Long Beach Peninsula

The Long Beach Peninsula in Washington runs north of Ilwaco and includes the towns of Long Beach, Nahcotta, Ocean Park, Oysterville and Seaview, and claims to have the longest beach in the USA.

Beach on the Long Beach PeninsulaBeach on the Long Beach Peninsula

If you're driving the Pacific Coast Highway and only have limited time, it can be tempting to skip the peninsula, as it does make for a long diversion. However, our advice would be to build it into your trip and spend a couple of nights in Ilwaco or Long Beach. This would give you one whole day to drive around the peninsula and see some of its attractions.

Beach on the Long Beach PeninsulaLong Beach Peninsula

How Long is the Long Beach Peninsula?

The Long Beach Peninsula runs for 28 miles from north to south, and on the Pacific Ocean side this means 28 miles of beach.

The Longest Beach in the USA?

To find out whether this is true or not, see our separate page on The Longest Beach in the USA.

Enjoying the Beach at Beard's Hollow on the Long Beach PeninsulaEnjoying the Beach at Beard's Hollow

Things to Do on the Long Beach Peninsula

Apart from spending time on the beach, where kite-flying and beachcombing are popular activities, there's plenty to do on the Long Beach Peninsula. It's home to several state parks, with one of the most popular being the Cape Disappointment State Park. There are also several museums scattered around. 

Fishing on the Long Beach PeninsulaFishing on the Long Beach Peninsula

Fishing charters and boat trips are popular. There are sports facilities such as golf and tennis, and you can go horse-riding and cycling too. 

Cycling on the Long Beach PeninsulaCycling on the Long Beach Peninsula

The peninsula is also a very agricultural area and is noted for its cranberries. You can visit cranberry farms, and there's a lavender farm and gardens as well.

Cape Disappointment State Park

At the southern end of the peninsula is Cape Disappointment State Park, which covers an area of 1,882 acres (762 hectares). It was here that the Lewis and Clark expedition reached the Pacific Ocean in 1805. 

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center tells the story of the epic journey that the pair made from St Louis in Missouri all the way to the Pacific. The center also has information about the park itself, and its history over the years. 

Cape Disappointment State Park on the Long Beach PeninsulaCape Disappointment State Park on the Long Beach Peninsula

The park also has hiking trails, camping facilities, and the North Head Lighthouse, which you can visit.

The North Head Lighthouse on the Long Beach PeninsulaThe North Head Lighthouse

Ilwaco

Ilwaco is a tiny and charming place of fewer than 1000 people. Highway 101 goes through Ilwaco but then turns back on itself to continue on up the coast without venturing onto the peninsula proper.

Ilwaco on the Long Beach PeninsulaIlwaco

If you only have time for a short visit, be sure to see the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. This tells the story of the town and the surrounding area, going back to the time of the Chinook people. There's also a model railroad and the story of the Clamshell Railroad in Long Beach.

Train enthusiasts will want to visit on the third weekend in July when there's a Clamshell Railroad Day, which is repeated on the second weekend in October as part of the Cranberrian Fair.

Harvesting Cranberries on the Long Beach PeninsulaHarvesting Cranberries on the Long Beach Peninsula

Long Beach

About 3 miles (4.8 kms) north of Ilwaco is Long Beach, which is a little larger with a population approaching 1500 people. Attractions include the World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame, which has over 1500 kites from around the world and is also home to the Washington State International Kite Festival.

Long Beach Peninsula's Kite FestivalLong Beach Peninsula's Kite Festival

Just along the street is the wacky Marsh's Free Museum, which has been here since 1935. It's a collection of antiques and curiosities, with one of its star exhibits being Jake the Alligator Man. The top half is a man and the bottom half an alligator, in mummified condition. Jake's a great local hero and every August the town celebrates his 75th birthday. Well, being mummified he's not going to get any older, is he?

Sunset on the Long Beach PeninsulaSunset on the Long Beach Peninsula

Other Washington pages

  • Westport Washington

    Located on a peninsula, Westport is a small fishing town in Washington State with the largest marina in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Washington Wine Country

    Washington Wine Country includes plenty of vineyards and wineries that can be visited while traveling the Pacific Coast Highway including the Olympic Peninsula.

  • Washington State Travel Guide

    The Washington State travel guide from Frommer's covers hotels in Seattle, driving the Pacific Coast Highway, Olympic National Park, where to eat and more.

  • Washington Coast Hotels and Inns

    The Washington Coast's hotels, inns, guesthouses, b&bs and other places to stay include 5-star luxury hotels and resorts, motel chains, RV parks and camping.

  • Unique Inns on the Pacific Coast Highway

    Unique Inns on the Pacific Coast Highway include some of the best independently-owned boutique hotels, spas, and lodges in California, Oregon and Washington.

  • Things to Do in Seattle

    The best things to do in Seattle include visiting Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium and the Seattle Art Museum.

  • Sequim

    Little Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington is a delightful place to stop if driving the Pacific Coast Highway.

  • Seattle

    Seattle is a great city break vacation destination and also the perfect start for the Pacific Coast Highway drive, and the gateway to Washington wine country.

  • Seattle Hotels

    Downtown Seattle hotels are near attractions and the waterfront. Hotel Vintage Park, Edgewater Inn, and Inn at Harbor Steps are tops for travelers.

  • Port Townsend

    Port Townsend is noted for its Victorian architecture, sits at the top of the Olympic Peninsula, close to the Olympic National Park and 55 miles from Seattle.

  • Port Angeles in Washington State

    Port Angeles in Washington is the largest town on the Olympic Peninsula. It stands on the Pacific Coast Highway and is the gateway to the Olympic National Park.

  • Longest Beach in the USA

    The Longest Beach in the USA is arguably in Long Beach in Washington, though claims that it is also the longest beach in the world are wide of the mark.



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