The sleepy town of Yachats, Oregon is home to fewer than 700 people. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in charm. We’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in Yachats – from outdoor adventures surrounded by nature to quirky things to do in town.
What is Yachats?
Yachats (say YAH-hots) means “dark water at the foot of the mountain.” Hazy Cascade Mountain horizons, surging ocean waters, and tide pools sunk in black basalt on the shoreline make the name altogether appropriate.
Yachats was named after the Yachats River and is a word derived from native local languages. Ya’Xaik (YAH-hike) was the Alseas’ word for the locale.
Located in a very unique spot, Yachats (pronounced YAH-hots) is widely regarded as a gem on the Oregon Coast. Instead of sandy beaches, much of the coastline near Yachats is composed of rugged black basalt that produces surging sea landmarks like Devil’s Churn, Spouting Horn, and Thor’s Well.
Phenomenal views can be seen from the romantically-named Cape Perpetua, one of the best viewpoints on the Oregon Coast located a few miles south of town. In Yachats, itself are top-notch galleries, restaurants, shops, breweries, a botanical preserve, and a city park built in restored marshland.
It is a magical place for a peaceful retreat, outdoor adventure, inspiration, and romance.
Come visit the gem of the Oregon coast and feel like a local. As many others have discovered, this little village with the big outdoors will become the place you’ll want to return to again and again.
Explore the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
Cape Perpetua is a 2,700-acre forested headland on the Oregon Coast about two miles from Yachats, which extends into the Pacific Ocean. The area is part of the Siuslaw National Forest with massive old-growth spruce, Douglas-fir, and western hemlock, barely visible through a coastal fog and powerful surf crashing on jagged shores. The headland ascends over 800 feet above the ocean, providing the highest viewpoint on the coast accessible by car. And the surrounding designated Scenic Area offers all-day and overnight adventure.
An excellent first place to visit is the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center, typically open seven days a week. Here, alongside interpretive displays about natural and cultural history, resources are available to plan a day of exploring. And with 26 miles of trails and a dramatic coastline, there’s plenty to plan for within the Scenic Area.
The top of Cape Perpetua is the best next place to go. An approximately 1.5-mile hiking trail leads from the visitor center to the Cape Perpetua Lookout and gains 700 feet. The day-use area and viewpoint are also accessible via the dirt Cape Perpetua Lookout Road. At the top, elevated views in both directions make for postcard images of the coast.
Trek the Yachats Coastline
The ocean meets a rocky coastline in Yachats. This intersection of rugged land and the sea’s constant churn offer a hypnotic scene of crashing waves. The sunsets are also notable from these rocky vantage points. This shoreline aesthetic is what drives most visitors to Yachats. It also makes Yachats one of Oregon’s best small towns on the coast.
The entire Oregon Coast, or “the People’s Coast,” is open to the public. The Oregon Coast Trail spans all 360-plus miles of beach and headlands. In Yachats, the Oregon Coast Trail combines with the 804 Trail to provide public access and viewpoints of the turbulent waters.
The 804 Trail stretches approximately 1.7 miles from Yachats State Recreation Area to the beginning of a long stretch of beach on the north side. The route weaves between public property, and passes in front of several resorts that line the shoreline. Visitors are asked to stay on the trail between public access points.
Smelt Sands State Recreation Site is approximately halfway along the 804 Trail. It offers an excellent place for tide pooling and photography. The 804 Trail continues as the Oregon Coast Trail on the northern seven miles of sandy beach leading to Waldport. To the south, the 804 connects to Amanda’s Trail and ascends to Cape Perpetua.
Stay the Night in Style near the Ocean
Several friendly hotels and resorts line the 101 through Yachats. Some of these places rank high as Oregon’s best beach resorts. And with competitive rates, it doesn’t break the bank to have a first-class overnight experience.
The Overleaf Lodge and Spa, on the northern edge of town, is the only overnight accommodation that caters to a spa vacation. Available services include ocean-facing soaking pools and various massage techniques. These spa services are available for guests of the hotel and the public alike.
Other affordable options in Yachats include locally owned places like Deane’s Oceanfront Lodge and Silver Surf Motel. Alongside friendly rates, these clean and comfortable hotels offer stunning views from each room. Another popular option, Fireside Motel, has pet-friendly rooms for those traveling with dogs.
Another notable place to spend the night, the Adobe Resort, features a full-service experience with a friendly rate. Alongside electric fireplaces and modern furnishing, nearly all 110 rooms at the resort feature a view of the dramatic shoreline abutting the property.
Visit the Heceta Head Lighthouse
The stunning and still operating Heceta Head Lighthouse is 14 miles south of Yachats, just beyond Cape Perpetua. The State Scenic Area surrounding Heceta Head offers hiking trails, a secluded beach, and lighthouse tours. Visitors are welcome to walk up to the lighthouse on their own with a half-mile trek from the parking area.
Also atop Heceta Head, a historic lightkeeper’s house has been restored into one of the best bed and breakfasts on the coast. The Heceta Lighthouse B&B is on a rocky promontory and offers fantastic views and a romantic ambiance. Alongside cozy accommodations facing the ocean, the inn also provides a notable seven-course breakfast to start the day.
Coming from Yachats, a fun way to access Heceta Head is via the Hobbit Trail leading down from the 101. The turnoff for this family-friendly trail is approximately one mile north of the State Scenic Area parking lot. It leads through a mystical forest down to one of Oregon’s best beaches: Hobbit Beach. From Hobbit Beach, it’s possible to hike up to Heceta Head.
Day Trip to Newport
Twenty-five miles north of Yachats on the 101, the thriving city of Newport offers several things to do that lure visitors for day trips. With a population of approximately 10,000 residents, Newport offers larger cultural attractions not found in Yachats. Two of the city’s signature facilities include the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Newport also has more shopping opportunities. One spot not to miss is Nye Beach, along Coast Street near the ocean. This historic beachside neighborhood was a top resort destination in the 1800s. Historic and hip storefronts now line this charming district, filled with local galleries, boutiques, and eateries.
Newport is also a spot for ocean splendor. The postcard-perfect Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area juts into the ocean on the north side of town. This downright beautiful landscape has hiking trails, tide pools, and whale-watching viewpoints that entice tourists from across the country.
Hike Amanda’s Trail
Including the coastal 804 Trail, walking routes line the village of Yachats. Amanda’s Trail is one such trail that connects the town with Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.
The route begins on the south side of town near Windy Way Street. The trail starts by going through private land with an easement in place. Users are asked to stay on the designated path.
The trail navigates the dense coastal forest surrounding Yachats. Users encounter the unique Amanda Statue within approximately the first mile of hiking. The statue and adjacent interpretive information share the history endured by the native cultures during a devastating relocation in the 1860s.
The hike to Amanda Statue is moderate, with less than 300 feet of elevation gain. The remaining 2.2 miles of Amanda’s Trail to reach Cape Perpetua is more strenuous, with approximately 500 additional feet of climbing.
Watch the Waves at Thor’s Well and Devil’s Churn
Cape Perpetua has several landscapes that lend credence to its Scenic Area designation. The rugged and rocky coastline of the area is exceptionally breathtaking and fun to watch. Two of the most scenic shoreline attractions, Devil’s Churn and Thor’s Well, are a short drive south on the 101 from Yachats.
The paved parking area for Devil’s Churn is less than three miles away. Here, the surf slams into a chasm of volcanic rock to create a dramatic and mesmerizing shoreline. Visitors take a closer look by following the 0.4-mile Trail of the Restless Waters. Winter storms often bring the most significant waves to Devil’s Churn. Visitors are advised not to get too close to the rocky edge.
Farther south, Thor’s Well offers another dynamic shoreline with the real chance of feeling ocean spray. This natural feature is a collapsed sea cave that now looks like the opening to a bottomless pit. During high tide, water rushes over and into the well and shoots back out, sometimes 20 feet into the air.
Eat Something Fresh
Yachats has several excellent restaurants to choose from, many of which have seafood on the menu. Places to eat line the 101 through northern Yachats. The most concentrated selection of local restaurants is at the southern end of this part of town, just north of Yachats Ocean Road State Park.
Luna Sea Fish House is a staple seafood restaurant at the heart of Yachats. This celebrated seafood spot features a long list of locally caught entrées and a fun community vibe. Luna Sea is also a fish market with fresh-caught items for sale by the pound.
Other notable seafood establishments in Yachats include The Drift Inn and Ona Restaurant. These two upscale but still laid-back eateries are great for romance and dining. For a tad more casual atmosphere, the fresh and fried offerings at Leroy’s Blue Whale and Beach Street Kitchen also deliver on seafood cravings.
Spend Time in Florence
A quick 25 miles south of Yachats, Florence offers plenty of things to see and do for a day trip or overnight visit. The coast between the two towns is stunning, with Cape Perpetua and Heceta Head Lighthouse punctuating the route. And Florence itself has plenty of natural attractions to explore.
Florence is home to audibly awesome places like Sea Lion Caves, as well as a surplus of beaches with crashing shores. Other landscapes to explore include the only private sandboarding park on the coast and a natural area filled with carnivorous plants.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area begins near Florence and spans over 40 miles to the south. As one of the largest tracts of temperate dunes in the world, the recreation area is a magnet for all types of sand travelers and OHV operators.
Alongside ample outdoor things to do, Florence also offers other cultural establishments, including restaurants, museums, and a historic Old Town.
Peruse the Works at Earthworks Gallery
Yachats has a handful of eye-catching art galleries in a business park on the 101 known as the Greenhouse Marketplace. These are fun places to visit on a rainy day, or any day, and offer curated artworks often inspired by Pacific Northwest landscapes.
Earthworks Gallery is the signature art space not to miss. This gallery features a clean, well-lighted place, with several works from regional and national artists. The gallery has built a reputation as one of the premier exhibit spaces on the coast, and frequently rotates the work on display.
Next door to Earthworks, Touchstone Gallery offers a venue for Oregon artworks. This collective organization represents over 100 Oregon-based creators. Mediums at Touchstone Gallery range from paintings to sculptures and include jewelry, pottery, and papercraft.
On the other side of Earthworks is the Wave Gallery. This photography studio exclusively displays prints of Oregon-based photographer Bob Keller. These stunning prints capture a myriad of beautiful landscapes from the state.
Enjoy the Aesthetics at the Little Log Church Museum
The historic Little Log Church is a fun and memorable stop in Yachats. This delightful building is off 3rd Street from the 101, on the north side of Ocean Road State Natural Site.
Construction of the church was completed by 1930. It served as a place of worship until the late 1960s when the congregation outgrew the quaint cabin. The Little Log Church soon became a museum and was deeded to the city in 1986. It has served as a unique roadside attraction and a special place to visit ever since.
The Little Log Church still does a few weddings each year and annual vow renewals on Valentine’s Day. The space is also available for private parties.
These are the activities that Hyannis Holiday recommends you try for the best experience here in Yachats, Oregon. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Have a nice Holiday!