Where can I find whales?

Where do you go to find whales? Well, the easy answer is the ocean, but there are definitely certain areas along the Oregon coast that are better than others, whether it’s because of boats charters, viewpoints, or abundance of food for the whales.

Please note that we sort of defined our own north, central, and south regions of the coast since we couldn't find anything too official laying it all out for us.

Northern Oregon Coast

Astoria to Tillamook

The northern Oregon coast is home to some great cities such as Cannon Beach and Astoria along with amazing destinations like Hug Point, Neahkahnie Mountain, and other beautiful outdoor landmarks. That said, this area is one of the harder places to catch whales closer in to shore. While there are definitely opportunities to see whales, they might be from quite some distance or elevation, though whales have been seen close to shore near the opening of Tillamook Bay and even swimming in the Columbia River between Astoria and Washington state.

Our Favorite Spot:
Cape Meares Lighthouse

Just west of Tillamook, perched approximately 250' above sea level is the Cape Meares lighthouse. During peak migration periods hundreds of whales can be seen from this position and during the summer whales have been known to come in close to shore as well.

Want to see more of our favorite spots on the Oregon coast for whale watching?

Central Oregon Coast

Pacific City to Yachats

The central Oregon coast is widely considered to be the best stretch of coast in terms of whale watching. This region offers plenty of high places to view whales during the migration periods, but is also home to areas where gray whales tend to feed during the summer and early fall. This combined with the availability of chartered whale watching trips makes it hard to argue that you can have a better whale experience in any other part of the coast. Be sure to check out our interactive map to see all of the places we like to go to see whales in this region.

Our Favorite Spot:
Town of Depoe Bay

Depoe Bay is commonly known as the whale watching capital of Oregon. There are multiple spots within the town to make observations, but typically the best sightings are right in front of town. From the sidewalk on the ocean side of the street you can see whales just feet off of the rocks, spouting, spyhopping, and occasionally breaching.

Depoe Bay is just the start. See all of our favorite spots by using the map below!

Southern Oregon Coast

Florence to Brookings

The southern Oregon coast offers perhaps the most unique whale watching experience in the entire state. Not unlike Depoe Bay, whales comes in close to feed in the waters just offshore in places such as Port Orford. Because of the unique geography of the region, you can go kayaking and stand up paddle boarding in areas where whales might happen to feed. Of course these are wild animals and regulations state you must keep a distance of 100 yards (probably not a bad idea considering the size and strength of a gray whale). In addition to these close encounters, whales can be seen from many viewpoints such as Cape Blanco.

Our Favorite Spot:
South Coast Tours

This is sort of a cop out, but the best way to experience whales it to get out on the water. If you're going to get out on the water with a whale, why not do it in a peaceful, human-powered vessel such as a kayak or a stand up paddle board.

Check out www.southcoasttours.net to book a trip!

See more of our favorites by using the map below.

Now that you know where to go...

Let's talk about how to find them once you arrive and when the best time to go is!