The Ultimate Guide to Whale Watching in Newfoundland

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From humpback whales to killer whales, there are six main species of whales that visitors can see while whale watching in Newfoundland – here’s where to do it.

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most beautiful and best places on the planet to see whales. Each year, the largest number of humpback whales in the world migrate to shore to feast on capelin, shrimp and squid. These ocean monsters fascinate, amaze and excite visitors. Sighting these beautiful beasts from the edge of a cruise liner, the edge of a sea kayak or a coastal walk is an exciting and wonderful opportunity.

Whales visitors can see

humpback whales

  • Newfoundland is home to the largest population of humpback whales in the world.
  • These migrate from the tropics to the oceans of Newfoundland and Labrador between April and October.
  • They are frequently observed piercing the sea and slapping in the waves.


Blue whale

  • The blue whale is the largest vertebrate in the world, measuring between 21 and 28 meters in length.
  • This baleen whale is more common on the southwest coast of Newfoundland, especially during the cold months.

white-beaked dolphin

  • White-beaked dolphins possess a dark gray body, a short, white snout, white spots above and behind their dorsal fins, and white and light gray spots on their backs.

minke whales

  • Minke is the smallest whale and can be seen in Newfoundland waters.
  • When diving for capelin, anchovies or salmon, the minke’s fin does not appear and it spends very little time on top before diving deep underwater for 15 to a few minutes at a time.
  • These whales can be seen in summer and autumn.


white-sided dolphin

  • The rears of the white-sided dolphin, or natively known as jumpers, are black and dark gray with a light gray patch running down their rear ends and pale bellies.
  • Two yellow or beige ellipses appear above and below their dorsal side.

orca

  • The popular toothed killer whale can be seen off the coast of Newfoundland during the summer.
  • Visitors should look for a large set of fangs and a strong, shiny monochromatic body.

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When to visit

Whales can be seen feasting, playing and even breaching off the coast of Newfoundland from May to September.


The best whale watching sites

While whales can be seen virtually anywhere along the Newfoundland coast, some areas see a larger population of whales than others. Luckily, travelers don’t have to drive much farther to experience a whale-watching spot, regardless of where they’re staying.

Saint Anthony

  • The Whale Watchers Path is a combination of footpaths and small stairways that lead to incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean from the massive rocks of Fishing Bay.
  • Fish View has a pay-to-view telescope and is a popular spot for whale watching during the season.
  • The path is 0.8 kilometers long and takes about 30-40 minutes.
  • Atlantic white-beaked dolphins and humpback whales can be spotted hunting alongside.
  • White gannets, schools of dolphins and puffins soaring at lightning speed can also be seen.


Trinity Bay

  • Trinity is one of the best places in the area to take a whale-watching cruise and have a memorable encounter with the humpback whales that frequent the area to feast on capelin during the summer.
  • By the time the humpback whales depart in the fall, the seas teem with other species such as sperm whales, bluefin tuna, white-sided dolphins and the lone pod of orcas.
  • Birds such as gannets, puffins and bald eagles are frequently seen on excursions.

Green Bay

  • The town of Triton is located near the shore of Green Bay.
  • Being surrounded by the sea offers several benefits, including wonderful whale watching opportunities for visitors.


  • Many beautiful lookouts with stunning ocean views are found throughout the area, providing endless sights of whale activity from afar.
  • More daring visitors can even take a boat out to sea for a closer encounter.

Twillingate

  • Many whales cruise the abundant coastal breeding waters each year from mid-May to September.
  • Watching a whale soar through the air is the pinnacle of whale watching.
  • The most common whale species are humpback whales and minke whales. Dolphins and fin whales are also occasionally spotted.
  • Humpback whale tails are as unique as human features or fingerprints.
  • Whale watching is best at Twillingate’s Long Point Lighthouse lookout, although a treat can be found all along the shore.

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How to watch

On a boat

  • Boat tour operators in the area allow guests to come face-to-face with one or more of them at sea because they know exactly where to find them.
  • A whale or dolphin investigating a passing ship is not unusual.
  • Visitors can sometimes spot one gently gliding under their sailboat if they look over the bars.

By kayak

  • A sea kayaking excursion allows visitors to get up close to wildlife.
  • Deep-sea kayaking providers in the area will take visitors as close as possible to whales, caverns and coves, and if the timing is right, icebergs.

By land

  • All ports along the shore are home to whales.
  • Visitors can watch whales while hiking or strolling through coastal hikes, rocky outcrops, and pristine beaches if they haven’t developed their sea legs.
  • The tails of humpback whales plunging into the sea can be seen from atop a cliff.
  • Alternatively, have a meal by the sea and enjoy a clear picture of whales and dolphins playing nearby.
  • Telescopes are not necessary.

Millions of tourists flock to Newfoundland every year to see these spectacular animals at play, making it one of the best whale watching destinations in the world. Whale watching in Newfoundland is an exciting and enjoyable experience. It’s one of those must-do experiences when exploring Newfoundland, home to the world’s largest gathering of humpback whales and a maritime ecology like no other.


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