Oregon Coast Beach Connection - lodging, dining, news, events and more

Central Oregon Coast Brings Out Whales Last Week of August


Covering 180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.


Secrets of the Season

Central Oregon Coast Brings Out Whales Last Week of August

Killer whale surfacing near Florence (photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)

(Depoe Bay, Oregon) - To the whales lingering around the Oregon coast and the Washington coast, the region is probably just a pit stop for a few million bites of phytoplankton. But to thousands of visitors to this section of the United States, the two coasts mean the biggest panoramic theater to nature’s gargantuan cetacean show.

Gray whales are plentiful in the region all summer and fall, but the central Oregon coast will make a point of it with a special whale watch week, held August 27 – September 3. Unlike the usual Whale Watch Weeks, which have volunteers up and down the entire coast at almost 30 different high vantage points, the Summer Whale Watch Week is limited to three spots on the central coast.

Cape Foulweather

They will be at Yaquina Head, Boiler Bay and the Whale Watch Spoken Here headquarters at Depoe Bay for that week. For these seven days, volunteers will be stationed at overlooks and parks all over the central coast, helping both children and adults learn about - and spot – gray whales in the ocean. Trained volunteers will be ready and waiting at those sites, daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.

20 gorgeous homes sleep up to 18; doubled that with some side-by-side homes. Some pet friendly. Cottages to massive homes; new oceanfront to renovated historic beach houses. All over central coast w/ Lincoln City, Otter Rock, Boiler Bay and Nye Beach. Long list of features, including barbecues, large decks, antique furnishings, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, hardwood floors, Jacuzzis and hot tubs. Most have movies, music, books. Gift basket w/ goodies in each

It all started four years ago, when volunteers at the program wanted to celebrate its 25th year of existence. Newport’s Yaquina Head hosted the first one, said Whale Watch Center interpreter Linda Taylor.

“The volunteer who started it is no longer with us, but he insisted they continue it and that they add Boiler Bay,” Taylor said.

Boiler Bay, one of three official whale watch sites on the central coast

The current incarnation of this summer whale festival has more to do with spotlighting what is already there all summer and fall, and take advantage of those engaged in a last minute summer fling at the coast.

“It’s the last week of summer, so we take advantage of that and hold this for those who are out on the coast, and about ready to head back to work or school,” Taylor said. “Whales are really at their peak all summer long and in the fall.”

Taylor said the whales are loitering around these waters of the northwest, not really going anywhere – just here to grab a meal. “They go wherever the food is,” she said.

A1 Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses – from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces, beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers. Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.

The peak migration seasons see some 18,000 of the cetaceans cruising either north or south – depending on the time of year. But Taylor said there are no statistics on how many are spotted along this coast from week to week.

Depoe Bay and its spouting horn, near the Whale Watch Center HQ

“It changes all the time,” Taylor said. “It differs from week to week how many whales are around here. So there aren’t any statistics on that.”

The central Oregon coast towns of Newport and Depoe Bay are the ticket to some of the best seats in the house in many ways – and for the entire season.

Both towns have the three official whale watching sites, as well as a plethora of whale watch vantage points and cruises, and two aquarium centers with loads of whale information.

Whale doing a spyhop (photo Lisa Judah-Altice)

In Newport, aside from the official site of Yaquina Head, other fantastic vantage points include: Don Davis State Park, in the historic Nye Beach neighborhood, and Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and Yaquina Bay each have their own lighthouse, while the Yaquina Head area has tide pools and an interpretive center. Other wonderful sites are a short drive away: the Depoe Bay Sea Wall, Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, Cape Foulweather and the Devil's Punchbowl State Natural Area.

Newly renovated, 30 upscale rooms, on north end of Lincoln City, close to everything. Spa-like feeling, w/ luxury linens & robes, pillow top mattresses, flat screen TV's, granite counters and more all add to pampering. Oceanfront and ocean view units w/ gas fireplace. Hot Tub units. Romance packages. Luxury Room for every budget: meeting and wedding spaces too. Also of great aide to tourists looking to spot the great beasts: this time of year means less winds and clearer skies. Less winds mean smaller waves, so the whales are much easier to spot. You can be looking at an area chock full of them, but if the waves are too choppy and big, they’re hidden behind the movement of the ocean. Clearer conditions also mean unobstructed viewing, while sunnier days make the ocean a deeper blue, making the contrast between the waves and the color of the whales easier to distinguish.

Whale surfacing (photo Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)

September and early October bring the best weather of the entire year to the Oregon coast. It’s called “second summer,” actually, and it’s where the temperatures are at their warmest for a variety of scientific reasons.

STARFISH POINT Newport - Offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. Every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks. Friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com

Keith Chandler, with the Seaside Aquarium, said he sees more whales at this time of year than any other. “It’s not that there’s more whales out there. It’s just that the conditions are better to spot them.”

Visitors can learn even more with a healthy dose of fun by heading to Newport’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, which offers storytelling, interpretive programs and other events during the Whale Watch Weeks. While they’re there, they can meet the resident giant pacific octopus, Reuben, learn at the touch pool, shop the marine-centric bookstore or take a walk on the estuary trail (http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/visitor/).

Clifftops near Florence: also incredible viewpoints for whale watching

For most people, however, seeing a spout from a distance only whets their appetite for more. Visitors can see a whale up close by simply purchasing a spot on the deck of a charter boat. They come in all shapes and sizes in Newport, which is home to the largest charter and fishing fleet on the Oregon coast. Weather permitting, these seasoned captains can get visitors closer to nature than you’ve ever been before — and nothing compares to the shine on a whale’s fluke, massive and jaw-dropping, 100 feet away.

The Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun (nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies. 888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.theoceanlodge.com

Newport's Nye Beach

Whales are just the beginning of Newport’s family-friendly attractions. Get up close to another of the coast’s most protected inhabitants, the Snowy Plover, at a new exhibit at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Since beach walkers are advised to stay far away from these birds and their nests on the beach, this sandy dune enclosure may be the closest you can ever get to this shy bird.

Visit the sea otters, the murres and the crustaceans at this favorite Newport destination, or check out many of its spring break events (www.aquarium.org).

After all that education, find some recreation at Newport’s vibrant Bayfront, complete with fishing boats, restaurants, galleries, candy stores, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Undersea Gardens (www.marinersquare.com).

Also, take a historic turn in Nye Beach, where upscale shops and cafes exude a new attitude. It’s here where Don Davis State Park sits, but there are numerous high vantage points bordering the neighborhood’s cobbled streets from which to view passing whales as well. Try the end of NW 3rd St., next to Sylvia Beach Hotel and Village Market & Deli, or the bottom of NW 11th, where the castle ruin-like remnants of a condo provide prime viewing from high up.

View from Cape Lookout

Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.See www.whalespoken.org for more. Or for more information on Newport’s attractions and lodging opportunities, head to DiscoverNewport.com, or call 800-262-7844.

Whales will be plentiful up and down the entire coast for not just that week but through until October. Other fantastic places to spot them include the high overlooks just south of Cannon Beach, the overlook above Manzanita, the Three Capes Loop near Tillamook and its variety of high spots (Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and a variety of spots in between), Seal Rock (just south of Newport), the Devil's Churn (south of Yachats), plus a variety of high vantage clifftops between there and Florence.

D Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River. Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players; movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa, and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com. 171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.

Weiss' Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside

Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites, 1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people. Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway St.
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families. All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com

Lincoln City Vacation Homes Something for everyone: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces, multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs, cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes – ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.

Arch Cape Property Services. Dozens of homes in that dreamy, rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the sea.
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces, decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com 866-436-1607.

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck. Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

Inn at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms. Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly. Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.


Feed the seals! One of the oldest aquariums in the U.S. is here in Seaside, Oregon, right on the PromenadePrepare for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they run across your feet

Watching Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping sights

Structures Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug Point

Day or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major opportunities

Oregon Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports - Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings, along with weekly lodging availability reports

Back to Oregon Coast Beach Connection


oregon coast weather
oregon coast mileage chart & map
day trips, suggested itineraries
Oregon Coast Lodging Specials
Search BeachConnection.net's 1,000 pages
Oregon Coast Real Estate
Oregon Coast Pictures
Atypical Things to Do
Oregon Coast Camping
Seaside, Oregon Lodging
Cannon Beach, Oregon Lodging
Lincoln City Lodging
Depoe Bay Lodging
Cannon Beach Complete Guide
Lincoln City Complete Guide
Seaside, Oregon Complete Guide

Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history

The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches

A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca

Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway

Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town

The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City

Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses

Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks

Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale

25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders

A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes

For over 80 years a favorite of Seaside visitors. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bed family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. Oceanview cottages sleep anywhere from two to eight, w/ two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens. Heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds w/ picnic tables - all at quiet southern end of Seaside.

oregon coast lighthouses on dvd

Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss

17 lavish, beachfront suites feature Jacuzzi or outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace, luxury robes & linens, TV, two-headed showers. Three large suites have kitchens. Private deck w/ BBQ available. No smoking or pets. Perfect for romantic getaway, honeymoon.