Whale Watch Week on the Oregon Coast will run Dec. 28-Jan. 1. (Photo provided by Oregon State Parks)

For the first time since 2019, Oregon State Parks will host Whale Watch Week in person along the Oregon Coast.

Trained volunteers will be stationed from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at several sites from Dec. 28-Jan. 1 to help visitors spot whales, share information and answer questions.

Every year thousands of gray whales migrate south through Oregon’s waters at the end of December.

“We really enjoy getting folks out to the coast for Whale Watch Week,” Park Ranger Peter McBride said in a press release. “It’s something that Oregon State Parks has been doing for more than 40 years now, and we’re really glad to be able to bring it back in person.”

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

An estimated 19,000 gray whales are expected to swim past Oregon’s shores over the next several weeks as part of their annual migration south to the warm calving lagoons near Baja, Mexico. The end of December is the peak time for their migration; roughly 30 whales pass by per hour. 

The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m.-4 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 the 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. A list of safety tips is available on the Visit the Oregon Coast website.

For more information about coast parks and campgrounds, visit oregonstateparks.org.