Whale watching in Newfoundland is a fun and exciting activity. Home to the largest concentration of Humpback Whales on the planet and a marine ecosystem unlike anywhere else, whale watching is one of those must-do activities when visiting Newfoundland.
Be sure to bring an extra layer and a jacket or windbreaker, even if it’s a hot summer day. The conditions on the water are often cooler, and it can get windy without notice. Remember to pack sunglasses, sunscreen, a water bottle, and your camera. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes with a non-slip sole, especially if you plan on walking around the vessel.
There is no right answer to this. Larger whale watching boats offer more amenities like toilets, viewing decks, and a snack bar. These larger vessel whale watching boat tours are great for big groups and people with mobility issues. Signing up with a small boat whale watching tour company also has its advantages. A small vessel is often faster than a large boat. Because smaller whale-watching boats can operate in shallower waters, they can also access more places and go closer to shore, a big advantage. They also feel more intimate and authentic. Small boats often do not have a toilet onboard and generally rock around more in ocean swells and wind when compared with larger whale watching boats.
Although conditions change form day to day, the ocean is usually calmest in the morning and roughest in the mid-afternoon. Most whale watching tour companies in Newfoundland offer multiple departures throughout the day with morning departures being the most popular.
Whale watching season in Newfoundland is from June to September. Late June to mid-August offers the best chances of seeing whales when whale watching in Newfoundland but whales continue to be seen throughout the late summer and fall around Mobile Bay and throughout the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve.
Yes, you can whale watch from land. Paths like the East Coast Trail Tinker’s Point Path offer some of the best whale watching from land in the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve. The whale watching deck at Whale House Guest House and the East Coast Trail Beaches Path section near Mobile Bay are also hotspots for seeing whales from shore.
You can always show up at the wharf and take your chances but we recommend booking in advance, especially if you want a preferred departure time or are whale watching in peak season.
Minke whales are almost always seen on whale watching boat trips in Newfoundland since minke whales are numerous and are often spotted close to shore. Throughout the spring and summer, Newfoundland is also home to the largest population of humpback whales which can be seen feeding in the coastal waters of Mobile Bay and throughout the Witless Bay Marine Ecological Reserve. Other species of marine mammals that can be seen when whale watching in Newfoundland include the porpoise, pilot whales, finback whales, dolphins, and of course the endangered Atlantic right whale.
Most people never have an issue with motion sickness while on a whale-watching boat tour. If you are extra prone to motion sickness you may consider taking a single dose of an anti-emetic or motion sickness medication (always consult your doctor before taking any new medications) before your trip but most times this is not necessary. To further minimize your chances of getting seasick on your Newfoundland whale watching boat tour, plan ahead by choosing a day with calm weather, selecting a morning departure time, and avoid eating a large meal before embarking on your whale watching adventure.
Yes, most whale watching tours in Newfoundland are designed with everyone in mind including families, seniors, and small children. Most Newfoundland whale watching tour operators also offer special rates for children, families, and groups.