Massachusetts is one of the best whale-watching destinations in the United States and the world. In about 40 km (25 mi) off the coast, one can see pods of humpback, finback, sperm, pilot and blue whales splashing in the blue Atlantic Ocean. A considerable number of whales feed off the coasts of Boston, Cape Cod, and along the North Shore. Whale-watching tours usually run from April to October, when the weather is warmer, though whales already appear in mid-March and stay until November. They typically migrate to New England due to an abundance of mackerel, herring, and krill in its waters during warmer times.
Many whale-watching tours operate out of Boston Harbour. They take tourists to various locations, about 35 km (22 mi) offshore. Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary is the most popular destination since it is a perfect feeding ground for humpbacks, finbacks, minkes, pilots, Northern right whales, as well as dolphins and hundreds of birds. The sanctuary, with the area of 2181 sq. km (842 sq. mi) is also a nursing territory for several whale species. Tour operators from Boston, Plymouth, and Gloucester takes thousands of visitors to this unique place every year.
The North Shore area and Gloucester feature several whale watching tour operators. In particular, Cape Ann Whale Watch runs guaranteed whale watching tours to Stellwagen Bank, where marine creatures come to feed on the plentiful natural resources.
In Plymouth, regular whale watching excursions depart from Town Wharf, heading to the waters around Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank, rich with humpback, finback, pilot and the endangered Northern right whales.
Cape Cod is one of the prime whale-watching spots in the U.S, offering a sighting rate of 99%. The largest operators in this area include Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises, Sea Salt Charters, Whale Watch Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown, and Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours. Tours usually last for about 4 hours and run from April to August or September. Whale watching is often combined with deep-sea fishing expeditions, that includes catching mackerel, haddock, and cod.