gray whale oregon coast
A Gray Whale breaches off the Oregon coast. Photo / Courtesy of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

We love visiting the Oregon coast to go whale watching.  Each year up to 25,000 gray whales migrate past the Oregon coast in the winter and spring.  Now for the first time since the pandemic, Oregon State Parks will be hosting Whale Watch Week in person.

The 2022 Winter Whale Migration Past Oregon’s Shores

A cow and calf gray whale at Yaquina Head. Photo by US Department of the interior via Flickr CC2.

This December thousands of gray whales will be migrating south to the warm waters of Baja, Mexico, and there’s the potential for whale watchers to see up to 30 whales per hour.

The Oregon coast has a number of great spots to go whale watching, including 17 sites that will be staffed by trained volunteers during Whale Watch Week, a 40 year long tradition.  These volunteers can help novice whale watchers spot whales as they pass by, as well as answer questions about the migration.

Check out the map of the 17 sites where volunteers will be on staff to help you below:

Whale Watch Week takes place from December 28th, 2022 to January 1st, 2023.  During this time volunteers will be on hand at the above sites from 10 am – 1 pm each day.

Tips For Whale Watching In Oregon

If you’re planning on heading out to the coast for Whale Watch Week, we hope you’ll find the following tips helpful.

  • Bring a pair of binoculars for every person in your group.  When watching the water, look for whale spouts which can shoot up to 12 feet into the air.
  • Plan for inclement weather and dress accordingly.  Dress in warm layers, bring gloves and hats, and wear a waterproof outer layer.  The weather along the coast in Oregon can be unpredictable, wet, and chilly in winter months.
  • Follow all safety signs and stay out of areas that are fenced off.
A gray whale diving off the Oregon coast. The whale's tail is above the water.
A gray whale diving on the Oregon coast. Photo by Richard Gibbons via Flickr CC2.
  • If you’re going to be on the beach, don’t turn your back to the waves, be aware of when high tide is, and stay off of cliffs.
  • We recommend you bring something hot to drink in a thermos like hot chocolate, hot tea, or hot coffee to help you warm up.  Don’t forget to check out Oregon’s many delicious seafood restaurants while you’re at the coast!  A hot bowl of clam chowder is a great way to warm up after a day of whale watching.

Learn more about whale watching in Oregon with our guide here.



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