The Oregon Coast is considered one of the best whale-watching places in the world, and Depoe Bay is considered the official whale-watching capital of Oregon. Winter and Spring are some of the best times to witness the annual whale migration. The most important things to keep in mind when planning an unforgettable Oregon Coast whale-watching vacation are booking that perfect Meredith Lodging Oregon Coast vacation rental to serve as your home base, timing your trip when the whales are on the move and choosing a great whale watching tour company to see these majestic mammals up close!
Timing – What Months are the Best Months for Whale Watching on the Oregon Coast?
The great news is, there are many times throughout the year that are optimal for whale-watching – and since the Oregon Coast sits right in the middle of the whale migration superhighway between Alaska and Mexico, you will be well-positioned to see all the action. From mid-March to about the end of May, you will see gray whales migrating back toward Alaska from Mexico – and many are Mama whales and their calves, who often prefer to stay closer to shore (within 1-3 miles offshore). From May through the end of Summer, resident whales (ones who call the Oregon Coast home for months at a time) stay close to shore for feeding and local whale-watching companies offer daily excursions to see the whales up close (while still protecting the safety of the whales, of course). After Summer, it is often a little harder to spot the whales until they begin their migration back to Mexico, anytime from December to early February. During this time, the whales tend to be a bit further out, so your best bet for whale watching charter are the spring and summer months described above.
How do I book a tour? What tour companies should I use?
Seeing whales up close is a powerful experience that you and your family/friends will never forget! If a whale-watching adventure is high-up on your bucket list, we strongly recommend you book a tour with a local charter company out of Depoe Bay. You will never forget watching a 40-ton whale leaping out of the water! Here are some of our favorite charter companies:
For a fun and educational experience, we recommend signing up for a tour with Whale Research Eco-excursions in Depoe Bay, OR. These excursions are led by expert marine biologists on zodiac boats, which are rated #1 in safety and extremely comfortable. You can look forward to seeing giant whales, sea lions, seals, seabirds, and more! One and a half hour excursions cost $45 and are just $35 for children 12 and under. Daily departures are scheduled at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. It’s a good idea to arrive early and don’t forget to bring your camera!
Tradewind Charters Whale Watching and Fishing is another one of our favorite tour companies. In business since 1938, this premier charter service provides fun and interactive whale watching adventures. Tours are led by a friendly and knowledgeable staff on modern, fully-equipped vessels. Participants say they many come aboard as a visitor, but they leave feeling like they are a part of the crew. One-hour whale watching cruises are just $20 for adults, while two-hour cruises are $35.
Whales Tail Charters is also a great bet. They offer everything from whale watching and scenic tours to custom trips. Guests can enjoy riding in a comfortable zodiac boat while an experienced guide takes directly to all the best whale viewing areas. One-hour tours are $30, or you may enjoy a one-and-a-half-hour tour for $40. They can accommodate smaller group sizes between 2 and 6 people.
This company offers a range of ocean adventures, from deep-sea fishing to whale watching excursions. Dockside Charters, Inc., Tours take place on 50-foot Delta charter boats, which include heated cabins, restrooms, indoor seating, and outdoor seating on the deck. Tours are offered every day of the week (assuming weather permits). This charter service can also accommodate large group sizes, so make sure to bring all your family and friends! One-hour trips are just $20 for adults, and one and a half hour trips are $25.
The Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center is a great place to visit (you might spot gray whales!), and is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The facility is located right on the seawall in Depoe Bay and park staff is readily available to answer any questions you may have. Hours of operation vary throughout the year, and The Center is typically closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Best Oregon Coast Whale Watching Vacation Rentals from Meredith Lodging
Need help planning your Oregon Coast whale-watching getaway? Contact Meredith Lodging’s knowledgeable Reservations team and they can help find a perfect Oregon Coast vacation rental – you can reach them by phone at 877-778-9055 or visit us online anytime at MeredithLodging.com.
This aptly named, beautiful vacation home sits just across the street from Depoe Bay, and guests have commented they can sometimes hear the whales talking to each other from the oceanview front-porch of this 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home that sleeps up to 10 guests. You will love this home’s prime location, beautiful modern decor, extra-comfy beds and luxury linens – as well as an ocean view hot tub, too! Sitting just across the street from one of the Oregon Coast’s best restaurants (Tidal Raves!), this home is also pet-friendly and well-stocked with games and puzzles. Depoe Bay Whalehouse is a perfect family or group getaway!
The panoramic views of this brand-new luxury home will take your breath away the moment you open Tucked into a secluded neighborhood, Whale Watch Lookout is aptly named—from the living room, dining room and kitchen you have unobstructed views down to rocky Boiler Bay, an area frequented by gray whales feeding along the shore. Beautifully landscaped with an ocean-view deck that spans the back of the home, Whale Watch Lookout provides brilliant outdoor space for dining and taking in the view with family and friends.
Step into this charming home topped with a whale weather-vane and you’ll feel instantly warmed by the terra cotta tile floors, oversized red sofas and art collected from around the world. Once you see the breathtaking ocean views from this cliff-top perch, you’ll know you’ve found yourself a cozy, inspiring retreat for your time at the beach! The spacious living room with its wood stove and large flat-screen TV has floor-to-ceiling windows that open to a roomy covered deck complete with patio furniture and a Weber gas grill. The lawn is bordered by a see-through fence to the edge of the cliff, where the ocean stretches along miles of sandy beach and out to the horizon. It’s not called Whale Watch for nothing—you’re perfectly positioned to see gray whales, seals and sea birds, and you look straight out to the Nelscott Reef, the offshore site of a world-famous winter surf competition.
If you are planning a whale-watching trip for a larger group – or if you just enjoy having a little extra room then Seaclusion could be your perfect getaway! This 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom truly luxury home sleeps up to 16 guests and offers stunning ocean views framed by Fir and Spruce trees from its location, sitting at the top of a beautiful wooded ravine overlooking the sea. Inspiring designer furnishings and touches abound in this beautiful home that will make you feel like you have stepped into the pages of a travel magazine. You and your guests will love cooking French-inspired kitchen, gathering around the stacked stone fireplace and retreating to the beautiful bedrooms and their spa-like bathrooms. There is a game room that kids and kids-at-heart will love and an outdoor hot tub to relax after a day of adventures.