The title of the longest beach in the USA is claimed by Long Beach in Washington. At 28 miles it's certainly way longer than Long Beach in California, but claims that it is also the longest beach in the world are very wide of the mark. Is it even really the longest beach in the USA? Sometimes the claim is modified to 'The longest drivable beach in the USA.'
The beach of Long Beach is also a state park. It's a peninsula that juts northward from the small town of Long Beach, just a few miles off Highway 101 to the north of Astoria. It has the Pacific Ocean on its west, the mouth of the Columbia River to the south, and Willapa Bay on its east. Willapa bay is where you'll find the finest and biggest oyster beds in the United States, so be sure to enjoy some while you're there. Clams, crabs and cranberries are among the other local delights.
Even this claim by Long Beach is a bit dubious. Only parts of the beach are drivable, if you have a suitable vehicle, while some parts are closed off to protect the clam beds. So don't go there in the average saloon car and think you're going to be able to drive for 28 miles along the beach.
Virginia Beach in Virginia on the east coast of the USA is 35 miles long and is named in The Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Longest Pleasure Beach. The Pleasure Beach section and boardwalk is about three miles long, in the town of Virginia Beach. However, there is a channel separating the town section from the rest of the beach, which extends south into North Carolina, but that still means Virginia Beach is longer than Long Beach.
Padre Island in Texas has about 70 miles of beaches but they're split into two roughly equal parts by a channel, into North Padre Island and South Padre Island. But that means each of these has a longer beach than Long Beach too.
Perhaps Long Beach should settle for longest beach on the west coast of the USA, as there it has no other rivals.
Other beaches outside the USA make Long Beach shrink by comparison. Both Praia do Cassino Beach in Brazil and Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh are about 150 miles long. No contest.
Regardless of whether it's the longest beach or not, Long Beach is a beautiful and unique part of the west coast and worth spending a few days in if you're driving the Pacific Coast Highway. Enjoy the fishing, the hiking, try digging for clams, and definitely try eating oysters.
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To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.
In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.
We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.