The smell of the sea, the gleeful laughter of children, that casual feeling which comes with a stroll by the ocean - these are a few of the delights you will experience on the Long Beach Peninsula. Summer or winter, this area offers such variety, so much to do, and is so beautiful that I consider it a pleasure to invite you to visit! In fact, I am so proud of this place that it nearly bursts my buttons! You could say that I have the best job in the world, since my "work" is sharing this wonderful place with folks who haven't found it yet.
The Peninsula's craggy cliffs, open sandy beaches and acres of dunes create just the right environment to take us all away from the bustle of everyday life. Only 28 miles long, this little spit of land has a large number of restaurants, museums, and unique events to entertain visitors and locals alike.
Each summer, the Peninsula comes alive with festivals, carnival rides, kite flying, picnics and the sounds of laughter. In all seasons of the year, the area's lighthouses and museums offer a variety of exhilarating vistas. Sitting on cliffs high above the sea, Cape Disappointment and North Head lighthouses guard ships at sea through the treacherous seas known as "the Graveyard of the Pacific." Between them, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center showcases artifacts and history of the historic mission of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery and its successful arrival at the Pacific Ocean right here on the Long Beach Peninsula. Sitting right on the path which Captain Clark and his men traversed through present-day Ilwaco, the Ilwaco Heritage Museum offers everything from a railroad car from the Peninsula's "Clamshell Railroad" to contemporary exhibits examining the lives of Chinook and white settlers in the area.
Fascination and fun come together at the World Kite Museum, the only kite museum anywhere to have such rare sights as survivors of World War II - that's right, kites were used for target practice by artillery operators on ships. Some of these brave kites survived the war and are now showcased in the museum. Along with ancient, rare Japanese kites, the museum holds nearly 4,000 kites in its collection.
It is in the realm of fun and relaxation that the Peninsula truly excels, from horseback riding along the wet sand to a large variety of festivals, filled with kites, music, parades, bands and sands. The combination of nearby ocean breezes, the friendliness of the communities up and down the beach and the sheer joy of being where the air is clean and the natives are friendly is enchanting.
There are bumper boats here to splash in, horses to ride, bicycle surreys to pedal, sunsets to watch, strolls to take - oh, the list just goes on and on! Leadbetter State Park, the beaches and the Willapa Wildlife Refuge provide up to 27 kinds of shorebirds and 23 types of waterfowl to view, along with harbor seals, deer and other native species. There are so many things to do here that you can have just the type of vacation experience you want, including the opportunity to eat at one of the region's famed restaurants or attend a first-run movie at the local theater.
For those who are looking for a place of quiet refuge, the Peninsula meets that need as well, with its many little inns and cabins tucked into sheltered places and offering solitude to the beat of the ocean's heart. To visit the Long Beach Peninsula is to arrive at the place which lets you create the exact amount of serenity you desire.
As you read through the pages of this guide, you will find information on the events held here each year and some of the area's history. I am sure you will find it good reading and full of even more of the Peninsula's secrets than I have mentioned here. With all of this available, you'll be surprised that you haven't found this place before and delighted when you join us. And we'll be pleased to welcome you when you arrive!
-Una Boyle Executive Director
Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau