Whale Watch Week returns to the Oregon Coast

Oregon State Parks will host in-person viewing events Wednesday, Dec. 28-Sunday, Jan. 1.

Several people stand behind a railing overlooking the ocean.

Cape Meares Lighthouse is one of 17 locations where volunteers will help visitors see and learn about migrating whales.

Photo courtesy of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Spout it from the rooftops: Oregon State Parks will host Whale Watch Week — in person — along the coast for the first time since 2019.

Every year, thousands of migrating gray whales swim past Oregon’s shores on their way to warmer waters and calving lagoons off Mexico. Their numbers peak at the end of December when about 30 whales pass by any given spot every hour.

Oregon State Parks has designated 17 sites up and down the coast — a few of which are less than a two-hour drive from Portland — as prime places to spot flukes and telltale plumes of air.

Trained volunteers will be stationed at most of the sites from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day, Wednesday, Dec. 28-Sunday, Jan. 1, to answer questions and help visitors look for whales. Those eager to spy cetaceans can also stop by the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay (open 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday) for interactive whale exhibits, sweeping views of the sea, and knowledgeable park rangers.

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