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 March to November; call for schedule and reservations. Discounted and validated parking is available in two locations: The Harbor Garage and the Rowes Wharf Garage. Be sure to check the website for specific instructions. 1 Long Wharf, next to aquarium, Boston, Massachusetts, 02110. 617/227–4321; 877/733–9425; www.bostonharborcruises.com.
Cape Ann Whale Watch. Board the Hurricane 2, the largest and fastest whale-watch vessel in northern Massachusetts, for a guaranteed whale sighting. Be sure to make a reservation first. Another bonus: free parking. Rose's Wharf, 415 Main St., Gloucester, Massachusetts, 01930. 800/877–5110; www.seethewhales.com. $48. Closed Nov.--Apr..
Captain Bill's Deep Sea Fishing/Whale Watch. Hop aboard the Miss Cape Ann for a tour with Captain Bill's Deep Sea Fishing/Whale Watch team, staffed with knowledgeable naturalists from the Whale Center of New England. Tours run May to October, and sightings are guaranteed. 24 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, Massachusetts, 01930. 978/283–6995; 800/339–4253; www.captbillandsons.com.
Capt. John Boats. Several daily whale-watch cruises leave from Plymouth Town Wharf, and head into Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank. 10 Town Wharf, Plymouth, Massachusetts, 02360. 508/746–2643; www.captjohn.com. $49.