Between the months of December and May, gray whales
make an appearance off of the coast
of Oregon. The annual migration of the gray whales
actually covers a course stretching from Alaska to Baja, but it is in the winter and early spring that
Oregon Coast whale watching is best. Whale watching in
Oregon offers a chance for whale lovers to get out onto
the open sea and look spend some time with other whale
While there are a number of different places to find whale watching Oregon Coast boats, the seaside town of Newport is probably the busiest. Whale watching in Oregon from Newport begins at Depoe Bay, which is actually located just north of Newport. Depoe Bay has the distinction of being the smallest harbor in the world, but is also the place where many, many boats heading for Oregon Coast whale watching depart.
Whale watching Oregon Coast opportunities onboard boats abound. There are regulations regarding how close a whale watching boat may get to the actual whales themselves, and these laws are in place in order to protect the whales. Though you will still be able to get more than close enough, don't be disappointed if you aren't on top of a whale pod; that is actually against the law. To book an Oregon Coast whale watching trip, be sure to make your reservations well in advance. With the changes in some migration patterns of gray whales, it is becoming possible to see whales throughout much of the year, however the winter between December and May is still the prime time. Whale watching trips are usually day trips, though of course other arrangements can be made.
Whale watching in Oregon is also possible from the shore, without ever having to step foot on an Oregon Coast whale watching ship. Cape Kiwanda, located in northern Oregon just off of Highway 101, is one of the best parks for watching from the shore. The Cape makes up one part of the Three Capes Scenic Route, which also includes Cape Meares and Cape Lookout. These three capes are close to Astoria if you plan to stay the night, and offer gorgeous views of the water and clear site of the whales when they are breaching. A fee of $5 will be charged to park at the cape, and your parking pass can be used at all three capes without having to buy a new pass, if you visit them within in a seven-day period.
Shore Acres State Park is another excellent location for whale watching from the shore. Located just a few miles from Coos Bay, Oregon, Shore Acres State Park also has a $5 parking fee to stay in the park. The park is open seven days a week from 8am until 4pm in the winter, and until 9pm in the summer. This is a great park for sitting and picnicking while whale watching, as the overlooking cliff has a grassy area and benches for relaxing.
For the best of camping and whale watching on the southern coast of Oregon, head to Harris Beach. Parking is just $5 for the day, and yurt rental is $29 per night for a couple or even a family. Located just off of Highway 101 near the town of Harris Beach, the park features a flat grassy cliff that overlooks the ocean and is the best place to whale watch in southern Oregon.
Although the months between December and May are some of the coldest in Oregon, a whale watching vacation can be plenty of fun. The rainy coast is a welcoming place to stay if you choose a cozy bed and breakfast, and popular attractions such as the Oregon Aquarium in Newport won't be as busy during the winter months.