Updated: December 2017

Depoe Bay, Oregon:

Depoe Bay is perhaps most notorious for being the scene of the famed fishing trip shot in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) starring Jack Nicholson. I live just south of Portland and decided to take a road trip down the Oregon coast and visit some of the less known fishing town and smaller cities along the coastline. After a nice visit in Lincoln City I drove my family down the coast to Depoe Bay. We had passed the small town many times on other trips to Newport and Florence, but for some reason never had a good enough reason to stop off and enjoy some time there. My wife loves all the touristy shops that exist along the coast so we parked the car in Depoe Bay and headed out to explore. The town itself is located right off of Highway 101 about 20 minutes south of Lincoln City. It can be a destination for those that like to watch whalers, but most visitors stop in for a few hours and then head to Newport or Lincoln City where there are more restaurants and accessible beaches for families.

Location & Maps:

Depoe Bay is a little over 2 hours from downtown Portland and just south of Lincoln City along the beautiful Oregon Coast. Although not necessarily my favorite spot to stay on the coast, the small coastal village offers up plenty of good spots to eat and some decent accommodations that we have listed below. To get here, you will have a few options. The easiest is to drive down I-5 from Portland and take the Hwy 22 from Salem which eventually lets you take Hwy 18 out to Lincoln City on the coast. Then proceed south on Hwy 1 along the coast down to Depoe Bay. You will pass Kernville and Gleneden Beach on your way. You can also head out west off I-5 on Hwy 20 and wind out in Newport and then proceed due north on Hwy 1 north into Depoe Bay. Either way, the drive is pretty easy and certainly scenic as you reach the coastal mountain range and the coast. We have provided a basic map of where Depoe Bay is along the Oregon Coast down below. Almost all the hotel websites listed down below will provide detailed driving directions from PDX or Portland along with more in depth maps of the region.

Places to Eat - Restaurants:

Even if you just stop in Depoe Bay for an hour or 2 for whale watching or a little shopping, take the time to try some of the local cuisine at one of the restaurants listed below:
  • Bay Station Cafe: 433 N Hwy 101 Depoe Bay OR 97341, Phone # 541-765-3430. Great place for breakfast or lunch. The menu has breakfast favorites like biscuits and gravy, hashed browns, country potatoes, and bacon and eggs.
  • Chowder Bowl: 40 S Hwy 101 Depoe Bay OR 97341, Phone # 541-765-2300. Like the name suggests, you will get a good bowl of chowder. Mo's is coastal favorite in terms of chowder, but this place does a good job too.
  • Gracie's Sea Hag Restaurant: 58 E Hwy 101 Depoe Bay OR 97341, Phone # 541-765-2734. Don't be turned off by the name, this restaurant has atmosphere and great food. Choose from steak, pasta, burgers, breakfast, appetizers and salads.
  • BonePile BBQ: 433 NW Hwy 101 Depoe Bay OR 97341. Phone # 541-765-3430. Looking for a quality Texas BBQ spot on the Oregon Coast, don't miss this place. Their sauces are tasty and powerful and the meats are tender and literally fall off the bone The pulled pork sandwich is my favorite, but don't forget to try the spare ribs.

Where to Stay - Hotels:

My family usually stays in Newport or up closer to Lincoln City, but Depoe Bay offers excellent hotels and inns to choose from with oceanfront hotels or cozy inns near the world famous harbor in this town. Room rates are very reasonable year round and you are sure to enjoy your stay no matter where you decide to stay.
  • Crown Pacific Inn: 50 NE Bechill St (Hwy 101) Depoe Bay OR 97341, Phone # 877-765-7773 or 541-765-7773. Rooms have 1 or 2 queen beds with some jacuzzi suites that include fireplaces. Rates are listed on their website.
  • Inn at Arch Rock: 70 Sunset St NW Depoe Bay OR 97341, 800-767-1836 or 541-765-2560. There are 13 units to choose from and almost all have excellent ocean views. Room rates start at $69 and go up to over $250 for the larger suites at peak season. The gourmet continental breakfast is something you will remember when staying here.
  • Surfrider Resort: 3115 NW Hwy 101 Depoe Bay OR 97341, 541-764-2311 or 800-662-2378. This oceanfront resort sits on a bluff and offers queen, king, one bedroom suites, and a beach house that that sleeps 10 people. Rates range from $120/night to $430/nt in summer. There is an indoor pool, spa, and sauna as well as a weight room.
  • Harbor Lights Inn: 235 SE Bay View Ave Depoe Bay OR 97341. Phone # 800-228-0448. If you want to be near the harbor, it doesn't get any closer than this inn. Room rates are from $100 to $180/night. 13 well appointed rooms, some with wood burning fireplaces and private balcony.

Whale Watching Tours:

Depoe Bay has received the honors of being the "Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast" and there are lots of whale watching tours you can go on to get an up close and personal view of migrating whales that leave Alaska in the winter and head south for the warmer waters near Mexico. Gray whales are the ones that migrate past Depoe Bay and boats leave the harbor from December through February and head back north from March to May. Tradewinds Charters is one of the companies that offers whale watching tours in Depoe Bay and you can find their schedules and rates online HERE. Expect to spend about $30 per person for a 2 hour cruise on the bay. Dockside Charters is another company offering whale watching tours in Depoe Bay. You can take a 2 hour tour on a smaller Zodiac boat for $45/each. Sometimes the whales are so close to shore that you can view them without taking a tour by just standing on the edge of Hwy 1 and looking westward.