If you are wanting to get in that last bit of summer vacation, and a beach is where you want to go, head to Long Beach. Located in Pacific County, WA, a 2.5 hour drive from Seattle, Long Beach is on a peninsula, surounded by the ocean, the Columbia River and Willapa Bay. What makes Long Beach unique is its nearly 30 miles of beach. Although the waters are not safe for swimming because of powerful rip tides, there are those who enjoy surfing and skim boarding the waves. If you’re going to be in Long Beach, head over to Skookum Surf Co. in nearby Seaview to rent surfboards, wetsuits, and skimboards. They rent by the day, and prices are very reasonable. Want a surf lesson? They offer them, individually or as a group.
Skookum Surf Co. also rents bicycles. So if you didn’t bring your own (which is highly recommended), rent a cruiser for a day or two. Take advantage of the miles of bike trails around Long Beach. Sunset Magazine recommends the 8.5-mile Discovery Trail, where you can retrace some of William Clark’s trek into Northwest Territory. For riding or walking, there’s the half-mile long boardwalk. TRAVEL+LEISURE Magazine has named the Long Beach Boardwalk among the top eleven in the nation among boardwalks. There are places to stop and smell the ocean air, or meander from downtown Long Beach to the water’s edge.
When you’re ready for a bite to eat, there are lots of delicious choices. For a quick and satisfying bread bowl filled with clam chowder, or a handmade milkshake, head to the Hungry Harbor Grille. For a dining experience, try the award-winning Depot Restaurant for their Dungeness Crab Mac or Lamb New Delhi. Reservations, especially during the busy summer season, are recommended.
After a busy day at the beach, there are several places where you can rest your head. If a B&B is to your liking, there is A Rendezvous Place or Boreas Bed and Breakfast Inn. If camping is more your style, you will find Andersen’s RV Camp right on the ocean. And Wildwood Campground and RV Park has its own catch and release lake for fishing. There are also hotels in town, such as the Inn at Discovery Coast, featured in Sunset Magazine.
When you wake up, walk down to Cottage Bakery and Deli for their full-service espresso and fabulous baked goods. Or stop in mid-day for a coffee pick-me-up and a giant cookie.
Long Beach Peninsula has some incredible museums, like the Cranberry Museum. See how cranberry bogs work on a self-guided walking tour. Visit the museum to learn how Native Americans used cranberries, and pick up a cranberry treat in the gift shop. And check out the Kite Museum and Hall of Fame to learn about the history and making of kites. Kids can do a hands-on project, too.
During the third week of August every year (August 15 -21, 2011) is the Washington State International Kite Festival in Long Beach. Competitive kite flying, choreographed kite flying and even Long Beach’s visitors get into the fun during the kite festivities.
For more information on Long Beach, go to the visitor’s bureau website at http://www.funbeach.com.