Sometimes it’s hard to grasp the sheer size of the ocean and the amount of life contained within its watery boundaries. Until you have the opportunity to see whales in the wild, that is. There’s nothing quite like seeing them breach in person, leaping into the air and splashing back down with magnificent force.
Luckily, there are plenty of places in the Northeast to view whales in their natural habitat. Some whale watching tours offer guaranteed whale sightings during the peak season, which runs from May through October.
White Cap Charters offers up-close encounters with whales during five-hour private charters on a yacht that seats just six people. They operate in Cape Cod Bay, which is the richest fishing ground in the East, said owner Brad White, attracting countless humpback whales that are always coming up to breach. Passengers on White Cap Charters tours have seen rare right whales, orcas, sharks and – of course – whales.
“Being face-to-face with the whales is a truly unique experience that everyone should have in their life,” White said. “They’re just such spectacular creatures and it’s humbling to know that we share the world with something so beautiful.”
AAA members save 10% on tours and charters with White Cap Charters.
Hampton Beach, N.H.
You won’t go hungry on this whale watching cruise! The boat is equipped with a full bar and plenty of food to sustain you during the four-hour trip. Cruises run from June to September.
Plymouth and Provincetown, Mass.
Booking a whale watching tour with Captain John’s experienced captains – who have been in in business since 1946 and offering whale watching tours since the 1970s – will almost guarantee you’ll learn new things and have an exciting experience. Tours are offered in both Plymouth and Provincetown, Mass. Whale watch guests have seen humpback, finback, pilot, minke and even endangered right whales during cruises.
AAA members get $3 off adult and children’s tickets.
Board a Frances Fleet whale watch and the chances are high – thanks to waters warmed by the Gulf Stream – that you’ll see finback whales. Guests have also spotted humpback, pilot, false killer, sei and minke whales, in addition to tuna, marlon, sharks, turtles, and dolphins. Although it can’t guarantee signings, Frances Fleet gives free vouchers for a future trip or a fishing trip voucher if no whales are seen on a cruise.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Maine has more than just lobster – it also lays claim to some of the world’s biggest mammals. You can follow along on Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.’s website to see what guests have seen on recent outings. On July 15, guests saw eight humpback whales on a charter. The day before, guests saw a mother and calf as well as six humpback whales and a few breaches.
These whale watching tours are offered in conjunction with New England Aquarium, so you’re sure to learn a thing or two about whales from an onboard naturalist. Guests visit the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and often see the same whales again and again during tours. (Keep an eye out for regular humpbacks Etch-a-Sketch, Sprinkles and Shuffleboard!) Guests have spotted finbacks, minke, pilot and right whales during their trips.
Have you ever gone on a whale watching tour? Tell us about your experience in the comments.