30 places to welcome spring

Blow the dust off winter with blooms gone wild, bike trips in the blossoms, gushing falls, and more

Watch the return of the whales
Photo by Carrie Newell; written by Jenie Skoy

Watch the return of the whales

Want a leisurely beach stroll? Keep on driving. This is a rugged land of contrasts: tidepools fat with delicate, touchable creatures, spring buds nudging out of fungus-happy soil, and tumultuous waves slapping basalt headlands. Now’s the time to watch for gray whales; some 20,000 begin passing Depoe Bay on their northward migration to Alaska in March from breeding grounds in Baja California.

Insider tip: “There are very few places along the Western coastline where you can see whales as close as you can here,” says marine biologist Carrie Newell, who also runs Whale Research EcoExcursions whale-watching trips (whaleresearchexcursions.com). The best vantage point? Pretty much any rocky outcropping, including those at Devil’s Punch Bowl, Cape Foulweather, and Boiler Bay scenic viewpoint. “Even on the sidewalk in downtown, you may see one in the water 30 feet away.”

Eat: Slurp garlicky cioppino at Tidal Raves, where a window seat lets you whale-watch. $$; 279 N.W. U.S. 101; 541/765-2995.

Stay: The Inn at Otter Crest, with studios to 3-bedroom suites, overlooks 35 acres of wild coastline. From $90; innatottercrest.com

Do: Blow a glass bowl and more at Jennifer Sears Glass Art in Lincoln City. jennifersearsglassart.com

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