One of the largest conservation organizations in New England, Mass Audubon cares for 34,000 acres of natural land in a network of more than 50 wildlife sanctuaries across the state. Its members receive free admission to these pacific preserves, where, alongside more than 150 endangered or threatened native species, they can breathe in Mother Nature’s perfume or have a good cry on her mossy bosom. During bird-migration season, alert gazes can capture some 300 species of sky surfer at Allens Pond on the South Coast, and visitors to Lincoln’s Drumlin Farm can re-enact Charlotte's Web with a motley band of sheep, cows, goats, and pigs.
Snappa Charters specializes in giving people the thrill of their lives. This boat charter team runs shark-cage-diving tours, where patrons can swim with blue, mako, and basking sharks from the safety of an anodized-aluminum cage in the water or from a snorkeling platform above the water. To be the hunter instead of the hunted, attend a sports-fishing excursion and seek out sea bass, cod, and fluke. Those wanting more time on the water can also go on whale-watching, lighthouse-spotting, and birding tours. Snappa also happily organizes private boating excursions for fun corporate events or bachelor parties for bachelors wondering exactly how many fish are in the sea.
You're rarely guaranteed to see a whale, unless you go to the aquarium or you're watching Free Willy very carefully. On voyages with Plymouth Whale Watches, however, sightings are guaranteed. The expert crew helps passengers spot species from humpback whales to pilot whales during trips that traverse North Atlantic waters en route to Stellwagen Bank. On the boat's lower deck and roomy sun decks, passengers might also spot porpoises, seals, and dolphins. Between sightings, patrons can listen to the crew's historical tidbits about Plymouth, and head to a galley that's stocked with food and drinks.
The ocean's waves and a seabird's occasional rock ballad are all that interrupt the silence across the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Suddenly, a humpback whale leaps from the water and crashes back down, sending a plume of whitecaps into the air. Aboard their boat, a tour group snaps photos of the breathtaking moment as a crewmember narrates it all.
The US Coast Guard–licensed captains at Capt John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours aim to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences like these everyday. Their boats serve as floating classrooms, aboard which they teach deep-sea fishing some days and pilot groups into the habitats of everything from dolphins to minke whales on other days. The marine educators also lead kids' programs that let the students explore an on-board tidal pool to feel the texture of spider crabs, sea stars, and baby submarines.
Such scenes, part of Cape Cod?s natural magic, are not lost on Bob Wilds. A retired whale watcher, Bob resides in the Cape year-round. He founded Great Marsh Kayak Tours in hopes of sharing the beauty that surrounds him daily. Bob leads family-friendly adventures, such as the Naturalist?s Dream tour, which immerses groups in the majestic salt marshes and explores how early Cape Cod settlers used this environment to survive. All tours employ the services of the Esperanto, a comfy, easy-to-paddle kayak with ample storage capacity for personal belongings and the native kettle chips found floating in the water.
As the sun makes its retreat into the horizon, the whales of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary come out to play. Their elephantine fins slap the waters with such zeal that the pod seems to be putting on a performance for the catamaran of whale watchers in their midst. This end-of-day nature show experienced by passengers aboard Boston's Best Cruises’ New England Aquarium Whale Watch is hardly a rarity, as the ship’s crews guarantee sightings of these gentle giants with each excursion.
Champions of the natural beauty of Boston Harbor and the area’s rich maritime history, Boston's Best Cruises’ expert crew sets sail on cruises to suit all manner of interest. Along with their whale watches, Boston’s Best Cruises whisks passengers away on Harbor Cruises that grant unimpeded views of the Boston skyline and the King Kongs pumping fists within its skyscrapers. The Salem Ferry facilitates leisurely cruises between Boston and the historic city, and aquatic outings to the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area enable activities such as sunset clambakes, hiking, and fishing.