Whale Watching Cruises in Georgia: A Guide

Whale watching is possible in Georgia, but unfortunately not via cruise, so the following is not so much a guide to whale watching cruises in Georgia, but an explanation of alternatives to such cruises. If you are searching for whale watching cruises in Georgia, you will no doubt be disappointed to learn of their non-existence, but at least there are related activities that may appeal to you. What exactly are these related activities, and in what sense are they related to whale watching?

The whale watching situation in Georgia is more or less identical to the whale watching situation in Florida, and of course this makes sense given that the two states are right by each other on the Eastern Coast. They therefore have access to the same marine life (for the most part), and this marine life can be seen in similar ways.

If you are primarily interested in the “cruise” part of whale watching cruises, then you might consider one of the nature or eco tours offered out of Georgia. These cruises appear to be almost exclusively focused on dolphins, although when you are out at sea you may see other marine life. Depending on where you are in the state, it is worth keeping in mind that some dolphin watching cruises depart from places right across the northern border of Georgia, in South Carolina. For instance, there is a “dolphin and nature tour” that operates out of Hilton Head Island, and this is only about 30 miles from Savannah.

If, on the other hand, you are primarily interested in the “whale” part of whale watching cruises, your options are limited, but cool and unique because of the presence of right whales off the coast of Georgia. There are only a few hundred right whales in the world, making them one of the most endangered marine mammals, and spotting one is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. They migrate to the south from the Gulf of Maine during the winter to give birth, and can be seen off the coast of Georgia and Florida from roughly December through March. Since they are so rare, they are of course hard to see, but they also tend to stay near the surface and close to the shoreline, so every year there are many sightings. (Their tendency to stay in such easy reach of the shore is one of the main reasons they were hunted to near extinction. They have a high blubber content and were relatively easy to kill, making them the “right whale” to kill, and hence their name.)

So, the whale watching scene is nothing like it is in a place like California (or for that matter anywhere along the Pacific Coast), but it is possible to see whales if you are Georgia, and it is also possible to take cruises that focus on other marine life, which bear an obvious resemblance to whale watching cruises. Thus there is whale watching in Georgia and cruising in Georgia, but the two are not combined together.

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