watch during the shoulder season—fall and spring—during this time you will have an excellent chance of catching sight of dolphins and sea turtles.


What’s the Best Way to Whale Watch?

The answer to this question will boil down to personal preference. Some will enjoy looking for whales from land or a canoe, however, if you want to maximize your chances of seeing a whale in open waters, we highly recommend taking a whale watching trip with an experienced provider who is committed to protecting our ocean’s environment, just as we are here at Dive Maui


Our whale watching tours are an intimate, full-service experience that lasts approximately 2 hours, with multiple tours offered each day. The chance to see one of the thousands of Humpbacks that migrate to Maui each year up close and personal is sure to be a highlight of any vacation. And we are so confident that we will be able to deliver a superior whale watching experience that we guarantee you will see a whale on your trip. 


Can Children Go Whale Watching?

Whale watching is an excellent activity for the whole family. Many children are enthralled in the “hunt” to be the first to glimpse a whale and seeing such wonderful creatures up close is impactful no matter one’s age. Additionally, whale watching is a great time to teach children practically about the importance of conservation. 


Not sure if your kids will be into whale watching? Show them this video and ask if they might like to see a Humpback in real life, in our experience the answer is almost always an enthusiastic yes!


We’re Always Here to Help!

To wrap things up, whale watching season is one of our favorite times of the year and we hope to be able to make it a highlight of yours as well. We hope you agree that chance to see a whale in person is something no one should pass up.


Do you have more questions about whale watching? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today! We hope you’ve enjoyed reading more about Maui’s whale watching opportunities and that you’ve learned something new along the way. As always, thank you for reading, and until next time Aloha!