Best Time To See Oregon Whales

One of our resident gray whales off Depoe Bay
Resident gray whale feeding off Depoe Bay

Best Time To See Whales in Oregon

What is the best time of the year to see whales? Folks seem to think that the best time is during the annual migrations. Contrary to that popular belief, the best time to see whales here in Depoe Bay is June through September. This is when our resident whales have returned and taken up residence. As summer approaches we see more of our resident gray whales arrive.

These resident whales are also known as the Pacific Coast Feeding Group. Gray whales move about and feed off the Oregon coast during the summer and fall months. They are still migratory animals, but this group makes a shorter migration route if they find adequate food sources.

During the spring migration is when the whales move closer to shore and will stop to feed. The best time of day are mornings before the wind starts to blow, during the afternoon it can get windy, which tends to blow the spouts down making it hard for people to see them. The most popular trip is the 1 1/2 hour at 10:00am or 12:00pm. This is when the ocean is usually calmer and a more enjoyable ride.

From mid-March to the end of May we have gray whales migrating from Mexico to Alaska. These whales are usually about 1-3 miles offshore and mothers and calves are right next to shore.

From June through September we have our resident gray whales. This is the best time to see gray whales. They are right next to shore feeding (within 1/2 mile) and stay off Depoe Bay for months at a time. These whales do not make the trip to Alaska and make the Oregon coast their feeding area.

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