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Rough 'n Wild Nature Just Steps Away from Depoe Bay's Downtown, Central Oregon Coast

Published 05/15/22 at 5:35 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Rough 'n Wild Nature Just Steps Away from Depoe Bay's Downtown, Central Oregon Coast

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(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – Perhaps the most bustling part of this central Oregon coast town, there's still plenty of opportunity to press the slow button and simply chill, taking in the relaxed pace of the waves. Depoe Bay's waterfront and seawall are a unique combination of high-paced foot and vehicle traffic mixed with mellow sea vibes. (All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Actually, even the sea is hardly ever mellow.

The main attraction is essentially known as the State Park, but mostly referred to as the seawall, and it's here where the spouting horn will wow you with its enormous power and propensity for pounding you. Under the right tidal conditions, fissures in the rocks below the seawall will squeeze the water into one giant whoosh, firing seawater high into the air. Occasionally you'll catch the delightfully surreal sight of spouting horns shooting high enough to soak cars on the highway. Be prepared to get doused if you're parked near them and venture outside your car.


Here, the Whale Watching Center acts as the centerpiece to the area, a large lighthouse-looking building which sports some pretty nifty viewing areas and comes with volunteers helping you spot the many cetaceans that reside here year-round. It's back open as of this month, after two longs years of being shuttered during COVID. Watching the boats exit the bay and whale watching are the big pastime here.

The center was for many years an outlet of the Made in Oregon franchise stores, then for a short while was the Oregon Coast Aquarium Store, which came with binoculars to let you watch the happenings of the bay. It sold a variety of maritime and beach swag, all helping to fund the aquarium down in Newport.


Out the Whale Watching Center, the stone walls here create more fantastic places to watch great beasts or great ships, or maybe just a good Oregon coast storm.

You'll find another viewing area just below the bridge, on the seaward side of the highway. From there, the walkway wanders beneath the bridge to the bay and the landward side of 101. This is a better option for crossing the street since 101 here is usually a madhouse of car traffic, but it's also a pleasant walk which can yield its own surprises.

This area is lighted at night and can really come to life in its own way then.

At the bay, you'll find yourself amid the hustle and bustle of the various attractions as well as the businesses and boats that make their living here. Seals and gulls often take up residence in the bay, and if you're lucky, you might spot a wild seal doing tricks for scraps of food provided by one of the fish cutting stations just beneath the viewing platforms.

The bay here is known as the world's smallest navigable harbor, although there is technically no official designation of that.

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