The Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site is comprised of a beautiful beach complete with tide pools and picnic facilities. The road itself is about one mile long and forms a loop with the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, which leads you straight into the main town. Many people venture to this area hoping to catch sight of gray whales in the course of their annual migration, but the view is beautiful even if you miss the whales. In fact, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department calls it “one of the most scenic viewpoints on the coast.” Keep an eye out for western gulls and peregrine falcons in the sky. The tide pools are home to a plethora of aquatic creatures including mussels, anemones, hermit crabs, and sea stars. Once you’re done wading, sunbathing, and exploring, you will want to stick around to watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.
People have lived in Yachats for approximately 1,500 years, and for many of those summers the land was inhabited by Native Americans. Hunting and gathering were both lucrative while the weather was relatively warm, making it an excellent place to settle for part of the year. At one point archaeologists studied graves and what remained of the pit houses where early inhabitants lived, but many of the graves and pits have since been filled in to allow buildings and highways to be built.
During World War II, soldiers lived in the skating rink and spent their days monitoring the area for signs of an attack by air or sea. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the observation site where the soldiers worked. Even once the war was over, there was still work to do: the Coast Guard was responsible for eradicating the mines that had floated across the ocean and ended up on the beaches in Yachats.
Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site is part of the Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Areas. This means that there are specific prohibitions against fishing and the harvesting of fish, invertebrates, and seaweed. Check here for specific clarifications on regulations, exemptions, and a detailed representation of the area's boundaries.