Depoe Bay Bridge Oregon Coast
Depoe Bay Harbor & Bridge

• Depoe Bay is the smallest navigable harbor in the world
• The town is an excellent whale and winter storm-watching spot

A charming coastal town, Depoe Bay is not just a fantastic place to stop on your trip via on U.S. Route 101 but is also known as the smallest natural navigable harbor in the world.

The town's outer bay is rocky, with headlands sticking out on both ends. The narrow channel goes right through the basalt formations and creates the inner harbor. Waves crashing into the basalt rock cut through it, creating this unique geological wonder.

Despite its small size, the town has plenty of places to stay, restaurants and bars, and various coastal adventures to enjoy.

The land here was home to the Siletz people long before the town was established. Historians attribute the town's name to the native American Charles "Charley" Depot. One of the most widely accepted versions is that 'Depot' came from Charley working at the military depot near Toledo.

Later, 'Depot' became 'Depoe,' which is how we got the contemporary town's name. Commercial fishing faded away with time, and tourism became the city's primary source of income. So, while you can't park your fishing fleet at the harbor, you can still enjoy sport fishing alone or with family and friends!

Depoe Bay Is The Smallest Navigable Harbor In The World

The town's harbor covers an area of just six acres, which is remarkably small compared to other navigable harbors worldwide.

Also, the entrance to the harbor is exceptionally narrow, carved through natural rock formations. This passage is so narrow that vessels must enter and exit one at a time, requiring skillful navigation.

Depoe Bay - Charter Fishing Boat
Charter Fishing Boat

Depoe Bay In Movies

A few movie scenes were filmed in Depoe Bay. The fishing sequence in the famous 1975 film One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed in Depoe Bay's harbor. The harbor scene of the 1983 movie Hysterical took place in the local harbor as well. The restaurant scene of the 2008 movie The Burning Plain was filmed at the Tidal Raves restaurant.

Find Places to Stay

Depoe Bay offers a variety of accommodations, from luxury suites to more budget-friendly stays. Since it is a very popular spot, make sure to reserve your place in advance, especially on the weekends and holidays.

Things to Do

The Bayfront

The bayfront promenade takes you along the scenic harbor, allowing you to enjoy views you can't appreciate if you just drive along it. Enjoy the picturesque harbor panorama and walk across the arching bridge, built in 1927.

In the right weather conditions, you can see two spouting horns north of the bay. Seawater can spray up to 60 feet high during high tides and winter storms! East of the bridge, you can see the world-famous smallest navigatable harbor.

Whale Watching Center

Operated by volunteers, the whale-watching center helps you see the mighty ocean creatures in their native habitat! The large glass windows protect the viewing deck from rain and wind. The center provides binoculars and has interpretive displays about whale life.

The best times to see whales are:

  • Mid-December to January, during migration to the south
  • Late March to early June, during migration to the north
  • Mid-July to early November, when local whales feed right off the Depoe Bay coast

Fishing And Whale-Watching Charters

Several outfits in town offer boat trips for fishing and whale-watching.

During the summer and fall months, when salmon runs peak, you have the highest chance of catching Chinook and Coho salmon. In addition to salmon, the area is fantastic for bottom fishing throughout the year. You can catch ling cod, black rock fish, sea bass, and other species.

Fishing trips vary in length, ranging from half-day to full-day outings.

Depoe Bay - Whale Watching Center - Oregon Coast
Whale Watching Center

Whale, Sea Life & Shark Museum

A private museum showcases multiple models of marine mammals, a massive collection of whale pictures, and an extensive display of shark jaws.

Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint

The 1910 shipwreck of J. Marhoffer is sitting only half a mile north of Depoe Bay. The ship started burning just 3 miles offshore and drifted into the bay. On the low tide, you can see the boiler of the J. Marhoffer, hence the name of this spot.

Whale Cove

Whale Cove is a beautiful bay with breathtaking views just half a mile South of Depoe Bay. During Prohibition, bootleggers used this bay as a hidden port.

Otter Crest Loop

This is a 3-mile section of the old Coast Highway, running parallel to the US 101. The loop will take you along the Pacific Ocean to various scenic places, including Cape Foulweather, Otter Rock, Devil's Punchbowl, and Marine Gardens.

Winter Storms

Watching winter storms in the bay is a truly memorable experience. Powerful waves of the mighty Pacific crash into the shoreline, launching a mass of water into the air!

Depoe Bay Oregon Coast

Otter Crest Beach

Otter Crest BeachOtter Crest Beach is a short 1,300 feet beach 5 miles away from Depoe Bay, nestled between Otter and Finger Rocks. The beach provide an opportunity to explore the Devil's Punchbowl Arch from the bottom at very low tides.


Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area

Devils Punchbowl State Natural AreaDevils Punchbowl State Natural Area is a unique geological wonder, located between Depoe Bay and Newport. The Punchbowl looks just the way it sounds - a large round hole in the sandstone bluffs of Otter Rock.


Adventures Nearby


Depoe Bay is home to a variety of entertaining events. This includes:

  • The Depoe Bay Classic Wooden Boat Show, Crab Feed, and Ducky Derby in April
  • The Fleet of Flowers on Memorial Day
  • The Depoe Bay Salmon Bake in September

Join one or all of them!

Food And Drinks

Despite its small size, Depoe Bay has a wide variety of venues where you can sit down and enjoy a nice meal with a cold one. You can find American cuisine, seafood, Asian cuisine, fusion cuisine, and more. Depoe Bay Winery hosts wine tasting.

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