Depoe Bay: Explore Oregon’s Natural Beauty

Depoe Bay Aerial

Depoe Bay might be the world’s smallest navigable harbor, but small doesn’t mean unremarkable. This quaint town offers a stunning rocky shoreline, spectacular views along its huge sea wall, and it’s the whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast. It is also the ideal point to explore Oregon’s natural beauty, set off for fun activities, and to enjoy West coast food and drink.

Stroll around town; dine in one of the many restaurants, and spot grey whales in the distance. Visit a winery or craft brewery, or pick a handcrafted souvenir in one of the many shops.

Depoe Bay has so much to offer, we’ve divided the best into three posts. This one focuses on the outdoor beauty around Depoe Bay. We’ll follow with posts about regional food and drink and attractions.

Boiler Bay

Depoe Bay Boiler Bay

Boiler Bay’s name originates from the ship’s boiler you can see at low tide on the shore here. The J. Marhoffer exploded in 1910, but her boiler survived the catastrophe. This bay is also an ideal location to view spectacular surf and birds. Bring along your binoculars and you might see an albatross, pelican, loon, shearwater, or jaeger. Grey whales also live here and migrate the coast.

Fogarty Creek

Depoe Bay Fogarty Creek

This day-use area is about 3 miles north of Depoe Bay. It has ample parking, picnic tables and restrooms, so bring a lunch and take in the views. There is also an inland trail area where you can see native trees along a meandering creek that spills into the Pacific Ocean.

You’ll likely see bald eagles nesting, agates on the shore at low tide, and plenty of driftwood, shells, and sand. It’s a great place to walk your dog or for birdwatching. Kids can explore the tidepools teeming with aquatic life.

Whale Cove

Depoe Bay Whale Cove

This small bay is just a half a mile of Depoe Bay was used by bootleggers during prohibition to smuggle their outlawed booty ashore. Today, it is a protected part of the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge, home to marine mammals, seabirds, and birds of prey.

If you want to get the best view of the cove, head to the Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint. You’ll find picnic tables and an unobstructed view ideal for whale watching or spotting nesting birds, sea lions, or harbor seals.

Otter Crest Loop

Depoe Bay Cape Foulweather

This dramatic, lesser-known drive spans a three-mile section of the old Coast Highway. It starts two miles south of Depoe Bay at the Rocky Creek Wayside and takes you past Cape Foulweather, Otter Rock, and the Devil’s Punchbowl; all worthy of a visit.

This challenging road winds along steep cliffs with drops of over 600 feet in some places. One area is one way due to a in the 1990’s. However, it’s a great adventure especially when you reach Cape Foulweather where you can see for almost 40 miles in clear weather. The geology and wildlife make photography a must too. This isn’t a road for RVs, but other motorists and cyclists will love it.


This is just a taste of what Depoe Bay has to offer, so why not stay and explore? Our next post features the attractions in and around the Depoe Bay area, and there are many.

You can enjoy the comforts of a well-appointed, beachfront condo, take day trips to attractions, and enjoy the privacy of your own place instead of staying in a cramped over-priced hotel room.