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Whale Watch Week Nixed But Plenty of Whales on Oregon Coast, Washington

Published 03/13/21 at 2:11 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

No Whale Watch Week But Plenty of Whales on Oregon Coast

(Oregon Coast) – To paraphrase that famous line from the movie Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home: “Captain, there still be whales out here.”

Even with the usual spring Whale Watch Week canceled due to the pandemic, the whales will still be migrating past in great numbers on the Oregon and Washington coast. While Washington has no official whale watching program like this coastline, right now neither does Oregon.

Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) manages the Whale Watch Week and coordinates the volunteers who sit atop high vantage points from Brookings to Cannon Beach, helping visitors catch sight of the great cetaceans wandering past. OPRD isn’t happy to shut the whole thing down for the second year in a row, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy looking for the beasties yourself.

Around 25,000 whales are expected to wander past the Oregon coast and Washington coast from March through June. In fact, one little secret not often spoken is that heavy migration does not end with the traditional Whale Watch Week. Their numbers are usually pretty thick through April at least.

Just make sure you follow state COVID-19 guidelines for safe travel and social distancing, said OPRD director Lisa Sumption. She is urging the public to come and explore, but respect the communities they’re visiting.

“Please, wear face coverings and give plenty of space to other visitors,” she said. “If a park is crowded, consider visiting another whale watching site or returning later.”

The vast majority of state park sites usually utilized for Whale Watch Week are open, and the agency has listed those on its website.

However, there are many more areas where finding whales could be just as easy.

On the southern Oregon coast, Whale Watch Week sites are few and far between. Now, with no volunteers at them, any other elevated areas will be just as prolific: such as the viewpoint next to Meyers Beach, Harris Beach State Park, Simpsons Reef near Coos Bay, or Blacklock Point near Port Orford.

On the northern half, other hotspots not listed by state parks include Heceta Head, the high viewpoint just south of Yachats, many areas around Boiler Bay, Winema Viewpoint near Neskowin, and the overlooks just south of Cannon Beach, among others. In Lincoln City, the official Whale Watch site was always been the top floor of Inn at Spanish Head, but that won’t be open to the general public. There are other high vantage points in town, including NW 21st and NW 26th.

OPRD advises before visiting a park you should check its status on the agency’s site. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Photos above courtesy OPRD




Photo above courtesy Seaside Aquarium: a whale offshore at Oceanside

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