This tiny hamlet just north of Florence is where author Ken Kesey is rumored to have penned “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The spirit of creative inspiration continues today, as visitors have been flocking to the town for decades to write, make art, watch wild waves and simply hang out. In the past few years, Yachats has experienced a renaissance, with trail improvements, new eateries and shops to delight regular visitors and entice new ones. Here are some recent additions and classic favorites.
Indigenous History at Cape Perpetua
The first inhabitants of the Yachats area were Alsean-speaking peoples who lived there for well over 8,000 years before Euro-Americans arrived in the late 1700s. Check in at the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area Visitor Center to better understand the human and geologic history of the region before heading off to experience recent improvements to Amanda’s Trail (also known as The Amanda Trail), a solemn memorial to Amanda De-Cuys, a blind member of the Coos Tribe forced by government troops in 1864 to walk barefoot 80 miles from Coos Bay to a military camp in Yachats.
Winding just over 3.5 miles between Cape Perpetua and Yachats, the trail came to fruition through a decades-long collaboration with local tribes. A new 142-foot suspension bridge — replacing a previous one lost in a mudslide — opened in May 2022 and now connects Amanda’s Trail to the Oregon Coast Trail. A new Amanda Gathering Area and a memorial statue by Yachats artist Sy Meadow offer a peaceful spot for reflection. Along the trail are interpretive signs depicting local Indigenous history and relaying Amanda’s story. An interactive pocket guide describes local flora and fauna, as well as the area’s early Indigenous peoples and their plight.
For stunning ocean views, take the Saint Perpetua National Recreation Trail to West Shelter, a stone structure built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. You can also visit the shelter via the short, wheelchair-accessible Whispering Spruce Trail.
Local Produce and Great Breakfasts
Yachats may be small, but you’ll find a wealth of local food, from farm-to-table specialties to mushrooms foraged in nearby woods. The tiny-but-mighty kitchen at Saint Perpetua Patio, which opened in 2022, turns out dishes inspired by ingredients sustainably sourced from local farms, fishers and forests. Loosely described as Italian comfort food, the seasonal menu may feature treats like housemade smoked oysters, burrata cheese or housemade pickles served on an outdoor dining patio.
Look for locally grown or foraged food at the Yachats Farmers Market, held at the Yachats Commons Wetland Park every Sunday from May to October. Too hungry to wait for a picnic? Grab a sweet or savory crepe, a grilled cheese or a cup of homemade soup from one of the market’s food vendors. Stop by Brenda’s Cocina Alfresco food truck for traditional enchiladas or their specialty, a hot dog smothered with beans and salsa. Just north of Yachats, you’ll find over 350 wine choices and a new tasting room — including a robust Oregon selection — at Beach Daisy Wine.
Yachats Brewing champions krauts and other fermented food alongside pulled-pork sandos, soups and salads — plus a Sunday brunch worth waiting in line for — with an extensive tap list of brews and kombucha. For old-fashioned fish and chips made with the local catch, you can’t go wrong at fisherman-owned Luna Sea Fish House.
For breakfast, classics include Green Salmon Coffee Company, a funky, laid-back cafe channeling Yachats’ counterculture roots with house-roasted coffee and plenty of vegan dishes. Bread & Roses Bakery is a Yachats institution beloved for its delicious pastries. (Get there early or risk leaving empty-handed.) Grab a personal-pan-size mushroom frittata or an almond-butter-and-jelly smoothie at all-day breakfast takeout spot Beach Street Kitchen, a local favorite since 2019.
Want to learn how to forage your own food? The coastal climate creates perfect conditions for fungi, and the annual Yachats Village Mushroom Festival brings together experts and enthusiasts to celebrate all things mushroom, usually on the third weekend of October (see the city’s website for dates). Local restaurants offer special fungi-forward menus, while mycologists lead walking tours and workshops.
Seawater Soaps and Ocean-Inspired Home Goods
You’ll definitely want to explore Yachats’ robust shops — these opened in 2022. Find boho vibes at Perpetua Records, where you’ll find a thoughtfully curated selection of vinyl, books, music-inspired ephemera, vintage clothes and jewelry. You may even choose to make your own music at Midtown Guitar Company, where a wide array of vintage guitars at every price point awaits your selection.
A restored 1940s cabin is home to Billow Cloud Soaps, where Elizabeth Markham mills small-batch soaps and household cleaners laced with locally foraged ingredients from the forest and Pacific Ocean, like seawater, kelp seaweed (prized for its rich, skin-healing properties), Sitka spruce tips and wild rose. For eco-friendly home furnishings and gifts inspired by the ocean, stop by Oceanography 101, just north of downtown.