If you are on the Cape for more than four days, you have to go whale watching. It was rated one of the top five places in the world to see whales! All the whale watch boats share information with each other on where the whales are located on a given day, so seeing them is almost assured, but not guaranteed. All the boats sell food and drink and have rest rooms. They are also heated indoors, but you will want to be outdoors to get good pictures and views of the whales. Be sure to always bring along a wind breaker, sweatshirt or jacket, even if it is warm on shore! change
There are two primary locations on the Cape for leaving to see the whales, Barnstable and Provincetown. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Barnstable Whale Watching
- Parking and boarding the boat from the Barnstable Harbor off scenic Rt. 6A is very easy. A gorgeous boat ride takes you through and past the backside of Sandy Neck Beach. The water here is very shallow so the boat will make a number of sharp turns to stay in the channel, lest you run aground. When you spot the lighthouse at the tip of Sandy Neck Beach, on your left, you are getting close to your entry into Cape Cod Bay. From the lighthouse to the tip of Provincetown, and past to Stellwagon Bank where the majority of whales congregate, is a good one hour ride, so if you have a windy day, sea sickness must be accounted for. They offer free sea sickness pills on the boat, but it is wise to take before boarding if you get sick easily. Remember the pills will make you tired. Running at high speed across the Bay, depending on the season, you often spot dolphins and smaller whales. The biggest advantage to leaving from Barnstable is not having to drive 40 - 60 miles to crowded Provincetown and then find parking and the long drive home. Biggest Disadvantage is a longer time spent on the boat ride.
Provincetown Whale Watching
- From gorgeous Provinctown to the Stellwagon whale grounds is a short 1/2 hour boat ride on most days. This is a great advantage if it is foggy, windy or cold the day you want to go. Provincetown is also one of the coolest, craziest places on Cape Cod. Full of shops, artists and great restaurants, serving the freshest of seafood. A trip to Cape Cod without spending a day in Ptown is crazy. You just have to see it to believe it. Parking is fairly cheap, but space is a problem as Ptown is very small. So be prepared to walk a few blocks through crowded sidewalks. The trips leave every four hours or so. You should reserve your spot over the phone or internet the evening before (always check the weather first) or that morning. The trips do get full. Biggest disadvantage to Ptown whale watching is, you might spend more time in the car both ways, and the cost of fuel is a thought these days. Advantages include shorter boat ride and being able to hang out in Ptown after or before your whale watch trip.
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