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7 whale watching tips

In honor of the upcoming spring Whale Watch Week, March 25 – 31, we've put together some expert tips on catching sight of the migrating and resident whales along the Oregon Coast!

Know the whale watching seasons

Chances are good you’ll see whales year-round, but our friends over at Whale Research EcoExcursions break out the best times to see our whales. From mid-March to about the end of May, you’ll see the gray whiles migrating back up to Alaska from Mexico and the moms and calves tend to stay closer to shore, about one to three miles away to stay safe.

From May through the end of the summer, you’ll see our resident whales who call the Oregon Coast home for months at a time. These whales tend to stick close to the shore for feeding and tour companies offer trips pretty much daily at this time. This is the premier time to visit Depoe Bay if whale watching is a top activity you want to enjoy.

After the summer, you might have to wait for the end of December to early February to catch the whales making their trip back down the coast toward Mexico. These whales are a bit further out than they are in the spring and summer and the weather can be difficult for getting boats out there for whale watching trips.

Get out on the water

One of the best ways to see these majestic creatures is to get out where they are. All the tour companies operate with safety for the whales and the customers at top of mind. Some of your tour guides will even be able to recognize specific whales and explain some of the behaviors the whales display. Be sure to bring any antiemetics, like Dramamine, if you’re prone to sea sickness though many tour companies around here operate with smaller boats to mitigate the rocking motion. But, better safe than sorry!

Binoculars

Grab some binoculars

We provide binoculars in your suite so you can enjoy whale watching from the comfort of your room or private balcony, but you can also bring a pair if you’re exploring the parks and whale watching sites along the Oregon Coast.

Wear sunglasses

Don’t miss your chance to see the whales because you were blinded by the sun’s glare reflecting off of the ocean! Though the Oregon Coast isn’t known for being a tropical, sunny beach destination, you’ll still want to protect your eyes as you scan the water.

Bring your camera

Or in today’s equivalent: Your cell phone. Be sure to have some space saved for the photos and videos you’ll undoubtedly take during your time watching for whales.

Wear warm clothing

This is especially important if you’re going out on a tour or staying close to the shore. The wind coming off of the ocean can be much cooler, so dress in warm layers. Opt for wool if you can as it’ll still keep you warm even if you get wet from the sea spray. Of course, you could always watch for whales while taking a warm soak in your tub on your deck, but we’ll leave that decision up to you!

Whale spout

Scanning

Not having much luck? Scan the water slowly from left to right and looking for spouts or blows or sudden puffs or misty sprays. That can help you isolate an area that has a whale that may breach or fluke. Once you do find one, you’ll probably see it again in about five minutes as the whale makes his way through the water at 5 m.p.h. Keep in mind the seasons, whales are going north in the spring and south in the winter.

Are you ready for some great whale watching this spring and summer? Make it even easier by staying at Whale Cove Inn where you can watch the whales right from your suite or from any of our common areas or grounds!

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