Depoe Bay is a town on the Central Oregon Coast, famous as the smallest navigable harbor in the world, and as the "whale-watching capital of the world." Lots of research going on, mostly connected to Oregon State University's oceanography department.
Depoe Bay is relatively easy to get to. If you are coming from the south on Hwy 101, continue past Newport for 27 miles. For travellers starting in Corvallis, for instance, head west on Hwy 34 and continue to Newport; turn north onto Hwy 101, again for 27 miles. Hwy 101 is renowned as the major Oregon/California coast highway.
Drive (slowly) if you must, but the best way to see everything is to walk. Plenty parking.
Whale-watching is a very popular thing these days with about 95 percent of Oregonians/world travellers watching whales from this town. Depoe Bay really is preferred by the grey whales for showing themselves (and showing off) more than anywhere else. For extraordinary views of the Pacific Ocean in general, there are several other lookout points in town as well. Many miles of accessible beach at Depoe Bay; check the weather for suitable activities.
Head to the beach, after checking the wave/weather situation. The Chamber of Commerce has the latest information on whom to contact, businesses, phone numbers, etc. (Located: 70 N. Hwy 101; phone: 541-765-2889)(as of 07-03-09).
Watch the waves crash into the rocks from lookout points, most on Hwy 101.
Ride Whale Research EcoExcursions, featuring Zodiac (rigid-hull inflatable boats) tours, Depoe Bay, run by Carrie Newell (Gray whale expert who has worked with the Cousteau family). Phone: 541-912-6734, previous day or early a.m. if weather questionable, for schedules and dock number. Trips available throughout the day during the season (through mid-October.)
(Bay entry is at north end of the bridge for all ocean-going.)
Dockside Charters. P.O. Box 1308, Depoe Bay, OR 97341. Phone: 541-765-2545; toll-free: 1-800-733-8915. Wooden boats, sightseeing, fishing, one daily (early a.m.) Zodiac (rubber raft) tour. Check early a.m. for schedules/availability (as of 07-03-09).
Charterboat Reel Nauti. P.O. Box 492, Depoe Bay, OR 95341. Phone: 541-921-1628.
Tradewinds Charters. Highway 101, 'north end of bridge,' Depoe Bay, OR 97341. Phone: 541-765-2345; toll-free: 1-800-445-8730.
There are numerous stores in Depoe Bay, especially lining Hwy 101. Retailers offer country decor, surfing items, coffee drinks, restaurant/cafe specialities, etc.; other small private venues showcase the local craftspersons, with many unique items available.
Salt water taffy
Chowder Bowl, 40 South Highway 101, Phone: 541-765-2300.
Gracie's Sea Hag Restaurant/Lounge, 58 NE Highway 101, Phone: 541-765-2734.