Events & Activities

Discover 7 Best Boston Whale Watching Tours

With its rich maritime history and proximity to prime whale habitats, Boston offers some of the best whale-watching tours in the United States.

There is a diverse array of options, from educational excursions led by experienced naturalists to thrilling adventures aboard high-speed catamarans. 

These tours provide opportunities to witness majestic whales in their natural habitat and offer insights into marine conservation efforts and the importance of preserving ocean ecosystems. 

In this introduction, we’ll explore the top seven whale watching tours in Boston, each promising unforgettable experiences and breathtaking encounters with these magnificent creatures.

7 Best Boston Whale Watching Tours

The festival of lights, also known as Diwali, celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. It is one of the most popular and widely celebrated festivals in India and among the Indian diaspora around the world. 

In Massachusetts, there are many places where you can enjoy the festival of lights with your family and friends. Here are 7 of them:

1. Boston Common  

Boston Common  park

The Boston Common is the oldest public park in the United States and a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Every year, the park hosts a Diwali celebration with cultural performances, food stalls, and a spectacular fireworks display. The event is free and open to all.

2. Harvard Square  

Harvard Square  

Harvard Square is Cambridge’s historic and cultural center, home to Harvard University and many shops, restaurants, and cafes. During Diwali, the square is lit up with colorful lanterns and candles, and features live music, dance, and art. 

You can also visit the nearby Harvard Art Museums and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology for more Diwali-themed exhibits and activities.

3. Worcester Art Museum  

Worcester Art Museum  

The Worcester Art Museum is one of New England’s largest and most respected art museums, with a collection of over 38,000 works of art from ancient to contemporary times. 

The museum organizes a Diwali festival every year, with workshops, demonstrations, lectures, and performances related to Indian art and culture. 

You can also explore the museum’s galleries and see some of the finest examples of Indian paintings, sculptures, textiles, and jewelry.

4. Salem  


Salem is a historic city on the north shore of Massachusetts, famous for its witch trials, maritime heritage, and Halloween attractions.

During Diwali, the city transforms into a magical wonderland of lights, with thousands of lanterns, candles, and fairy lights decorating the streets, buildings, and parks. 

You can also enjoy various cultural events, such as a Bollywood dance party, a henna workshop, a yoga session, and a Diwali parade.

5. Springfield  


Springfield is the third-largest city in Massachusetts and the birthplace of basketball, Dr. Seuss, and the Springfield Armory. The town celebrates Diwali with a grand gala at the MassMutual Center, featuring a buffet dinner, a fashion show, a talent show, and a DJ night. 

You can also visit the Springfield Museums and the Basketball Hall of Fame for more fun and learning.

6. Lowell  


Lowell is a city in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts, known for its industrial history, cultural diversity, and artistic vitality. The city hosts a Diwali Mela every year at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, with a variety of stalls, games, rides, and entertainment. 

You can also enjoy a traditional Diwali puja, a musical concert, and a dance competition.

7. Amherst 

 Amherst College

Amherst is a town in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, home to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, and Hampshire College. The city celebrates Diwali with a community potluck, a cultural program, and a candlelight vigil. 

You can also visit the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and the Yiddish Book Center for more literary and artistic inspiration.

What Time Of Year Is Best For Whale Watching In Boston? 

Whale watching in Boston is a popular activity that offers the chance to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. However, the optimal time for whale watching can vary depending on factors such as whale migration patterns, feeding grounds, and weather conditions. 

Here are specific times of the year when whale watching in Boston is at its best: 

Spring (April-May)  

Spring marks the beginning of the whale watching season in Boston as migrating whales return to the area for food. Humpback whales, fin whales, and minke whales can often be spotted feeding in the nutrient-rich waters of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Summer (June-August)  


Summer is peak whale watching season in Boston, with warm weather and calm seas providing ideal conditions for spotting whales. Humpback whales are particularly abundant during this time, engaging in behaviors such as breaching and tail slapping.

Fall (September-October)  

Fall offers another opportunity for whale watching in Boston as whales continue to feed in the waters off the Massachusetts coast before migrating south for the winter. 

Visitors can witness the spectacle of whales preparing for their long journey, often accompanied by their calves.

Winter (November-February)  

While whale sightings may be less frequent during winter, some species, such as the North Atlantic right whale, can still be observed in the waters off Boston’s coast. 

However, cold weather and rough seas may limit the availability of whale-watching tours during this time.

Spring Migration (March-April)  

March and April mark the peak of the spring migration period, as whales travel northward along the Atlantic coast to their summer feeding grounds. This time of year offers excellent opportunities to witness large groups of whales as they make their way through the waters of Massachusetts Bay.

Summer Feeding Frenzy (July-August)  

During the summer months, whales gather in large numbers to feed on schools of fish and plankton in the nutrient-rich waters of Stellwagen Bank. Visitors can witness this feeding frenzy firsthand, with humpback whales often seen lunging through the water with their mouths open wide.

Fall Foliage and Whales (October-November)  

Fall whale watching in Boston offers the added bonus of spectacular fall foliage as the leaves change color along the coast. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of autumn landscapes while keeping an eye out for whales feeding and breaching in the waters below.

Are There Any Other Marine Animals I Can See On These Tours?

Yes. There are other marine animals that you can see on these whale-watching tours besides the whales. Some of the common ones are: 



Dolphins are intelligent and social marine mammals that belong to the same order as whales, called cetaceans. 

Depending on the season and location, you can see different species of dolphins, such as standard, Atlantic white-sided, bottlenose, and Risso’s. Dolphins often swim in groups, jump, and play in the water.


Seals are furry and flippered marine mammals that belong to the same group as sea lions and walruses, called pinnipeds. 

Depending on the season and location, you can see different species of seals, such as harbor seals, gray seals, and harp seals. Seals often rest on rocks, islands, or beaches or diving for fish and squid.


Seabirds are birds that spend most of their lives on or near the ocean and feed on fish, crustaceans, or plankton. 

Depending on the season and location, you can see different species of seabirds, such as gulls, terns, shearwaters, petrels, gannets, and puffins. Seabirds are often seen flying, diving, or floating on the water.


How do I choose the best whale-watching tour in Boston?

Consider factors like tour duration, vessel amenities, onboard naturalist expertise, and eco-friendly practices. Researching online reviews and comparing tour itineraries can help you find the best fit for your preferences.

Are whale sightings guaranteed on these tours?

While sightings are common, they cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictable nature of wildlife. However, reputable tour operators maximize chances by collaborating with experienced guides and utilizing advanced tracking technology.

What can I expect from a typical Boston whale-watching tour?

Most tours offer informative narration from marine experts, comfortable seating, and panoramic ocean views. Passengers can witness various whale behaviors, including breaching, diving, and socializing, amidst stunning coastal scenery.

Are these tours suitable for families with children?

Yes, many whale-watching tours in Boston cater to families with children, offering kid-friendly amenities, onboard activities, and educational programs. Safety measures and life jackets are provided to ensure a secure and enjoyable experience for all ages.

Do these tours operate year-round?

While whale watching tours in Boston primarily operate from spring to fall, some companies offer limited winter excursions for cold-water species like the North Atlantic right whale. It’s best to check with individual operators for seasonal availability and schedules.


Boston’s ten best whale-watching tours offer unparalleled opportunities for marine enthusiasts and nature lovers to connect with the ocean’s wonders. 

Whether aboard a spacious vessel with knowledgeable guides or a private sailing charter, visitors can witness the spectacle of whales breaching, feeding, and socializing amidst the scenic beauty of Massachusetts’ coastal waters. 

These tours provide memorable experiences and foster a deeper appreciation for marine life and the need for conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures for future generations to enjoy. 

With their commitment to sustainability and education, these tours exemplify Boston’s dedication to preserving its natural heritage and promoting responsible eco-tourism.

Photo of author

Laura Chassaigne

After spending her early years in Boston, Laura moved abroad and has lived in Montreal, London, and Paris. She now shares a home with her husband and daughter at the top of Beacon Hill, and these days, she can often be found chasing her daughter in the Public Garden or downtown playgrounds. Laura has a background in art history and archaeology and is also a certified Kripalu yoga teacher. Connect with Laura on Twitter or Instagram.

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