You can’t go wrong with a trip to the Long Beach Peninsula. In the southwestern corner of Washington, this stretch of land between the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay has miles of sandy coastline, excellent small town restaurants, and homey places to stay with up-front ocean views. These are just a few (of the many) reasons why this area by the coast should be on your bucket list.
You can drive on their long, dreamy stretch of Pacific coastline.
Long Beach is famous for their 28-mile stretch of Pacific coastline. The white sand on the beach is packed so densely, most vehicles are able to drive on it beside the ocean at low tide.
Some parts of the beach are closed to vehicles up through Labor Day, but the shoreline always stays open to pedestrians and cyclists. (For more info on their beach driving regulations, click here.)
You can experience the quirkiness of Marsh’s Free Museum.
Marsh’s Free Museum is so bizarre, you have to browse this place in person to truly appreciate everything they have to offer. As both a curiosity shop and a museum, the inside’s packed with antique machines (like old “Gypsy” machines and “Love Tester” machines), which you can still put change in and play – as well as a weird assortment of merchandise you can purchase for souvenirs (varying from seashells to mugs and other fun gifts).
They’re also proudly home to “Jake The Alligator Man” – a bizarre half-man, half-alligator on display. While you’re here you can meet Jake and even pick up stickers, shirts, and other products with the famous man-gator on them.
There are local museums for all interests.
Museums are dotted throughout the Long Beach area for people of all ages and interests. You can marvel over creative kite designs at the World Kite Museum, learn more local history at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, and/or sip on a cup of cranberry tea while viewing the unique displays at the Cranberry Museum.
And restaurants for all tastes.
Long Beach is home to some of Washington’s finest coastal dining. The town is dotted with homey spots like 42nd Street Cafe & Bistro, Castaway’s Seafood, and Pickled Fish (on the top floor of the Adrift Hotel, overlooking the Pacific Ocean).
Our favorite? The Lost Roo, an Australian-themed bar & grill on Pacific Ave – which serves matchless burgers, entrees, revolving Northwest brews on tap, wines, and a premium Scotch selection.
Their wooden boardwalk is a lovely place to go for a walk.
At only about a half-mile long, Long Beach’s wooden boardwalk provides a pleasant setting for a brisk morning walk or relaxing after-lunch stroll. The cherished, wheelchair-accessible route twists through grass-covered sand dunes, just beside the Pacific Ocean.
You can follow the footsteps of Lewis & Clark on the historic Discovery Trail.
An equally scenic route, Discovery Trail is a paved bike-friendly trail that spans for over 8 miles through grassy dunes and seaside forest. The “Discovery Trail” marks the old Lewis & Clark expeditions, which is actually how it had gotten its name. The route parallels the boardwalk with ocean views, interpretative displays and various artworks.
There’s endless summer fun in Long Beach.
Long Beach has something fun going on every season, but the coastal town is especially charming to visit during the summertime. Every August, the town draws in people from all over the globe for the International Kite Festival. For a week long, the event features kite flying and kite making classes, amateur (and professional) competitions, lighted kite flying after dark and more. For next year, the celebration is scheduled for August 21-27, 2017.
You can hike trails, go camping, and see historic lighthouses at Cape Disappointment State Park.
At the bottom of the Long Beach Peninsula, in Ilwaco, Cape Disappointment is anything but disappointing. The park sits on both the mouth of the Columbia River (between Washington and Oregon) and the Pacific Ocean. It’s home to not just one – but two historic lighthouses, as well as miles of hiking trails, cabins you can rent for the weekend, and 200+ sites for tent camping.
Have you been to the Long Beach Peninsula before? Where are some of your favorite places to visit?