The Oregon Coast, with its rugged cliffs, picturesque lighthouses, and expansive ocean views, offers one of the most breathtaking settings for whale watching in the United States. Every year, thousands of gray whales migrate along this coast, providing spectators with a thrilling display of nature at its most majestic. This blog post delves into the best times to go whale watching, where to find the best spots, and tips to make your experience unforgettable.

The Best Times for Whale Watching

Whale watching on the Oregon Coast is a year-round activity, but the best times to catch sight of these magnificent creatures are during their migrations in winter and spring. From mid-December through January, gray whales travel south from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to the warmer waters off Mexico for breeding. Then, from late March through June, they return north with their newborn calves. During these migrations, up to 20,000 whales pass close to the Oregon Coast, offering spectacular viewing opportunities.

Accommodation Highlight: Sea & Sand RV Park

Sea & Sand RV Park stands out as a prime accommodation choice for visitors planning to embark on a whale watching adventure along the central Oregon coastline. Conveniently situated on Highway 101, it is nestled just three miles north of Depoe Bay and eight miles south of Lincoln City, making it an ideal base for exploring the region’s natural wonders. The park offers a unique blend of spectacular beach and ocean views from its terraced ocean RV sites and the serene beauty of cozy, forested campground sites, all complemented by easy access to the beach.

What sets Sea & Sand RV Park apart are the unforgettable experiences it offers throughout the year. Guests can bask in the breathtaking sunsets during the summer months, creating perfect moments of tranquility and beauty. In the winter, the park becomes a dramatic vista point for watching the powerful storms that sweep across the Pacific Ocean, offering a different kind of spectacle that is equally mesmerizing. Moreover, the park is pet-friendly, ensuring that your furry friends can join in on the fun and create lasting memories alongside you.

Prime Whale Watching Locations

Depoe Bay

Often referred to as the “Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast,” Depoe Bay is home to a resident pod of gray whales nearly year-round. The town’s seawall provides an excellent vantage point, and the Whale Watching Center offers educational exhibits and staff to help spot whales.

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City offers stunning views from its sandstone cliffs, making it an ideal spot for spotting whales. The higher elevation allows for broader ocean views, increasing your chances of seeing a whale spout or breach.

Cape Lookout

A two-mile hike out to the tip of Cape Lookout can reward you with not just incredible views but also the chance to see whales from a unique vantage point. The quiet and less crowded environment makes it a perfect spot for a peaceful whale watching experience.

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean from its clifftop vantage points. It’s not uncommon to see whales from the park’s lookout areas, especially during the migration seasons.

Tips for a Memorable Whale Watching Experience

  • Be Patient: Whale watching requires patience. You might wait for a while before seeing any action, but the wait can make the experience even more rewarding.
  • Use Binoculars: To get a closer look at the whales, bring a pair of binoculars. They can make the difference between seeing a small spout and witnessing a spectacular breach.
  • Dress Appropriately: The Oregon Coast can be chilly, especially outside of summer. Dress in layers and be prepared for rain or wind.
  • Respect Wildlife: Remember to keep a respectful distance from any wildlife, including whales. Use zoom lenses for photography instead of trying to get close.

Joining a Whale Watching Tour

For those who prefer a closer look, numerous boat tours operate along the coast, offering guided excursions to see the whales. These tours can provide not only a thrilling adventure but also insightful commentary from experienced guides who can share details about the whales and their migration patterns.


Whale watching on the Oregon Coast is an awe-inspiring experience that connects us with the natural world in a profound way. Whether you’re standing on a windswept cliff, hiking to a secluded lookout, or sailing on the open sea, the sight of a whale breaching the ocean’s surface is an unforgettable spectacle. With the right preparation and a sense of adventure, you’re sure to have a whale watching experience that will leave you with lasting memories.