• Smelt Sands State Recreation Site will take your breath away with stunning views
• In the 1900s, the local resident started a rescue service, saving travelers stuck in the sand
If you've been looking for a spot with fantastic views, interesting history, rugged beaches, and cool adventures, you will find all of it here! It sits a mile north of downtown Yachats, and this is an excellent whale and birdwatching spot and a fantastic viewpoint for taking pictures (of the sunrise, sunset, and yourself).
The local native tribes, including Yakonan (Alsean) speakers, used surf smelt as a big part of their food source. European settlers fished for smelt too. Unfortunately, overfishing led to the near disappearance of that fish in here.
Settlers, explorers, traders, and adventure seekers passed through this area often, and they also often got stuck because of soft sands and unexpected tides.
This led to a local resident starting a rescue business in the 1900s, helping travelers with his truck. The rescue fee was $3, equal to about $100 in today's dollars.
Smelt Sands State Recreation Site - Things To Do
Smelt Sands State Recreation Site with Smelt Sands Beach is a mesmerizing mix of scenic shoreline, rocky intertidal areas, and oceanside greenery.
This is a perfect place for beachcombing, rockhounding, tidepool watching, hiking, picnicking, surfing, kayaking, fishing, or just enjoying the beach vibe.
Smelt Sands Beach is an easy walk away from the parking lot.
Smelt Sands Beach is a fantastic place to enjoy a relaxing stroll. In addition to the beach, you can also walk the historic 804 Trail here.
This easy and developed pathway runs for 0.75 miles one-way along the rocky shore. On your way, you will encounter multiple pocket beaches you can visit. You can also take a break and enjoy the view on one of the numerous benches along the way.
Yachats Beaches Rockhounding
The rocky shore of all Yachats Beaches including Smelt Sands Site is a rockhounding El Dorado! Especially after winter storms on the low tide. The most common gemstones you can find here are agates, jaspers, petrified wood, fossils, and serpentine.
Yachats Beaches Tidepool Exploring
The intertidal zone at Smelt Sands State Recreation Site is full of life. As the tide recedes, it reveals tidepools bustling with colorful sea anemones, crabs, starfish, and other ocean creatures.
It's like flipping through pages of a live nature magazine! Remember to be careful and not step on or remove any ocean plants and animals.
Yachats Beaches Nature Viewing and Photography
During winter storms, huge waves run into the shore rocks, launching the mass of ocean water high into the air. Meanwhile, on a clear day, the setting sun paints the rocks and ocean with vivid colors.
Smelt Sands Beach and Smelt Sands State Recreation Site are also fantastic for whale watching during migration season and birdwatching year-round.
Shore rocks and surf zone is popular among common and marble murres, rhinoceros auklets, loons, scoters, loons, black turnstones, and other sea birds.
Yachats Beaches Surfing and Kayaking
The waters off the Yachats attract kayakers and surfers for the scenic surroundings. Surfers prefer the stormy times for the exciting waves, while kayakers usually appear during the calmer weather.
However, if you decide to enjoy any of those activities, remember that the shoreline here is very rocky, and the currents are pretty powerful.
Yachats Beaches Fishing
The shoreline off Yachats is a fantastic place for surf fishing. You can expect to catch sea perch, rockfish, greenling, and other species.
Despite the beach's name, your chances of catching smelt are low because overfishing decreased the runs of that fish.
Yachats Camping, Lodging & Vacation Rentals
There is no camping allowed at the Smelt Sands State Recreation Site. Campgrounds can be found north of Yachats at Beachside State Recreation Site and Tillicum Beach.
The nearest lodging is available in Yachats or Florence.
Smelt Sands State Recreation Site | Facts
Managed by: Oregon State Parks
Amenities: Restrooms, benches
Activities: Beachcombing, rockhounding, tidepool watching, fishing, surfing, kayaking, hiking, picnicking, and nature viewing
Distance from the parking: Short
Road access: Any passenger vehicle
Day-use fees: None
Smelt Sands State Recreation Site is located:
- 1 mile north of Yachats
- 26 miles north of Florence
- 87 miles northwest of Eugene.