Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Depoe Bay, OR

  • Published 2023/03/02

Oregon Coast is dolphins’ and whales’ favorite place to hang out because of its optimum sea conditions where they can feed.

It’s also part of their migration route.

Depoe Bay is in the middle of the Oregon Coast, allowing people to watch these gentle giants swim along its tall sea cliffs.

With that in mind, Depoe Bay is one of the most excellent places in the country for whale-watching.

Besides being a top-notch whale watching destination, this small city is the world’s smallest navigable harbor.

Despite its size, it’s one of the busiest harbors in the region.

Likewise, Depoe Bay features picturesque sceneries along its rugged shoreline and mountain ranges that meet the vast North Pacific Ocean.

Depoe Bay has dozens of convincing reasons for you to visit there in the future.

Tourists from all walks of life should not miss the chance to visit this mesmerizing coastal city.

Through majestic whale-watching experiences and epic fishing charters, Depoe Bay’s community welcomes visitors warmly.

This small city is also home to local seafood shacks, scenic coastlines, and a laid-back environment.

Check out the best things to do in Depoe Bay, CO.

Marvel at the Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area

Scenic view of Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area

Pat Tr /

The Devil’s Punch Bowl State Natural Area intrigues many guests.

Besides its name, the place draws tourists because of the carved natural rock formations.

Waves from the Pacific Ocean enter the rock bowl formation, creating a torrent of foam, swirl, and churns, making it a majestic sight from above the cliffs.

The Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area is an exciting place to visit in Depoe Bay.

Closer view of Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area

Ingo70 /

Besides being a popular surfing area, many people visit this natural attraction in Depoe Bay for its fascinating rock formation, which looks like a punchbowl.

According to geologists, the collapse of the sea caves created the Devil’s Punchbowl rock formation.

The crashing waves have shaped it for thousands of years.

Likewise, treat yourself to a panorama of the Pacific Ocean.

Ocean view from Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area

Pat Tr /

Try Whale-Watching at the OPRD Whale-Watching Center

One of the main reasons tourists love to return to Depoe Bay is whale-watching.

Upon arriving at Depoe Bay, head to the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center.

OPRD is the best place to try whale-watching and learn about whale migration and its ecological and environmental influences in Depoe Bay.

This organization was established in 1930 along the Oregon Coast Highway and remains a magnificent tourist attraction up to this day.

This center is perched perfectly on a seawall offering visitors a panoramic view of the North Pacific Ocean.

At the same time, it has a separate platform to see the whales from a distance.

Thousands of gray whales pass by the whale-watching center during their great migration from Alaska to Mexico.

Wander the Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint

View of the ocean from Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint

Finetooth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to see the rugged but beautiful landscape of Depoe Bay’s coastal area, head to the Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manage this gorgeous natural area in Depoe Bay.

It is along the Boiler Bay State Wayside, the same team providing top-notch whale watching in Depoe Bay.

Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint features one of the most romantic sceneries in the area.

It is known for its stunning and rugged, basalt-rimmed bay, where you’ll see the vast Pacific Ocean and the long stretch of the Oregon Coast.

A big wave viewed from Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint

najang /

Besides the stunning scenery, this place in Depoe Bay also provides excellent whale-watching opportunities.

In addition, many come to this place for birdwatching.

Historically, the Boiler Bay Scenic Viewpoint gets its name from a marine vessel that ran aground in the area.

The marine vessel was the J. Marhoffer, which burned for days after its fuel tanks exploded when it ran aground on the shores.

Remains of the J. Marhoffer sit abandoned along the bay.

The wreck includes its engine boiler, which remains visible during low tide up to this day.

Scenic sunset over Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint

EB Adventure Photography /

Enjoy Tidepooling at the Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area

Scenic view of Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area

Marv Vandehey /

This charming recreation area is one of Depoe Bay’s best tide pooling spots that you shouldn’t miss.

The Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area is currently a state park under the management of the OPDR.

It is well-known throughout Depoe Bay, where the river and ocean meet.

Rock formation lookout at Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area

Marv Vandehey /

This area is terrific for tide pooling and witnessing its vibrant marine habitat teeming with life.

The Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area is equipped with essential park amenities such as picnic shelters, footbridges, a beach for swimming, and a parking area.

Bring your loved ones or your travel buddies, especially your kids, to this place and enjoy tide pooling at its best.

A creek at Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area

Marv Vandehey /

Open a Bottle of Fine Wine at Depoe Bay Winery

Don’t miss visiting one of Oregon’s oldest wineries, the Depoe Bay Winery along the Oregon Coastal Highway.

This reputable winery has operated since 1974, passing through three generations already.

If you want to try excellent wine during your Depoe Bay travel adventure, this place serves traditional red and white wines and sweet fruit wines.

Taste Depoe Bay Winery’s top-notch Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay.

What’s fascinating about this winery is its location, along Oregon Coast’s shorelines, offering visitors magnificent whale-watching opportunities.

Pose for Photos at the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint

View of the ocean from Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint /

Depoe Bay and the rest of the Oregon Coast feature many picturesque viewpoints.

One of the best places to take souvenir photos of your adventure in Depoe Bay is the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint.

This scenic viewpoint boasts one of the most charming panoramas of the Oregon Coast.

Rodeo point at Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint

HDDA Photography /

At the same time, the contrasting offshore rocks and the waves create more drama.

Moreover, the area teems with local wildlife from sea lions, birds, and harbor seals, while it’s commonplace for whales to be seen.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department also manages the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, like most of Depoe Bay’s scenic viewpoints and natural areas.

Besides picture-taking, you can wander through the entire viewpoint, encompassing more than 50-acres of bluffs and shorelines.

Rough ocean waters at Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint

HDDA Photography /

Get Sprayed at the Spouting Horn

A beautiful rainbow over Spouting Horn

Gary L. Quay /

For a fascinating experience in Depoe Bay, check out the Spouting Horn.

It is an underwater cave that sprays saltwater into the sky like a geyser.

Many visitors stop by the Spouting Horn to witness its one-of-a-kind water spray, which reaches 20 to 40 meters.

Plaque marker of Spouting Horn

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The spouting horn’s powerful saltwater spray results from the pressure inside the small underwater cave filled with the crashing waves from the Pacific Ocean.

The result is fantastic and a worthwhile experience you don’t want to miss in Depoe Bay.

Oregon Coast, in general, has numerous spouting horns aside from the one in Depoe Bay.

Appreciate the Stunning Beauty of Cape Foulweather

A visitor's center at Cape Foulweather

steve estvanik /

Most people who visit the Cape Foulweather want to get the best photograph.

According to most people who visited this attraction, Cape Foulweather boasts the most beautiful scenery in Depoe Bay and the entire Oregon Coast.

Cape Foulweather is 500 feet above sea level, giving you an eagle’s eye view of the Pacific Ocean and nearby areas of the Oregon Coast.

The cliffs of Cape Foulweather

Bob Pool /

If you’re trying to find a romantic place or a picturesque place to bring your special someone or better half, bring them to Cape Foulweather.

It’s a famous place to take photos or appreciate its natural and stunning beauty.

After enjoying Cape Foulweather’s scenery, head to its gift shop and buy some unique souvenirs.

The view from Cape Foulweather

Rick Ernst /

Relax at the Depoe Bay Scenic Park

If you want to picnic with your travel buddies or loved ones, head to the Depoe Bay Scenic Park north of the city’s downtown area.

This park features another panoramic view of Depoe Bay’s natural area, making it the most popular place for locals to hang out.

Having a picnic at this park offers you a picturesque ocean view and the city of Depoe Bay.

In addition, Depoe Bay Scenic Park is also a famous whale-watching spot, making your experience more exciting.

Cross the Iconic Rocky Creek Bridge

Daytime view of Rocky Creek Bridge

Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Depoe Bay’s famous Rocky Creek Bridge connects two coastal mountains divided by a small creek below.

This famous bridge, known for its picturesque view, is just a couple of miles south of Depoe Bay along the Oregon Coastal Highway.

The view from under Rocky Creek Bridge

AlexBuess /

Locals know the bridge as the “Ben Jones Bridge,” a favorite spot for picture-taking and nature viewing.

Besides crossing this iconic Depoe Bay bridge, many visitors stop in the middle of the bridge for sightseeing and photoshoots.

Enjoy Retail Therapy at Downtown Depoe Bay

Shops along Downtown Depoe Bay

Bob Pool /

Depoe Bay isn’t just famous for its whale-watching spots and picturesque natural areas.

It also has a charming small downtown district next to a vast sea wall.

Depoe Bay’s downtown area teems with local businesses.

It provides visitors an opportunity to shop, dine, or experience excellent leisure time while enjoying its majestic coastal view.

The sea wall of Downtown Depoe Bay

EncMstr, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy strolling through its streets and check out numerous shops, galleries, cafes, and restaurants which offer various products and treats.

Depoe Bay’s downtown area covers three blocks where you can find most of the city’s businesses.

If you want to engage in retail therapy while in Depoe Bay, head to its downtown area and enjoy the entire experience.

Cast a Line in Depoe Bay with Dockside Charters

If you want to go fishing either on Depoe Bay’s shorelines or in the vast Pacific Ocean, head to one of its numerous fishing charter companies.

One of the most recommended fishing charter companies is Dockside Charters.

This fishing charter company offers one of the best open-sea experiences in Depoe Bay.

They are well-known for their rockfish and lingcod fishing, deep water, tuna, halibut, and salmon fishing charters.

In addition, they also offer whale-watching charters in the open sea, making them one of the premier charter companies in Depoe Bay.

Catch Delicious Dungeness Crabs

Crab fishing at Oregon

Andrey Dubovoy /

The entire stretch of the Oregon Coast teems with the highly famous Dungeness crab.

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience Dungeness crabbing in Depoe Bay which many locals love to do seasonally.

Oregon Coast abounds in this juicy crab, usually cooked with butter and lemon.

In Depoe Bay, people can catch one to three crabs maximum.

Closeup of a Dungeness Crab

Gregory Johnston /

It’s up to them how they want to cook the crab.

It’s an exciting experience in Depoe Bay.

You’ll surely enjoy it, but be careful because these crabs pack a painful pinch.

If you don’t have the time to catch Dungeness crabs, order them at one of Depoe Bay’s downtown seafood restaurants.

Dungeness Crab legs


Chow Down at Gracie’s Sea Hag

Signage of Gracie’s Sea Hag

Another Believer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Gracie’s Sea Hag is not only one of the most visited restaurants in Depoe Bay, but it’s also one of the most renowned in the entire state of Oregon.

Boasting the finest and freshest seafood, Gracie’s Sea Hag is sure to deliver the complete and authentic Depoe Bay experience to your palate.

They have a ton of seafood dishes here that’ll make any pescetarian excited, ranging from their clam chowder to the more intricate ones like their oyster stew and coconut prawns.

Besides the food, Gracie’s Sea Hag also delivers in terms of aesthetic and location, as it’s famous for being a beachfront restaurant near OPRD Whale-Watching Center.

Hence, you’ll be able to see some whales while you chow down on their scrumptious food—the complete Depoe Bay package.

Take in the Views at Pirate Cove Scenic View

Sunny day at Pirate Cove Scenic View

Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pirate Cove Scenic View is among the numerous breathtaking coastal spots in Depoe Bay.

It’s famous for its rock formations and powerful waves during high tide, giving it a particular allure that’s perfect for rustic-themed photography.

There are also a few spots here that are more elevated, letting you see the crashing waves towards the high cliffs of Depoe Bay.

While you can’t swim at Pirate Cove Scenic View, it’s one of the best places to just sit and marvel at the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

You can access it freely along Vista Street off of the North Coast Highway.

Get Stunning Views at Worldmark Depoe Bay

Scenic view of Worldmark Depoe Bay

Torgado /

While Depoe Bay may be a good day trip option in Oregon, staying for a couple of nights here is a must if you want to experience it fully.

One of the best accommodations that you can say doubles as an attraction is Worldmark Depoe Bay.

It’s a hotel offering amazing views of the Pacific, allowing you to observe whales from their deck.

Of course, views aren’t the only thing that made this hotel famous, as they’ve got comfy rooms and modern amenities such as hot tubs, basketball courts, and more.

Worldmark Depoe Bay is located along the North Coastal Highway.

Trek South Depoe Bay Creek Nature Trail

The coastal waters of Depoe Bay aren’t the only thing you can marvel at, as there are also in-land attractions like South Depoe Bay Creek Nature Trail.

An unassuming trail along Coast Guard Drive, you’d be amazed at what you’ll stumble upon in South Depoe Bay Creek Nature Trail.

With overgrown trees tightly packed together, entering this nature trail feels like being transported back in the era of the dinosaurs.

If you visit during a clear day, you’ll get to see how the faint sunlight shines through the lush green leaves of the forest.

During fall season, this becomes even prettier with a couple of foliage that blends well with its creek.

Go Shop for Souvenirs at Paradise Gifts

A bench in front of Paradise Gifts

Kristina D.C. Hoeppner, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Paradise Gifts is well loved by locals because it’s one of the best places to get a nice little gift.

Whether it’s a unique decorative item or an everyday product like apparel, there’s always a good deal to be made at Paradise Gifts.

As a tourist, you’ll be delighted to see there are a ton of items to browse from, giving you more options for a neat souvenir.

The staff are friendly and they’ve got a decently-sized shop, accentuating the shopping experience.

Find Paradise Gifts along Collins Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Camp at the Beverly Beach State Park

Hillside of Beverly Beach State Park

Shanna Schwartz /

If you’re looking for budget-friendly accommodation during your Depoe Bay travel adventure, head to the Beverly Beach State Park.

This state park in Depoe Bay is in Newport, Oregon, in a forest between the Yaquina Head and Cape Foulweather.

Driftwoods on the shore of Beverly Beach State Park

Finetooth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s about 17 minutes away from Depoe Bay.

Beverly Beach State Park is famous for its top-notch campsite, the biggest in Oregon.

Its campsites combine day-use areas, forest-sheltered campgrounds, and RV hookups.

Drive along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway

Cars along Pacific Coast Scenic Byway

Karin Hildebrand Lau /

The entire Pacific Coast Scenic Byway spans 363 miles and takes about 12 hours of driving.

However, driving along this famous byway is genuinely worthwhile because of the stunning sceneries you’ll pass by.

If you don’t have the privilege of time to drive 12 hours and witness all the scenery, you can still go from Garibaldi to Newport.

This route arcs more of the inland road of the entire byway, but as you drive, you’ll pass through numerous coastal towns and cities, including Depoe Bay.

So, don’t miss this one-of-a-kind experience driving at this iconic thoroughfare on Oregon Coast and Depoe Bay.

Final Thoughts

Depoe Bay has it all, from whale watching to scenic coastal areas.

This small coastal city along the Oregon Coast is a dreamy place that offers visitors a lot of fond travel memories.

Bookmark this page as your handy itinerary before heading to Depoe Bay.

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