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Whale Watching Season

This fascinating migration is on its way! Here's what you need to know.

One of the most fascinating animal migrations happens in our backyard, the Pacific Ocean. Every year, approximately 18,000 gray whales make the long journey from Alaska to their breeding grounds in Mexico. It is the largest mammal migration on the planet. These enormous creatures travel up to 100 miles a day and normally within 5 miles of shore, which makes whale watching a treasure on the Oregon Coast attracting viewers from all over the world. We look forward to each Spring and Winter when they pass us by. Because they are traveling with their calves, they stay very close to shore to protect them from predators. You are likely to see their spouts, backs, and even tails in the distance. The higher you get, the better, so lunch at Fathom’s or a hike out on The Knoll might give you a show you won't forget.

Migration periods occur from mid-December through January as they travel south to warmer waters. Then from late February to June, they return back to their feeding grounds up north. This isn't to say you might see one of their massive spouts or breaches at other times during the year though, as some gray whales are considered 'resident' and don't stray far from our coastline.

A gray whale pops its head above the ocean water

For the ultimate whale lover experience, we happily suggest a short drive south to our neighbors in Depoe Bay. A ‘hotspot’ because whales love to hang out in their coves and feed, and that's where you might spot some year-round residents. You can watch from land on their long boardwalk or there are several charter companies for whale enthusiasts that are eager to get a much closer look. Typically you'd find volunteers with ‘Whales Spoken Here’ around the coast to educate you further on these amazing mammals.

If you decide to enthusiastically chase these whales on a scenic drive, be sure to check out our favorite spots to see them, like the Otter Crest Loop or Three Capes Scenic Loop.

two kids watch as a whale pops out of the water from the deck of a Dockside Charter whale watching boat
Photo taken on board of Dockside Charters in Depoe Bay
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