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Spring Means Plentiful Whales Along Oregon Coast, Around Newport


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Secrets of the Season

Spring Means Plentiful Whales Along Oregon Coast, Around Newport

Whale emerging along Oregon coast

(Newport, Oregon) - To the whales passing by, the Oregon coast is probably just a pit stop for a few million bites of phytoplankton on the way to the Bering Sea. But to thousands of tourists to the area, the Oregon coast is the biggest panoramic theater to nature’s gargantuan cetacean show.

It’s the Spring Whale Watch Week along the Oregon coast, happening March 24 – 31, and the central Oregon coast town of Newport is the ticket to some of the best seats in the house. 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.

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.

Newport has three official whale watching sites, a few others close by, a plethora of whale watch vantage points and cruises, and two aquarium centers with loads of whale information.

Nye Beach, Newport

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, Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site and Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. The latter two each have their own lighthouse, while the Yaquina Head area has tide pools and an interpretive center. Four other official sites are a short drive away: the state’s Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay, the Depoe Bay Sea Wall, Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, Cape Foulweather and the Devil's Punchbowl State Natural Area. All are just a few miles to the north. Trained volunteers will be ready and waiting at those sites, daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 24 – 31.

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 March and June, as they head north to the Arctic and Alaska’s Bering Sea. According to Whale Watch Spoken Here officials, juveniles pass by first, followed by single adults. Last are the mothers and babies. Some of the whales come close to shore to feed on Oregon's great food supply.

With a little help from a volunteer, you can watch them in transit – especially those close by (see www.whalespoken.org).


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

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/).

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 they’ve ever been before — and nothing compares to the shine on a whale’s fluke, massive and jaw-dropping, 100 feet away.

Jump-Off Joe, a Newport landmark

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.


THE TIDES BY THE SEA, Seaside. 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. 2316 Beach Drive. 800-548-2846. www.thetidesbythesea.com.

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).

oregon coast lighthouses on dvdAfter 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.

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

Tradewinds Motel, Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s and in-room phones with data ports. Oceanfronts all have a queen bed, a double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and a 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 are pet friendly.523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938. www.tradewinds-motel.com

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.

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 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.

Inn At Spanish Head, Lincoln City. 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 the penthouse restaurant and bar - for a casual meal or a candlelight dinner. 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 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/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive, gorgeous wedding possibilities. 4009 SW Highway 101, Lincoln City. 1-800-452-8127 or 541-996-2161. www.spanishhead.com


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