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The Best Spots to Go Whale Watching in Depoe Bay

water stream off of gray whale tail

Whale watching is a popular activity done in coastal areas where whales are known to migrate, breed, and feed. Among the most popular places along the Oregon Coast to go whale watching is Depoe Bay. Today we are going to talk about the best spots to go whale watching in Depoe Bay Oregon. If you have never been whale watching, you are in for quite the surprise! Witnessing these majestic beasts in action is quite stunning! The first time I spotted a whale in the wild I was absolutely thrilled and almost teared up by the sheer beauty of it.

If you want to give yourself a really great chance of seeing a whale in the wild, be sure to visit Depoe Bay, otherwise known as the “whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast.” Depoe Bay is a great town on the central coast of Oregon that is known for its whale watching, deep sea fishing, and more. Depoe Bay is also well-known for being the world’s smallest navigable harbor. This harbor is connected to the Pacific Ocean and is roughly 50 feet wide, 100 feet long, and about six acres in size. There are 2 freshwater creeks that flow into this harbor (North Depoe Creek and South Depoe Creek). 

The Best Spots to Go Whale Watching in Depoe Bay and Whale Watching Information

Before we talk about where to go, let’s talk about the specifics of whale watching for those that haven’t done it before:

What is Whale Watching?

Whale watching is the activity of observing whales and other marine mammals in their natural habitat, typically from a boat or from the shore. It is a popular recreational activity and a form of ecotourism that allows people to witness the majestic beauty and behaviors of these magnificent creatures in the wild.

What is a Whale Watching Tour?

A whale-watching tour is a commercially operated tour where you can have the opportunity to see whales while in a boat at sea. During a whale-watching tour, knowledgeable guides may provide information about the biology, behavior, and conservation of whales, as well as the history and culture of the region. Observing these animals in their natural habitat can be a thrilling and educational experience that fosters an appreciation for the marine environment and the need to protect it.

Can You Go Whale Watching on Your Own?

You do not need to pay for a tour to go whale watching. We are lucky in this state because there are some seriously great places, like Depoe Bay where whale watchers can do so from dry land! Of course, you are going to be able to get a closer look while out at sea, but a guided tour really isn’t a requirement. As a matter of fact, last year I had a whale sighting during spring migration season while in my car driving down highway 101!

What is the Best Time of Year to Go Whale Watching Depoe Bay Oregon?

The best time to go whale watching in Depoe Bay, Oregon is typically from late December to January. This is the time of the winter migration of gray whales from Alaska to Baja California. These whales pass by the Oregon coast, and visitors have a good chance of spotting them from shore or on a whale-watching tour.

Another good time to go whale watching in Depoe Bay is during the spring and summer months. The end of March to September humpback whales, blue whales, and other species can be seen in the area.

It’s important to note that weather and ocean conditions and ocean currents can affect whale sightings. Be sure to check with local whale-watching tour operators or the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center for the latest information on whale activity before planning your trip.

Is There a Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay Oregon?

Yes! There is a really great whale watching center right along Highway 101 as you drive through Depoe Bay. You can’t miss it! This center receives thousands of visitors per year!

Best Spots to Go Whale Watching in Depoe Bay

blow hole gray whale

Depoe Bay is widely known to be the best whale-watching destination in the state of Oregon, so you can bet that there are some great spots to see whales here! 

Whale Watching Center

The whale watching center is a great spot to be to watch for whales! Plus, while you are there, you can find some great educational information too! Also while at the center, you’ll be able to spot many of the whale watch boats leaving the harbor. 

While at the center, you can find really great information on many types of whales and sea life, including:

  • Gray Whales (or grey whales if you prefer) 
  • Minke Whales
  • Sperm Whales
  • Killer Whales
  • White-sided Dolphins
  • Sea Lions

With its vast amount of information, its large viewing deck, and expansive ocean views, the Whale Watching Center really is the best place to spot whales and learn about marine life throughout the region. Just make sure you bring a pair of binoculars! 

Whale Watch Cruise

On a whale watching tour on a whale watch cruise, you have a very high likelihood of seeing a whale. These cruises have a 98% success rate during the peak whale watching months. Local tour companies offer long whale research ecoexcursions, short one-hour whale watch tours, half-day tours, and more. Some of the whale watch tour companies in the area include:

  • Dockside Charters
  • Whale’s Tail Charters

The Depoe Bay Shoreline

In recent years, researchers have discovered that there is a pod of gray whales that never leave the area. As a matter of fact, there are roughly 60 resident gray whales that never leave the Oregon coast. This is due to the vast food sources they have discovered. That means that it is relatively easy to spot these resident whales and whale activity along the shoreline. 

What Other Activities Are Good to Do in the Depoe Bay Area?

thors well oregon coast

While you are in the area, be sure to take a trip to the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center and see Thor’s Well while you are there. Or, you can head north to Lincoln City and do some shopping at the outlet mall. You can also find the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and its visitors center nearby too! This is a beautiful and historical stop along the Oregon coast that I highly recommend. 

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