There’s good reason why the late Oregon writer Ken Kesey chose nearby Bray’s Point as a good place to have a beach house; while Arthur Frommer recently named the view from Yachats looking south to Bray’s Point as No. 7 for this globe-trotting travel writer’s “favorite spots in all the world.” In turn, Yachats locals like to say how “special moments happen every day in Yachats” because – as Frommer writes – it’s “the idea spot for a stop in the course of a motoring trip along the breathtaking Oregon coast.” The recently released Frommer’s top 10 favorite spots list includes: Sanibel Island, Florida; Island of Bali, Indonesia; Paris; St. John in the U.S. Virgin Island; Cairo, Egypt; Bonaire, one of the ‘ABC” islands of the southern Caribbean; Chiang Rai, Thailand; New York’s Greenwich Village and Kenya’s wildlife.
Yachats is an easy destination to discover
Yachats has a unique culture, or way of life. For this reference, culture means the part of the environment that is human-made and includes local ideas and traditions.
With more than three miles of trails, as well as nature settings and a kids’ activity center, the “Yachats Community Park” seeks to spread awareness, appreciation and responsibility for the natural world.
“It’s our place for sure. It’s the one thing in the heart of town that says Yachats and what we’re about,” said Nancy Patchelder who serves as the Yachats City Recorder and resident expert about the community park.
Patchelder is also proud to point out how this park “took nearly four years to just research and plan, so as to protect the local environment. It was built, in part, because of the dedication of former city council member Jerry Kraft, and others who wanted to preserve our bit of coastal nature.”
“If you want to experience a hike that’s both aesthetically pleasing and educational,” than our community park is it,” she adds. “We like to think that it’s an environmental break for both our residents and visitors.”
Peaceful and people friendly
Part of Yachats attraction is its peaceful and natural setting, where homes are snuggled between the thick forested mountains of the Coast Range and the pounding waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Another draw for both visitors and locals are the many local beach and nature trails, to include the community park that offers a good place for rest, relaxation and renewal.
Yachats, pronounced YAH-hots, is a Chinook Indian word, Yahuts, meaning dark water at the foot of the mountain.
“The Native Americans found it a wonderful place for living, and that’s why I moved here after retiring in 1981,” said Hank Bressett who recently took his dog Topper and friends for a walk about in the community park.
“I usually take visitors to the community park trails,” Bressett adds. “These trails are a good way to figure out the lay of the land along this part of the Oregon coast because they are easy walking, pleasant and offer varied scenery.”
This park also offers a great view of the Cape, the big mouth of the little Yachats River and Yachats bay.
According to a U.S. Forest Service guide to “free” coastal nature walks, the community park is part of former County Road 804. This route was used for travel between Yachats and Waldport’s Alsea Bay before Highway 101 was built in the 1930s.
Today, what was the county road it’s simply considered a “footpath” that leads to the more developed Yachats Community Park that incorporates the rich coastal marshland.
“It’s a great place for whale watching, tide-pooling, birding and hiking,” Pappel added.
Yachats draws artists for its beauty
If you’d like to get a sense of how artists see the Oregon coast, take a stroll around the Yachats State Recreation Area. As Lois Reineke explains, “it’s a picture perfect post card of the coast in all its glory.”
Reineke, a long-time Yachats resident, said this spot on the Oregon coast – that can be seen from her front yard -- has become something of a mecca for artists.
For instance, on any given day during the winter months, she said “it’s not “unusual to see a dozen or more artists or photographers standing right on the edge of the coastal road” near this Yachats park. And, on the beach below, waves can be heard like a loud booming drum as the water rushes in and out from the Pacific.
“On a picture-perfect day, you can just imagine what they must paint or photograph from here,” she adds.
Located along Ocean View Drive, Yachats State Recreation Area is near what is said to be one of the most visually stunning areas along the central Oregon coast. The park area is nestled between homes for what visitors describe as an interesting mingling of nature in a residential area.
“For people simply looking for a good mix of scenery, you can’t beat this place,” said John Leland from Oregon City. “What I’m painting today is something that reminds me of the terraced look of Italy with the ocean and the cliff homes nearby. Yes, it’s still Yachats and Oregon but that’s what it looks like to me.”
Leland also points out that one doesn’t need to be an artist or a photographer to discover why this special location along the central Oregon coast has become a favorite spot for artists who think the best way to paint the landscape is to go outdoors.