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NW Whale watching in March?

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We will be visiting the NW to ski Whistler mid -late March for our 8 year olds spring break week. Flying into SEA or Portland and should have 3-4 days to see the area. Very interested in whale watching, visiting san juans, Vancouver and possibly Olympic NP.Will have a rental car. I can't find too much information on whale watching in March. It seems the Orcas trips don't begin until April/ May but gray whales should be in the area. Does anyone offer those trips on a daily basis? How about Olympic? Is hurricane ridge accessible then? It also appears that the park lodges are not open yet? Checking the ferries schedules it doesn't appear that many run that time of year either.? Any advice is welcomed. Thanks.

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    All the ferries will be running in March, its just that when you look online, the schedules haven't yet come out for the Spring. FYI, in terms of ferries, you may want to take a look at BC Ferries, which have a dock at Horseshoe Bay, right at the southern end of the Sea-to-Sky Highway that goes to Whistler.

    As you note, Orcas are generally not around much until April. March is the height of the gray whale season, so that can be done - there are tons of operators in places like Westport, the San Juan Islands, Victoria, Vancouver and the west coast of Vancouver Island. The best gray whale watching that we have done is out of the latter, as the gray whales feed along the continental shelf, as opposed to more inland waterways.

    One thing that you might want to consider is driving over to the west coast of Washington and going whale watching out of Westport. Then you can continue up the Olympic coast to the Olympic NP rainforest and then the alpine areas like Hurricane Ridge. From there, you could take a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria (http://www.cohoferry.com). This is a fun and interesting city to explore; then you can take a B.C. Ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay (http://www.bcferries.com). From there, it is about 1.5 hours driving time to Whistler.

    I am pretty sure that all the Olympic NP lodges are open - we certainly stayed at Kalaloch and Lake Crescent in the middle of winter (http://www.olympicnationalparks.com).

    The road to Hurricane Ridge is plowed through the winter to give access to skiers and snowshoers. There will typically be plenty of snow left in March, so you won't be able to get around much beyond the lodge. Still, on a nice day, the view can be spectacular.

    Alternatively, you can go through the San Juan Islands to Victoria, aboard the WA State ferry from Anacortes to Sidney (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/), Friday Harbor on San Juan Island would be a great stop. Tons of Orca trips out of here, but I wonder how successful gray whale trips are.

    Lastly, you could go to Vancouver and spend time there also/instead. So many things to do in this great city.

    We go skiing at Whistler every March, it is usually a great time to go.

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