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Exploring The Washington Coast


Welcome To Washington

“Hello Washington!” Crossing the Astoria Bridge in Oregon and entering into Washington is a spectacular moment. In one brief minute you will leave Astoria, Oregon a nice little coastal town in Oregon and arrive in Point Ellice, Washington. This amazing truss bridge spans the mouth of the Columbia River and is 4.1 miles long.  The bridge’s main span is 1,232 feet long. It is the longest “continuous truss” currently in the United States. Many people experience a knotted stomach as they cross this mega bridge. Adventurers  find it exciting to cross the mouth of the Columbia River. The views from the bridge are magnificent. With the sun shinning on the water below, the bridge is glorious. It is quite commonly surrounded in a white fog, which adds a degree of mystery to the crossing. Whatever the weather, crossing this spectacular bridge is an adventure! For many it is a fearful adventure and for others it is the adventure of a lifetime.

Long beach

The Mouth Of The Columbia River

At the mouth of the Columbia River we see the ominous sight of the mingling of fresh water as the mighty Columbia River flows to the sea.

As you approach the Ilwaco area, at the mouth of the Columbia River, you are in for one of the surprises of nature. Here you will see the widest mouth and the wildest waves. This area is often referred to as the Graveyard of the Pacific. The large sand dunes found under the Columbia Bar cause the extremely rough waters. During the years since the late 1700’s, when records began to be kept, more than 2,000 mega ships have sunk. The Columbia Bar  is known as one of the roughest and deadliest bars in the world. This is one of the most magnificent bars in the world. Here you see beauty unparalleled and nature unbridled.  The waves are strong and wild. They can be enormous and all-consuming. Welcome to the Graveyard…….a place like no other!


Emerald Waves At Beautiful Long Beach

The Long Beach Peninsula extends out into beautiful emerald waters for almost 30 miles.  The peninsula begins to the north of Cape Disappointment and continues to the tip, known as Leadbetter Point. On the western side of the peninsula is the mighty Pacific Ocean and on the east is the beautiful Willapa Bay.

As you enter into the community of Long Beach, you pass under a beautiful white arch. Written on the arch are the words: “World’s Longest Beach.” What an amazing thing to be known for! The beach is long, beautiful, and emerald-green. Long Beach has had many names over the years, including Weather Beach, but since a post office was established  in 1887, it has been known as Long Beach.

Long Beach began as a Pacific Ocean resort city in the year of 1880, This beautiful resort was built on Highway 103. Long Beach resort was the brainchild of Henry Harrison Tinker who purchased land and sold off small lots for vacation cabins and even tent sites. His dream was to have a world attraction, and many came from all over the world. Without a doubt though, his biggest success was in the Portland, Oregon market. The city people fell in love with Weather Beach and flocked out to the beach to buy a little piece of this amazing paradise. Camping tents, summer cottages, and commercial ventures popped up everywhere.Henry Tinker also built a hotel for those who were not able to build a vacation dream at the beach. Long Beach has been a popular beach vacation spot for over 100 years.

During the 1900 hundreds postcards were born and it became the age of the penny postcard. Beautiful pictures of Long Beach would find their way back to the city, as those at the beach sent their greetings to friends and loved ones in Portland. Soon the whole world was receiving these beautiful greetings from Long Beach and it’s fame continued to grow world-wide. Today the beautiful postcard has given way to email and other quick electronic greetings. It is with a certain sadness that we watch this beautiful way of communication slip away into history.

Long Beach is known for beaches with magnificent dunes and green grasses. It is a perfect environment for the many large and graceful birds that call the Pacific Ocean home. The nearby marshy areas are excellent breeding grounds and provide protection from predators of all kinds. The sand dunes with their tall native grasses make a perfect place to rest. The grasses provide protection from the elements and the many predators.  If you enjoy bird watching, then plan to spend a day interacting with the many coastal birds that call Western Washington home.

The beautiful wide expanse of sandy beaches also provide the perfect spot to fly a kite. Kite flying has become an extremely important sport over the past 20 years. Wide beaches and gentle breezes create a spectacular environment for the kite enthusiast.  There are several kite shops where you will find an endless array of unique and even one of a kind kites for sale in the town. The skies of Long Beach have personality, as on any day you can usually count at least 10 different kites enjoying the beautiful beaches of the peninsula.

For those who enjoy strolling there is a fantastic and natural boardwalk walk. Enjoy the day free of commercialism, as you slowly walk the boardwalk that looks toward the North of the town. The boardwalk provides a nice level walking area for those who might find it difficult to walk in the sand. It is user and handicap  friendly. Enjoy this spectacular beach without difficulty from the boardwalk.

As you are enjoying the spacious boardwalk you will see beach houses of all sizes, hotels and motels just waiting to be your home away from home. There are many places where you can camp with RV’s and tents. The opportunities are endless. What follows are just a few in the Long Beach area.

Long Beach RV & Camping Resort
2215 Willows Rd, Seaview, WA 98644
(360) 642-3091
Reservations can be made by phone or through their website.

Wild Wood RV Park & Campground
5411 Sandridge Rd, Long Beach, WA 98631
(360) 642-2131
Reservations can be made by phone or through their website.

Sand Castle Rv Park
1100 Pacific Ave, Long Beach, WA 98631
(360) 642-2174
Reservations can be made by phone or through their website.

Cape Disappointment State Park
244 Robert Gray Dr, Ilwaco, WA 98624
(360) 642-3078
Reservations can be made on the website. Cape Disappointment offers camping, day use, hiking trails, and water sports.

Horseback riding At The  Beach

Horseback riding on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington State spells adventure. Horses have played a major part in the daily life of the people on the peninsula since the 1800’s. Many of the older homes were built with horse power and the fishing industry even used horse power in the fishing industry. In the early days of the lifeguards, horses were used to rescue those stranded off shore in the raging waters.

One of the favorite activities for visitors of all ages is horseback riding on the peninsula. What an adventure to see the beautiful landscape of the Pacific Ocean from the back of a horse. Wide long uninterrupted stretches of beach put out the welcome mat for those who enjoy horseback riding.  You will see the Pacific Ocean from a whole new perspective.

There are two major stables in the City of Long Beach which  provide horses and a trained guide to accompany each small group of riders. Unless you bring your own horse out to the beach, no one is sent out by themselves. Trained guides always ride along.  Old horse wisdom in this area is followed carefully by both outfitters in Long Beach. The Pacific Ocean is a marvelous place, but it is good to respect the unpredictability of the local beaches. Following old horse wisdom in this area, local Back Country Wilderness outfitters and Skipper’s Equestrian Center respect the unpredictability of oceanfront beaches and do not send visitors out alone.

Back Country Wilderness Outfitters
409 10th St SW, Long Beach, WA 98631
(360) 642-2576
Back Country Wilderness Outfitters are open daily from 9 am until 5:30 pm. The average cost of a ride is 25.00. The horses are well cared for and most only do one ride per day.

Skippers Equestrian Center
307 Sid Snyder Dr, Long Beach, WA 98631
(360) 642-3676
Skippers Equestrian Center is open from 8 am until 8 pm daily.


North Head Lighthouse

No adventure on the Long Beach Peninsula is complete without a visit to the North Head Lighthouse. This beautiful lighthouse overlooks the Pacific Ocean at Cape Disappointment. This is one of the most magnificent lighthouses in Washington State. Simple and solidly built, North Head Lighthouse has a beautiful red tile roof that gives it a Spanish flair. This is simplistic beauty on the Washington coast.

Enjoy your stay at North Head Lighthouse by spending the nights in one of the keeper’s rooms. At this unique lighthouse you can actually find your accommodations right at Cape Disappointment in one of the keeper’s rooms. They have been updated to meet all your needs during your stay at Cape Disappointment.

The lighthouse is located at the point of Washington’s popular Long Beach Peninsula. Ilwaco and Long Beach provides a wide array  of unique shops, delicious seafood, several small museums, and horseback riding on the beach.  During your stay, you can enjoy beachcombing, and whale watching during much of the year. Explore the area’s rich cultural history and delve into the natural history of this magnificent area.  Ilwaco and Long beach are close by and feature special events and festivals throughout the spring and fall.

Cape Disappointment (formerly Fort Canby) State Park.
2 miles north of the Columbia River, 3 miles southwest of Ilwaco

There are two houses, each with three bedrooms (2 Queen, 2 Twin) and 1 bath.  Total capacity is six guests per residence. You can make your reservations on their website.

The next time you are looking for adventure, think about the Washington Coast. It is full of amazing beauty and you will find it in your own backyard.
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