Things to do on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington State

Things to do on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington State


This past weekend we took a last minute road trip to escape our non-air-conditioned house. We spent one of the days exploring some of the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington. It is just under a 3.5 hour drive from Seattle and the weather was a world of difference. We left the 90 degree weather behind and traded it in for 65 degrees ;).

Cape Disappointment

We arrived at Cape Disappointment State Park around 9:30 in the morning. The parking lot only had a few others cars in it with plenty of spots to spare. We really had no plans for visiting the park, but decided we’d love to see one of the lighthouses. From the parking lot we took the Cape Disappointment Trail to the Cape Disappointment lighthouse. It was a very easy hike, which was partially paved. The trail went past a few points of interest, and had lots of fun trees to see and even walk through.

He really insisted on trying to get in to these tree roots…

Along the hike we came across Dead Man’s Cove, which looked like it would be a treacherous hike down the cliff to see closer. We enjoyed looking at it from above, although you could tell many others passed the no trespassing signs anyway!

Wish we could have went down to this little beach in Deadman’s Cove…

In addition, we saw some old buildings, and a bunker that was part of Fort Canby. The kids were a little skeptical walking through the abandoned buildings, as was I, but it was exciting!

Hanging in some old building covered in trees and moss…

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is still in use today. You could not visit inside of it, but there was lots of interesting informational signs to read as you explored its grounds.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

We continued the short hike to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. We did not go inside the center, but we did find out they have a small gift shop and bathrooms here. The views from in front of the center are awesome too.

View of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center from the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

The park had many other trails, beaches, campgrounds, and even another lighthouse. We have a few reasons to return to this park!

Discover Pass

This was our first time visiting a state park in the state of Washington. After some research online we thought it would be a good idea to purchase a Discover Pass. The cost of the pass was $35 a year and will allow us access to any state park in Washington. We figured this was well worth it as long as we visited a minimum of three state parks in a year! We didn’t have the actual pass in hand yet, so we just put a note on the front dash with our Discover Pass confirmation number. If you don’t purchase the pass online in advance, you can purchase it right at the park as well.

Long Beach

After our morning at Cape Disappointment, we drove north 20 minutes to Long Beach. We stopped to pick up lunch first at Captain Bob’s Chowder, and from Surfer Sands. We also needed to buy a new kite to try out when we were down at the beach, and some candy from the candy shop. Long Beach town is your typical beach town, with lots of restaurants, a tiny amusement park, and gift shops. This strip of businesses is about 2 blocks from the beach and the town seems very accessible by foot or bike!

It’s actually the 8th longest according to my research 😉

When you go to the beach in Long Beach, you can actually drive to your spot! Last time we drove in the sand in Orcacoke Island, NC, we got stuck in the sand and had to push our car out. So we were nervous, but that was also a small FWD car, and now with an AWD SUV we had no problem! We did see a few cars stuck, but there are so many people to help you out. You have an option to park in a parking lot, but it is way more fun and easier to drive right up to your final beach spot. Imagine not having to lug all that beach gear and kids from a parking lot? Game changer! We easily found a spot a few yards from the waves and set up our picnic lunch.

The kids could spend all day in the water playing, even when the water is freezing cold! The only bad part about this beach day is having the kids be careful of the cars passing on the beach. They are pretty much playing in a street, but luckily most people are going slow and careful.

Flying her new panda kite!

We are thinking Long Beach would be a fun place to rent a house, or get a hotel and stay longer than a half a day!

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