Attractions February 27, 2019
The Beachfront Attraction In Oregon You’ll Want To Visit Over And Over Again
If you have a sharp eye and a little patience, you can often view whales all along the Oregon coast, but there’s one place where you can see whales year-round. Have you visited the Whale Watching Center at Depoe Bay?
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Whale watching is a favorite activity for anyone visiting the Oregon coast. During the whale migrations in December and March, around 20,000 gray whales pass along the coast on their way to or from Baja, Mexico. If you miss the migrations, don't worry. There's one place right here in Oregon where you're almost guaranteed to see whales year-round.
Depoe Bay is home to a small group of whales who live here year-round, and with a little patience, you can catch a glimpse right from the Whale Watching Center. Warning: whale watching is addictive, and you'll find yourself coming here over and over again.
The center is located at 119 US-101, Depoe Bay, OR 97341.
It's impossible to miss the Whale Watching Center. Park anywhere along the main drag, then walk along the promenade to the center, which is perched on a small cliff overlooking the bay. You'll have great views, and might even spot whales right from the sidewalk.
The center has two large decks for viewing the whales - one on the north side, and another on the south side. Bring your binoculars to catch a glimpse of whales farther out in the ocean, but you might also see some whales very close in.
Keep an eye out for the spouts. Whales usually surface every minute or so, but often remain underwater for as many as five minutes. When you see the spouts, you'll often soon see the body of the whale as it flukes or breaches afterwards.
Right in front of the Whale Watching Center, you'll notice a lot of plankton and plant matter floating on the water's surface. This is a prime feeding spot for the whales, who eat tiny invertebrates and krill who like to live in this kind of habitat. Whales often come just a hundred feet or so from the cliff where the Whale Watching Center stands, so if you're lucky, you'll see a whale very close up!
You'll want to set aside plenty of time to hang out here. With a little patience and luck, you can capture some great photos of these mysterious, majestic creatures.
You can view whales from the two decks or along the promenade any time, but you'll definitely want to step inside the center, too. It's staffed with volunteers who spend their days watching the whales, and who will often spot them before visitors and point them out. These folks are also knowledgeable about gray whales and can answer all your questions.
Displays throughout the center help you learn more about the marine life that inhabits the Oregon coast...
...and there are plenty of exhibits that will spark your curiosity. With its huge picture windows and binoculars for visitors' use, the center is the perfect place to watch whales when it's rainy or windy outside.
While you're at the Whale Watching Center, you'll definitely want to see the worlds' smallest navigable harbor. From the south side of the center, you can descend a staircase and go under Highway 101 to see some great views of the harbor.
Whale-watching cruises and fishing boats depart from and return to the harbor through a very narrow channel, and it's fascinating to watch them come and go!
The Whale Watching Center is managed by the Oregon State Park system, and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. There's no charge to visit.
Learn more about the Whale Watching Center on the
Oregon State Parks website, and share your whale photos with our readers in the comments!
While you’re in Depoe Bay, you might want to dine at
this gorgeous restaurant with ocean views.