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11 Helpful Tips for Whale Watching in Maine

The waters off of the coast of Maine offer many whale watching opportunities for tourists. There are numerous whale watching companies that take you out on a boat to catch a glimpse of these magnificent animals. We recently wrote an article on some of the most common whales in Maine that you’re likely to see, so in this article we thought we’d give you some whale watching tips in Maine.

Whale watching in Maine – be prepared with these 11 tips

image: yooperann | Flickr | CC 2.0

1. Wear layers

The most important word here is layers. You’re going to want to wear several layers as it’s usually colder out on the water than it is inland or even on shore. Sweaters, sweatshirts, scarves, and flannel shirts are recommended. Gloves are a good idea to at least bring with you as well. Cotton-blend should be fine unless the cold is particularly severe, in which case wool gloves are more ideal.

2. Protect your eyes and face

Sunglasses are helpful as well to protect you from the glare off of the ocean and help you to better find the dark shapes beneath the water. Here are some great inexpensive sunglasses you can get on Amazon. I owned this pair myself for several years until I eventually lost them. 

Along with sunglasses, a hat or visor can protect you from the glare and chinstraps are a common feature seasoned whale watchers appreciate. This unisex sun hat would do the trick nicely. 

3. Bring a jacket

If you’re going out on a boat, a waterproof jacket is a must as it’s easy to get wet from the spray. One with a hood is best and the closer you go to fall, the heavier it should be. Shoes with rubber soles are important to keep a grip on the slippery deck, so it’s best to leave you high heels and leather shoes at home.

4. Bring binoculars and a camera

There are a couple of important things to bring with you on your whale watching trip. Binoculars are a must to get the most out of the experience. However you’ll regret bringing some cheap ones, get a good pair like these Nikons found on Amazon.  

Of course you can’t forget your camera either. You may already own a DSLR like this Canon Rebel, if so you are set. A phone can get you by, but don’t expect high quality images for what may be a once in a lifetime experience for you.

image: Pixabay.com

5. Pack a blanket

It can definitely get chilly out there, depending on the time of year. So a blanket is another nice thing to pack to help protect yourself on particularly windy days.

6. Don’t forget the sunscreen

Sunscreen is an absolute must as you can get sunburned in any weather, and be sure to reapply as that salty air can erode away at your protective covering.

7. Take extra socks, you’ll get wet

Another common precaution is an extra pair of socks, as nobody likes walking around in wet socks.

8. Bring food and water

Make sure you bring snacks and a packed lunch in a waterproof bag. Also include plenty of water. The general rule of thumb is at least one bottle of water per person in your party and if you’re going on a boat make sure none of the bottles are glass. 

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9. Prepare for motion sickness

If you’re prone to seasickness, or even think you might be, there are plenty of medications to fight motion sickness. Many tour companies offer these in a gift shop if you forget yours at home.

10. Be patient

However, the most important things to bring are a respect for nature and patience. Not every trip is going to be the same and it’s common for there to be long uneventful periods while waiting for them to come up.

11. Bring entertainment

image: Pixabay.com

It’s important to bring some entertainment other than your phone (as you may not get reception), so a book or a game is ideal. Furthermore, if you have younger children you should bring some toys for them as well.

When to go Whale watching in Maine?

Prime whale watching season runs from mid-April to May through October. These whales have a variety of times they prefer to be in the Maine Gulf, but this is the peak time to see the greatest variety.

Whales are typically spotted throughout the entire day, but are generally scarcer at midday as they dive deeper to feed.

Best weather 

The best time to whale watch is a summer day with clear skies, and it’s recommended to check the forecast before making a reservation. Maine is notoriously foggy, and that fog is at its worse when the temperature difference between the water and air is greatest.


Above all else, enjoy yourself! Having a positive attitude and patience will make your trip a wonderful and memorable experience for years to come. 

Wildlife Informer

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