It turns out that Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. With a beach that spans 28 miles, state parks that exhibit stunning flora and fauna, and countless restaurants preparing freshly caught seafood, there’s something here for everyone. I’ve rounded up 9 exciting things to do on the Long Beach Peninsula that are great for solo travelers, friends, and families alike.
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Things To Do On The Long Beach Peninsula
Keep in mind that these are just some of my favorite things to do in the area, but there is so much more. I highly recommend spending at least three full days on the Long Beach Peninsula to just scratch the surface. If you can fit in at least two activities per day, you’re good to go.
Get Lost in Cape Disappointment State Park
Roaming through Cape Disappointment was one of my favorite things to do on Washington’s pacific coast. We stuck to the Coastal Forest Loop Trail and while it’s only 1.3 miles, if you’re a slow walker or just want to stop and take in the scenery, it could take longer. If you just have about an hour to spare, it’s really worth it. My only recommendation is that you wear old shoes because it gets a bit muddy in the spring. There’s also a high chance that you’ll step on a banana slug, or three, so beware.
My favorite thing about this hike is that although it’s short, you always feel as though you’re in the middle of the forrest. The end never seems to be in sight. I don’t like knowing that I’m almost done or can see the parking lot from the trail.
The best part of this hike was arriving at a point where we could see Beard’s Hollow, and catching a mama bear and her cub running into the forrest in the distance. Every time I’ve seen a bear on a hike it’s been the most unexpected yet delightful surprise and this occasion was no different.
Binge on Oysters at Goose Point Oysters
I’m almost always craving oysters so a visit to the Oystery at Goose Point Oysters was something I was very much looking forward to. It’s not filed under “where to eat” because we were lucky enough to get a tour of the facilities from the owner, Kathleen, prior to slurping down some of the best oysters I’ve ever had. We saw where all the magic happens from the shucking process to how they’re able to make pre-shucked, easy to open oysters that they provide to restaurants all over the country. Disney World happens to be one of the places you can find their easy-open blue ribbon oysters and that’s a huge deal.
I loved being able to see their oyster beds right from the dock. This takes “farm to table” to another level and was the epitome of eating locally.
On our tour we learned about how baby oysters are the size of a grain of sand and while they can build their own shell, these oysters are given recycled shells to help them along the way. I was shocked to learn that most of the oysters we consume are pacific oysters and that they make up 25% of the market. Even if an oyster is given some cute or funky name, there’s a 1 in 4 chance that it’s a pacific oyster.
Because Goose Point is the cleanest and healthiest working estuary, I think it makes for a great stop on your trip to indulge in some fresh and delicious shellfish prepared multiple ways. If you don’t like oysters raw, treat yourself to their smoked oyster and cheese board and relax while taking in the scenery.
Go on a Kayaking Excursion
I was thankfully able to go kayaking during my time in Washington but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time on the Long Beach Peninsula. However, on my last day we were able to meet up with Baylee of Willapa Paddle Adventures to explore the Willapa Bay Area of Downtown Raymond. Her company offers both kayak and SUP rentals in addition to offering guided tours. She’s spent countless hours out on the bay and nearby tributaries so if you’re looking for someone knowledgeable and skilled to take you out, I recommend Willapa Paddle Adventures. Before or after your excursion be sure to stop by Alder + Co for their cafe (Elixir Coffee Shop) and to check out local art, furniture, and other handmade items.
Explore the Willapa Wildlife Refuge
The Willapa Wildlife Refuge is 17,000 acres of rainforest, beaches, grasslands, and more. If you’re a nature lover, this refuge is waiting for you. I was able to go for a quick hike at the Teal Slough trail. It’s just .3 miles but a great stop on the itinerary for tree lovers. We came across two of the oldest trees in the park and other than skyscrapers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so grand in my entire life.
There are plenty of trails to get lost on and plenty of wildlife and plants to stumble upon. Also consider camping in one of their designated areas. Whether you want to hike with friends, enjoy some alone, or birdwatch, this is a place to check out.
Take A Bike Ride Around Ilwaco’s Marina
During my time in Ilwaco, it seemed as though it’s a sleepy little fishing village just waiting to be written as the setting to some Twilight-esque movie. And while that’s how I like to remember it, I do have to acknowledge that it can be more lively depending on the time of the year. Even if you happen to visit Ilwaco while it’s overrun with tourists, I recommend carving out some time to ride around on two wheels instead of four.
We rode from the marina to Cape Disappointment’s Discovery Trail and oh boy was it a workout. So that you’re not huffing and puffing as much as I did, utilize either a mountain bike or an e-bike and you should be fine. Our trail ended up taking us to the beach where I got to see Beard’s Hollow from yet another angle and it was stunning as always. Afterwards we headed back to the marina and I explored a little more on foot.
Although it may be hard to tell from my footage, Ilwaco is indeed a working fishing village. They have a cannery, delicious restaurants, and even a Saturday market that happens weekly from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There are even fishing charters for those interested in catching your own meals.
Enjoy Live Music at the Sou’wester
I was told that the Sou’wester was a vintage RV park and I initially thought it was more like a museum. Maybe you walk through and admire the RV’s and take a gander inside to see what they looked like decades ago. Little did I know, you can actually rent them like any other lodging or rent a space and park your home on wheels there for however long you’d like to stay. Oh, and it’s also a lodge with cabin and camping areas as well. Whew, okay I think that’s all.
Even if you aren’t staying here I recommend it as one of the best things to do on the Long Beach Peninsula because they also have live music nights, which is how I ended up there. Unfortunately I didn’t get the performers information because I was only able to catch a few songs, but she was also staying at the park, which I thought was cool. I’m going to assume she was apart of the artist residency program but if not, I still appreciated her amazing voice accompanied by acoustic guitar. And speaking of the artist residency program, if you are a musician, craftsman, writer, or any other type of artist that wants to get away and devote unadulterated time to your craft, I recommend applying here for a weekly reduced rate.
Check Out Main Street Long Beach
I have to say that Main Street Long Beach reminded me a lot of beach towns I’ve been through back home on the east coast. It could’ve been Ocean City, Maryland or Virginia Beach, Virginia and every beach town in between. You have your souvenir shops, bakeries, and places where you can pick up beach toys and gadgets or outfits that you’ll probably only wear at the beach. That actually added to the charm of it and it was quite nostalgic. There were arcades and art galleries and restaurants galore which just means that there is almost always something to do. It’s worth a look-see even if you just want to walk around and people watch.
Visit the World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame
The World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame was a first for me. I didn’t know there were museums dedicated to this but I’m glad we stopped by. When I think of a kite, I think of a diamond shaped piece of paper or fabric held up with two sticks and a long string. Um, that may be a type of kite, but nowhere near as intricate as what we witnessed at the museum. The amount of kites that were larger than me, a grown woman, was astonishing. And seeing how people can manipulate these delicate objects to move through the air left me speechless. It was also cool learning facts about kites such as how they were and can be used in war for things like target practice. It’s definitely worth a stop if you have the time.
Travel Through Time at the Northwest Carriage Museum
I was able to squeeze in a trip the Northwest Carriage Museum in downtown Raymond and check out, you guessed it, carriages. These antique carriages were in amazing shape and I didn’t expect so many to be restored so beautifully and seemingly perfectly intact. It was definitely like going back through time.
The best part of this museum is the information offered. You don’t just walk around looking at horse drawn carriages, you also learn about how and why they were used. As an actor, I especially loved seeing that some of the carriages were used in movies! This museum is home to carriages used in The Little Princess starring Shirley Temple, Gone With the Wind, and more!
Another area of the museum to check out is the one room schoolhouse exhibit. They had a list of rules for children and another for teachers that I thought was a hoot but a little sad when you think about the fact that this was real life. Teachers, always women, had curfews and weren’t allowed to get married. There was even a copy of letter of a dismissal sent to a teacher because she did in fact get married. Thank goodness times have changed.
Best Restaurants on the Long Beach Peninsula
I had no plans to eat my way through the Long Beach Peninsula but here we are. I had so many amazing meals that I’d plan a trip back just for the food and to try all the delicious cocktails I missed out on. I wanted to share what I ate for the majority of my meals so that if you stop by one of these places, you’ll have an idea of what’s good. Spoiler alert, practically everything.
The Depot is home to one of my most memorable dishes, the clam chowder. It’s not even something that I usually order but something told me to give it a shot. I mean just check out the ingredients and your mouth will water too. I also got their entree consisting of pan fried oysters, Yukon mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies.
The Salt Pub
My first dinner on the Long Beach Peninsula was at The Salt Pub and it did not disappoint. For an appetizer I ordered the steamed clams and it came with toast, perfect for dipping into the broth and juices leftover from the clams. For my entree I got the fish and chips and what made it different was that instead of cod, the fish was salmon. It was still very delicious and the highlight had to be the fries. Most fries I had in Washington reminded me of boardwalk fries and I’m still craving them.
42nd St Cafe & Bistro
I’m a brunch gal and breakfast food is probably my favorite to be enjoyed at any time of day. After a hike one morning we chowed down at the 42nd St Cafe & Bistro. I love a good American breakfast so I went for the waffle, bacon, eggs, and potatoes. I’m pretty sure I didn’t leave a single crumb on my plate.
At the Helm
By the time I finally ate at At The Helm I felt like I hadn’t had fresh greens in about a week. Please don’t judge me. I’ve yet to master a proper travel diet. I kept it simple and ordered calamari, which is always a good idea, and a plain green salad. We also ordered a seafood platter for the table which consisted of calamari, shrimp cocktail, cheese, and more.
El Farito is a Mexican restaurant located in Seaview, Washington. Because we went for breakfast, I wasn’t even tempted to order anything other than the traditional breakfast that I enjoy. So I kept it simple with pancakes, bacon, and eggs. My favorite part of my breakfast were the pancakes and my mouth is watering just thinking about them. However, if you’re also into things like huevos rancheros or breakfast burritos, check them out.
Italian wasn’t something I expected during this trip but I was happy to have it. One of my favorite dishes to order when in Italy is the seafood spaghetti, so when I saw it on the menu at MyCovio’s I instantly knew it’d be what I ordered. I had the steamer clam, thin spaghetti and more bread than I needed. If you’re looking to have an intimate, gourmet Italian meal, this is the place for you.
Places to Stay on the Long Beach Peninsula
I happened to stay in one hotel my entire time in Long Beach but I found a few other places that I think will tickle your fancy.
At The Helm
I’ve stayed in some amazing places during my travel but the boutique hotel, At The Helm, is at the very top of the list. It’s a beautifully decorated, nine room boutique hotel located in the Ilwaco Marina. There’s an obvious ship theme and each room is named after fishing boats that the owner and her husband have owned. I’m completely biased but I stayed in the room named Tradition and 12/10 would recommend.
The Salt Pub
My first dinner in Ilwaco was at The Salt Hotel & Pub and while dining I learned that they are also a hotel. I thought they were simply The Salt Pub. The first three words that come to mind are beautiful, simple, and affordable. This hotel is another great option situated directly on the marina and being so close to the water and boat charters may work better depending on what you want to do.
As I mentioned, the Sou’wester is a lodge and RV park. I happen to be obsessed with van life and tiny homes on wheels, so this is absolutely somewhere I’d want to stay. If you’re not into that, they It’s conveniently just seconds from the beach and surrounded by delicious food and other activities.
After dinner one night we decided to stop by the Pickled Fish for drinks and dessert. This restaurant happens to be located on the top floor of the Adrift Hotel and like the Sou’wester, a stones throw from the beach. This hotel also has a beautiful spa that would be a welcomed reprieve after a day of water sports, bike riding, or just lounging around relaxing.
Thank you to Visit Long Beach Peninsula for hosting me on this FAM trip. All opinions are 100% my own.