Whale Watching Cruises in Provincetown, Massachusetts: A Guide

Provincetown, like several other towns in Massachusetts, is ideally situated for whale watching cruises. Occupying the top point of Cape Cod, Provincetown (“P-town” or “Ptown”) is particularly close to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, which is where the whale watching off the coast of Massachusetts is centered. There are two main companies that offer whale watching in Provincetown – Whale Watch Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown and Provincetown Whale Watches – and below we explain what each company offers, as well as cover what to expect on a whale watching cruise out of Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Like most tourist destinations, Provincetown experiences fluctuations in population, but the changes are especially extreme in so-called “P-town.” The town has a stable, year-round population of about 3,000, but during the summer there can be as many 60,000 people in town at any given time. The summer also happens to be the height of the whale watching season, although obviously people aren’t flocking to Provincetown only to whale watch. The town is more known for its beaches and harbor, and in general for being a nice place to spend the summer.

Regardless of why you find yourself in Provincetown, though, it is a great place to whale watch. Not far off the coast are whale feeding grounds, where people frequently see humpback, finback, and minke whales, along with several other whale species and a number of other forms of marine life, like dolphins and seals. Over 130 animal species call the Stellwagen Bank home, at least during some part of the year, so it’s an excellent place to sail around looking for whales and other marine animals.

And if you are interested in sailing around looking for whales and other marine animals, there are, as mentioned, two main companies you can book a cruise with: Provincetown Whale Watches and Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown. Although obviously both of these companies will claim to be the superior whale watching cruise provider, and while we aren’t in a position to adjudicate their competing claims, it is safe to say that both companies offer comparable experiences. They last about the same length, three to four hours, and the prices are comparable – a little over $40 for adult tickets and around $30 for kid’s tickets. (Provincetown Whale Watches is a few dollars cheaper, for the record.) Apart from these two companies, it is worth mentioning that you can also arrange a private cruise with a charter company, like SeaSalt Charters, which is operated by the same people who founded Dolphin Fleet. This is a good option for those with a larger group of family or friends who want a more personalized experience.

Regardless of who you end up sailing with, you should be in for a good time. The waters off the coast of Massachusetts are some of the best in the world for whale watching, and if you are interested in whales, it’s a perfect way to spend a morning or afternoon on a visit to Provincetown. For more general information, check out our article on whale watching in Massachusetts.

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