Depoe Bay Whale Watching Guide (Best Spots, Time & Cost)

Did you know that the Oregon Coast’s center for whale viewing is Depoe Bay? This picturesque seaside town, which is also home to the tiniest port in the world, is the finest site to see enormous whales traveling close to the coast. Whale viewing at Depoe Bay is a year-round sport that is enjoyed by both residents and tourists. You must visit the Oregon Coast if you’re thinking of going there. Here are some things to consider before you go. You can consider this as the best Depoe Bay whale watching guide.

Finding the ideal lodging for your stay is important if you want to go whale watching in Depoe Bay. Many of the houses and condominiums that Meredith Lodging provides are in Depoe Bay, and we have a large selection of luxurious vacation rentals available all along the Oregon Coast. To get exclusive offers and vacation packages that are available only through email, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. Additionally, you’ll be the first to learn about brand-new rentals and events in our popular tourist locations.

When Is the Best Time to Go Whale Watching in Depoe Bay?

You can see whales along the Oregon Coast all year long, regardless of whether you are traveling in the spring, summer, autumn, or winter. However, you won’t miss the 2023 Spring Whale Watch Week for sure. Another fantastic season to go whale watching is throughout the summer and fall, when you may probably see our local gray whales eating nearby!

Although there is a good possibility you may see whales at Depoe Bay at any time of year, there are certain seasons that are better than others. Gray whales migrate from Mexico to Alaska from mid-March until the end of May. One to three miles off the coast is where the parents and calves often remain, making for fantastic viewing chances.

Visitors will have the opportunity to witness our resident whales, who spend a few months living off the Oregon Coast, from May through the end of the summer. Once again, because of their propensity to stay nearer the coast, these whales are simpler to see. The best time to see whales in Depoe Bay is during this period since whale watching boat operators provide daily cruises during this time.

You may have to wait until December or early February to observe the whales return to Mexico when the summer comes to a close. Winter whales are often seen a little farther from the beach, which makes it a little more difficult to detect them.

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The Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center should be accessed

The Whale Watching Center, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the ideal location to see gray whales. In Depoe Bay, the facility is situated directly on the seawall, and park personnel is on hand to address any queries you may have. The Center’s hours change throughout the year, but generally speaking, Mondays and Tuesdays are off limits.

Excursions for Whale Watching in Depoe Bay

A whale watching excursion is highly advised if you want to get a close-up look at the whales. Many charters may take you out to sea from Depoe Bay, where you could see big spots, whalebacks, deep dives, and even breaches. Nothing is more amazing than seeing a 40-ton whale jump out of the ocean! Some of our preferred charter firms are listed below:

1. Whale Research Eco-excursions, LLC

We advise booking a trip with Whale Research Eco-excursions, LLC in Depoe Bay, OR for a good time and some learning. These escorted excursions are conducted by knowledgeable marine biologists aboard top-rated zodiac boats that are very comfortable and safe. You may anticipate seeing enormous whales, sea lions, seals, seagulls, and more on the journey! Regular one and a half hour trips cost $45; minors under 12 only pay $35. There are three daily departure times: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. Don’t forget to bring your camera and be sure to come early!

2. Tradewind Charters

Another of our top tour providers is Tradewind Charters Whale Watching and Fishing in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Since 1938, this prestigious charter service has offered entertaining and engaging whale watching expeditions! On contemporary, well equipped boats, competent tour guides lead the tours. We promise that even if you are only a guest on board, you will feel like a member of the crew by the time you depart. Adults may take a one-hour whale viewing boat for only $20, and a two-hour trip for $35.

3. Whales Tail Charters

Additionally, Whales Tail Charters provides a more specialized experience. From whale viewing and beautiful excursions to personalized journeys, they have it all. Visitors may take pleasure in riding in a cozy zodiac boat as an expert guide brings you right close to all the greatest whale watching locations. Tours last an hour and cost $30, or you may take a 1.5 hour trip for $40. Between 2 and 6 persons, smaller group sizes are acceptable.

4. Dockside Charters

Dockside Charters provides a variety of maritime excursions, including deep sea fishing and whale viewing trips. 50-foot Delta charter boats with heated cabins, bathrooms, interior seats, and outdoor deck seating are available for tours. Every day of the week, depending on the weather, tours are conducted. Bring your whole family and group of friends—this charter service can handle huge groups! Adult one-hour rides cost just $20, while one and a half-hour trips cost $25.

Depoe Bay is a great place to observe blue whales, humpback whales, orcas, dolphins, and porpoises. The best time to go is from mid-December to mid-January, when almost 20,000 grey whales are migrating to Mexico for the winter. Another excellent period to look for gray whales migrating north toward Alaska is from late March through June.

Guide to Depoe Bay

Depoe Bay, dubbed the “whale watching capital of Oregon,” is the location to be this winter. Watch as the gray whales travel by our coastal town on their yearly trek south to the warm waters of Mexico. One of the finest times to travel is undoubtedly now. Grab your binoculars and follow our tips below for whale viewing in Depoe Bay throughout the winter.

What is the best season to go whale watching

Gray whales travel nearly 12,000 miles during their annual migration, making it one of the longest animal migrations. They travel from northwest Alaska to the Baja Peninsula and back. There’s a fair possibility you’ll see whales in Depoe Bay whenever you go whale watching, but there are some seasons that are the ideal for seeing our whales.

The gray whales migrate from Mexico back to Alaska between mid-March and towards the end of May. The odds of detecting the mothers and calves are excellent since they like to remain closer to the coast (between one and three kilometers away) for safety.

You may view our resident whales, who spend months at a time on the Oregon Coast, from May through the end of the summer. When feeding, these whales often stay near to the beach, and at this time of year, tour operators also provide daily trips. Also, an excellent time to go since the ocean is warmer at this time.

From the end of December to the beginning of February, we may see almost 25,000 gray whales migrating back down the coast toward Mexico. A boat trip is a terrific opportunity to see these whales since they are a little farther out than they are in the spring and summer.

Be safe with whale watching

Gray whales are the ideal animals to observe because of their special eating habits, which cause them to spend much of their time around the shore. Even from a city, you may see them with your eyes or binoculars even though they are usually further away in the winter.

The best site to see whales in Depoe Bay is really anyplace along the shoreline. For some of the nicest views in town, go to the Whale Watching Center (now closed), where you may utilize their observation deck. Or you may just stroll along our town’s waterfront for plenty of viewing chances.

Things to bring with you

Gray whales are the most often seen whales at Depoe Bay, with the possibility of sighting humpbacks, minkes, sperm whales, orcas, and blue whales as well. There are a few necessities you should bring with you on your whale watching expedition for the best viewing:

  • Binoculars

Get yourself a pair of binoculars right now. While you’ll probably be able to see the whales with your unaided eye from the beach, having a set of binoculars can assist you find those whales further out. You can view whales from the comfort of your room or private balcony when you stay at the Whale Cove Inn, but you can also bring a pair if you’re visiting the parks and whale-watching locations around the Oregon Coast.

  • Sunglasses

Don’t let the brightness of the sun bouncing off the water prevent you from seeing the whales! Even though the Oregon Coast isn’t renowned for being a place with warm, sunny beaches, you should still wear eye protection when scanning the sea.

Despite what the general public thinks, Oregon does have bright days, and you wouldn’t want to miss the action due to the sun’s reflection off the water. So, as you survey the waters, pack some shades to protect your eyes.

  • Camera

You can’t say anything happened if there isn’t a photo to show it, right? No, however it is wonderful to record these amazing moments, so take your phone or camera and begin taking pictures. While your phone may be able to capture a few decent pictures for you, the best option is a real camera, preferably one with a zoom lens of 200 mm or more. A camera with a good zoom will make it easier to take the shot since the whales won’t constantly be in close proximity.

  • Warm clothes

Wearing warm gear is important. Cool ocean breezes may be present, particularly if you’re on a boat trip. To keep dry, put on garments made of wicking material. If you’re going on a tour or staying near to the coast, this is very crucial. Dress in layers of warmth since the breeze off the water may be much chilly. If you can, choose wool since it will keep you warm even if you get soaked from sea spray. Of course, you could always relax in your hot tub on your deck at the Whale Cove Inn while looking for whales, but we’ll let you make that choice!

  • Sunscreen

Since you’ll probably be out all day looking for whales, carry sunscreen for your face and lips.

Moving out to the sea

Get outside where these magnificent animals are to view them in person. The welfare of the whales and the interests of the clients are the primary priorities for all trip operators. Some of your tour guides may even be able to identify certain whales and describe some of their behavior. Though many tour companies around here operate with smaller boats to lessen the rocking action, be sure to pack any antiemetics, such Dramamine, if you are prone to sea sickness.

Having difficulty? Slowly move your gaze over the water, watching for any spouts, blows, abrupt puffs, or misty sprays. This may aid in isolating a region where whales may breach or fluke. If you do manage to see one, you’ll probably see it again in about five minutes as the whale travels through the ocean at a speed of five miles per hour. Remember that whales migrate northward in the spring and southward in the winter.

Final words

Getting out to where the whales are and taking a tour on a hired boat are two of the greatest ways to experience whale watching in Depoe Bay. In the Depoe Bay region, there are several tour operators to choose from, all of which are committed to the welfare of the whales and their patrons. You may pick the best one out of them and proceed with your adventures.

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