Yachats ( /jɑːhɑːts/ yah-hahts) is a small coastal city in Lincoln County, Oregon, United States. According to Oregon Geographic Names, the name comes from the Siletz language, and means "dark water at the foot of the mountain." There is a range of differing etymologies, however. William Bright says the name comes from the Alsea placename /yáx̣ayky/. As of the 2000 census, the city's population was 617. In 2007, Budget Travel magazine named Yachats one of the "Ten Coolest Small Towns of the U.S.A." Also, Yachats was chosen among the top 10 U.S. up-and-coming vacation destinations by Virtualtourist.
Archeological studies have shown that the Yachats area has been inhabited for at least 1,500 years. Remains of a pit house in Yachats have been radiocarbon dated at approximately 570 AD. Yachats is built on seashell middens and numerous graves left by its past inhabitants. Excavations for construction of buildings and U.S. Highway 101 uncovered a great many skeletons and artifacts. Most of these became part of the fill dirt forming the base of the current highway and city.
For many centuries the Native Americans in this area were hunter-gatherers who migrated between summer camps and winter residences. The Alsea Tribe had as many as 20 permanent villages (used on an annually rotating basis) on the Alsea River and the central Oregon coast. Archeological and linguistic evidence support the existence of a southern Alsea village known as the Yahuch band, located on the coast at the Yachats River. By 1860, the Yahuch band was extinct, many having succumbed to European diseases such as smallpox and tuberculosis.