Side Trips from Boston Feature

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Thar She Blows

Ships depart regularly for whale-watching excursions from April or May through October, from coastal towns all along the bay. Humpbacks, finbacks, and minkes feed locally in season, so you're sure to see a few—and on a good day you may see dozens. Bring warm clothing, as the ocean breezes can be brisk; rubber-soled shoes are also a good idea.

Boston Harbor Cruises. The high-speed catamarans of Boston Harbor Cruises glide to the whaling banks in half the time of some other cruises, allowing nearly as much whale time in only a three-hour tour. Tours are operated from April to November; call for schedule and reservations. 1 Long Wharf, next to aquarium, Downtown, New Bedford, MA, 02110. 617/227–4321 or 877/733–9425. www.bostonharborcruises.com.

Cape Ann Whale Watch. This outfit has run whale-watch tours since 1979. Rose's Wharf, 415 Main St., Gloucester, MA, 01930. 800/877–5110. www.seethewhales.com.

Captain Bill's Deep Sea Fishing/Whale Watch. Tours with Captain Bill's Deep Sea Fishing/Whale Watch make use of knowledgeable naturalists from the Whale Center of New England. 24 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, MA, 01930. 978/283–6995 or 800/339–4253. www.captbillandsons.com.

Capt. John Boats. Several daily whale-watch cruises leave from Plymouth Town Wharf. 10 Town Wharf, Plymouth, MA, 02360. 508/746–2643. www.captjohn.com.

New England Aquarium. Daily whale-watching cruises from Central Wharf leave from here. The trip, with an aquarium staff whale expert on board, lasts three to four hours. Tours run from April to October. Central Wharf at end of Central St., Downtown, Boston, MA, 02110. 617/973–5206. www.neaq.org. $40.

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