Tucked in the southwest corner of Washington State, The Long Beach Peninsula, a narrow strip of sand surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River, and Willapa Bay, is home to Cape Disappointment State Park and its satellite recreation areas.
In addition to its natural attractions, the Peninsula hosts a number of unique festivals throughout the year, particularly the International Kite Festival, held the third full week of August. Dotted with small communities, shopping and dining options abound on the Peninsula, which prides itself on its fresh seafood and tangy cranberries.
Further south, quiet Seaview provides beach access, a pristine dune landscape, and historic beach homes, while Ilwaco maintains a working port and the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, a treasure trove of local history.
Once a Native American village that became a prosperous town as a result of the salmon industry, Chinook welcomes visitors from the south and east to the recreational paradise of the Long Beach Peninsula.
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
A visit to Cape Disappointment State Park isn’t complete without a visit to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The center has been renovated in commemoration of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial and now features new exhibits covering the Expedition’s entire journey with a special focus on their experience at the mouth of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. The center is open year round from 10 AM to 5 PM for a small fee. A bookstore, operated by the Friends of the Columbia River Gateway, is also located at the center.
Leadbetter State Park
A natural area designed for daytime use, Leadbetter State Park encompasses ocean dunes and beaches, tidelands, ponds, forests, Willapa Bay shoreline, and numerous hiking trails. The park is ideal for bird-watching. Glimpses of bald eagles and great blue herons are not uncommon at Leadbetter. The park remains open throughout the year, although the dune area is closed from March 15 through August to protect the nesting sites of the endangered Snowy Plover. Located at the tip of the Long Beach Peninsula north of Oysterville, Leadbetter offers an isolated wilderness experience perfect for nature lovers.