Whale Watch Week is quickly approaching and it’s also one of the most significant Oregon Coast attractions that happen in the last week of December. Whether you’re with your family for the holidays or are traveling to Gearhart by the Sea for the Pacific Basketball League Tournaments, there’s no better time for whale watching in Oregon. The migration happens twice a year, once beginning in mid-December and again nearing the end of March.
During winter, 20,000 Pacific Gray Whales traverse along the coastal shores from the chilly Arctic Ocean to the warm lagoons of Mexico for breeding and to give birth to a single calf. Whales can be spotted from mid-December through early February throughout the southern migration. During spring, the northern movement begins first with the males migrating in March. Nearing May, females and their newborn swim at a slower rate and closer to shore to protect their young and can be easily spotted along the Oregon Coast.
How to Spot a Pacific Gray Whale
Did you know that an adult gray whale can grow to be the length of a school bus and can weigh as much as 35-tons? While these beautiful mammals can be spotted year-round, there are two times out of the year that guarantee a better chance for whale watching in Oregon. During migration, you may be able to smell their breath and hear their spout blow from the shore alone. Scanning the water back and forth for what looks like a plume of smoke is the best way to spot a whale. Having binoculars or a camera handy to zoom in on the area where you see the whale’s vapor will be the best way to observe as many other whale exhales will follow.
Pacific Gray Whales blow their spout approximately every five minutes and up to three or four times in 100-yard intervals. If you’re lucky and you happen to see the tail fin out of the water, this means the whale is preparing to do a deep dive for up to ten minutes. The best chance for whale watching in Oregon happens on a clear morning with calm waters, so be sure to check the weather before heading to your designated observation point!
Best Spots for Watching in Oregon
Whale Watch Week features 24 designated locations with staffed volunteers to help you spot the majestic creatures. During your stay, you’ll be centrally located two prime whale watching points, and both are approximately ten miles from Gearhart, Oregon. Ecola State Park is on the north end of Cannon Beach and has the perfect vantage points with volunteers at the park to help you spot the whales. Another whale watching destination that offers guidance from volunteers is Fort Stevens State Park, which is approximately 10 miles north of Gearhart, Oregon.
Gearhart by the Sea
Whether you visit during Whale Watch Week in December or at the end of March in spring, whale watching in Oregon will be a fantastic experience to check off on your bucket list. While checking out the Oregon Coast attractions outdoors during winter and spring, be sure to dress warmly as the coastal shores tend to create brisk winds that bring an extra chill. Gearhart by the Sea features accommodations with oceanfront views where you can view the Pacific Gray Whale migration from the comfort of your stay. Book your vacation during October and May and receive an additional 30% discount, see the terms on our Specials page on our website. Please give us a call at 1-800-547-0115.