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Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

Dallas, Texas
7 posts
Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

We will be traveling from Boston to Bar Harbor and stopping a night or two along the way as we day trip our way there. We have heard good things about the whale watching trips in Gloucester. Is it worth the day trip to Gloucester for whale watching, or will it be just as good or better in Bar Harbor where we will be planted for 3-4 nights? We are trying to plan our short stops along the way wisely to see the most variety.

North Shore, MA
Destination Expert
for Salem
Level Contributor
6,054 posts
183 reviews
1. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

I think one good reason to take your whale watch from Bar Harbor is that you'll be there for a few days and can plan around the weather. Choppy seas make these trips much less enjoyable! I'd suggest asking your question on the Bar Harbor Forum, too. I believe there is only one company in Bar Harbor (in contrast to three in Gloucester and others in nearby Newburyport, MA and Portsmouth, NH) and would ask how far in advance you typically need to book.

conn
Level Contributor
3,674 posts
175 reviews
2. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

my first pick for whale watching would Ptown on the cape them Gloucester second and bar harbor a distent 3rd be awear that if a couple of cruise ships are in port bar harbor can be very hard to get on.

Boston
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for Boston
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17,798 posts
1 review
3. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

Just so you know, all the Whale Watch companies, regardless of where they start from, end up going to Stellwegen Bank, which is located between Boston and Provincetown. So there's not going to be so much variation, except for perhaps the length of the trip to get there.

Reading...
Level Contributor
2 posts
36 reviews
4. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

Wait a minute!!!! There is a big difference. Do a little research by going to the whale watching sites and find out where the whales are before you go. There are several feeding grounds...Stellwagon is one farther to the south as Alanm said. If the whales are feeding there, Gloucester is best.

However, some years or time of year the whales are at Jeffrey's. is better That is farther North in the Gulf of Maine so Bar Harbor would probably be better.

We go regularly from Gloucester but only once from Bar Harbor.

Edited: 05 July 2013, 04:15
Delavan, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,475 posts
77 reviews
5. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

I've been to all the whale-watching sites, if you mean those selling the trips, and haven't seen any of the saying anything about which specific grounds the whales are at, or even how long they have to look before spotting any whales. They only speak of their successes. Is there some other non-commercial site I need to be checking out?

Boston
Destination Expert
for Boston
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6,518 posts
60 reviews
6. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

I've always liked this website. Very informative. http://stellwagen.noaa.gov/

Hollis, New...
Level Contributor
4,678 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

I very much doubt that any whale watching boat from Bar Harbor ever goes to Stellwagen Bank. The Web site for Bar Harbor Whale Watching Tours says their total trip time is 3-3.5 hours. It would take considerably longer than that at top speed just to get out there.

North Shore, MA
Destination Expert
for Salem
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6,054 posts
183 reviews
8. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

Wpsaukee is correct. The Bar Harbor whale watches do not go to Stellwagen bank, but to an area about 20 miles out to sea known.

North Shore, MA
Destination Expert
for Salem
Level Contributor
6,054 posts
183 reviews
9. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

Oops, I failed to finish the last sentence in post #8 above. The Bar Harbor whale watches go to an area known as Mount Desert Rock.

Boston
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for Boston
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6,518 posts
60 reviews
10. Re: Whale Watching Tours - best in Gloucester or Bar Harbor?

To clarify, Stellwagon link I posted was for information regarding whales. When in Boston, that's where boats head to. When in Maine, whale watching is done on Maine gulf coast. I would be curious to see what advice the Maine forum would offer as a comparison to Massachusetts.

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