Seaside Stories

Where to Watch for Whales

December 17, 2017 | by Shellie Bailey-Shah

A volunteer assists those watching whales at an unknown location along the Oregon Coast.

It’s possible to see gray whales off the Oregon Coast year-round, but one of two peak periods occurs in late March, when some 20,000 whales travel north to their summer home in Alaska. During past spring Whale Watch Weeks, more than 1,800 great grays have been spotted along the Oregon Coast, drawing more than 20,000 visitors. Here’s what you need to know.

Peak Weeks

This year’s Spring Whale Watch Week is scheduled March 24-31, 2018, which also is spring break for many Oregon students. It’s the perfect time to plan an outing to the Coast with Seaside serving as your home base.

While there’s another Whale Watch Week each December, you’ll have a better chance of seeing whales in the spring. That’s because the whales stick closer to the shore to protect their young calves from predators in deeper waters. On this northbound migration, they also tend to travel slower, only four to five miles per hour.

Where to Go

You’ll find 24 designated “Whale Watching Spoken Here” locations along the Oregon Coast. The spot closest to Seaside is Ecola State Park, just a 15-minute drive south. Continue another 30 minutes south, and you’ll come to the next hub at the Neahkahnie Mountain Historic Marker along Highway 101 near Manzanita.

Or you can travel about an hour north to the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center on Cape Disappointment. At each location, helpful volunteers with binoculars stand at the ready; they’re experts in spotting these gentle giants.

Pro Tips

For the best viewing, head out in the early morning when the sun will be at your back. Watch for the spray from their blowholes, which usually occurs every few minutes.

What to bring? Binoculars and a camping chair. And remember to dress warmly, as you’ll likely be waiting in a brisk wind on a bluff high above the Pacific for your whales to appear.

While you should have no problem spotting these giants from shore, it’s also possible to see them by boat as well. The nearest charters to Seaside depart from Garibaldi.

and so much more!

Fall in Seaside

Experiencing the changing seasons in Seaside

Learn More
View from the Tower

View from the old Seaside Hotel tower.

Learn More
Beauty and the Beach (and a Photo Bomb)

The sundial in Seaside has been around since the 1940s - you can check it out on the promenade today.

Learn More
Paragliding on the North Coast

Adventure and fun with paragliding on Oregon

Learn More
How to Explore the Historic Gilbert District

While many visit Seaside to stroll the Prom, ride the carousel and load up on saltwater taffy, walk east on Broadway over the Neca...

Learn More
The Pull of Progress – Seaside in 1921

Postwar Seaside saw a boom in growth and development.

Learn More
Episode Two: the Lewis & Clark Salt Works

Join us on an audio walking tour of the Lewis & Clark Salt Works in Seaside, Oregon.

Learn More
A Tradition of Tea

Seaside has a 26 year tradition it loves to share with visitors. Those in town for the holiday season are invited to step back in ...

Learn More
How to Catch Your Dinner: Learning the joy of razor clamming in Seaside, Oregon

The way to dig for razor clams and what to do with them once you catch them in Seaside, Oregon...

Learn More
Seaside Nightlife

Above photo: A group enjoys some live music in a photo by Don Frank. Some visitors come to Seaside for the beach, some for the att...

Learn More
Northwest Travel Magazine: Best Eats on Oregon’s North Coast

Article on Best Eats on Oregon's North Coast

Learn More
Feel Like A Kid Again

Go ahead — take a vacation from adulthood with a trip to Seaside. We give you permission to feel like a kid again. Forgot how? H...

Learn More
Camping in Seaside

Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. One of my very favorite things to do during Memorial Day weekend is to go camping. I love setting up the tents, snuggling in a warm sleeping bag, sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows for s’mores, and smelling like a campfire all weekend. I love every bit of it! If you’ve never camped by the Pacific Ocean then you are missing out! You get to add the salty air, sandy beach, and all the benefits of being near Seaside to add to your camping experience.

Learn More
Grant’s Getaways: Paddling the Neawanna in Seaside

If our summer heat wave is getting the best of you – sapping your energy and leaving you feeling generally uncomfortable, perhap...

Learn More
How To Surf Seaside

Surfing in Oregon? Yes! The North Coast has some of the best breaks in the Pacific Northwest. And yes, the ocean is a bit nippy, b...

Learn More
Elevated View

The highest point in Seaside, Oregon in the 1920s.

Learn More
Episode Three: the Seaside Aquarium

Take the audio walking tour of Seaside

Learn More