From Willa Street all the way down to Windy Way, the quaint town of Yachats hugs the coastline. A visitor center sits amidst a gaggle of small businesses including a bakery, wine shop, tattoo parlor, and Italian restaurant. Just west of this charming downtown area, Yachats State Park (also known as Yachats State Recreation Area) overlooks the mouth of the Yachats River. The park features a platform that serves as an exceptional vantage point from which to observe the sea; gray whales can often be sighted during their annual migration. There are also several picnic tables and benches, as well as public restrooms. Many visitors are drawn to the park’s tide pools that house a whole host of intertidal species including anemones, hermit crabs, sea stars, limpets, and mussels.
The name Yachats comes from the Native Americans who lived in the area prior to 1860. According to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, it translates to “at the foot of the mountain,” which makes sense, as Yachats sits beneath Cape Perpetua. Several tribes thrived in this area before an outbreak of smallpox sometime in the 17th century. During the 1860s, the Army forced the Umpqua and Coos tribes off of their own land and escorted them to the Yachats area. That was when the remains of the previous civilization were discovered. Since then archaeologists have studied the area and determined that there have likely been people living here since at least 500 BCE. It seems that the area was inhabited seasonally rather than year-round, as the brutal environment often caused crops to fail; the unpredictability of the crops made it difficult to store enough food for the winter.
Yachats State Park 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.