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Whale Watching in Boston – tickets, prices, timings, what to expect, FAQs

Edited by: Rekha Rajan
Fact checked by: Jamshed V Rajan


If you want to experience the best of New England’s marine wildlife, go for a Boston whale-watching cruise around the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. 

The high-speed catamaran provides quick hop-on and hop-off service.

On your Boston Whale Watching cruise, you can see some majestic marine species dip and dive into the sea. 

This article covers everything you must know before booking tickets for the Boston whale-watching cruise.

Top Boston Whale Watching Tickets

# Boston Whale Watching tour

What to expect

Embark on the ultimate whale-watching adventure and experience the best of New England’s marine wildlife.

Join a whale-watching adventure off the coast of Boston aboard a comfortable, high-speed catamaran that provides maximum outdoor and indoor viewing capacity.

Have a chance to encounter magnificent Humpbacks, agile Finbacks, petite Minkes, and other critically endangered whales that you may have never seen or heard of before.

Enjoy the best-guided experience with professional researchers from the Whale Center of New England, the region’s foremost authority on whale populations, who will provide expert commentary.

Make the most of the three outside viewing decks, climate-controlled cabin space with cushioned seating, tables, state-of-the-art sound and video systems, and a galley offering snacks and beverages for purchase.

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Where to book tickets

Tickets for the Boston Whale Watching tour are available at the ticket booths, over the phone, or online in advance.

Online ticket prices tend to be cheaper than tickets at the attraction.

When you buy online, you can avoid the long queues at the ticket counters.

When you book early, you also get your preferred time slot.

Because some attractions sell a limited number of tickets, they may sell out during peak days. Booking online also helps avoid last-minute disappointment and delays.

How do online tickets work

Go to the Whale Watching in Boston booking page, select your preferred date and time and the number of tickets, and buy the tickets right away.

After the purchase, you will receive the tickets via email.

You don’t need to carry printouts.

Show the smartphone tickets at the meeting point on the day of your visit and get on board.

Boston Whale Watching tour ticket prices

Adult tickets for the Boston Whale Watching tour can be purchased for US$74 for visitors aged 13 and above.

Tickets for children between three and 12 years are available for US$51.

Infants up to two years of age can join for free.

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Boston Whale Watching tour

Tourists enjoy Boston Whale Watching
Image: Cityexperiences.com

This three-and-a-half-hour whale-watching tour is the most popular in Boston and is operated by Boston Harbor City Cruises. 

Led by professional researchers, the tour is an incredibly informative and fun experience.

Tour inclusions

  • 3.5 – 4 hour whale watching tour on the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary
  • High-speed catamarans for sailing into the ocean
  • Climate-controlled cabin space
  • Cushioned seating and tables
  • State-of-the-art sound and video systems
  • English-speaking guide
  • Guaranteed whale sightings
  • Cash bar
  • Light snacks available for purchase
  • Outdoor viewing decks and indoor spaces with large windows

Ticket Price

Adult ticket (13+ years): US$74
Child ticket (3 to 12 years): US$51
Infant ticket (up to 2 years): Free

From where do whale cruises start?

Whale Watching cruise departs from Boston Harbor
Image: Cityexperiences.com

The Boston Whale Watching tours begin at Long Wharf.

Popular Boston landmarks surrounding Long Wharf are the New England Aquarium, the North End, and Faneuil Hall. Get Directions 

Address: 1 Long Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

The Ticket Center is on Long Wharf, just a few steps from the Marriott Hotel. 

You can easily spot the Ticket Center as it has a statue of a Humpback whale on its roof. 

However, buying whale-watching cruise tickets much in advance is better to avoid last-minute disappointment.

Most cruises board 30 minutes before their departure time. Please check your confirmation email to confirm your cruise boarding & departure time.

Best place near Boston to watch whales

To experience the best whale watching in Boston, you must sail for Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary.

The sanctuary is at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, between Cape Cod and Cape Ann. 

Marine species of various shapes and colors can be found in this sanctuary.

Major marine species include Atlantic Cod, Silver Hake, Great White Shark, Humpback Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, and many more. 


Visitors can choose between four tours starting between 10 am to 2.30 pm, depending on their preferences.

The other two tours are available at 11 am and 12 pm.

Visitors are advised to arrive 15 minutes before their chosen time slot.

How long are whale-watching cruises

The whale-watching tour in Boston can last between 3.5 to 4 hours. 

The duration of a cruise on a particular day varies depending on the activities of whales, weather, and other wildlife sightings. 

There are days when you can easily spot a whale just at the start of your cruise, while others require far more searching and traveling offshore. 

The migratory and feeding habits are two major determinants of the duration of the Whale Watching Boston tour. 

Boston whale-watching season

The best time to go whale watching in Boston is from May to October. 

During this time, the weather is warm, so the whales migrate to Massachusetts water. 

The pleasant weather attracts tourists from all around the world. 

Several docks support whale watching near Boston. You can board your catamaran from any of them.

Dress code for Boston whale watching

We recommend dressing up for the whale-watching tour, depending on the season. 

  • Bring a jacket, sweater, or hoodie for a hot summer day. It can be a little cool and windy offshore.
  • Bring extra layers with a scarf, cap, and gloves for a cold winter day. 

Regardless of the season, you must bring the following items along – 

  • A sunscreen to prevent tanning
  • Sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays
  • Rubber shoes or sneakers for traction on a moving boat
  • Binoculars to spot even the farthest whale
  • Camera to store memories
  • Seasickness medication 

About the Catamarans

The catamarans are boats or ships that take tourists on whale-watching tours. 

These high-speed and high-powered water vehicles are suited for long voyages on the ocean, including whale watching. 

They can carry nearly 400 passengers and are stable.

Almost all catamarans these days come with a climate-controlled interior cabin, cushy suits, and a snack counter.

A catamaran promises fun, entertainment, adventure, and comfort all at the same time. 

FAQs about the Boston Whale Watching Tour

Here are some questions visitors usually ask before booking tickets for the Boston Whale Watching Tour.

Should I pre-book tickets for the Boston Whale Watching Tour?

Yes, it is best to buy tickets in advance to ensure availability and have a hassle-free experience.

What kind of whales can be seen on the Boston Whale Watching Tour?

The most commonly sighted whales on the tour are humpback whales, but visitors may also see fin whales, minke whales, and pilot whales.

What is the best time of year to go whale watching in Boston?

The best time of year to go whale watching in Boston is from April through October when the whales are most active.

How long does the Whale Watching tour in Boston last?

The tour lasts about three and a half hours on average.

Is photography allowed at the Whale Watching tour in Boston?

Yes, visitors are not only allowed but encouraged to take photographs on the cruise.

How close do the boats get to the whales?

The boats maintain a safe distance of at least 100 yards from the whales, as required by federal law.

Is the Boston Whale Watching Tour suitable for children?

Yes, the tour is suitable for children, but children under the age of 3 are not allowed on the boats.

What should I wear on the Boston Whale Watching Tour?

Visitors should dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes. It’s also a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses.

Can I bring a pet to the Boston Whale Watching Tour?

Pets, with the exception of service animals, are not allowed onboard.

Will I get seasick on the Boston Whale Watching tour?

Most passengers don’t feel any discomfort during the cruise, but it’s always better to be prepared. It is best to take anti-seasickness medication 30 minutes before departure or bring essential pills on the catamaran, as Whale Watching in Boston can cause motion sickness.


# Cityexperiences.com
# Neaq.org
# Bostoncentral.com
# Boston.com

The travel specialists at TheBetterVacation.com use only high-quality sources while researching & writing their articles. We make every attempt to keep our content current, reliable and trustworthy.

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