Tripadvisor users ranked a Mass. activity among the top 2 family-friendly events in the world

Local sailing and food experiences also impressed travelers.

Guests at 7 Seas Whale Watch in Gloucester viewing a whale. 7 Seas Whale Watch

A whale watching tour in Gloucester is the ultimate fun-filled family outing on the planet — almost.

“Whale Watching Trips to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary. Guaranteed Sightings!” with 7 Seas Whale Watch in Gloucester ranked No. 2 on Tripadvisor’s list of top family-friendly fun in the world, released on Wednesday. The No. 1-ranked activity is “Exciting Upper Pigeon Smoky Mountains Rafting Trip” in Hartford, Tenn.

The list is part of the Needham-based travel website’s Travelers’ Choice “Best of the Best” Things to Do Awards.

“When I think about what makes a trip truly unforgettable, it’s those can’t-miss and truly unique activities like a sunset sail with my family, a bike tour with the most hilarious and knowledgeable tour guide, or doing something out of my comfort zone, like ziplining through the forests of New Zealand,” said Kate Urquhart, general manager of experiences at Tripadvisor, in a statement. “With no other accolades of its scale, the Travelers’ Choice Things to Do Awards are in a class of their own, highlighting activities travelers have determined are essential when visiting a destination.”


“Given the productivity of the region and the fact that we have seen whales on OVER 99 percent of our whale watches during the past 30+ years, chances are very good that you will see whales!,” 7 Seas Whale Watch wrote on its website.

Tripadvisor shared the following user quote about a user’s whale watching experience with the company: “The boat was in good repair, the crew expert and helpful, and the whales…. Oh my. Minke, humpback, and finback whales, along with dozens of dolphins and sealions.”

Tripadvisor, which offers nearly 400,000 bookable experiences, awarded 530 activities in its Travelers’ Choice “Best of the Best” Things to Do Awards across the following categories: top overall experiences; best things to do in 10 cities around the world; adventure activities; food experiences; nature and hiking; water adventures; out-of-the-ordinary experiences; sailing & day cruises; wine experiences; biking tours; luxury tours; and family-friendly fun.

“The activities cracking the list for 2021 are largely outdoor and water-based, not surprising in light of the outdoors craze prevailing throughout the pandemic,” the company wrote in a press release.

Three more Massachusetts activities made this year’s lists. “Privateer Schooner Sailing Tour Salem Sound” with Schooner Fame in Salem ranked No. 8 on the list of top sailing tours in the U.S., and two Boston food tours made the list of top food experiences in the U.S.: “Cocktails & Cannoli: Boston’s North End Food Tour” by Cocktails & Cannoli ranked No. 8 and “Boston’s North End Small-Group Walking Food Tour” by Intrepid Urban Adventures ranked No. 11.


The results were largely based on the quality and quantity of traveler reviews and ratings collected between Jan. 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, for Tripadvisor experiences, tours, activities, and attractions.

View all best things to do winners.

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