Cape Cod happens to be one of the best places in the country to go whale-watching, and you won’t find better accommodations for the activity than the Lighthouse Inn!

To whet your appetite for some summer safaris out on our local North Atlantic waters, here’s a quick overview of what sorts of whales you might spot and a couple of the local companies that lead whale-watching tours out of Cape Cod.

Stellwagen Bank: A Cetacean Hotspot

Only a few miles north of Provincetown, an underwater shelf known as Stellwagen Bank draws up nutrient-rich waters and attracts hordes of life, the heftiest forms of which are the great whales. They include the highly visible humpbacks with their wing-like flippers and gulping jaws, the titanic finback whale—second-biggest mammal on Earth after the blue whale—and its much smaller relative the minke, plus the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Toothed whales also hunt here, including long-finned pilot whales, the occasional orca, and various dolphins: mainly the arrestingly patterned and high-leaping Atlantic right-sided dolphin, but also Risso’s and common dolphins every so often.

It’s truly incredible to spot the broad gleaming back of a baleen whale or the knifing dorsals of hunting dolphins off Cape Cod, perhaps accompanied above by some of the many seabirds that mass at Stellwagen Bank as well: from great black-backed gulls and common terns to gannets, storm petrels, and shearwaters.

Many whale-watching companies cruise to Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary—recently voted the “Best Place to See Aquatic Life” in a USA Today reader’s-choice survey—which encompasses the submarine plateau and its surrounding depths. Here are two good options that are easy to reach from the Lighthouse Inn!

Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises

Operating for decades, Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises advertises a 99% sighting rate on its tours out to Stellwagen Bank. The company’s vessel is the 130-foot-long Whale Watcher.

Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch

The several air-conditioned boats of the Dolphin Fleet also lead high-quality whale-watching cruises—on the order of three to four hours long—that come enhanced by onboard naturalist guides.

Catch a Glimpse of Cape Cod’s Local Leviathans on a Lighthouse Inn Getaway This Summer

From humpbacks surging out of the water to spritely white-sided dolphins, you’ve got a great chance of glimpsing some of our local cetaceans (not to mention seals, seabirds, sharks, and other marine life) on a whale-watching cruise this summer. Enjoy the perfect getaway at the Lighthouse Inn, here on the shores of Nantucket Sound, and experience some National Geographic-worthy spectacles during your Cape Cod vacation!