Cape Cod Whale Watching Tours

Cape Cod is nearly synonymous with whale watching. An abundance of plankton, krill and schools of small fish that the whales feed on in the shallow waters off the coast of Massachusetts draws a large number of these gentle giants during the summer and fall months.

The Cape Cod whale watching season runs from May through October, and major whale watching cruise departure points include Plymouth, Barnstable Harbor and Provincetown Harbor. Because of the extremely high level of whale activity around Cape Cod, most cruises guarantee a sighting, and passengers on many boats will even have the remarkable experience of having a whale nuzzle up to and playfully interact with their vessel.

Nearly all cruises include a visit to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, an 842-square-mile federally protected marine sanctuary that lies just north of Cape Cod. Stellwagen Bank, a 19-mile-long submarine plateau, lies at the heart of protected zone and is a favorite feeding ground for the various species of whales that inhabit the North Atlantic during the summer months.

The most common species of whales in the area are the Humpback Whale, the Fin Whale and the Minke Whale. Humpbacks are a particularly curious species, and are most likely to interact with whale watching cruise boats.

Another whale to look out for in the Cape Cod area is the North Atlantic Right Whale. Right whales, which got their name from colonial-era whalers who identified them as "the right whale to kill," were nearly hunted into extinction. Their bulbous bodies, slow movement and failure to remain aware of their surroundings when feeding made them easy targets. Only around 350 right whales are estimated to still exist in the wild, making a sighting a rare and memorable experience.



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