We actually do have resident gray whales that may be seen throughout the year here, but the best times for migrating whale sightings are November through May. Gray whales are noted for their 12,000-mile annual migration from the Arctic Ocean to Mexico in the winter and their return north in the Spring. The reason for the migration south is to give birth to their young in the warm, calm bays of Mexico. They return north and spend the summer feeding in the Bering and Chukchi Seas (they seldom eat during migration). About 200 gray whales do not continue to Alaska but choose to stay along the Oregon Coast to feed.
Oregon State Park’s “Our Whale-Watching Spoken Here” programs focus on the peak times for gray whales migrating past our coastline, which occurs during Winter Break, (approximately December 26th – January 1st southbound) and Spring Break (approximately March 22nd – March 29th, northbound). We also watch whales during summer because some whales don’t migrate all the way to the Arctic. They stay and feed along the northwest coast until November when they rejoin the other whales migrating south to the Baja for mating and birthing.
Winter Whale Watch Week — December
Spring Whale Watch Week — March
For more information, visit the State Parks’ whalespoken.org
Whale-watching tours are available departing from Yaquina Bay or Depoe Bay. Sites at State Parks, overlooks, and lighthouses offer seasonal volunteer staff.
Marine Discovery Tours
345 SW Bay Boulevard