DEPOE BAY, Ore. — As thousands of gray whales migrate north along the Oregon coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department has announced the return of "Spring Whale Watch Week."
The event returns to state parks along the Oregon coast from March 21 through 29 as more than 25,000 gray whales head back north for the summer.
"Gray whales migrate north along the coast annually during spring, following a route to Alaskan waters after spending the winter in the warm lagoons off the coast of Baja, Mexico," Oregon Parks said. "Many of the Gray whales will be accompanied by their new calves, born during the winter. The first large groups of whales swim by Oregon mid-March and the migratory stream typically continues into June."
Trained volunteers for Oregon Parks will be stationed between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day at some of best whale watching sites on the coast, ready to help visitors spot the whales and to answer questions about the animals. A map of the whale watching sites is available online on the official whale watch webpage on the Oregon State Parks website.
Unfortunately not all sites will be staffed by volunteers or park rangers this year due to low volunteer turnout, Oregon Parks said. It's best to check the whale watch page before heading to a spot to look for whales.
Whale spotters can also visit the newly-renovated Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay. It will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center features interactive whale exhibits and panoramic ocean views.
A livestream from Depoe Bay will be back this spring as well, you watch it on the Oregon State Parks YouTube channel each day during the event, or catch the archived streams throughout the week.
"In light of the evolving COVID-19 situation, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is prioritizing visitor health and will not provide shared binoculars at viewing sites," Oregon Parks said. "Visitors are encouraged to stay home if they are feeling sick."
More information about the agency’s response to COVID-19 can be found on the official FAQ page on the Oregon State Parks website.
You can also check out all the parks and campgrounds along the coast at the State Parks website.