Gloucester is the whale watch capital of New England thanks to its fortunate location between two major whale feeding grounds: Stellwagen Bank to the south and Jeffrey’s Ledge to the north.Together these two areas make up the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
This entire region of the ocean is dominated by a shallow underwater plateau surrounded by a mosaic of ridges and troughs carved by glaciers during the last great ice age. This creates a rich and productive marine habitat that attracts numerous species of whales, dolphins, sharks, as well as a wide variety of seabirds and other marine wildlife. Tens of thousands of visitors venture out of Gloucester harbor each season to see these great creatures up close. There are several whale watch companies in Gloucester running daily trips in large comfortable vessels. Onboard naturalists gather data and describe behaviors, individual whales, and family groups. All of the local companies are committed to education and environmental awareness and they all guarantee sightings. Each trip is different and any time of the season can be “best.” Be sure to call ahead for reservations, as summer trips, particularly weekend afternoons, fill up quickly.