Cozy up and Watch Storms on the Oregon Coast

A favorite winter spectator sport is best viewed from a window; these spots give you a front-row seat
  • Oregon coast is a perfect winter getaway for storm watching
DARK AND LIGHT: Winter weather creates an eerie landscape on the Oregon coast

This article appears in print in the December 2018 issue, as part of the Best Winter Getaways cover story. Click here to subscribe.

While some people chase powder all winter, others seek all things cozy. We’re the ones who’d rather invest in shearling slippers than ski boots, and who are happiest when experiencing the elements from behind a window of double-paned glass.

So for us snuggle-loving thrill-seekers, there’s no better winter pastime than storm watching on the coast—and peak season on Oregon’s coast continues through March. Few things are more awe-inspiring than watching gusts of wind and rain lash the coastline, churning up powerful waves that crash with abandon against hulking craggy rocks, sending giant sprays of water several feet into the air.

And few things are more luxurious than watching this dramatic show play out from the warm and dry confines of a cozy hotel room. With that in mind, we rounded up three of the best places on the Oregon coast that offer a front row seat to the best show in town.

The Stephanie Inn offers luxe accommodations and magnificant views. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Inn

Stephanie Inn at Cannon Beach
You can watch the waves while snuggled up in bed amid luxury linens or swaddled in a blanket on your own well-appointed balcony. Almost every room comes with sweeping oceanfront views, plus a fireplace, jet tub and even binoculars. The in-house restaurant serves upscale Northwest cuisine for breakfast and dinner, so you never have to leave. Or you can make the short drive to Cannon Beach’s adorable downtown of boutiques, galleries and restaurants.

STAYING IN: Book a room with water views from the soaking tub

Headlands Coastal Lodge and Spa, Pacific City
With several dog-friendly rooms in the oceanfront lodge, plus two- and three-bedroom oceanfront cottages, the year-old Headlands is all about options. It even has a full-service spa and “adventure coaches” on hand to lead daily hikes up the adjacent Cape Kiwanda dune (the tallest on the coast). Every room has a balcony and view, and a pantry of Oregon-made products on each floor means you can grab a pint of Tillamook ice cream any time of day or night. Walk down the beach to the acclaimed Pelican Brewing Company, or stay in and dine at the Meridian restaurant, which serves locally sourced dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner.

Whale Cove Inn, Depoe Bay
Perfectly perched above a horseshoe-shaped cove, the Whale Cove Inn offers a taste of luxury amid the chowder houses and taffy shops of Depoe Bay. Every room has a private balcony with an outdoor Jacuzzi tub overlooking the picturesque beach, plus a fireplace and Tempur-Pedic king bed kitted out in European linens. Downstairs, Restaurant Beck serves an upscale, elegant and ever-changing dinner menu that would be at home in any big-city dining scene. Depoe Bay is dubbed the whale-watching capital of the Oregon coast, so you’ll likely spot a few whale spouts no matter what time of year you go, or hop on one of the whale-watching charter boats that launch from the “world’s smallest harbor” to get up close and personal.

Getting there

Cannon Beach, Pacific City and Depoe Bay are all along a 95-mile stretch north to south on Oregon’s northern coastline; Cannon Beach is about 80 miles northwest of Portland.


Headlands Coastal Lodge and Spa, Pacific City, 33000 Cape Kiwanda Drive; 503.483.3000
Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, 2740 S Pacific St.; 844.374.2107
Whale Cove Inn, Depoe Bay, 2345 U.S. Highway 101; 541.765.4300;

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