Whale Watching Tours

Double Whale TailImagine the excitement when you first view the blow of a whale spouting. The Bay of Fundy is teeming with wildlife and is a critical habitat for many species of whales and dolphins. Home to over eight species of whales and a whale population that can exceed 300 at any one time, the Bay of Fundy is a fantastic destination for whale watchers. Bay of Fundy whale watching tours are run out of St. Andrews, Grand Manan and Campobello Island in New Brunswick and out of various harbours near Digby, Nova Scotia.

Commonly sighted aboard these whale watching tours are the Humpback whale, Minke whales, and Finback whales. The Bay of Fundy also has a Nursery for the Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. Other whales occasionally sighted in the Bay of Fundy include the Sei Whale and Pilot Whale. A rare sighting would include the Blue Whale, Sperm whale, Killer whale, and Beluga whale. For more information about the whales, visit our Bay of Fundy Whales section.

If you want to see whales and dolphins during your trip it’s important to note that the Bay of Fundy whale watching season runs from June to October inclusive. The best month to see whales and other wildlife is August. The whales and dolphins of the Bay of Fundy are graceful and spectacular and sure to be a highlight of your vacation!

The Vessels

Zodiac Whale Watching
Whale Watching from a Zodiac

A whale watching tour experience can differ depending on the type of vessel used. There are four main types of vessels used: converted fishing boats, catamarans, motor/sailing vessels and zodiacs.

A zodiac will give you a unique perspective by putting you at the same level as the water surface, however the other vessels provide a much smoother ride and provide shelter from the cool Bay breezes and other weather elements.

Whale watching companies communicate with each other while on the water and most of time all boats are in the same area and see a similar amount of whales. Selecting a whale watching tour ultimately depends on your personal preference, but make sure you keep an eye on the extras being offered by some companies.

Such added value items can include a touch aquarium with starfish, sea urchins, crabs, etc. and/or some complimentary snacks on board. For example, the Jolly Breeze Tall Ship of St. Andrews is the only vessel to provide a heated cabin, blankets and rain jackets for all. They are also the only vessel that has a licensed bar for the adults and provides pirate costumes and face painting for the kids. They’ll even hand out honorary captain’s certificates for steering the vessel and hauling up a sail.

What To Expect From A Whale Watching Tour

Right Whale Calfing

There are many whale watching eco tours and island tours around the Bay of Fundy including departures from St. Andrews, Deer Island, Campobello Island, and Grand Manan in New Brunswick, and Digby Neck, Long and Brier Island in Nova Scotia. All tours provide experienced guides to answer your questions.

Even in the summer heat the waters of the Bay of Fundy can be as cold as 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit) which can result in cool ocean breezes. How cold the whale watching experience can be varies on what type of vessel is used for the tour, but you should be prepared with extra clothing as it is cooler on the water. Bring a camera and binoculars if you have them. Reservations are often required as the whale watching tours fill up quickly.

The whale watching tours follow the Bay of Fundy Marine Tour Operators Code of Ethics which includes no chasing, harassing or herding the whales. This is to ensure that the whales are not disturbed from their natural routine or injured. Occasionally a whale may choose to come within 25 feet of the whale watching tours vessel and provide a truly memorable experience. Although extremely rare, at times a group of Right Whales might form a SAG (surface active group), averaging 6-15 whales rolling and courting each other, the water churning, snouts, flippers and tails displayed. This impressive sight can be seen in the video to the right.

12 comments received

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    jeff

    I am coming in October 7th.

    Can you tell me if there are any tour companies going out on this day?

    Thank you!

      Mike Postma

      Most likely, whale watching typically runs until middle or late October. I am not sure what area you’ll be in though so your best bet is to contact a few local tour providers directly. You can find a list here: http://www.bayoffundy.com/places/type/whale-watching/

    Sara

    We’re going to the Bay of Fundy and Prospect Bay, NS. Where in these areas would there be a good place to go whale watching?

      Mike Postma

      You can definitely find whale watching tours in both Halifax and Lunenburg. Neither one would go to the Bay of Fundy, but there’s plenty of whales to be seen off the east coast of Nova Scotia as well.

    Carol Brooks

    Hi do you know if there is a NB Provincial Park fee where we can visit different parks in a 3 day or week time limit. instead of paying individually. I await your reply

      Mike Postma

      I am honestly not sure. I would recommend you contact NB Parks directly (contact information on https://parcsnbparks.ca/ReservationService.aspx). If you do find out there’s a deal like that, I’d be very interested to hear back.

    Trine

    Hello,

    We are in Prince Edward Island, where would the closest Whale watching tours be from here?

    Dave Zarankin

    I am curious what the average whale watching tour would cost for a family of four. A general range will do. Are there any based in the Amherst NS area. Thanks in advance. DZ

      Mike Postma

      The rates vary, but you should expect to pay around $50 or $55 for an adult and maybe around $35 for youth. Some companies will offer family discounts as well.

      The whales reside in the southern part of the bay, so unfortunately there aren’t any whale watching companies near Amherst. The closest whale watching tours for you would be out of St. Andrews, NB (about a 4 hour trip) or Digby, NS (4.5 hours).

    Peggy Famakinde

    Could you please notify me by email regarding Whale Watching. I am in Truro, NS and would like to do this today, August 7 if that is possible. Please give me a street address so that I may find your location.

      Mike Postma

      We don’t actually offer whale watching tours ourselves, nor are there any good whale watching opportunities near Truro. You’ll have to drive south towards Brier Island, NS or to Saint Andrews or Grand Manan in New Brunswick.

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