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steveston whale watching tour boat approaching a pod of orcas

Best Steveston Whale Watching Tours in 2024

One of the most spectacular things to do in the Lower Mainland is going on a Steveston whale watching tour.

The breathtaking scenery, the wind in your hair, the crazy creatures you’ve only seen on TV – it’s all there.

Let’s take a look at how to see orcas, humpback whales, and other amazing animals in their natural habitat.

Here’s how to go whale watching in Steveston.

Steveston Whale Watching

First things first. If you’re looking for Richmond whale watching tours, you won’t find them in Richmond proper.

They all depart from Steveston Village, which is to the south on the same island as Richmond.

This historic fishing village offers the perfect starting point for your tour and is packed with seaside activities and delicious seafood.

Not sure how to get there? There’s also a hotel pickup/drop-off option from your downtown Vancouver hotel. So, in actuality, it’s quite simple to do.

Related: Discover Richmond, BC: 12 Must Visit Attractions

Fishing boats sit in the harbour at dusk, Steveston BC

Why Steveston Village is Perfect for Whale Watching

  • Ideal Location: Steveston Village is conveniently located just 30 minutes south of downtown Vancouver, making it an easy and accessible starting point for your whale-watching adventure. You can pair your tour with a day spent exploring the area’s sites, attractions and museums.
  • The Abundance of Wildlife: Steveston is located at the mouth of the Fraser River and is known for its abundance of wildlife. This makes spotting seals, sea lions, and bald eagles easier than in the more urban Vancouver Harbour.
  • Accessibility to the Grounds: Steveston is an hour closer to the area’s most bountiful whale-watching grounds than tours offered from Granville Island. This means more time spent at sea looking for whales than commuting.
  • Experienced Guides: Steveston is home to Vancouver Whale Watch, an experienced tour operator that knows the area and the wildlife like the back of their hand. They will provide all the information you need to fully appreciate the whales and the other wildlife you encounter on your tour.

⚠️ Warning! We are in high season (April-October 2024)

Tours tend to sell out in advance – I strongly suggest locking in your dates with buy now/pay later Vancouver whale watching tickets on Viator.

These tickets are fully refundable up to 24 hours before so there’s no risk in guaranteeing your spot.

Still have questions? Then check out our complete guide to the Best Vancouver whale watching tours offered throughout the Lower Mainland.

Related: Nanaimo Whale Watching: From Humpbacks to Orcas

What You’ll See on Richmond Whale Watching Tours

Let’s get to the fun part: what you can expect to see while whale watching in Richmond/Steveston.

With this Steveston whale-watching tour you’ll board a semi-enclosed boat called the Explorathor II, a vessel built for speed and comfort.

Here, you’ll have the chance to see the whales from the upper observation deck or stay low with their floor-to-ceiling windows.

capilano suspension bridge and grouse mountain tour banner for 2024

This 3 to 5-hour tour sets out to see orcas and humpbacks in the wild. Along the way, you’ll also see dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, bald eagles, and more.

You’re also riding with tour guides and naturists who will answer any of your questions.

All boats are certified by Transport Canada and regulated to be safe for the environment, animals included.

They also give you a 100% whale sighting guarantee. Don’t see one? You get free tickets to come back another day.

Richmond Whale Watching Ticket Prices

  • Adults: $177.75
  • Seniors: $156.25
  • Student: $156.25
  • Child: $114.25
  • Infant: $4.00

Hotel drop-off and pick-up can be added for $21.00 per person.

Related: Is Whale Watching in Vancouver Worth It?

Tour Departure Times

Tours run once a day in the low season (March-May) at noon and twice a day during the high season (June-October) at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

With only about 30 people per tour, these whale watching tours in Steveston sell out very quickly.

Especially if you’re visiting in summer, it’s recommended to book as far in advance as possible to not be left at the dock.

You can book Steveston whale watching tickets with the button below:

How to Book your Steveston Whale Watching Tour

Our recommended method of booking your exciting Richmond whale-watching excursion is through our partners at Viator.

vancouver whale tour banner

In creating this Vancouver travel resource, we’ve had the option to work with a variety of different providers. In this instance, we opted to partner with Viator for the following reasons:

  • Choice: They offer the widest breadth of whale watching tours from Steveston, including the less commonly encountered options offered from Steveston Village.
  • Trust: As part of the Trip Advisor family, Viator offers over 300,000 travel experiences across the globe. Add in millions of reviews, and you can be assured of the highest level of quality and security.
  • Support: New price? New plan? No problem. Viator is there with 24/7 support.
  • Flexibility: They offer free cancellation and reserve now, pay later options to ease your concerns if plans change.
  • Lowest Price Guarantee: They guarantee the lowest price on all the experiences they sell. If you find the same product cheaper within three days of booking, you’ll be refunded the difference.

Related: When is the Best Time for Whale Watching?

Richmond Whale Watching Tour FAQs

What is the best time of year to go whale watching in Richmond?

Whale-watching tours are typically offered from April to October, with the best chances of spotting whales during peak season in June and July. However, the Salish Sea is home to numerous species of whales throughout the year, so the sightings guarantee remains in force all season long.

What should I bring with me on my Richmond whale watching tour?

It’s recommended to dress in layers and bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a camera to capture the experience. Keep in mind that it is always cooler and breezier out on the water, so dress accordingly. If you’re taking a zodiac tour, a floater jacket, gloves, and a toque will be provided.

Related: What to Wear While Whale Watching

Is whale watching in Steveston safe?

Yes, whale-watching tours are safe when conducted by experienced professionals who follow safety guidelines and regulations. Vancouver Whale Watch has over two decades of experience and ensures that all guides have completed Marine Emergency Training and First Aid courses.

How do you get to Steveston Village?

First off, most Steveston whale-watching tours offer convenient pickup from select Richmond and downtown Vancouver hotels. Alternatively, you can rent a car or take public transportation, with the Skytrain’s Canada Line providing service to Richmond.

However, keep in mind you’ll have to jump on the #406 Steveston bus outside Richmond-Brighouse Station to reach your destination.

What Else is there to do in Richmond?

In Steveston Village, you can visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Museum or Britannia Shipyards to get a sense of the vibrant history of the area’s commercial fishing industry. And most visitors will grab some fish and chips at a local restaurant.

Further afield, you can visit the Richmond Olympic Experience at the Olympic Oval. And the best Asian food in North America can be found in the many restaurants in Richmond’s Golden Village or at the famed Richmond Night Market.

Related: How Much is Whale Watching in Steveston?

A Vancouver Whale Watch boat passes in front of Mt. Baker

Ready to Go Whale Watching in Richmond?

Going on a whale watching tour is an unforgettable experience. And hopefully, you’ve got all the info you need to make it happen.

That said, maybe I’ve missed something. If you’ve got any questions about Steveston whale watching tours, then get at me in the comments below!

Enjoy the whales 🙂

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