Illwaco is a small port community located at the point the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. It is home to two lighthouses and the Lewis and Clark National & State Historical Park.
Dining, Shopping and Strolling
Stroll along the water at the Port of Ilwaco. Stop and book a fishing charter for your chance to catch salmon, crab or tuna from the chill Northwest waters. In summer, the port is lined with musicians and local vendors each Saturday.
There are a number of great restaurants along the water all featuring fresh, local seafood. If you enjoy art, stop in one of the many local shops. Art, jewelry, handwoven baskets, clothing…you can find all this created by local artisans. Don’t miss the Ilwaco Artwalks, held throughout the summer.
History Around Illwaco
Don’t miss the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Located at the confluence of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean, a stop is worth the view alone! During the winter and spring, you may spot migrating Gray Whales. At the interpretive center you will learn about the Pacific Coast story of Lewis and Clark through interactive exhibits. This is a great stop for the whole family. Perched on a 200-foot cliff, above the Columbia River, the Interpretive Center not only showcases the beautiful view, but also allows you to learn about the real danger of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum showcases the history of the area. It starts with the Chinookan people who first inhabited the area. It follows the story of European migration and the first pioneer settlements in the area. The Museum houses permanent exhibits as well as temporary installations, all bringing the rich history of the area to life.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Cape Disappointment State Park is perched above the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. From here you can get a look back at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Visit the two working lighthouses, North Head Lighthouse and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. The park includes a variety of walking trails. Some take you through old growth forest while others give you expansive views to the beach and the Pacific Ocean. This is a don’t miss spot on the Long Beach Peninsula,
China Beach Retreat is located in Ilwaco and makes a great home base for exploring the area. Wind down the private drive to China Beach. Enjoy the expansive water views and the solitude.
Weather and Getting There
Illwaco is located on the southern tip of the Long Beach peninsula. It is about 2 1/2 hours from Portland and about 4 1/2 hours from Seattle.
The weather in summer is sunny and mild with daytime summer highs in the mid-60s and daytime winter lows in the high 40s. Although winter weather is rainier and more unpredictable it is a great time to visit. Avoid the crowds and settle in with a front row seat to the winter storms rolling in off the ocean.