Family Friendly

Commons Park and Playground

In downtown Yachats find a community park with a children’s playground and treehouse, and a wetland boardwalk trail. It is located behind the Yachats Commons, at the corner of W 4th St. and Hwy. 101.

Explore a lush, coastal forest! Created by Yachats Youth and Family Activites Program (YYFAP) daycamp students, this Quest takes you on a hike through the Discovery Loop Trail at Cape Perpetua. (Approximately one hour)

Quest Books include 24 quests in Lincoln, Clatsop, Coos, Curry and Benton Counties. The books are $10 and are available at the Yachats Visitors Center.

Go On An Oregon Coast Quest: YYFAP Habitats of Diversity Quest

This Quest features a choice of paths to follow, and takes explorers through a variety of coastal habitats. (Approximately 45 minutes)


Quest Books include 24 quests in Lincoln, Clatsop, Coos, Curry and Benton Counties. The books are $10 and are available at the Yachats Visitors Center.

History of Oregon Bridges
320 NW Hwy 101, Waldport OR 97394
8 mi N of Yachats

The Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center, located at the base of the bridge in Waldport, is a marvelous center for learning about Oregon bridges. Small children may construct a wooden toy bridge here while adults and older youth view historic photos and other related exhibits.

Sea Lion Caves
91560 Hwy. 101 N., Florence, OR 97439
15 miles S of Yachats | 12 miles N of Florence

Sea Lion Caves is proud to be part of the Oregon/Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve helping to protect the local marine animals and marine environment.

Sea Lion Caves (America’s largest sea cave) is a privately owned wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary, since 1932, located just 15 miles south of Yachats and 11 miles north of Florence. It is the year-round home of the Steller sea lion, but sea lions are not always in the Cave. This is not a zoo, and sea lions are wild animals, so these protected animals come and go as they please. In winter months, hundreds of sea lions are usually found in the Cave, but when spring arrives, breeding and birthing time, the sea lions will move from the Cave to the rookery areas (the rock ledges out in front of the Cave) and remain there through summer. Please check the web site, linked below, for current admission prices and hours.

Summertime Kayaking

You may reserve a Guided Kayak Tour (kayaks and equipment provided) at Beaver Creek State Natural Area. Beginning June 1, reservations may be made for July thru Labor Day tours by visiting the Beaver Creek web site, linked below, or by calling 541-563-6413 (Noon-4). 

Or you may bring your own kayak or canoe to paddle the gentle Beaver Creek, Yachats River, or Eckman Lake in Waldport, or to explore the Alsea River Water Trail, a 10-mile route along the Alsea River, Drift Creek, and Lint Slough.

Where: Beaver Creek is 16 mi N of Yachats; 8 mi N of Waldport; 8 mi S of Newport, off Hwy 101. Kayak/Small Boat Launch – Put in your kayak or canoe at the launch across from Ona Beach on Hwy 101. The three-mile paddle meanders up the Beaver Creek valley with views of the surrounding Sitka spruce and alder forested hills. Look for beaver, river otter, muskrat and nutria, Roosevelt elk, or black-tailed deer.

PORT OF ALSEA / ALSEA RIVER WATER TRAIL – dockage and moorage provided by Port of Alsea.
Where/Directions: Port of Alsea is 8 miles N of Yachats; 16 mi S of Newport. At Waldport’s only stoplight (at the base of the Waldport Bridge on Hwy 101), turn E onto Hwy 34; continue 1.9 mi to Broadway; turn L on Broadway and proceed to the Port of Alsea docks. 

The Oreo Cows

Take a drive on Yachats River Road for a possible view of grazing belted bovines – and sometimes also a majestic herd of elk. These black cattle with their signature cream-colored stripe are known affectionately by local children as “the oreo cows.”  The river valley is also home to herds of bleeting goats, sheep, and less vocal horses and llamas, as well as ducks, peacocks, and other wonderful beings. 

Plan ahead – check the tidetable and head out at least an hour before low tide.

Please see the tidepools guide linked below, which includes

a map of locations for tidepools along the coast
information about tidepool zones and the creatures that live in them
and important guidelines for viewing tidepools


Cape Perpetua Visitors Center, Special Programs, and Scenic Area Trails
2400 US-101, Yachats, OR 97498
3 miles south of downtown Yachats

The Cape Perpetua Visitors Center offers a viewing deck, natural and cultural history exhibits, a winter Saturday Speakers Series, other seasonal programs such as whale watch, tidepool discovery days, and guided walks, and a theater with nature films.

The U.S. Forest Service maintains the Cape’s 26 miles of interconnected hiking trails through coastal mature and old growth rainforest, to breathtaking vistas, an Oregon Heritage Tree, Native American shellmiddens, the West Shelter Viewpoint, Devil’s Churn, Spouting Horn, Thor’s Well, tidepools, and the beach. Trails range in length from a fraction of a mile to 10 miles, and from easy to difficult. The scenic area’s viewpoints and trails are open to the public year round. Some of the trails are wheelchair accessible, and one 6-mile loop trail is open for mountain biking. 

Fees: $5/day use vehicle pass fee (may be reused at other sites along the coast on the same day) or valid recreation pass. 5-day coast passes and annual passes are also sold here. Restrictions: Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet in the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.


There are three (yes 3!) oceanfront day use state parks in Yachats, and no day use fees.

(1) Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site – at the mouth of the Yachats River just south of downtown. Turn west onto Yachats Ocean Road at the south end of the Yachats River Bridge. Park along the rim road and take the wooden staircase down to the beach. At low tide, you’ll find a wonderful sandy beach here, and often small tidepools. This is a great place to build a sandcastle, picnic, and with a little wind – fly a kite. You may see heron fishing in the shallow section of the river, wild ducks floating under the bridge, an eagle or two, pelicans, and a variety of shore birds.

(2) Yachats State Recreation Area – at the west end of 2nd Street in downtown Yachats. This park offers a sometimes serene and sometimes wild view of the Yachats River as it meets the Pacific Ocean. This is a great place to park and watch waves and to spot gray whales spouting or seals playing in the surf. There is also a nice tidepools viewing platform here, as well as a lawn, resting benches, historic marker, and picnic tables.

(3) Smelt Sands State Recreation Site – at the north end of town, turn west at the Smelt Sand’s sign onto a gravel road that leads to the park/parking lot. This park includes picnic tables and a small pebbly beach along a beautiful stretch of the 804 Trail. At low tide, the north end of this trail (except in winter) connects to a 7-mile stretch of sandy beach that reaches all the way to the Alsea River Bay at Waldport. The distance from the 804 trailhead at Smelt Sands parking lot to the north end of the trail where it connects to the beach is 3/4 mile. The 804 Trail is above the tideline, so it may be walked any time of day. However, do not venture onto the tabletop basalt rock except at low tide, and then only with caution. Sneaker waves can happen, and they are formidable. Do not turn your back on the ocean. While picnicking, watching beautiful waves, or hiking along the 804 Trail watch for whale spouts – you may even be able to count them! (Most of the year we have grey whales here – and many more during the spring and winter migrations.)

2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport, OR 97365-5229
23 miles N of Yachats

Great interactive exhibits, theater, touching tidepool, walking trails. Admission by donation.

90241 US-101, Florence, OR 97439

Guided beach or dune rides, about 25 minutes south of Yachats. Reservations required.

545 SW 9th Street, Newport, OR 97365
24 miles N of Yachats

This Queen-Anne Victorian building holds a long and colorful history – from home, to boarding house, to funeral parlor, to museum. 

Hours: 11am to 4pm, Thursday thru Sunday

Admission: $5 for adults, kids under 12 get in free. 

Please check the web site below for additional information.

333 SE Bay Blvd. Newport, OR 97365
25 miles N of Yachats

Housed in an impressive former home on Newport’s historic bayfront, the museum’s “exhibits and programming are dedicated to telling the stories of those who share a desire to live and work where sea meets land, and along its rivers and estuaries.”

Hours: 11am-4pm Thursday through Sunday.
Admission: $5 for adults, kids 12 and under get in free.

Marine Discovery Tours
345 SW Bay Boulevard, Newport, OR 97365

Sea life cruises with fun activities.

Reservation requests, 72 hours or less in advance, must be made by phone. Other reservations may be made online through the “Contact Us” link on their web site.

Oregon Coast Aquarium
2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365
23 miles N of Yachats

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a living classroom for all learning styles and ages, and includes exhibits on Sandy Shores, Rocky Shores, Coastal Waters, Secrets of Shipwrecks, Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Sea Lions, Giant Pacific Octopus, Seabird Aviary, Turkey Vultures, Orford Reef, Halibut Flats, Open Sea, Aquarium Grounds, and Big Bites.

Plan to stay a couple of hours and enjoy.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Beginning just 26 miles south of Yachats, the Oregon Dunes, the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America, stretch out for 40 miles between Florence and Coos Bay. Check out the web site for the area, and “A Local’s Guide to the Oregon Dunes,” linked below, for more information. 

278 Maple St, Florence, Oregon 97439
26 miles S of Yachats (about a 40 minute drive)

Historic displays feature the pioneers whose occupations were primarily as loggers and fishermen, and whose primary means of transportation was the Siuslaw River. 

If you are a group of 10 or more, please call to make reservations. Please check the web site linked below for additional information, current hours, and admission fees.

A History Walking Tour is also available. 

320 Grant St., PO Box 822, Waldport 97394
8 miles N of Yachats

Come on in and browse the exhibits, Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm and Thursday/Friday/Sunday 12Noon – 4:00pm. Admission is free.

60 acres in a coastal mountain range near the town of Tidewater.
A 30-minute drive from Yachats, approximately.

White Wolf Sanctuary offers guided tours by appointment only. The tour begins with an educational talk about wolves and the White Wolf Sanctuary. Guests are then escorted around the sanctuary to learn about each wolf’s history. 
Tours are approximately three hours depending on the size of the group, activity of the wolves, and interests of guests. Reservations are required.
Please check the web site for current fees and hours.

24 miles N of Yachats
Please see the web site linked below for a map and directions.

The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse “is believed to be the oldest structure in Newport. It is also the only existing Oregon lighthouse with the living quarters attached, and the only historic wooden Oregon lighthouse still standing.”

The lighthouse has an interesting history – it was built in 1871, decommissioned in 1874, and officially restored as a privately maintained aid to navigation on December 7, 1996.  It is is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Memorial Day – Sept: 11:00am – 4:00pm

October – Memorial Day: 12:00 Noon – 4:00pm

Note: November through February the lighthouse is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Entrance is free by donation.

750 NW Lighthouse Drive, Newport, Oregon 97365
3.5 miles N of Newport

The 100-acre site includes the lighthouse, an interpretive center, wildlife viewing – including whales, seals, tidepooling, and birding, as well as short trails and incredible views.

This is Oregon’s tallest lighthouse at 93 feet. It was first lit on August 20, 1873 and has been guiding ships and their supplies along the west coast ever since. The lighthouse is located on a narrow point at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. Please see the link below for information about guided tours of the lighthouse.

Yaquina Head Interpretive Center & Interpretive Store Hours:  10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area Park Hours:  8:oo am – Sunset  


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