If you’re looking for a unique and thrilling experience during your vacation in Orange Beach, then whale watching should be on your list. The Gulf of Mexico is home to many species of whales, and Orange Beach provides an exciting opportunity to see these majestic creatures up close. Whether you’re an avid whale watcher or a first-time participant, Orange Beach offers some of the best whale watching experiences around. So hop aboard and let’s discover the best spots and tours for whale watching in Orange Beach.
The 2 Best Whale Watching in Orange Beach
The 2 Best Whale Watching in Orange Beach
1. Alabama Gulf Coast Dolphin Cruise
Join a thrilling Dolphin Cruise on the Alabama Gulf Coast departing from Orange Beach. Admire the stunning views of the Alabama coastline while you search for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. You might also spot other local marine creatures like crabs and hermit crabs and engage in a water battle with other vessels.
This family-friendly tour is suitable for all schedules, with multiple departure times available. Life jackets, food, drinks, and gratuities are included in the tour.
The Pleasure Island Tiki Bar at Sportsman Marina is the meeting point for the tour. Remember to arrive at check-in 30 minutes before your scheduled cruise time and make sure you are at the second driveway of the address to locate the marina. Prepare for an exciting adventure on the Gulf of Mexico that you will never forget!
2. Big Fun Dolphin Tours and Sealife Experience
Discover the marine life of Orange Beach Alabama during a fun cruise through the area’s waterways. Board your vessel and find a comfortable place to sit for your cruise. Then spot wildlife like dolphins and crustaceans as you sail. At the end of the tour, you can choose to participate in an epic water battle against the other boat and see who comes out victorious. Ask the boat crew any questions about the animals and enjoy panoramic views of Orange Beach while you sail. The life jackets are provided for all passengers, and snacks are available for purchase. Please note that there is a 5.00 USD cash parking fee per vehicle collected on site. Carpool if possible. The meeting point is located at 3900 Bayou Rd, Orange Beach, AL 36561, and it is recommended that you arrive 30 minutes before departure. Allow extra time if you are coming from Dauphin Island or Fort Morgan. If you are late and miss the boat, no refunds will be issued.
What You Need to Know about Whale Watching in Orange Beach
Whale watching is an exhilarating experience that many people dream of having. It is an opportunity to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat and witness their beauty and grace. If you’re planning to go whale watching in Orange Beach, Alabama, here are some frequently asked questions that will help you prepare for your adventure.
What types of whales can I see in Orange Beach?
The Gulf of Mexico is home to several whale species, including humpback whales, fin whales, and sperm whales. However, the most commonly sighted whale species in Orange Beach are the bottlenose dolphins and the Atlantic spotted dolphins. These dolphins migrate seasonally from the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the cooler waters off the coast of Alabama.
When is the best time to go whale watching in Orange Beach?
Whale watching season in Orange Beach typically runs from mid-March to mid-April, with peak sightings in the last week of March. During this time, humpback whales and fin whales migrate through the Gulf of Mexico towards their feeding grounds in the Atlantic. However, sightings of dolphins and other whale species are possible year-round.
What should I wear for whale watching?
The weather in Orange Beach can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to dress for the conditions. Dress in layers and wear waterproof clothing to protect yourself from wind and spray. A hat and sunglasses will help to shield your eyes from the sun, and comfortable shoes with good grip are a must. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the breathtaking views.
How long does a whale watching tour last?
Whale watching tours in Orange Beach typically last between 2-4 hours. The duration of the tour depends on the operator and the sightings on the day. Some tours offer extended trips that can last up to 6 hours.
Can I bring my kids on a whale watching tour?
Yes! Whale watching is a family-friendly activity, and children of all ages are welcome on most tours. However, it’s important to ensure that your child is comfortable with the possibility of being out on the water for a few hours. Make sure to bring snacks, drinks, and toys to keep them entertained during the trip.
Is it safe to go whale watching in Orange Beach?
Yes, whale watching in Orange Beach is safe as long as you follow the rules and regulations set by the tour operator. Tour operators must adhere to strict safety guidelines and are required to have trained staff and equipment on board. It’s important to listen carefully to the safety briefing provided before the tour and to follow any instructions given by the captain or crew.
What happens if we don’t see any whales?
Whale sightings are not guaranteed, but most operators have a sighting success rate of around 90%. If you don’t see any whales, most tour operators offer a guarantee that allows you to return for free on another tour. It’s important to book with a reputable operator that offers this guarantee to ensure that you’re not disappointed.
How do I choose a whale watching tour operator in Orange Beach?
When choosing a whale watching tour operator in Orange Beach, it’s essential to do your research. Look for a reputable company with experienced staff, modern and well-maintained vessels, and a sighting success rate of at least 75%. Read online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family. Don’t be swayed by the cheapest deal; instead, consider the quality of the tour and the operator’s reputation.
How to Do Whale Watching in Orange Beach
Orange Beach, Alabama, is a great location for whale watching, with a range of species such as humpback, sperm, and finback whales visible during the migration seasons. Consider the following steps to maximize your chances of spotting these magnificent creatures.
Step 1: Choose the Right Time of Year
Whale watching in Orange Beach is season-dependent. The most common whales that pass through the area are humpback whales, which can be seen from mid-December to mid-April. Sperm whales and finback whales, on the other hand, tend to be seen during summer months from June to October. Check the local weather forecast before your planned trip and consider rescheduling if conditions aren’t ideal.
Step 2: Determine the Best Time of Day
Whales are most active during the morning and late afternoon when they surface to feed, making it the best time to see them. Schedule your whale watching trip accordingly to maximize your chances of seeing them in action.
Step 3: Choose the Right Tour
Choosing the right whale watching tour is crucial for a successful trip. Consider booking with a reputable company that has experienced guides and boats. Research the company beforehand, read reviews and check if they offer any additional amenities such as food and drinks onboard. With so many options available, making this choice could mean the difference between a memorable experience and a disappointing one.
Step 4: Dress Appropriately
Ensure to dress appropriately with comfortable, warm clothing, and non-slip shoes. It can get very chilly on the water, so layering your clothes will keep you warm and comfortable. Also, bring sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect you from the sun.
Step 5: Bring Your Equipment
Don’t forget to bring essential equipment when going on a whale watching trip such as binoculars and a camera. Take pictures if possible, but ensure that you are not disturbing or endangering the whales and their environment. Turn off the flash and follow the recommended distance protocols from the boat.
Step 6: Follow Protocol
Whale watching tours follow specific protocols to ensure the safety of both the whales and the passengers. Follow these protocols and guidelines to get the best out of your trip. Keep your distance from the whales and avoid approaching them to prevent injuries to both parties. Listen carefully to your guides as they will give you specific instructions on how to behave during the tour.
Step 7: Enjoy the Trip!
Finally, relax, enjoy the trip, and appreciate the stunning scenery Orange Beach has to offer. Whale watching trips typically last between two and three hours, depending on the tour and the whales’ movements. You’re sure to see plenty of other wildlife, such as dolphins, sea birds, and perhaps even sea turtles on your adventure.
Book Your Tour Now
Whale watching in Orange Beach is a unique experience worth trying, but it requires proper planning and preparation. Choose the right time of year and time of day, select a reputable tour company, dress appropriately, pack your equipment, follow protocols, and most importantly, enjoy your trip to the fullest. With these seven easy steps, you’ll increase your chances of spotting these majestic creatures and make unforgettable memories.
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