If you’re an animal lover, chances are that seeing a whale in the wild is on your bucket list. And with access to a rich portfolio of seaside locations across the globe, Inspirato members can go hunting for these magnificent creatures with ease.

Plus, now is a great time to start planning a whale-watching trip: Though each species of whale has its own movement pattern, they generally tend to migrate south from the fall to the spring and then head back north over the summer. We’ve chosen four of the best Inspirato destinations to catch them on their journey—grab your binoculars and start planning your trip now.

Big Island, Hawaii

Whales love Hawaii’s warm waters after their time hunting up in the frigid waters of Alaska. And one of the best places to see them within the Hawaiian archipelago is off the coast of Big Island.

As humpbacks get plump off of feeding season up north, they build up fat reserves to sustain them during their rest period down south. Once in Hawaii, they mate, give birth, and raise their babies in a secluded environment, tucked away from natural predators. See them for yourself with a boat tour: Choose from a smaller zodiac vessel to get up close and personal, or opt for a larger cruise with a little more stability.

Santa Barbara, California

In Southern California, the Santa Barbara Channel, just south of its namesake city, plays host to more than 27 species of whale and dolphin. It’s one of the most biologically rich water ecosystems in the world, and within its waters, you can spot colossal blue and gray whales.

Immerse yourself in the Mediterranean feel of Santa Barbara from late spring to early fall and take to the channel to see these huge creatures. The Condor Express is a staple whale-watching tour in the area, as is Captain Jack’s; both offer private catamaran tours.

Los Cabos, Mexico

Another place whales stop on their journey from more frigid waters up north, Los Cabos is a prime destination for traditional whale watching. It’s also home to a special opportunity: the chance to swim with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. On average, they grow from 18 to 33 feet long, about the size of a school bus.

Though not technically whales, the sharks are large enough to be (plus, their name makes it a little confusing), and we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to mention them. Whale shark tours typically run from Baja San Lucas to La Paz, a two-hour drive to where the sharks are most highly seen between November and April. During the tour, your guide will track the sharks, and once you’ve donned a wetsuit and snorkeling, you’ll be able to enter the water and swim alongside them.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod
is one of the best places in the U.S. to see whales. Even beyond the typical humpbacks and grays, pilot whales, right whales, minke whales, fin whales ,and more head past the island as they migrate north to feed. And the whales actually come so close that you needn’t leave the shore to see them, if you’re prefer not to. As they migrate north in the spring, two points on Cape Cod, Herring Cove and Race Port, are a great place to see whales from the shore. Keep an eye out for spouts and be sure to bring a long-range camera lens or binoculars to get the best view.

Whale watching tours on Cape Cod, though, typically take their patrons to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. There, whales come to feed within the sanctuary’s rich waters. (It’s the only marine sanctuary in New England.) Tours like Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises, one of the oldest on the island, can take you right up close.

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