Depoe Bay, OR
Oregon’s whale migration peaks in December. But some smart gray whales live all year in Depoe Bay. For a nose-to-blowhole encounter, book a 90-minute trip with Whale Research EcoExcursions ($40; 541/912-6734). For a splurge night near the big guys, book a room at cliffside Whale Cove Inn ($395; whalecoveinn.com) and Slurp garlicky cioppino at Tidal Raves ($$; 279 N.W. U.S. 101; 541/765-2995), where a window seat lets you whale-watch.