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Oregon Coast Travel and Entertainment: Newport the Center of Whale Watch Tourism on Oregon Coast


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, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.


Secrets of the Season

Newport the Center of Whale Watch Tourism on Oregon Coast

Whales off the Oregon coast

(Newport, Oregon) – You could say, “Seein’ is Baleen in Newport” these days.

It’s no fluke that Oregon State Parks schedules its annual Winter Whale Watch for the week after Christmas. This year it’s set for Dec. 26, 2006, to Jan. 1, 2007 - a week when both gray whales and the people who love them are on the move. For these seven days, volunteers will be stationed at overlooks and parks all over the central coast, helping both children and adults learn about gray whales and how to spot them in the ocean.

Newport's Nye Beach

Newport is right in the middle of it all this cetacean-sized swell of activity, with two official whale watching sites, a plethora of whale watch vantage points and cruises, and two major aquarium centers with loads of whale information.

Inn At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. It's 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. Enjoy dining in the penthouse restaurant and bar - whether you’re in the mood for a casual meal or a candlelight dinner. They offer an array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including a decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to one-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Hotel amenities include wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and a year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference and meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive, gorgeous wedding possibilities. Near the south end of Lincoln City at 4009 SW Highway 101. 1-800-452-8127 or 541-996-2161. www.spanishhead.com

Visitors can make Newport their base of operations with ready access to two Whale Watching Spoken Here sites: Don Davis State Park, in the historic Nye Beach neighborhood, and Yaquina Bay Outstanding Natural Area. The latter also features a lighthouse, tide pools and an interpretive center. Two other official sites, Boiler Bay State Park and the state’s Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, are a short drive away. Trained volunteers will be ready and waiting at those sites, daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

The state’s program takes place at the peak of the southbound migration of gray whales. Marine mammologists estimate that 18,000 whales pass by between mid-December and mid-January, as they head south from the Arctic to the Baja lagoons of Mexico. With a little help from a volunteer, you can watch them in transit, some just off shore (www.whalespoken.org).

To learn more, head to another of Newport’s gems: Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center, which offers storytelling, interpretive programs and other events during Whale Watch Weeks. While you’re there, 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/).

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach

If expansive ocean views, close proximity to golfing, fishing tours and quick access to seven miles of pristine beaches is your thing, then this quintessential beauty in Rockaway Beach is your ticket to vacation fun for families, couples or large groups. Some rooms are pet friendly. All rooms at the Tradewinds Motel are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones with data ports. The oceanfronts all have a queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and a private deck. Some oceanfront units come with all those amenities but the kitchens. Both types sleep up to four people. The non-oceanfront rooms are appointed with a queen bed, small fridge, and coffee maker – sizable for a two-person romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. There is an elaborate oceanfront Jacuzzi suite that has two bedrooms, coming with a kitchen, double hide-a-bed, fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For those wanting bigger accommodations for family reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect to create two-room and three-room suites. 523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

For most people, however, seeing a spout from a distance only whets their appetite. Visitors can see a whale up close by simply buying 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 they’ve ever been before — and nothing compares to the shine on a whale’s fluke, massive and jaw-dropping, 100 feet away.

Whales emerging off the coast

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 (www.aquarium.org).

Jump Off Joe in Newport, at the bottom of NW 11th

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 vantage points

For more information on Newport’s attractions and lodging opportunities, head to www.newportchamber.org, or call 800-262-7844.



THE TIDES BY THE SEA, Seaside. For over 80 years, The Tides has been a favorite of Seaside visitors. History meets modern luxury here. 51 oceanfront condos, individually owned and decorated. Find suites for couples, small apartments with fireplaces and kitchenettes, one or two bedroom family units with fireplaces, kitchens and dining rooms. There are wonderful oceanview cottages that sleep anywhere from two to eight people, with two bedrooms, some with lofts, fireplaces and kitchens.
Meanwhile, the heated outdoor pool, enormous grounds with picnic tables and location at the quiet southern end of Seaside make for some memorable means of play and repose. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.



STARFISH POINT is located on the Central Oregon Coast - in Newport - and offers only the finest in luxury condominium lodging. At Starfish Point, every unit is focused on the beauty of the sea and the beach.
All of the units boast two bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer kitchens, wireless broadband Internet, fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s and private decks - surrounding you in soothing relaxation. We have a friendly staff dedicated to high quality and superb customer service. 140 NW 48th Street, Newport. (541) 265-3751. (800) 870-7795. www.starfishpoint.com


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 our entire property for 20-26. All units 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. Enjoy comfy robes & slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens and more. See us on The Travel Channel's "Great Escapes" show in August 2006. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com


D Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Getting a free, fresh baked cookie upon check-in is just the beginning. Every room is beachfront, and it's all right up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach, next to the D River. Each room, comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and balcony or patio. Some have gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players with movies available for renting (and movie rentals come with free popcorn). There's a heated indoor pool, a spa, and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep anywhere from two, four to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates are available, and they offer special occasion packages as well. To make a reservation and see a virtual tour of the rooms, visit our website at www.dsandsmotel.com. 171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.


Lincoln City Vacation Homes There’s something for everyone among this selection of wondrous homes: smaller homes with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All the homes are either oceanfront or just a few steps away from the sand – 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, depending on the home: 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 are allowed in some homes – ask ahead. Each comes with complete kitchens so you’ll have a home away from home. Most have the seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230 per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com. 541-994-8778.



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