The Coast for Families Who Love to Explore and Play

Photo Courtesy of Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau

Do you remember the first time you saw the ocean, built a sand castle or flew a kite on the beach? Or maybe you remember a special hike through a seemingly enchanted mossy forest? Or the first time you realized just how big a lighthouse is?

On Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, coastal adventure and fun come easily. Pack a lunch for the family and spend time exploring miles of sandy beach together. You’re bound to find treasures like sand dollars and driftwood. Bring binoculars to inspire curiosity and look for whales offshore.

Once you’ve had your fill of surf and sand, downtown Long Beach can fill an afternoon with sweets, rides and laughter. Discover more than a few oddities at Marsh’s Free Museum and pick out souvenirs. Take turns snapping photos in front of the giant frying pan with your arms spread wide. Eat ice cream on the boardwalk. Ride bikes together on the 8.5-mile Discovery Trail or book a horseback ride along the surf.

Your little naturalists will love the Willapa Art Trail just off Highway 101 and the trails at Cape Disappointment State Park. Keep an eye out for banana slugs, bald eagles and newts! The area’s rich biodiversity provides no end of fascination and surprises. Bring along disposable cameras for the kids so they can practice taking nothing but pictures and leaving nothing but tracks.

If you enjoy scavenger hunts in nature, check out the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center bookstore for guides. Take the time to walk through the interpretive center itself. You’ll learn more than just the Corps of Discovery’s story. They have a lighthouse lens on display and an old coast guard lifesaving boat.

Continue to inspire the spirit of exploration and learning with visits to the area’s museums. You’ll find over 50 carriages and wagons at the Northwest Carriage Museum in Raymond and a narrow-gauge passenger car from the peninsula’s railroad days at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco.

No matter how you choose to spend your week exploring the peninsula, you and your family will go home with cherished memories. Besides, the beach has a way of sticking with you after you’ve gone home, whether it’s the sand in your shoes or the hundreds of family photos you took. Learn more at