Whale Watching At The Cottage!

Visit Heceta Beach Vacation Cottage this Spring and watch the Gray Whales migrating from our Ocean View Loft!

The Gray Whales are making their way back to Alaska after enjoying themselves during the winter in Mexico! Whales can be seen from the Cottage’s 3rd floor Ocean View Loft and we leave binoculars up there for you to make seeing these magnificent creatures even easier.

Learn more about this beautiful vacation cottage on the Oregon Coast and Book Today!


Whale Watching On The Oregon Coast

Whale watching is a year-round activity on the Oregon Coast with gray whales by far the most commonly seen. Whale watching is not difficult, but a few tips make it easier. Any location with an ocean view may yield whale sightings, and morning light with the sun at your back is best. First locate whale spouts with your naked eye; then focus more closely with binoculars. For an even closer view, try whale watching from a charter boat. And some people prefer the view from above—from an airplane or helicopter. Both charter boats and air services are available (and listed below). And, of course, calmer days are best, whether by land, sea, or air.

Gray Whale Migration

Gray whales migrate South from their feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi seas around Alaska from mid-December through January. They are heading to their breeding grounds in Baja California, Mexico, where warm-water lagoons become nurseries for expectant mothers. Then from late March to June the whales migrate North back to Alaska. On each trip, approximately 18,000 gray whales pass close to the Oregon Coast.

The Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay

On the trip down, these giant mammals head South on a direct course, move quickly, and mostly stay about 5 miles offshore. At their peak, about 30 whales pass by each hour. Coming back, the whales travel much more leisurely and stay closer to shore—within a half mile is not unusual. The non-breeding males and females lead the way back with some early birds starting in late February. They may even pass stragglers still heading south. The northward migration continues at a slower pace and mothers with young don’t usually appear until May.

Resident Gray Whales in Summer

Some gray whales do not continue on to Alaskan waters but stay off the coast of Oregon between June and November. These part-time residents number about 200. About 60 whales are seen repeatedly off the central coast and have been photographed and identified. Of these, about 40 hang out between Lincoln City and Newport each year because that seems to be what the food supply will support.

The Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay

Whale Watching Spoken Here Program

Each year peak migration times coincide with people’s vacation times. The Whale Watching Spoken Here program takes advantage of this coincidence with two weeks of assisted whale watching: one is the week between Christmas and New Year’s and the other is during the last week in March. During each whale-watch week hundreds of volunteers man 26 sites along the coast from Ilwaco, Washington to Crescent City, California.

New Summer Whale Watch Week

Since 2004, a third Whale Watching Spoken Here week has been added, and it’s scheduled during the last week of August through the first Monday in September. The summer whale watch locations are those along the central coast and focus on the part-time resident whales.

How to Become a Whale Watch Volunteer

To be a volunteer in winter, spring, or summer, you don’t have to be a whale expert, but you do have to attend one weekend of training. Volunteers come from all walks of life: from high school students to retirees, from coastal residents to inland city dwellers. The common denominator is an interest in whales—especially gray whales. As a volunteer you’ll learn a great deal about these fascinating leviathons, meet interesting people, and share what you’ve learned with visitors. It’s exciting to be the one to point and shout, “Over there!” and see the look of wonder that appears when someone sees their very first whale.

For further information or a registration form for the training weekend, contact Dave Newton, Whale Watch Volunteer Coordinator, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, 198 NE 123rd Street, Newport, OR 97365, 541-765-3407; fax 541-765-3402; whale.watching@state.or.us; www.whalespoken.org. Preregistration is required because of limited space. You may register for training and/or sign up for whale watch week by mail, e-mail, phone, fax, or dropping in to visit at the Whale Watching Center on Highway 101at the south end of the bridge in Depoe Bay.

As a Whale Watch Volunteer

Whether you sign up for a couple days or a week, it’s your responsibility to arrive early at your whale watching site to help set up, be on duty from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then help pull siting information together and put everything away. Usually two (or more) volunteers are at each site, and usually the more experienced one is in charge of putting up the Whale Watching Spoken Here sign and bringing the literature about gray whales and the program. You’ll find that visitors stop no matter what the weather.

Feeding and Diving Whale Facts

You’ll learn that gray whales are baleen whales. This means when feeding for small crustaceans on the ocean floor, the whales roll on their sides and scoop up water and sediments. They then force the water and sediments out through the fringed baleen plates that hang from either side of their upper jaw where teeth would otherwise be. You’ll learn that gray whales have double spouts just like all baleen whales. That the blow is not a fountain of water, but of mist that condenses immediately as warm moist air is exhaled under high pressure from their lungs. And that gray whales have a rhythmic breathing pattern during migration—three to five short, shallow dives of 15 to 30 seconds each followed by a long, deep dive of three to six minutes. When you see flukes, it usually signals a deep dive.

Spy Hopping and Breaching Behavior

The two whale behaviors that get people excited are spy hopping—where the head sticks straight up out of the water—and breaching—where 1/2 to 3/4 of the body length comes up out of the water and falls on its side or back causing a tremendous splash.

Bruce Mate’s theory on spy hopping goes against the conventional wisdom that it’s to see what is happening. Mate suggests that it’s to help the whales hear better; he has observed that during spy hop behavior the eyes do not always come above the surface of the water. During migration, it may be to hear the surf since their route follows the coastline.

As far as breaching goes, Mate says, “They don’t seem to injure themselves. Once one starts, others follow—like humans yawning.” He goes on to say that no one knows why they do it; theories range from a way to knock off external parasites, such as barnacles, to a form of communication . . . or just for the fun of it.

Where to Spot Whales

From north to south, these are the 26 Whale Watching Spoken Here sites. With or without a volunteer to assist, these are the best locations along the coast to spot whales.

  • Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Ilwaco, Washington
  • Ecola State Park
  • Neahkahnie Mountain Historic Marker Turnout on Highway 101
  • Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint
  • Cape Lookout State Park – 2.5 mile hike to site at tip of Cape
  • Cape Kiwanda
  • Inn at Spanish Head  Lobby on 10th floor
  • Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint
  • The Whale Watching Center/Depoe Bay Sea Wall
  • Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint
  • Cape Foulweather
  • Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area
  • Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
  • Don Davis City Park
  • Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center
  • Cook’s Chasm Turnout
  • Sea Lion Caves Turnout – large Highway 101 turnout south of tunnel
  • Umpqua Lighthouse, near Umpqua Lighthouse State Park
  • Shore Acres State Park
  • Face Rock Wayside State Scenic Viewpoint
  • Cape Blanco Lighthouse, near Cape Blanco State Park
  • Battle Rock Wayfinding Point, Port Orford
  • Cape Sebastian
  • Cape Ferrelo
  • Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, Oregon
  • 9th Street Beach, Crescent City, California

Whale Watching by Sea and Air

More than one of these charter businesses—both boats and planes—stressed that whale watching is better in the spring through fall when the weather is more pleasant and the seas and skies less rough.


  • Linda Sue III Charters & Troller, Rockaway Beach, 503-355-3419
  • D&D Charters (spring through fall), Garibaldi, 800-900-HOOK (4665)
  • Tradewinds Charters, Depoe Bay, 800-445-8730
  • Dockside Charters, also have Zodiacs, Depoe Bay, 800-733-8915
  • Marine Discovery Tours (spring through fall), 65-foot Discovery, Newport 800-903-BOAT (2628)
  • Bayfront Charters, Newport, 800-828-8777
  • Sea Gull Charters, Newport, 800-865-7441
  • Newport Tradewinds, Newport, 800-676-7819
  • Newport Marina Store and Charters, South Beach, 541-867-4470
  • Betty Kay Charters, Charleston, 800-752-6303
  • Tidewind Sportfishing, Brookings, 800-799-0337

Scenic & Whale-Watch Flights:

Most flights carry from one to three passengers. Rates vary and reservations are recommended but not always required. Please call for more information. All flights are dependent upon the weather.

  • Twiss Air Service/Astoria Flight Center, one to three passengers, Astoria 503-861-1222
  • Tillamook Air Tours, one to four passengers, 503-842-1942
  • Florence Aviation, one passenger, Florence 541-997-8069
  • Crosswind Air Tours, two or three passengers (minimum two), Florence 541-997-8069
  • Coos Aviation, one to three passengers, North Bend 541-756-5181
  • Frank’s Flight Service, one to three passengers, Bandon 541-347-2022
PO Box 940  TillamookOregon 97141
Email us or call by Phone: (541) 574-2679 / Toll Free: (888) OCVA-101


Tiffany Boothe with The Whale Watch Center in Depoe Bay

Florence, Oregon Events In 2018


florenceFlorence Events

From sand sculpting exhibitions to headlining entertainment at Three Rivers Casino Resort, Florence stays lively with fairs, festivals and performing arts. Catch current block busters or cult classics at an atmospheric movie theater or drop into a local art gallery during an artist reception.

Seasonally, Historic Old Town Florence hosts outdoor markets and events along the boardwalk. Year-round the Florence Events Center is a hub for art shows, craft fairs and celebrations. And for over a century, Florence has been crowning their “Queen Rhododendra” at their annual Rhododendron Festival honoring this prolific and beautiful bloom.

Click the link below to see the many events that occur in Florence throughout the year, and to view the official ‘Events’ calendar.


Florence Winter Festival Event Happening In January!

The Florence Winter Festival Event is happening January 12 – 14th. This year’s headline performance features Al Stewart of ‘Year of the Cat’ fame. Consider booking the Cottage (less than a 10 minute drive from this popular event) and enjoy all the Oregon Coast has to offer in Winter! More info’ on the Festival here: https://florencechamber.com/event/winter-music-festival/

Warm December Days Forecasted – A Perfect Time To Visit Heceta Beach!

Heceta Beach Vacation Cottage Has A Few Vacancies For December!

You can read about the predicted weather patterns below via Oregon Coast Beach Connections. Enjoy a few days on the beautiful Oregon Coast in our beautifully and thoughtfully appointed 3 Story Vacation Cottage that’s just 300 feet from Heceta Beach!

Book the Cottage today!

Published 12/07/2017 at 6:25 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Sunny and Mostly Windless, Warm Oregon Coast - Maybe Ten Days

(Oregon Coast) – If you don’t like the Oregon coast all sunny, windless and warm, then the next ten days or more aren’t for you. In fact, if you don’t like the beaches warmer and less windy than the valley, then you should stay home.

The Oregon coast has been nearly cloudless and bathing in bright sunshine for the last few days, and it’s been described as “windless” at times. That looks to continue, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) for perhaps as long as another ten days. The NWS said while none of this is certain, there’s a decent to really good chance these sunny days will stick around.

The beach towns are predicted to be sizably warmer than the inland valley towns. While places like Portland will have 40s for daytime highs and windy conditions, the coast will stick to mid-50s to close to 60. Add the lack of wind and the way the ocean reflects the sun back, and you’re looking at beaches even warmer than the burghs just 100 yards away.

Don’t be surprised to find the water’s edge feeling close to 70 degrees at times. However, the central Oregon coast will have a little more wind than up north, at around 10 mph to 14 mph at times.

Some are even calling this a drought, though it’s a decidedly pleasant one.

“A strong ridge of high pressure over the much of the western U.S. will continue to bring a fairly benign weather pattern to the region for the next several days,” the NWS said. “Sunday night through Thursday, an extended period of dry weather will continue into next week, as the ridge of high pressure over the area remains.”

The NWS forecasts seem rather repetitious for the Oregon coast right now: every day’s forecast says about the same thing. Sunny with highs around 55 to 57 through the weekend, and winds about 6 mph are all you see. By next Wednesday the highs drop a little, closer to 51.

Waves will be nothing to write home about, making for excellent and safe beachcombing weather. There are still lots of interesting objects lying around since recent storms and some erosion – making for better agate finds. What is notable, however, is that there will be light winds from the west and from the east, which often makes for great surfing. See full Oregon Coast Weather.

Fall & Winter On The Oregon Coast: Lots To Do – And Special Rates!

The off-season months (December through February) are simply a wonderful time of year to visit the Oregon coast –  and during the off-season, you’re sure to find the lowest prices we offer all year! So whether you are a solo traveler and adventurer or in a relationship or would love to spend time with some special friends, we suggest you head to the coast to enjoy all of the beauty of Heceta Beach during this special time of year! It’ll give you a chance to be together and create special memories that will last a lifetime. From long, leisurely conversations around the fireplace to taking advantage of a sunny day  and hiking the beautiful Oregon coast to watching gray whales migrate south, Fall and Winter activities that make for special memories are endless. In the event that there is a powerful storm system passing through, you’ll feel snug and safe within the Cottage, which was built to withstand hurricane-force winds, and has a charming 3rd floor loft with expansive ocean views that is ideal for storm and whale watching. We even provide high powered binoculars to help you get the most out of the view!
Upcoming Events on the Coast:
Christmas at Haceta Head Lightstation: December 9th-10th & 16th-17th 
The Queen Ann style Keeper’s House will be decorated with Victorian flourishes inside and out. Enjoy warm drinks and treats, while listening to performances by local musicians. Santa Claus will be there, and there will be a holiday raffle with great prizes from local businesses. Shuttle service will be offered from Heceta Head Lightstation State Scenic Area parking lot to the front door. Or bring warm, rainproof clothing and a flashlight and enjoy a beautiful walk up from the parking lot/beach. The parking fee is $5 or present your Oregon Coast Passport.
Yachats Annual Solstice Bonfire: December 21st

The Yachats Academy of Arts & Sciences hosts this annual community bonfire that offers music, sweet treats, and a warm welcome. Guests are invited to bring a percussion instrument as well as a piece of firewood to add to the bonfire.

Whale Watch Week: December 27th- 31st
There is no better time to come and see the whales as they migrate south for the winter. Trained volunteers at 24 “Whale Spoken Here” sites will help visitors spot gray whales during the winter migration.
We offer you warm and happy wishes for this upcoming holiday season, wherever you may be, and wish you safe and happy travels!
Rebecca Mandeville, Owner
Heceta Beach Vacation Cottage

New Photo Album Of Heceta Beach Vacation Cottage!

Just had our wonderful photographer out to take photos of the Cottage now that all three floors are refurbished and ready for guests. This is a Facebook Album. The gallery on this website here has also been updated (you can view on the Home page). To book the Cottage directly with me to avoid paying service fees go to https://hecetabeachvacationcottage.com. Feel free to share!

-Rebecca Mandeville, Owner, Host

Heceta Beach Vacation Cottage Photo Album

Now You Can Rent All Three Stories of the Cottage!

Heceta Beach Vacation Cottage has expanded it’s offerings. 3 different cottage configurations are now available for short term rental, and we only rent to ONE group or guest at a time, ensuring your privacy and exclusive use of the many indoor / outdoor amenities offered on this 1/3rd acre beach property. Enjoy expansive ocean views from the 3rd floor loft – perfect for storm and whale watching – we even provide the binoculars! Guests wanting to book directly with the owner to save on service fees may now do so via our new booking website. Learn more about our expanded offerings by visiting us at https://hecetabeachvacationcottage.com. Hope to see you soon!

-Rebecca, Owner / Host


cottage dining room