view from cape mears state scenic lookout with a text overlay saying Whale watching at oregon state parks

Discover Oregon State Parks: A Haven for Whale Watching Enthusiasts

Uncover the beauty of Oregon State Parks, offering diverse terrains and excellent whale-watching opportunities along the Pacific Coast. Learn about the remarkable gray whales and their annual migration journey.

What is it that draws you to Oregon State Parks? 

This coastal gem boasts both wild adventure and peaceful tranquility. With its rugged mountain ranges, towering volcanoes, lush evergreen forests, and glistening lakes, Oregon's diverse terrain remains no secret.  

But did you know that Oregon is also home to more than 20 parks and viewpoints providing extraordinary opportunities for observing majestic whales along the Pacific Coast?  

If getting a glimpse of these magnificent creatures is on your bucket list, you’ll want to keep reading! 

Encounter the Grace of Gray Whales

Observe the immense grace of adult gray whales, massive mammals that can reach up to 39 feet long and weigh, on average, 60,000 pounds. These naturally curious animals embark on one of the world's longest migrations, covering an astonishing 10,000 to 14,000 miles round-trip annually.

While gray whales can be spotted along the Oregon coast throughout the entire year, the peak viewing occurs during their migration. From mid-December through mid-January, approximately 20,000 gray whales travel south from Alaska to Mexico. 

Later, from late March to May, they return to Alaska, often accompanied by their calves. Even during the summer months, around 200 resident whales can be seen feeding near the shore.

Explore More Marine Wonders

Glimpsing humpback whales, porpoises, dolphins, orcas, and even blue whales from various vantage points along Oregon's coast is not uncommon.

The Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center  sits along the central coast and is managed by Oregon State Park staff and volunteers. It is an excellent place to learn more about whale spotting and the beautiful creatures themselves! 

Whale Watching Weeks at Oregon State Parks

Visitors are encouraged to attend Whale Watch Weeks in March and December as the gray whales make their way north and south along their migration journey.

During these special weeks, volunteers and state park staff eagerly await visitors. They'll help you view majestic gray whales at the following parks and designated viewing areas. 

  • Harris Beach State Park
  • Cape Foulweather
  • Battle Rock Wayside Park
  • Cook's Chasm Turnout
  • Neahkahnie Mountain Historic Marker
  • Shore Acres State Park 
  • The Inn at Spanish Head
  • Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
  • Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint
  • The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
  • Devil's Punchbowl State Natural Area
  • Don Davis Park
  • Sea Lions Cave Turnout
  • Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
  • Cape Lookout State Park
  • Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint
  • Ecola State Park 
  • Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint
  • Fort Stevens State Park 
  • Cape Ferrelo Viewpoint
  • Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint

Whether you visit during Whale Watch Weeks or any other time of the year, these Oregon State Parks and viewpoints offer prime locations for enchanting whale watching along the Pacific Coast.

Treasured Wildlife Encounters

When you think of viewing wildlife, thoughts of common critters like deer, squirrels and birds might come to mind—but perhaps not whales, which is why these Oregon State Parks and natural areas are so unique and precious. 

To immortalize your whale-watching adventure, don't forget to bring an Oregon State Parks Bucket Journal. Record every detail of your trip, from the best viewpoints to the number of whales spotted at each park.

While not every park and viewpoint is listed in this bucket journal, it leaves room for you to add your own Oregon stops, complementing the more than 150 park and recreation area pages from all across the state.  

Share Your Whale-Watching Tale

Have you ever embarked on a whale-watching journey in Oregon or elsewhere? We'd love to hear about your experiences! Share your unforgettable encounters in the comments below.

view from cape mears state scenic lookout with a text overlay saying Whale watching at oregon state parks

Back to blog