What you’ll find on the 38 stops along the Massachusetts Whale Trail

You can brush up on your Massachusetts whale knowledge this season.

A photo from New England Aquarium Whale Watches.  New England Aquarium Whale Watches

New England has a long history with whales. Centuries ago, Nantucket and New Bedford were known as the whaling capitals of the world. And, of course, author Herman Melville, wrote his 1851 novel “Moby-Dick” here.

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism’s Massachusetts Whale Trail includes 38 whale-centric stops spanning the entire state, where you can learn the history of New England’s whaling industry, hop on a whale watching excursion, tour historic homes, and retrace the steps of Melville himself. The 38 spots are listed below, plus what you’ll find at each one.


Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises: Look for whales, dolphins, and marine life in the waters around Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary on a three-level whale watch boat with two sun decks and more than 650 feet of rail space for viewing. (269 Millway Road, Barnstable) 


Mass Audubon Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary: Explore the expansive tidal flats, take a kayak tour or boat cruise, join a family nature program, and explore the woodland trails. (345 Bone Hill Road, Cummaquid)


A New England Aquarium Whale Watch boat travels under the Long Island Bridge in 2014. – Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Boston Harbor Cruises: Ask questions of New England Aquarium naturalists on this whale watch, which goes to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. (One Long Wharf, Boston)

New England Aquarium Whale Watch: Board a boat heading for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary for a whale watching excursion with New England Aquarium experts who will share their knowledge about whales. (1 Central Wharf, Boston)

New England Aquarium: While you’re at the aquarium, spend time at a four-story, 200,000-gallon Giant Ocean Tank, full of hundreds of Caribbean reef animals such as sea turtles, stingrays, and eels, as well as the largest shark and ray touch tank on the East Coast. The aquarium is home to the world’s longest-running right whale research program, which works to restore the population of the endangered species. (1 Central Wharf, Boston) 


Cape Cod Museum of Natural History: The museum’s 80-acre site on Cape Cod Bay, abutted by 400 acres of conservation land, offers nature trails, guided walks, educational programs in marine science and ecological studies, exhibits, films, lectures, and family activities. (869 Main St., Brewster)


The Old Whaling Church in Edgartown. –

Martha’s Vineyard Museum: Permanent exhibits cover the history of the island, its lighthouses, and artifacts from local shipwrecks. (151 Lagoon Pond Road, Vineyard Haven)


Old Whaling Church: The 1843 Old Whaling Church,which bills itself as one of the finest examples of Greek revival architecture in New England, was built by skilled shipwrights. While inside, you won’t want to miss the original whale oil lamps that once lit up the interior of the church. (89 Main St., Edgartown)


Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship House: This 1843 home of William H. Whitfield is where the captain invited Japanese youth Manjiro Nakahama to stay after he was rescued from a Pacific island by the crew of the captain’s whaleship. (11 Cherry St., Fairhaven)


7 Seas Whale Watch: This family-run whale watch excursion has been taking folks out to sea since 1983, and spotting whales from Cape Ann to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. (63 Rogers St., Gloucester)

Cape Ann Whale Watch: You’re guaranteed a whale sighting on this whale watch, which goes to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. (415 Main St., Gloucester)

Capt. Bill & Sons Whale Watch: This family-owned and -operated whale watch tour will take you to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and Jeffrey’s Ledge, and has naturalists aboard from the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation to provide fun facts, help answer your questions, and offer whale-spotting tips. (24 Harbor Loop, Gloucester)


Cape Cod Maritime MuseumThis museum preserves the maritime traditions of Cape Cod and the Islandswith exhibits, public events, educational programs, and collections. (135 South St., Hyannis)


Cape Rib Tours: If you like a little adrenaline with your whale watching, take this tour out of Cape Cod Bay aboard a 1,000-horsepower speed boat. It bills itself as the fastest whale watch boat in the northeast. (790 Iyannough Road, Hyannis)


Nantucket Whaling Museum
The Nantucket Whaling Museum has on display the skeleton of 46-foot bull sperm whale that died of natural causes on Siasconset’s Low Beach in 1998 on the island of Nantucket. – Julia Cumes for The Boston Globe

Maria Mitchell House: Explore the 1790 Quaker house and birthplace of America’s first professional female astronomer, whom sea captains trusted to rate their chronometers before their long whaling voyages. (1 Vestal St., Nantucket)

Nantucket Historical Association Historic Walking Tours: Meet up with a Nantucket Historical Association guide at the Whaling Museum lobby, and head out to check out spots like the Nantucket Historic District, 1838 Quaker Meeting House, and the 1846 Hadwen House. You’ll learn about the people, places, and events important to Nantucket along the way. (7 Fair St., Nantucket)

Nantucket Historical Association Research Library & Archives: At this research library, built in 1904, you can find plenty of Nantucket history: more than 5,000 published volumes, 50,000 photographs, ships’ logs, account books, family papers, and scrapbooks. (7 Fair St., Nantucket)

Nantucket Whaling Museum: See a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton, as well as portraits of former whaling captains. You can also get up close with whaleboats and whaling artifacts. (13 Broad St., Nantucket)

Shearwater Excursions, Inc.: On this six-hour whale watch, passengers learn how to identify the spout of a whale and watch for humpback, finback, and minke whales. Or you can take a one-hour whaling history tour, and discover historic landmarks from the Nantucket whaling era. (Straight Wharf, Nantucket)

New Bedford

The Moby-Dick reading in the Bethel at the museum. – New Bedford Whaling Museum

Herman Melville’s New Bedford Walking Tour: Take a self-guided tour through the town that served as inspiration for “Moby-Dick” using this map. (37 N. Second St., New Bedford)


Lewis Temple Statue: This statue honors Temple, who in 1848 invented the “Temple Toggle Iron,” a tool that revolutionized the whaling industry. (613 Pleasant St., New Bedford)

Moby Dick statue: Spot the sculpture inspired by “Moby-Dick,” located along MacArthur Drive near the Cuttyhunk Ferry Pier. It was created by artist Donna Dodson for the 2015 Seaport Art Walk. (MacArthur Drive, New Bedford)

New Bedford Free Public Library: At this library, which holds the third-largest collection of American whaling materials in the world, you can also find early 19th-century Quaker materials, art, and an extensive genealogy collection. (613 Pleasant St., New Bedford)

New Bedford Whaling Museum: See four species of complete whale skeletons, as well as an extensive collection of whaling art and artifacts. (18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford)

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park: Don’t forget to spend time at the park’s visitor center, which has whaling exhibits and a 20-minute movie about New Bedford, called “The City That Lit the World.” (33 William St., New Bedford)

Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum: This Greek Revival mansion, built in 1834, is a great example of what Melville meant when he described the “brave houses and flowery gardens” in “Moby-Dick,” according to the museum’s website. (396 County St., New Bedford)

Seamen’s Bethel: This seamen’s church was immortalized as “Whaleman’s Chapel” in “Moby-Dick.” Because whaling was so dangerous, it was common for seamen to pray there for a safe journey before heading out to sea. (15 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford)

Whaleman Statue: Created by American sculptor Bela Pratt and unveiled in front of thousands of people on Liberty Square in 1913, this statue features a boatsteerer in granite and bronze and is a tribute to the whalers who made New Bedford famous. (613 Pleasant St., New Bedford)


Whaling City Expeditions: Take a 60-minute narrated boat tour in the harbor, the same waters where Melville spent time. (228 Macarthur Drive, New Bedford)


Newburyport Whale Watch: You’ll travel out the Merrimack River into the Gulf of Maine, where you’ll look for humpback, finback, and minke whales. A naturalist will provide information along the way. (54 Merrimac St., Newburyport)


Arrowhead in Pittsfield

Arrowhead: Melville moved into this 18th-century home in 1850, and it’s where he wrote “Moby-Dick.” (780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield)

Melville Trail: Take to the Berkshires spots that inspired Melville by following the aptly named Melville Trail. There are 12 locations you can explore, and four of the author’s most beloved places — Arrowhead and the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield; Monument Mountain in Great Barrington; and Pontoosuc Lake on the border of Pittsfield and Lanesborough — have permanent interpretive panels. (780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield)


Capt’n Tim Brady & Sons: Set sail for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary on the Mary Elizabeth, where you’ll watch for humpback, finback, and minke whales, Atlantic white sided dolphins, sea turtles, and other sea creatures. (Town Wharf, Plymouth)

Captain John Boats: Naturalists lead these whale watching tours to Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The company also provides whale watching tours from MacMillan Wharf in Provincetown. (10 Town Wharf, Plymouth)


Center for Coastal Studies: Examine the fully preserved skeleton of an 11-year old, 35-foot-long humpback whale named Spinnaker, who was found dead on the shore of Acadia National Park in Maine in 2015. (5 Holway Ave., Provincetown)

Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch: This three- to four-hour whale watch trip takes you to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with an experienced naturalist. As a bonus, you can order a full breakfast or lunch on board. (307 Commercial St., Provincetown)


SeaSalt Charters: If you want to explore the whales’ feeding and nursing grounds in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary with just close family and friends, this intimate excursion seats up to six people. (Macmillan Pier, Provincetown)


Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary: This 842-square-mile marine protected area, which stretches from Cape Ann to Cape Cod, is New England’s only national marine sanctuary and considered a premier whale watching destination. (175 Edward Foster Road, Scituate)


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on