Depoe Bay, Oregon bills itself as the Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast, and for good reason. You can catch a whale charter to see the migration up close, or just to check out some of the resident whales that have set up near permanence.
Depoe Bay is also one of the best places to center yourself if you want to see the awesome fury of a Pacific Northwest storm. If you aren’t afraid of a little wind and rain, that is. Of course, you could just stay in a room with a view and be toasty warm, but much more fun is to be had by getting out in it.
My family recently got the chance to spend a weekend at Depoe Bay and was lucky enough to have booked when the strongest storm so far this year was coming in. A “room with a view” doesn’t adequately describe what we could see. Set back just a few yards from a rocky cliff 60 or so feet above the ocean, we virtually had backstage passes.
With swells forecast to be in the 25 to 30 foot range, the anticipation was high as we drove to Depoe Bay. The first day saw swells substantially smaller, but by the second day they were at least 25 ft. high.
From the room and the cliff top we could enjoy the show, but we had to get out in too. Actually, the rain and wind wasn’t as bad as it can be. There were quite a few sun breaks during the course of the day, as is often the case.
On the waterfront side of downtown Depoe Bay, beyond just the wonderful view, are the Spouting Horns. The Horns are actually two fissures in the volcanic rock forming the coastline next to town. When large waves crash into the Spouting Horns, huge volumes of water are forced into decreasingly small space. With nowhere to go, the water shoots up into the air.
The result can be dramatic, to say the least. I have seen the water come up so high it goes across Highway 101 and wet the shops on the far side.
Depoe Bay is also located close to other attractions and wonders. Just to the south is Cape Foulweather, with views that are better than postcard. Devil’s Punchbowl, Otter Crest, and the town of Newport are just down the road a little more.
Gleneden Beach, Lincoln City, and Cascade Head are just to the north. With a little proactive research a person can find views to astound and food to delight.
Storm watching on the Oregon Coast shouldn’t be missed. You can’t go wrong if you decide to make Depoe Bay, Oregon your base.