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Have a Whale of a Time -- Whale Watching on Cape Ann

Whale Watching on Cape Ann | Things to Do in Gloucester | Atlantic Vacation Homes
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Things to Do on Cape Ann

Whales, dolphins, and seals…oh my! Cape Ann is one of the top destination locations for on-the-water adventures, especially guided whale-watching tours. Whale watching is a family-friendly activity and an exciting way to spend a few hours of your day seeing and learning about whales and other marine wildlife and environment, plus creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Gloucester – A Top Whale-Watching Destination

Just 12 miles from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Gloucester is a short boat trip out to the feeding grounds. The World Wildlife Fund deemed Gloucester, 40 miles north of Boston, as one of the Top 5 Whale Watching Destinations in the world. With a variety of whale species roaming the deep cool waters of Cape Ann you are bound to see one of these gentle giant creatures in their natural habitat when you book a whale watch on your next Cape Ann vacation.

Our Local Whale Watching Recommendations

Get ready to have a “whale of a time” on a guided whale-watch excursion to the national marine sanctuary with our local whale-watching companies. Each tour departs from Gloucester’s working harborfront multiple times during the day (depending on the season) and runs approximately 3-4 hours. On-board naturalists provide their knowledge and passion to educate and inspire passengers about whales and the delicate marine environment.   

It is highly recommended to book your whale-watching tickets in advance.

Frequently asked questions about whale watching on Cape Ann

How do you prepare for whale watching?

Don’t miss the boat! Be sure to check your reservation confirmation and departure time the day before or day of your trip. Give yourself plenty of time for travel as traffic might be heavy during the summer months.

What to Wear on a Whale Watch

Dress accordingly. The difference between the temperature on sea and on land is about 10 to 15 degrees (F) colder. Check the weather forecast and bring some layering clothes just in case

What to Bring on a Whale Watch

When embarking on a whale watching tour be sure to pack the essentials. Here’s a checklist of what to bring:

  • Rain Jacket
  • Flat shoes (preferably rubber bottom) like sneakers or tennis shoes
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Towel
  • Phone
  • Battery backup

What time of day is best for whale watching?

Any time of day, really. If you are looking for calm water, morning is typically when the ocean is calmer. Though you never know when Mother Nature may appear. Early morning and sunset are ideal whale watch times for dramatic scenic photography.

When is the best time to go whale watching on CapeAnn?

Mid-March is the start of whale watching season on Cape Ann. April through October is deemed whale watching season. During the summer months the Humpbacks, Minkes, and Finbacks come back to these cold water coasts.

Do whales come out in the rain?

Yes! Whales don’t care if it’s raining and sometimes it helps with a sighting. Bring a raincoat in case of inclement weather days and enjoy your trip!

How close do whales get to the boat?

Most boats are within 100 - 200 yards of pods and let the whales come to them. Whales are curious creatures and make the choice as to how close they want to get. They are usually following food while eating or swimming and playing.

Whale watching in Cape Ann while on vacation is a definite MUST DO activity and a perfect adventure for all ages or your vacation crew!

Where to Stay on Cape Ann

Atlantic Vacation Homes offers a wide variety of vacation rental homes across Cape Ann that would be perfect for your next North of Boston getaway. To book your accommodations, simply view available vacation rentals and enter your desired dates to get a quote. You can also call toll-free at (855) 853-9143 to speak with a Guest Experience Specialist.


Atlantic Vacation Homes Atlantic Vacation Homes is the premier vacation home rental & real estate company on Boston's North Shore, with over 35 years of creating dream vacations for our guests. Situated a little more than a half-hour’s drive from downtown Boston, the North Shore is the ideal spot for an east coast vacation. We specialize in coastal vacation rentals for families, large groups, and anyone else who wants a beach vacation in Massachusetts.