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Four Unheralded, Wowing Wonders of Depoe Bay: Central Oregon Coast

Published 01/24/2020 at 4:50 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Four Unheralded, Wowing Wonders of Depoe Bay: Central Oregon Coast

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(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – When it comes to surprises and the mind-blowing, Depoe Bay just does not quit. There’s so much to this little town you couldn’t explore it all in one day, and yet most of its truly amazing aspects lie just below the obvious.

Here’s four fun facts about the little Oregon coast hotspot that you probably don’t know.

No Sandy Beaches But… Depoe Bay is sometimes a bit of the red-headed stepchild of Oregon coast towns because – paradoxically – of its most awe-inspiring aspect. Within the town itself there are no real sandy beaches, so it gets passed by a bit with some even (naively) decrying this lack of strands. Cue the eye roll. This is actually what makes it one of the more unique places in the state, this little burgh without a beach.

Instead what you get is a constant wild wave drama, often even in calmer conditions. Nevermind the obvious of its fiery spouting horn, those rocky shelves give the incoming tides nothing but anger fits and they usually don’t merely lap at the basalt - they smack it with varying degrees of intensity. It also makes for a much better crashing sound at night in your oceanfront hotel room, filled with the occasional slap and splatter of extra ocean water that follows the initial wallop.

If you want a real tumultuous show, head a bit south to Rodea Point, where even in mostly calm conditions it puts on a crazed, untamed display. It takes extremely calm tides for this place to quiet down.

Insider’s Tip: Because of this opinion held by many, Depoe Bay is often the place that sells out of motel rooms the last in the area, with Lincoln City and Newport on either side filling up first.

Year-Round Whale Dynamics. True, this is one of the best known facets of Depoe Bay, but there are some hidden tidbits about the whales here you don’t know.

Along the west coast of the U.S. (and Canada and Mexico) there are some 20,000 whales. Out of those, some 75 “resident” whales reside in the Depoe Bay area at any one time, though the group shifts and changes members throughout the year. It’s these that come close in. For even more on these kinds of surprises, see the Depoe Bay book.

You really will spot more whales in this town, thanks to the dynamics of them coming in closer than just about anywhere along the coast. It’s the mysid shrimp they’re after, which live on the bull kelp that cover these reefs.

That funky, rocky arm that juts out in view of the downtown area? That’s a hidden spot called North Point, and it’s an excellent place for whale watching. Oregon Coast Beach Connection personnel have been there on several occasions over the last decade or two when a whale has been exceptionally close. They love to check you out as well.

Insider’s Tip: those whale watch tours running out of Depoe Bay and Newport are truly the best way to spot whales. They take you a bit farther other out to sea where your chances of seeing one greatly increase. It’s not uncommon to see two or more and have a great close encounter on just one trip.

Wildlife Wows of the Harbor. One thing you’ll want to do while in this comely little Oregon coast village is take a gander at the bay itself. Sometimes – not always – you’ll get to see seals cavorting around here in amusing ways. While you’re hanging out along the town’s many curio shops and eateries, pop your head down that way every once in awhile. Besides the fact that watching the boat activity can be a bit of a kick, the seals wandering in and out can be adorable. If you’re lucky, you may get to witness a fisherman cutting up his catch and throwing morsels to the little barking beasties.

Varied Viewpoints You Don’t Know. This town is chock full of incredible viewpoints, many quite secret, or at least underutilized.

There’s the southern side of the bridge, where a grassy lawn next to Mazatlan Restaurant gets you really close to the bay mouth. Close to that is a little secret viewpoint just behind the Depoe Bay Visitor Center. Just down the street there’s Depoe Bay Scenic View Area (there’s paradoxically two by that name). Then there are these four incredible spots around the central Oregon coast town.

There’s simply too many to mention: click on the links, or get the full scoop in the Depoe Bay book. Hotels in Depoe Bay - Where to eat - Depoe Bay Maps and Virtual Tours


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