Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. The highest vehicle-accessible lookout on the Oregon Coast, Cape Perpetua towers 800 feet above the rocky shoreline. Named by Captain Cook on St. Perpetua's Day in 1778, the cape is part of a 2,700-acre scenic area popular with hikers, campers, beachcombers, and naturalists. General information, educational movies and exhibits, and trail maps are available at the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center, on the east side of the highway, ½ mile south of Devil's Churn. The easy 1-mile Giant Spruce Trail passes through a fern-filled rain forest to an enormous 600-year-old Sitka spruce. Easier still is the marked Auto Tour; it begins just north of the visitor center and winds through Siuslaw National Forest to the ¼-mile Whispering Spruce Trail. Views from the rustic rock shelter here extend 50 miles north to south, and some 40 miles out to sea. For a more rigorous trek, hike the St. Perpetua Trail to the shelter. Other trails lead from the visitor center down along the shore, including a scenic pathway to Devil's Churn, next to which a small snack bar sells sandwiches, sweets, and coffee. 2400 U.S. 101, 3 miles south of Yachats, Yachats, Oregon, 97498. 541/547–3289; www.fs.usda.gov/siuslaw. Parking fee $5. Visitors Center: summer, daily 10–5; winter, daily 10–4.
Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint. Visitors have fun searching for animals, watching the surf, or hunting for agates. The benches set above the beach on the cliff provide a great view of Cumming Creek. It's also a terrific spot for whale-watching. At low tide, beachcombers have access to a natural cave and tidal pools. U.S. 101, 4 miles south of Yachats, Yachats, Oregon, 97498. 800/551–6949; 541/547–3416; www.oregonstateparks.org. Free. Daily.
Yachats Ocean Road State Natural Site. Drive this 1-mile loop just across the Yachats River from downtown Yachats, and discover one of the most scenic viewpoints on the Oregon Coast. Park along Yachats Ocean Road and scamper out along the broad swath of sand where the Yachats River meets the Pacific Ocean. There's fun to be had playing on the beach, poking around tide pools, and watching blowholes, summer sunsets, and whales spouting. Yachats Ocean Rd., just south of U.S. 101 bridge over Yachats River, Yachats, Oregon, 97498. 800/551–6949; 541/867–7451; www.oregonstateparks.org.
Yachats State Recreation Area. The public beach in downtown Yachats is more like the surface of the moon than most other places, and certainly most beaches. A wooden platform overlooks the coastline, where the waves roll in sideways and splash over the rocks at high tide. As is the case throughout most of the town, the beach itself is paralleled by an upland walking trail and dotted with picnic tables, benches, and interpretive signs. Visit to spot the sea lions that frequent this stretch of coast. Or join the intrepid beachcombers who climb the rocks for a closer look at tide pools populated by sea urchins, hermit crabs, barnacles, snails, and sea stars. Amenities: parking; toilets. Best for: walking; sunset. Ocean View Dr., off 2nd St. and U.S. 101, Yachats, Oregon, 97498. 800/551–6949; 541/867–7451; www.oregonstateparks.org.