18 May New England
Cape Cod is the most elegant and exclusive seaside resort along the US East Coast – and also perfect for humpback safaris.
The area between Cape Ann and Cape Cod was known as the world’s center for whaling in the 18th and 19th century. Today, mostly finbacks and humpbacks are watched from here.
The reason for the big numbers of whales at America’s eastern coast is the Stellwagen Bank, 35 kilometers east of Boston: A giant underwater plateau, which is one of the world’s habitats most rich with species – and a great feeding ground for whales. Nantucket, Provincetown and New Bedford were the center of whaling worldwide in the 18th and 19th century.
Today, 80% of all whale watching tours of New England take place between Cape Ann and Cape Cod. You get to see finbacks, humpbacks and minke whales. Theoretically, you could also spot northern right whales, but unfortunately there are just a few hundred of them left. Chances are best a bit further north in the waters between Maine and Nova Scotia in Canada.
The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is serviced by all surrounding harbors: Provincetown, Plymouth, Gloucester and an increasing number from Boston. Some operators also start from Rhode Island and Nantucket.
»During main season, there are usually three tours a day, often in very large boats. Further up north, in Maine, things are less busy.«
The season starts in April and ends in October. Main season is in July and August with three tours of three to four hours per day. Most operators use big boats for 100 to 400 (!) passengers. Things are a bit less busy further up north in Maine and New Hampshire, where smaller boats are used.
Whales can also be watched pretty much anywhere further south along the east coast: At New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia you can spot finbacks, humpbacks, dolphins and, if you are very, very lucky, maybe northern right whales.
Main season here is from May to September; the whales show up a bit less often than further up north, though. Some tour operators report sightings only during every second tour. Often, there are tours focusing on the landscape in general and sighting whales is rather done on the side.
New England is the glamorous seaside resort of the USA. Endless white beaches and more than 150 lighthouses are to be found here – and a look at the history of the country, too.
New England means the whole northeast of the USA: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The name goes back to the early European settlers, who landed here in the 17th century. Settlers, farmers and seamen – still today, New England offers a look back into the America of the 18th and 19th century.
Along the coast you will find world famous coastal towns and seaside resorts, especially Newport in Rhode Island, New Bedford in Massachusetts or Provincetown on Cape Cod. Newport used to be a glamorous seaside resort in the 19th century where the wealthy families of the East Coast erected their mansions. Today, the city is known as the US capital for sailing.
Cape Cod is mostly known for its seaside resort Hyannis, the summer residence of the Kennedy clan. Some of America’s most beautiful beaches are here. A ferry gets you the islands of Martha’s Vineyard (where Barack Obama likes to go on holidays) and Nantucket with their popular beaches.
The most well-known and most history-laden place of the East Coast is New Bedford, where Herman Melville had the hunt for Moby Dick launched. If you want to know more about 19th century whaling, this is where you have to go. New Bedford used to be one of the richest and most beautiful places in the world back then. You can only guess that glory today. All over the town, there are hints about the prosperous past of industrial whaling. The whaling museum will tell you more about those times.
»New Bedford is where Herman Melville had the hunt for Moby Dick launched. If you want to know more about 19th century whaling, this is where you have to go.«
Apart from beaches there is another thing to found in abundance along the coast of New England: Lighthouses in every shape and color. There are more than 150 of them, most of them in Maine and Massachusetts. There are even two in Vermont and Vermont doesn’t even have access to the sea. Some can be visited, in some you can even spend the night.
In summer, whale watching is best combined with a (luxurious) beach holiday. However, you should probably come here at the end of whale watching season, when the Indian Summer colorfully lights up the deciduous forests along the North American East Coast. Best to be witnessed in October.
The only national park of New England is Acadia National Park in Maine with more than 200 kilometers of easy hiking trails. The park is located right at the rocky coast, so you are always close to the sea. Park Loop Road leads through the park for 43 kilometers past Cadillac Mountain, the highest mountain of the North American Atlantic coast. With some luck, you can even meet moose – chances are best in the early morning hours.