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Winter Whale Watch Week returns to the Oregon Coast Dec. 27-31

Written by on December 8, 2023

OREGON COAST, Oregon — Oregon State Parks will once again host Winter Whale Watch Week at 15 sites along the Oregon Coast Wednesday, Dec. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023.

Every year thousands of gray whales migrate south through Oregon’s waters at the end of December, and state parks invites visitors to the coast to see their journey. 

Trained volunteers will be stationed at 15 sites to help visitors spot whales, share information and answer questions from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. Volunteer opportunities are still available along the north and south coast if you register by Dec. 11 at

The Whale Watch Week sites are some of the best places to spot whales on the Oregon Coast. 

“We are excitedly waiting for the migration of the gray whales to come down from Alaska,” said Park Ranger Peter McBride.

“We really enjoy sharing the experience with visitors,” he said, “It’s been a tradition at Oregon State Parks for more than 40 years.”

A map of volunteer-staffed sites is available online on the official event webpage:

An estimated 14,500 gray whales swam past Oregon’s shores last winter, according to the most recent population estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The journey is part of their annual migration south to the calving lagoons near Baja, Mexico, and the end of December is the peak time to see their migration south. 

The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Visitors to the center can enjoy interactive whale exhibits and take in the panoramic ocean views. Binoculars are provided. Rangers from Oregon State Parks will also be on hand to answer questions about whales.

All Whale Watch Week visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather, to bring binoculars and to follow beach safety guidelines such as remaining out of fenced areas, knowing the tide schedule and keeping an eye on the surf at all times. Go to for a list of safety tips.

For more information about coast parks and campgrounds, visit

Visitors are encouraged to share their photos and videos from Winter Whale Watch on social media using #OregonStateParks and #ORWhaleWatch23.

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