Visit Ilwaco and choose between fishing for salmon and albacore tuna in bracing Pacific waters or touring a lavender farm. Follow an art walk along the port and learn about early regional explorers and the city’s Native American history. This friendly community has a huge variety of activities.
Set on the mighty Columbia River, Ilwaco was named after a local Native American chief, Elowahka Jim. Learn some of the region’s history. It became a hub for fishermen and West Coast travelers from Oregon and the interior of Washington. Steamer ships chugged down the Columbia, delivering passengers to Ilwaco, where they continued by railroad to the ocean beach resorts of the Long Beach Peninsula.
More of Ilwaco’s history is displayed at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. Extensive permanent exhibits showcase objects and stories of the early Chinook people and later Euro-American history. Peek into the museum’s Sea-Coast Village Gallery, view a 26-foot (8-meter) lifesaving surfboat, enter a historic freight depot and photograph the NAHCOTTA train car, part of the region’s renowned Clamshell Railroad.
Enjoy fresh seafood at this Pacific coast setting. Restaurants offer Dungeness crab bisque, Willapa Bay oysters, steamer clams, shrimp rolls, albacore tuna and more, varying seasonally. After a hearty meal, remain near the port and visit numerous art galleries and boutiques, showcasing local art and handiwork. Head northeast to tour the Painted Lady Lavender Farm.
Spend a day at Cape Disappointment State Park to hike 8 miles (13 kilometers) of trails and visit the West Coast’s oldest operating lighthouse. Fish for trout and bass on Black Lake. Stop at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center to learn more about the Corps of Discovery’s journey here. Bike or walk along the 8.5-mile (13.7-kilometer) Discovery Trail, beginning at the brass California condor statue at the Port of Ilwaco and continuing through Cape Disappointment to Long Beach.
Find Ilwaco 115 miles (185 kilometers) northwest of Portland, Oregon. Travel here by car in just 25 minutes from Astoria, Oregon.