You will remember Pacific Northwest beaches long after you visit. The Washington coast is as diverse as it is beautiful. This region offers some of the state’s best scenery and rugged landscape that makes this state truly exceptional. Historic lighthouses, fresh, locally sourced seafood, ample meandering trails, countless parks and what feels like endless beaches make this region an ideal destination for total relaxation. Unwind and reset easily in Aberdeen, Illwaco, Long Beach, Nahcotta or Ocean Park during your coastal Washington getaway.
Aberdeen, Washington, of Grays Harbor County, was once a thriving seaport. Now, it is best known as the “gateway” to the Olympic Peninsula and the “Home of Grunge,” as it is the hometown of two members of the iconic rock band, Nirvana.
Aberdeen is located on the southwest coast of Washington. Originally known as a timber capital, it is now a popular spot for those exploring the area. Though the town is quaint, it’s a terrific location for a weekend getaway or a pitstop on your way to the Olympic National Park. It boasts beautiful waterfront parks, a history museum with tributes to Kurt Cobain, Washington’s westernmost winery, one of the best spots in the entire state for birding and much more. If you’re looking for food, take advantage of the many eateries offering fresh and locally sourced seafood options.
Aberdeen is a 2-hour drive from Seattle. Take I-5 south from Seattle, U.S.-101 north, WA-8 and U.S.-12 west to Aberdeen. The weather in Aberdeen is wet and mild with summer highs in the 60s and winter lows in the 30s.
There are over 15 properties listed on the National Historic Register located in Aberdeen and neighboring Hoquiam. Stroll the treelined streets in Aberdeen and pass the Aberdeen Mansion, built in 1905. Nearby Hoquiam Castle was completed in 1900. This 10,000 sq. ft home is now a private residence overlooking downtown Hoquiam.
Art is alive and being preserved in Aberdeen. Enjoy a series of murals adorning local buildings. The mural project started in 1988 and continues today. The newest will cover Aberdeen’s rich history, past and present, and is being created by local artist Chris Dalton.
If you are interested in music, visit the Aberdeen Museum of History and take the Kurt Cobain Walking tour. This tour winds through the neighborhoods of Aberdeen exploring every aspect of his life as a youth in this coastal town.
From Aberdeen it is a short 50-minute drive to Quinault Rain Forest. Drive around Quinault Lake and view beautiful waterfalls, local wildlife and towering trees. This temperate rain forest is part of the Olympic National Park. There are a number of trails in the area. Start with the easy ½ mile interpretive trail and then explore on your own. This area has a diverse wildlife population including several herds of Roosevelt Elk. Also look for black bears, coyotes, black tailed deer, bobcats and more.
Pacific Beach State Park offers 2300 ft of oceanfront, perfect for beach combing or watching the surf. Drive 1.5 hours north along the coast to Ruby Beach. This is one of the most popular and beautiful beaches in the Olympic National Park.
Ilwaco is a busy port with great fishing, a vibrant art community and a busy marina.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
"Salt in the air, sand on your feet, the soft crash of waves just beyond the dunes” – Long Beach Washington engages every sense and will awaken your slumbering spirit of adventure.
The Long Beach Peninsula is home to a string of throwback beach towns. Here time ticks a little more slowly. Museums highlight the region’s historical heritage and illuminate the Peninsula’s past.This is Lewis & Clark country. Here some of the best exploration takes place on foot. Hike or bike the 8.5-mile Discovery Trail. The trail connects Long Beach WA and Ilwaco. Follow William Clark’s ocean-side hike on a path dotted with interpretive signs, historical art and vantage points. Modern-day explorers traverse numerous parks.Visit state parks, a national historic park and a national wildlife refuge. Search for the hundred-plus geocaches hidden up and down the Peninsula.
The Peninsula’s world-class beach doubles as a playground. Here horseback riding, fat bike riding and surfing are popular activities. This 28-mile stretch of sand has been voted one of the best beaches in the country.As a result, the area hosts more than 70 annual festivals and celebrations.
Attend the vibrant Washington State International Kite Festival in August. View the colorful skies above Long Beach WA. Kiters from all over the world compete in this week long festival. Take advantage of the best razor clamming in the Pacific Northwest. Attend the annual Razor Clam Festival held each April. Willapa Bay is one of the best-producing oyster grounds in the world. Consequently, Long Beach and the peninsula have an abundance of fresh oysters. The region’s waters are renowned for salmon, tuna, sturgeon, halibut and bottom fishing.
Long Beach WA weather is mild year around. The average summer day time high is in the mid 60’s and summer nighttime lows can reach 50 degrees. In winter expect average daytime highs in the low 50’s and nighttime lows around 40 degrees.
Long Beach WA is a short 2-½ hour drive NW of Portland. From Seattle, it is a 3-½ mile drive via I-5 and US 101.
Walks and Hikes
Ocean Park offers a quieter stay on the Long Beach Peninsula.
Ocean Park was created as a Methodist camp and set apart from the more rowdy towns along the peninsula. Today it is home to a small community of art shops, lodging and restaurants.
The peninsula has unpredictable weather. Summer highs are around 70 degrees and winter highs are around 50. Summer weather is temperate and sunny. In winter expect spectacular storms and high surf with plenty of rain.
Ocean Park is on the northern end of the Long Beach Peninsula, about 20 minutes from the town of Long Beach.
Visit Jack’s Country Store. Built in 1885, this is the oldest continually running retail business in the state of Washington. Here they have over 200,000 items, so you should be able to find whatever you need!
There are two state parks in the area. Loomis State Park has a great trail to the beach. Pacific Pines State Park is set among the dunes and pines on this rugged peninsula. Explore the beach and stop for a picnic.
Visit the Bay Avenue Gallery that features creations by local artists. Don’t miss the Wiegardt Studio Gallery. Eric Wiegardt is an award winning watercolorist, who travels the world and brings his bold creations back to Ocean Park.
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