Cape Cod Boat Trip – Humpback Whales & Seals
From April to October visit feeding grounds for humpback and other whales off Cape Cod National Seashore. Tour Provincetown before or after your whale watch cruise.
The Gerry E. Studs-Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a major feeding area for marine wildlife, sits less than one hour from Provincetown by whale watch boat. Whales are found here every summer in huge numbers, as are pelagic seabirds, seals, and fish. There is also easy access to the Cape Cod National Seashore’s beaches and biking and hiking trails.
Whale Watch Tour
Portuguese Princess Excursions provide multiple daily 3 or 4 hours (depending on the whales and weather) whale watch cruises out to Stellwagen Banks. On leaving the harbor, keep an eye out for common and grey seals traveling the waters near the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches. Often the whales come into range long before the feeding grounds are reached. Minke and Fin whales may be seen traveling along the Cape Cod coast. Schools of Atlantic white-sided dolphins are common as well.
Support Whale Research
While waiting to see whales, the onboard naturalists provide plenty of interesting things to see and do, starting with some basic information about the marine wildlife of Cape Cod and surrounding areas. Learn about the research being done in conjunction with the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies on humpback, right, and other whales.
Or browse the Photo Identification Catalogues of the humpback whales of the area. Many have been known for generations, first seen as calves, now coming back with young of their own. Those photographers lucky enough to get clear pictures of the flukes of humpbacks can contribute to this ongoing record.
Whales, Dolphins, Birds & Fish of the Area
Once the whale watch boat has reached Stellwagen banks, humpback whale sightings are nearly guaranteed. Occasionally, especially early and late in the season, there may be a sighting of an endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, traveling through to feed in the Bay of Fundy. Basking sharks have been seen, as well as Mola mola or ocean sunfish, and bluefin tuna. For bird watchers petrels, shearwaters and jaegers are all likely finds.
Provincetown & Cape Cod National Seashore
Taking the first whale watch cruise of the day has several advantages. Often the boat is less crowded, making viewing easier. And Portuguese Princess Excursions offers a discount on this trip. Best of all, the boat is back in Provincetown in time for a leisurely lunch at one of many waterfront eateries.
After lunch, a tour of the town may be in order. With museums dedicated to the Pilgrim Monument, history, nature, and the arts there will be no lack of things to see. If staying out of doors is preferred, a walking tour of the town and its docks provides a leisurely way to stroll away that lunch.
Or head for Race Point Beach where the possibility of further seal and whale sightings is strong. If no marine mammals appear, the beach is perfect for walking, swimming or fishing. Or the Provincelands, another part of the National Seashore, is a great place to bike or hike, ending a great day savoring the wildlife and natural beauty of Cape Cod.