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A humpback whale breaches in Frederick Sound (Alaska wildlife images). The best time to whale watch in Alaska is May to August for humpback whales and April and May for gray whales.

Alaska Wildlife

Like the landscape, the wildlife in Southeast Alaska is big. You may spot mountain goats patrolling shoreline cliffs, black bears catching their lunch, and moose foraging in marshy tidelands. The mainland and islands of Southeast are ripe for sightings.

Alaska is also known for its rich marine life. Look for sea otters feeding on sea urchins in forests of kelp. Listen for the roaring of Steller sea lions as you approach their haulouts on rocky islands. The most commonly spotted cetaceans are orca and humpbacks that migrate to these waters annually, but there are species under the water's surface you might never suspect.

Our small ships take guests into some of the best places in Alaska for wildlife viewing. They can access secluded coves and quiet corners, taking you deeper into animals’ natural habitat. Flexible itineraries allow your captain to turn, pause, and linger when a whale surfaces or a bear appears on shore. Here are some of the animals that you may see on an Alaska UnCruise. 

Alaska Land Animals

  • Coastal brown bear
  • Black bear
  • Sitka black-tailed deer
  • River otter
  • Mountain goat (pictured)
  • Beaver
  • Moose
Mountain goats seen by UnCruise Adventures guests in Glacier Bay National Park (Alaska wildlife images)


Alaska Whales & Marine Life

  • Whales: humpback, gray, fin, minke
  • Orca
  • Dall’s porpoise and dolphin
  • Harbor seal
  • Steller sea lion
  • Sea otter (pictured)
  • Salmon: Chinook, Coho, pink
  • Sea stars, sponges, and anemones
A sea otter floats by, looking up at UnCruise guests touring Southeast Alaska (Alaska wildlife images)


Alaska Birds

  • Bald eagle (pictured)
  • Black oystercatcher
  • Marbled murrelet and cormorant
  • Common and Pacific loons
  • Harlequin duck
  • Red-breasted merganser
  • Surf scoter and pigeon guillemot
  • Tufted and horned puffins
Bald eagle photographed during an UnCruise Adventures cruise of Southeast Alaska (Alaska wildlife images)

Chart showing the best time to whale watch in Alaska, plus good months for other wildlife watching and for sunny weather

When is the best time to whale watch in Alaska? The best time to see humpback whales in Southeast Alaska is from May to August, and gray whales are more commonly seen in April and May, as they migrate to summer feeding areas to the north.

What Alaska wildlife is on your bucket list? Peruse our Alaska itineraries for the right cruise to see those wild critters.