The Long Beach Peninsula

Welcome to the Long Beach Peninsula, a stunning 28-mile stretch of coastline known for its scenic beauty and rich history. It’s home to one of the longest continuous beaches in the U.S and is one of the few places where visitors can enjoy the rare experience of driving on the sand. The peninsula’s history is deeply entwined with the maritime and cranberry industries, blending cultural depth with natural allure. Explore historic sites, savor local cuisine, or enjoy a drive along the expansive shoreline for a truly memorable escape.

  • State Parks: The Long Beach Peninsula is surrounded by numerous state parks, each offering its own unique natural beauty and recreational opportunities. These parks provide the perfect setting for a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, picnicking, wildlife observation, and camping. Notable parks include Cape Disappointment State Park, which is rich in history with the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and offers stunning views from its historic lighthouses; Leadbetter Point State Park, known for its pristine beaches and birdwatching opportunities; and the Pacific Pines and Loomis Lake State Parks, perfect for a quiet day spent exploring the dunes.
  • The Discovery Trail: Embark on a journey along The Discovery Trail, an 8.5-mile paved path that stretches from Long Beach to Ilwaco. Ideal for hiking or bicycling, this scenic trail offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, winds through dunes, forests, and cranberry bogs, and features interpretive displays that celebrate the area’s natural history and the journey of Lewis and Clark.
  • Lighthouses and Hiking Trails: No visit to the peninsula is complete without exploring its historic lighthouses. The North Head and Cape Disappointment Lighthouses stand as beacons of history, each offering breathtaking views and a network of hiking trails that reveal the natural beauty and history of this scenic coastline.
  • Razor Clam Digging: Learn the techniques behind digging for razor clams, a favorite local activity that draws enthusiasts to the peninsula’s sandy shores. The clamming season, primarily in the fall and spring, offers a perfect opportunity for visitors to learn about and participate in this fun, hands-on harvesting along the Pacific coast.
  • Horseback Riding on the Beach: Experience the exhilaration of horseback riding along the scenic beaches of the peninsula. Available for riders of all skill levels, this activity offers a unique way to explore the coastline’s natural beauty, with the wind in your hair and the rhythm of hooves on sand.
  • Bird-Watching: Eagles Feasting on the BeachThe Long Beach Peninsula is a prime spot for bird-watchers, boasting a rich variety of bird species, including numerous eagles. The region’s diverse habitats, from sandy beaches to wetlands and forests, create perfect conditions for observing bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and migratory birds, especially at the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Storm Watching: Witness the awe-inspiring power of nature during the storm-watching season on the Long Beach Peninsula. From late fall through early spring, visitors can experience the dramatic spectacle of powerful Pacific storms rolling in. The coastline offers numerous safe vantage points from which to observe towering waves and fierce winds.
  • International Kite Festival: Brighten your vacation with a visit to the International Kite Festival, a colorful and vibrant event where the sky above Long Beach comes alive with kites of all sizes and shapes. Held annually in August, this festival attracts kite flyers from around the world and provides spectacular sights and family-friendly activities.
  • Sandsations and Sandcastle Building: Let your creativity flow at Sandsations, Long Beach’s annual sandcastle building contest. Held every July, this event turns the beach into an outdoor art gallery, where stunning and intricate sand sculptures take shape under the hands of amateur and master sculptors alike.
  • Cranberry Festival: Celebrate the region’s rich agricultural heritage at the Cranberry Festival every October. Enjoy a weekend of food, crafts, and entertainment, all centered around the harvest of the local cranberry bogs. It’s a festive way to discover the unique farming culture of the peninsula.
  • Garlic Festival: Food lovers rejoice at the Garlic Festival, where the humble garlic takes center stage. Sample a wide variety of garlic-infused foods, from savory to sweet, and enjoy live music, crafts, and cooking demonstrations.
  • Blues Festival: Get into the groove at the Peninsula Blues Festival, a must-attend event for music lovers. This annual festival fills the air with soulful melodies from top-notch blues musicians. It’s the perfect backdrop for a summer evening by the sea, complete with great food and vibrant community vibes.
  • Wild Mushroom Celebration: Forage into the world of fungi during the Wild Mushroom Celebration. This autumn event invites culinary enthusiasts to explore the region’s rich mushroom varieties through special restaurant menus, cooking classes, and guided mushroom hunts. It’s a delightful way for visitors to connect with the local ecosystem and culinary traditions.
  • Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks: Celebrate Independence Day with a spectacular Fourth of July parade and fireworks on the Long Beach Peninsula. This huge annual event features a day filled with patriotic parades, lively music, and a stunning fireworks display over the ocean. It’s a festive time when visitors and locals alike come together to celebrate in a truly scenic setting.
  • Razor Clam Festival: Celebrate the local tradition of clam digging at the Razor Clam Festival, an annual event that features clam digging competitions, live music, and an array of clam dishes that showcase the local culinary talents.
  • Crab Pot Christmas Tree Lighting: Kick off the holiday season with the whimsical Crab Pot Christmas Tree Lighting in Ilwaco. This unique local tradition involves constructing a giant “tree” from crab pots, adorned with lights and festive decorations. The lighting ceremony is accompanied by carols, hot cocoa, and a community spirit that warms even the chilliest winter evening.
  • Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center: Join the Corps of Discovery and look back in time at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, located at Cape Disappointment State Park. This educational center offers insights into the historic journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through interactive exhibits and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Local Museums: Explore the vibrant history and traditions of the Long Beach Peninsula with a visit to its fascinating museums. At the World Kite Museum, let your spirit soar through exhibits that trace the colorful history and science of kites from around the globe. Step back in time at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum to explore the peninsula’s maritime roots and its pioneering cranberry and fishing industries. Over in Nahcotta, the Willapa Bay Interpretive Center offers a closer look at the delicate ecosystems of the bay and its renowned shellfish industry. And don’t miss the charming Cranberry Museum, where you can uncover the intriguing world of cranberry farming, complete with vintage farming tools and delicious cranberry goods to take home.
  • Fort Columbia: Revisit the past at Fort Columbia, one of the most well-preserved military installations on the West Coast. Located atop a scenic bluff overlooking the Columbia River, this historic site offers a captivating glimpse into military life in the early 20th century. Explore restored buildings, old artillery emplacements, and interpretive trails that narrate the fort’s critical role in coastal defense. Fort Columbia is not only a window into the past but also provides breathtaking views of the surrounding area, making it a must-visit for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
  • Historic Oysterville and the Oyster Industry: Dive into the local oyster industry, a cornerstone of the peninsula’s culture and economy. Tour an oyster farm to see how these delicacies are harvested, or visit the historic town of Oysterville, where charming 19th-century buildings and a serene bay setting tell the story of the area’s rich maritime heritage.
  • Ilwaco Art Walk: Stroll through the charming streets of Ilwaco during the Art Walk, held on the first Friday of each month from June through September. This event showcases local art galleries and businesses, featuring live music, refreshments, and the opportunity to meet local artists. It’s a wonderful way to experience the peninsula’s thriving arts scene and pick up unique artwork.
  • Beachpets Treasure Hunt: Engage in a fun-filled treasure hunt with the Beachpets event, where participants follow clues to find glass floats hidden along the beach. This event not only provides an exciting activity for families and visitors of all ages but also supports local animal rescue efforts, adding a rewarding purpose to the hunt.
  • Expansive Dining Options: Savor the flavors of the Long Beach Peninsula with a wide array of dining choices in Long Beach, Ocean Park, and Ilwaco. From freshly caught seafood to international cuisines, these towns offer delightful culinary experiences that cater to food lovers of all tastes.
  • Downtown Long Beach Activities: Long Beach is brimming with fun attractions suitable for the entire family. Challenge your skills at the local arcade, or step into Marsh’s Free Museum, a quirky spot that’s part museum, part novelty store, known for its eclectic collection including Jake the Alligator Man. Stroll along the wooden boardwalk to enjoy sweeping ocean views, or indulge in coastal shopping for unique souvenirs and local crafts.

Each of these activities encapsulates the diverse and engaging experiences available on the Long Beach Peninsula, making it an ideal destination for visitors looking to combine relaxation with adventure.