For rugged Pacific Ocean coastal beauty, visit Long Beach, Washington, and its 28-mile (45-kilometer) swath of coastline between the mouth of the Columbia River and Grays Harbor. Enjoy the area’s many varied activities, from kite flying to beachcombing to hiking.
Quietly contemplate the wild ocean as you walk along the iconic Long Beach Boardwalk above the sand dunes. Watch stunning sunsets over the Pacific or sunrises over the Willapa Hills. Order lunch from a local restaurant and sit at a picnic table along the boardwalk. Bring binoculars to spot whales, eagles and shorebirds.
Continue on to the 8.5-mile (13.7-kilometer) Discovery Trail, crossing under the boardwalk and heading south through Beard’s Hollow and over the cape to downtown Ilwaco. Along the Lewis and Clark commemorative trail, look for bronze statues, including Captain William Clark gazing at a 10-foot-long (3-meter) sturgeon.
Learn about kites at the World Kite Museum in Long Beach, including war kites, miniatures and leaf models. Visit during the Washington State International Kite Festival in August, when the sky fills with a kaleidoscope of colors. Expect kite trains, Rokkaku kite battles and nighttime lighted kite shows.
Head south to Cape Disappointment State Park, a favorite destination for natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Watch storms, listen to beach concerts or build a driftwood fort at Benson Beach. For an excellent vantage point of Long Beach, head to Bell’s View. While you’re in the park, visit the 1856 Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the 1898 North Head Lighthouse, both still operating.
Ride a four-wheel-drive vehicle on the beach over sections actually considered official Washington state highway. Travel on areas where the sand is hard-packed and damp for better traction. If sand driving isn’t for you, try a fat bike on the beach or take a horseback ride next to the waves.
For authentic Pacific Northwest beach experiences, visit Long Beach, about a 3-hour drive from Seattle. You’ll find a sandy beach, world-class seafood, Lewis and Clark history and a delightful small-town feel.