About Orca Whales

orca whales

One of the most popular attractions of Roche Harbor is our natural wildlife. You will see wildlife in the water and along the shores of the San Juan Islands. The most popular wildlife in the area that attracts visitors from across the country are our orca whales.

You can schedule tours and excursions in Roche Harbor from April until Octobr to see the orca pods that live in the area. This is one of the most popular excursions in all of the San Juan Islands.

Before you come to see our orca whales, perhaps you would like to learn a little more about these beautiful sea creatures:

  • Orca whales weigh up to 6 tons and grow a long as 23-32 feet. Their total length is similar to the length of a school bus. These are some of the largest sea creatures known to man and they’re the largest species of dolphins according to National Geographic.
  • Orca whales live in several different climates and habitats and are considered the second-most widely distributed mammals after humans. That’s right! You can find orcas in warm waters such as the San Juan Islands or freezing, icy waters around the globe. Orcas never stay any one place too long and are known to travel extremely far distances.
  • Orcas are an apex predator, meaning no other animal hunts them. The only mammal that hunts or kills orca whales are humans. Orcas feed on turtles, sea birds, octopi, rays and even sharks.
  • Orca mothers are pregnant for 17 months and will give birth to one new orca whale once every three or 10 years.
  • The black and white color of orca whales helps to camouflage them in the water in order to hunt their prey.

You can learn more about orca whales online before your visit or ask your tour guide several questions during your scheduled excursion as all of the tour guides are extremely knowledgeable about these amazing creatures.

Roche Harbor Excursions & Activities


Your stay in Roche Harbor wouldn’t be complete without a few fun tourist activities. The location offers several amazing sights to see and adventures to participate in.

Several of the hotels near the harbor offer their own excursions and tours and here are some we recommend:


You simply have to experience the kayaking at Roche Harbor. This excursion allows visitors to explore our wildlife, open waters, mountain views and scenic landscapes all from a kayak. You might even encounter an orca whale during your tour!

There is simply no better way to tour the San Juan Islands and Roche Harbor than a kayak tour from Suan Juan Outfiiters who have exclusive rights to access areas other tours cannot.


The best time for tourists to see an orca whale pod is between April and October. We recommend visiting the Suan Juan Islands during the summer months for beautiful weather and a chance to see these beautiful creatures in the marina.

You can see the orca whales from one of several group tours offered by local tourism companies throughout the Suan Juan Islands.


There are several scenic nature trails to explore during your visit to Roche Harbor. You can see the Historical English Camp along your hike or Mt. Young too.

You can find maps of all of the local trails at the hotels and lodging throughout Roche Harbor and you can contact us online for more information about the specific trails we would recommend for you during your visit here.


You will love the quaint feel of downtown Roche Harbor and the San Juan Islands where there are several local street vendors as well as lovely shops featuring handcrafted items and products from local storeowners.


You cannot visit Roche Harbor without enjoying a meal at one of our local restaurants in downtown and around the marina. There are several delicious choices to choose from and of course we recommend finding one of the many amazing seafood restaurants to dine at. The seafood restaurants offer fresh fish straight from the surrounding waters caught earlier in the day!

There is so much to do during a visit to Roche Harbor. We hope you visit us many times to get to experience everything the Suan Juan Islands have to offer!