Yachats. Say it YA-hots. This tiny dot on a map of the central Oregon coast had been on our list of places to see for its bountiful beachcombing and dramatic vistas. My wife and two sons, ages 11 and 8, stopped for two nights in August during a Northwest motoring loop.
We don't care about luxury, but we did want a place on the beach. We were pleased to book two nights at the Silver Surf Motel (3767 Highway 101 N., Yachats;  547-3175) for $109 a night. The 40-year-old roadside motel could use some upgrades, to put it politely, but the Pacific is the backyard. When we visited the chic Overleaf Lodge & Spa a half-mile up the beach, where the nightly rates were almost double, the hostess privately gave us props for snagging a vacancy at the venerable motel. Another boon: The small kitchen let us cook a few quick breakfasts and store groceries in the fridge.
After a day chauffeuring my nature lovers in a mid-sized rental along the twisty, craggy, lovely Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, we found Yachats in a cold fog. The cozy Drift Inn Historic Pub & Cafe (124 Highway 101 N.,  547-4477) fortified us with oysters raw and fried, seafood chowder, steamers in wine broth and, dare I say, three PNW India pale ales for me. We hit Luna Sea Fish House & Village Fishmonger (153 N.W. Highway 101;  547-4794) for more oysters and a couple of Rogue Juniper Pale Ales, not to mention locally, ethically caught albacore.
Our Oregon coast visit was about volcanic outcroppings, surf churning in rocky gorges, green forests of ferns and sitka stands, harbor seals sleeping on sand, starfish clinging to rocks, black turnstones trilling as they hunt for food on the rocks, Western gulls squawking above wave crashes. Please, please hike the historic 804 trail from downtown Yachats and head north about a mile. Also, drive about five minutes south to Cape Perpetua, a forested headland that juts into the Pacific and provides miles of scenic views. Remove the smartphone from your pocket and just try to take a bad picture.
The lesson learned
I wish I had another day to do nothing but fly a kite. And call me superficial, but the Silver Surf could spiff up and depend less on its location.
We spent about $450, including $109 a night at the Silver Surf, $90 at the Drift Inn, $70 at Luna Sea and $45 on groceries.