2018, North America, travel, USA

Whale Watch: An Unparalleled Boston Experience

I won’t lie, I went to Boston this past September mainly to see Humpback whales.Sure, I was enjoying my return to Boston’s streets with the warm sun on my back, not the icy winter winds blowing me inside. However, I had a mission and one mission only – see some whales!

Prior to leaving for Boston I booked my whale watching tour with Boston Harbour Cruises. I booked with this company because they are committed to responsible practices and protecting marine life. I also liked that you could by a combo ticket that also gives you access to the aquarium. I picked this option since you know I love a deal! When I got off the boat I was able to walk next door and explore the aquarium. I booked about 2 weeks prior to leaving. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss my opportunity to see whales, and man I wasn’t let down!

There was a large hurricane scheduled to hit the southern east coast at the beginning of my trip and since I didn’t know how it would affect the whale tour, I scheduled my tour for the first thing in the morning my first day. I did this so that if my tour got cancelled I had more days to reschedule it. This means that I had to be at the wharf at 09:30 am with a departure time of 10am. Being type A, I of course arrived by 9am (what if they left early!?!). Getting there early got me nothing other than being one of the first visitors on the boat. So please don’t think you need to get to the harbor 1 hour early! Don’t be a crazy person like me.

The tour was simple amazing! We saw so many humpbacks, including a baby breaching while his mother did pectoral slaps. At another point we were surrounded by four humpbacks and couldn’t move the boat until they got a little further way from us. Some of these whales were almost an arm’s length away. We also saw a sunfish, a rare sighting.

I wish we could have spent more time out there with all the incredible and curious whales, but sadly it was time to head back. To finish the trip off we got a see a White shark (Great White Shark). On the way back to Boston we found a dead Minke whale floating in the ocean, and just happened to see the white shark feeding on it. I have always liked sharks so this was an incredible sight (and a VERY rare one).

Below you can find some of the photos I took of this spectacular tour.

3 Humpbacks
The whales getting very friendly with our boat!
Breaching Humpback
Pectoral Slapping
Mother whale is pectoral slapping and the baby is starting to breach!

When is whale watching season?

Boston Harbour Cruises offers whale watching tours typically from the end of March to early November. Check out their website to get exact dates.


  • $55/adult
  • $76/adult for the Combo Whale Tour and Aquarium admission


The whole whale tour last about 3 hours, however each tour is different and might last longer. My tour was closer to 4 hours, but we also got surrounded by whales and couldn’t move for a bit.


The boat ride out to the Marine Sanctuary (where the humpbacks are seen on a more regular basis) was not smooth by any means, but it wasn’t incredibly bumpy either.

Did I get seasick?

No, but I rarely do. Other passengers definitely did. Once we arrived to the sanctuary and stopped moving fast, pretty much everyone’s seasickness had resolved (or people were too excited by the whale sighting to notice it). I also want to add that the ride back to Boston was much smoother, and less passengers seem to get sick.

Please keep this in mind if you are prone to seasickness. Another option for those prone to seasickness is to leave from Providence, RI. Providence is closer to the marine sanctuary and therefore you will spend less time on a bumpy ocean.

I hope this has helped you in planning your trip. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. I would love to hear from you!

-Teresa, the Type A Trekker

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