Travel Attractions

Massachusetts Whale Watching

Scouting out whales is more popular than ever, especially since the whale population off the coast of Massachusetts is larger than it has been in decades. Scientists aren't sure why, but there are so many whales in the area that your chances of seeing them on a whale watch cruise is better now than it has been in years.

Whale watch cruises leave from several port cities, including Newburyport, Gloucester, Salem, Boston, Plymouth, and Cape Code. All head for Jeffrey's Ledge or Stellwagen Bank, two of the prime fishing grounds in Massachusetts Bay where the whales spend their summers eating and playing.

The Cape Ann Whale Watch, 415 Main Street, Gloucester (Rose Wharf)

The East India Cruise Company, 57 Wharf Street, Salem. Whale sightings are guaranteed, or your next trip is free. This had the added feature of on-board exhibits to help the kids (and adults) pass the time.

The New England Aquarium, Central Wharf, Boston. These cruises are planned with children in mind and have underwater video cameras for a below-the-surface dimension. These are the most popular cruises -- make your reservations early! Note that the cruising distance to where the whales can be found is longer than for the North Shore cruises.

The animals most commonly seen in Massachusetts Bay are minke, finback, and humpback whales. This year we saw tons (literally!) of humpback whales. These beautiful creatures weigh up to 45 tons, and eat up to 2000 pounds of food each day. They are baleen (non-toothed) whales that feed by straining krill and small bait fish through their baleen, a kind of stiff filter in their mouths.

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