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Whale-watching expeditions typically run three to four hours and cost around $50 per person. For the best experience, look for tour companies with small boats that carry under 30 people. Bring warm clothing even if it's a warm day.
Island Adventures. Two San Juan tours operate out of Anacortes per day from June through August—you'll get right up next to the orcas. 1801 Commercial Ave., Anacortes, WA, 98221. 360/293–2428 or 800/465–4604. www.island-adventures.com.
San Juan Cruises. Full-day whale-watching adventure cruises out of Bellingham include lunch and a two-hour stop at Friday Harbor and are offered on May weekends and daily from June through September. These trips depart Bellingham at 9:30 am and return at 5:30 pm. Two-night overnight trips to the islands are also sometimes available. Fairhaven Terminal, 355 Harris Ave., Bellingham, WA, 98255. 360/738-8099 or 800/443-4552. www.whales.com.
San Juan Excursions. Whale-watching cruises are offered aboard a converted 1940s U.S. Navy research vessel. 2 Spring St., Friday Harbor, WA, 98250. 360/378-6636 or 800/809-4253. www.watchwhales.com.
Western Prince Cruises. Narrated whale-watching tours last three to four hours. 1 Spring St., Friday Harbor, WA, 98250. 360/378-5315 or 800/757-6722. www.orcawhalewatch.com.
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