Traditionally known for summertime activities like surfing and parasailing, Virginia Beach offers one of its most remarkable experiences only in the winter months, whale watching.
Each year, the North Atlantic population of Humpback whales migrates from the chilly waters of New England, Canada and the Arctic Ocean to the warm Caribbean Sea for the Spring breeding season. Around 15,000 Humpback whales undertake this voyage down the East Coast each year and make an annual stop-off at the mouth of the Chesapeake, allowing for superb whale watching experiences in Virginia Beach.
The best way to witness this remarkable annual phenomenon is via a boat tour, which are offered by several Virginia Beach tour providers.
Set at an affordable $30 ticket (discounts for children), Rudee Tours offers a two-hour eco-excursion boat tour. Narrated by experienced marine biologists, sightings are guaranteed from December –February. This winter, they have spotted the rare and endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. With less than 400 left in the world, a spotting of this nature just goes to show how special whale watching is in Virginia Beach.
Virgnia Beach is home to the Virginia Aquarium, the largest venue of its kind in the state. With impressive animals and exhibits spread across the 800,000 gallons of water, the Aquarium also runs its own boat tours. Similarly prices to Rudee Tours, the Whale Watching tour is staged by Aquarium experts who have built an immersive and educational program that incorporates the Aquarium’s research and conservation efforts into the boat tours.
For those seeking a more private experience, First Landing Charters runs whale watching charter boat tours on its private yacht for up to six guests. The boat’s route passes by the historic Cape Henry and its lighthouses, providing an incredibly scenic view to watch the marine mammals on their migration.
While the whales move up north for the summer, dolphins and seals are commonly spotted in Virginia Beach during the summer months. All the above operators offer tours to see these enchanting sea creatures as well.
For more details about visiting Virginia Beach, visit: www.visitvirginiabeach.com
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