Besides their picturesque landscapes, Mendocino and Cape Cod draw thousands of tourists every year for whale watching. The largest mammals on Earth definitely deserve an audience as they migrate past coastal points, feed near the coast, or swim in inlets. These ocean creatures are elusive as they are beautiful, so you might want to read our guide first before embarking on a whale-watching excursion.
Whale Watching on the Mendocino Coast
One tough thing about whale watching is competing for the view with other tourists, but that’s not an issue when you’re on the Mendocino Coast. The best season to catch a glimpse of gray whales is between December and May. These whales, counting more than 20,000, travel from Alaska and the Bearing Sea down to their breeding grounds in Baja, California, from December to February. When their babies are born, they return to the north from March through May.
If you suffer from seasickness or the cost of excursion boats is too expensive, you can still have the opportunity to watch for whales from the shore or a plane. A great tip is to stay at a bed and breakfast right by the Mendocino Coast, where you’ll be granted a wide panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean right from your room.
If you’re watching from the shore, some suggested lookout spots are at Point Arena and Point Cabrillo, which also boast of historic lighthouses. From these vantage points, you have a great perspective of the ocean and you’ll immediately see whale spouts coming your way from a distance.
To get to where the action is, try All Aboard Adventures with Captain Tim. Call him at 707-964-1881 for whale forecasts. Another adventure in itself is going by plane. From the Little River Airport, fly with Coast Flyers and get a bird’s eye view of the ocean.
Whale Watching in Cape Cod
These enormous whales visit Cape Cod every year to feed on Stellwagen Bank, roughly 6 miles north of Provincetown. Stellwagen is shallow water with an area of 842 square miles in the Gulf of Maine and provides a great feeding location for whales. As the whales are busy feeding, you’ll also find them flirting with the boats and voluntarily swimming next to them. Humpback whales are the most popular ones you’ll find as they are curious enough to get close to you.
You can choose to whale watch in the Mid-Cape or the Lower Cape area in spring, summer, or fall, although the species may differ depending on the season. If you’re watching from the shore, visit the Race Point and Herring Cove locations for the best views. No matter what time of the day, you should find different creatures like humpbacks, fin whales, minke whales, and even right whales, circling the waters.
When joining a whale cruise, you’ll be amazed by the information the naturalists extend to the guests. You won’t only experience seeing whales before your own eyes but also learn about them! If you’re looking for a place to stay in Cape Cod, Chatham Gables Inn has the best location as it’s near to whale-watching tour companies and its charming bed and breakfast accommodations aren’t bad either!