NJ Whale Watching: 6 Boat Tours To Take For A Whale Sighting


If seeing a whale is on your bucket list, then you don’t have to go far to spot the magnificent mammals—NJ whale watching is a thing, and we’re so here for it. The Humpback, Fin, Minke, and Northern Right marine mammals make their way through our ocean waters with peak viewing from June through September. And when you go whale watching in NJ you’ll be out on the water, where you’ll feel the ocean spray while catching a sighting and other sea life in their natural habitat. So, grab your binoculars and book a trip for the fam—here are 6 boat tours where you can see these incredible ocean creatures. And if you are looking for a different kind of boat tour, don’t miss pirate adventures in NJ. (featured photo credit: Istock/Piter1977)

The Best NJ Whale Watching Trips

Tours run from June 2-September 15, 2024
The Seastreak ferry takes you on a three-hour roundtrip from Highlands to a whale-watching spot where the Hudson, Raritan, Navesink, and Shrewsbury rivers flow together. This area is known for attracting fish that whales love to eat, so it’s the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of these magnificent mammals. The ferry has spacious seating across multiple decks and is air-conditioned. A full-stocked bar with drinks and snacks is available.
Cost: $55 (adults), $50 (seniors 65 and older), $30 (children younger than 12)
326 Shore Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732

Bill McKim’s Jersey Shore Whale Watch Tour
Tours are daily throughout the season

This popular whale-watching tour departs from the Belmar Marina and offers a three- to three-and-a-half-hour trip on its 120-foot boat to a spot 2 miles off the coast. They pride themselves on having a 90 percent success rate in finding whales, and if you don’t see them, you can come back for a free cruise. You may also see dolphins, sharks, and stingrays. You can BYO food and drinks, too. 
Cost: $63 (adults), $55 (seniors 65 and older or active military), $39 (full-time college students with valid ID), $41 (children 3–17), $8 (infants 2 and younger)
905 NJ-35, Belmar, NJ 07719

Miss Belmar and Miss Belmar Princess
Tours run Memorial Day through Labor Day
The SS Miss Belmar and The Miss Belmar Princess, part of the Miss Belmar fleet, both set sail on an excursion out of Belmar Marina. Join Captain Alan as you search for sea life aboard this 115-foot ship with a sun deck, air-conditioned cabin, and more. You can buy food and drinks on board, T-shirts, and hats to commemorate your NJ whale-watching excursion.
Cost: The Miss Belmar is $65 (age 13 and older), $25 for children (12 and younger), The Miss Belmar Princess is $49 for adults (ages 13-61), and $29 for children (12 and younger)
905 New Jersey 35, Belmar, NJ 07719

Ocean Explorer
Tours run now through November
Join Captain Bobby, who has more than 30 years of fishing and boating experience, as you head out on the Atlantic Ocean aboard the Sea Eagle to find one or more humpback whales. Other ocean wildlife may be spotted, including sea turtles and dolphins.
Cost: $65 (adult), $45 (children 12 and younger)
900 River Road, Belmar, NJ 07719

Cape May Whale Watcher
Daily through October, with select dates in November and December
The name says it all—the Cape May Whale Watcher offers two tours geared toward spotting Humpback, Fin, and Minke whales in the Atlantic around the Cape May shoreline. During the week, there’s a three-hour narrated tour aboard a ship with two decks for viewing and heated and air-conditioned cabins. The Weekend Special offers a complimentary breakfast as you look out for whales, dolphins, sea birds, and more.
Cost: The Whale & Dolphin Cruise  – $55 (adults), $40 (ages 7–12), children age 6 and younger (with each paid adult) is only 1 cent. The Weekend Special – $50 (adult), $30 (ages 7–12), children age 6 and younger (with each paid adult) is only 1 cent.
1218 Wilson Drive, Cape May, NJ 08204

Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center
Both boats run at various times from May – December
Hop aboard this 100-foot ship with large exterior decks, a heated interior, a semi-enclosed seating area on the upper deck, and food and drinks for purchase. The three-hour tour includes an onboard touch tank filled with local sea creatures for hands-on learning. If your crew doesn’t spot any marine mammals during your trip, your next trip is free.
Cost: Around the Cape May Whale, Dolphin & Bird Watch – $50 (adults), $35 (ages 7–12), $20 (extra child), and free for children 6 and younger (with each paying adult).
1231 Route 109 (South Jersey Marina), Cape May, NJ 08204

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About Author

Laura, born and raised in New Jersey, is a mom to a 4-year-old daughter, with a baby boy on the way in July. She has been a writer and editor for 18 years and currently works for The Elisabeth Morrow School, an independent day school in Englewood. She and her family enjoy spending summers in Ocean City, attending sporting events at MetLife Stadium and the Prudential Center, and visiting the amazing wineries in our wonderful Garden State. Laura also loves dancing around her house with her daughter and binging TV shows. Need a suggestion of something to watch? Just ask her.