7 Things To Know About Whale Watching Trips

Freelance Writer

7 Things To Know About Whale Watching Trips

We recently went on a Whale Watch with a new-to-us charter called Captain John Boats out of Plymouth, MA. I hope you find these 7 things to know about whale watching helpful. If you are visiting Plymouth, find more things to do by visiting my review of Delightful Plymouth Massachusetts.

Travel With Sandi is a participant in Amazon and other affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees at no additional cost to you. Here is what I know about travel. Everyone’s taste is different. The opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Humpback Whales

1. What To Expect

In order to get out to the deep water that whales love, expect to be out on the boat for three to five hours. It will take at least an hour or more to get out and back, which will leave you one to two hours of hunting and watching.

If you are prone to motion sickness, be prepared. The ocean swells will have even a large boat rocking as you move over them. The rear of the boat will have a smoother ride than the front, so head there if you are a bit queasy.

2. What To Bring

Sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat


Camera or your charged phone

Your patience, and something to entertain the munchkins

Water and snacks, many boats will sell libations, water, and snacks on board.

An extra layer of clothing

3. What To Wear

Wear sturdy shoes – i.e. sneakers. You will see guests in flip flops and if the deck gets wet, you will also see them slipping around.

Wear weather appropriate clothing and then pack one more layer i.e. a jacket. It can be 10 to 15 degrees cooler out in the open water.

4. How To Take Great Photos With your phone

Use video instead of stills, with the free iMovie app, you can isolate a still photo from your video. This gives you a much better chance of capturing that Instagram perfect pic.

Make sure you have a wrist strap or shoulder strap on your phone, you don’t want it going in for a swim. This Joto Waterproof Pouch from Amazon is inexpensive and offers waterproof protection.

5. Sonar And Radar

If a whale watch says they use sonar and radar to track whales, be wary.

Sonar detects what is under the boat – hopefully you will have spotted the whales before they are under your boat!

Radar locates items on the surface and will detect large schools of fish, which can indicate a feeding place for the whales.

However, a good captain will have an idea where the whales are feeding, will be in contact with other captains out on the water, and have great vision for spotting whale splashes.

6. Arrive early

Arrive early, you don’t want to be running for the boat as they are pulling up the gang plank. Entertaining for the passengers on board, but not so much for you.

If you have your heart set on riding the front or the rear of the boat, and it’s a large touring boat, arrive very early, the best seats fill up quickly.

7. Bring cash

Cash (and usually cards) can be used to buy for snacks, drinks, and ship sponsored photos you may wish to purchase.

Cash tips for the crew are always appreciated.

I hope you get to enjoy a Whale Watching trip very soon. It is a wonder way to spend a sunny afternoon. If you use these 7 things to know about whale watching, they will help you have a whale of an adventure.

Happy Travels,


P.S. If you love to travel and are looking for a good credit card to help you travel for free, the Marriott Bonvoy Credit Card has a great offer that will deposit points in your account for free hotel stays. I have stayed in many luxury hotels for little or no cost, most recently the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort and Spa.


23 Responses

  1. Kristin says:

    We did one whale watching tour in Virginia Beach in February. The whales were, indeed, about an hour from the dock. All we ended up seeing were the rolling back of the whales, but it was still an awesome experience.

  2. I loved the video. My blog also requires many videos, and I’ve been really struggling about how to get Pin pictures from them. I’ll give that app a try.

  3. Megan says:

    Whale watching is such a fun experience!

  4. Lisa Manderino says:

    It has been a while since I have done a tour like this. I bet my kids would really like going out and seeing the whales.

  5. Holly says:

    I love whale watching and tour tips and suggestions are fantastic! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, it will make the experience even more enjoyable!

  6. I would love to see whales! These are great tips!

  7. Beth Shields says:

    What an interesting and delightful post. Great suggestions and I can imagine, its just amazing to see. I haven’t been on the water for some time – not sure if I would get sea sick but you covered that as well. Thanks!

  8. Debbie says:

    A whale watching tour is one I havenโ€™t been on, but would love too!! Good info that I wouldnโ€™t have known. Thanks!

  9. Suz says:

    Thank you! I’ve never gone for a whale-watching boat trip. Right now, I want to go anywhere!! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚

  10. Chelsea says:

    What a good idea to have a strap for your phone on a whale watching trip! I’d probably drop my phone over the edge of the boat! ๐Ÿ˜‰ You have me inspired to go whale watching again!

  11. We had a blast when we went on a whale watch in VA Beach in January.

  12. That looks like it would be so much fun!!

  13. Marianne says:

    We have yet to travel anywhere that does whale watching tours… but it is on the list! Great tips to keep in mind for when that day finally arrives!

  14. Beth says:

    Simple yet straightforward tips to make the trip go better. What a great idea to take a video from which you can isolate a still shot later.

  15. Suzan | It's My Sustainable Life says:

    You saw some awesome ones! Great list of suggestions when going as well.

  16. Bonnie says:

    I like the suggestion of using the movie app and then pulling pictures from that. It’s sometimes hard to take photos fast enough.

  17. This is so helpful! One of my favorite YouTubers just did a whale watching trip with their family and it’s making me really want to go!

  18. Siobhan says:

    This is on my bucket list for trips for sure!

  19. Maya says:

    Wow! Wonderful & informative post with so many helpful tips. Hope to go whale watching one day, having never done that before. Thank you, for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Jane says:

    Its been ages since we’ve done whale watching. Your tips are right on! Love your capture of the whales here.

  21. So many things I would not have thought of. Thanks!

  22. Cindy Moore says:

    Whale watching is on my travel list! I’d so love it.

  23. Karie says:

    I have been wanting to go to Plymouth and whale watching sounds like I would love it

Comments are closed.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)