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Highway 103 off of Highway 101; 127 miles from Portland; 160 miles from Seattle. Population: 5,500. Visitor Information: Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 562, Long Beach, WA 98631. Phone: (800) 451-2542; at the junctions of highways 101 and 103 in Seaview.
The Long Beach Peninsula is a beautiful, natural setting for an ideal vacation. Almost entirely surrounded by water and recognized as the longest driving beach on earth, the Peninsula presents a vacation environment that is second to none. From surf and sand to lush green forests, fresh water and deep sea fishing, the Peninsula offers a variety of sports activities and amusements.
One of the most unique features of the Long Beach Peninsula is its long stretch of ocean beach that can be safely driven upon year round. The drivable portions of the beach are highways; only licensed vehicles are permitted on the beaches and a reduced speed limit is strictly enforced.
The peninsula is a haven for many birds. Most common is the sea gull and several varieties can be found. Cranes, herons, egrets and bitterns can also be seen. The sandpiper, skillfully darting along the beach dodging incoming waves, is one of the most interesting of the coastal birds.
Some of the best oysters in the world come from the Long Beach Peninsula. Oystering is the major industry of the small communities of Nahcotta and Oysterville on the Willapa Bay side of the peninsula. There is no public oyster harvest anywhere on the Bay; all oysters beds are privately owned and it is illegal to remove oysters. Visitors are encouraged to visit the processing plants and watch the dredges at work as the oysters are harvested.
Crabbing is one of the most fun sports on the peninsula; a license is required. The only materials needed are a crab pot, a line and some bait. Pots are lowered to the sea bottom and a few minutes wait should be sufficient to attract several crabs. Males of legal size only may be kept and the limit is six crabs per person.
Clamming on the Long Beach Peninsula is world famous. Clams can be dug at nearly any low tide and are spotted by a characteristic doughnut shaped air hole or bubble that marks its location. Clam digging is a race with the clam. Once the clam senses the digging, it rapidly burrows down deep into the sand. Careful shoveling is needed to prevent smashing the clamshell. Legal limit is the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition.
Fishing on Long Beach Peninsula is full of variety. Loomis Lake, site of a state park seven miles north of Long Beach, has good fishing for rainbow trout and spiny rays. Fishing can be done from shore or the public dock and a boat launching facility is available. Island Lake on Cranberry Road or O’Neil Lake at Fort Canby State Park are good for freshwater bass. Several other lakes yield bass and crappies. In summer all the rivers are good for trout fishing and all are within a half hour drive of the peninsula. Surf fishermen can enjoy casting for sea bass. However, safety precautions should be maintained at all times. Warm clothes and chest waders will protect against the icy waters. Crab holes and strong undertows should be guarded against.
Two historic state parks are located on Long Beach Peninsula. Fort Columbia State Park, located between Chinook and the Astoria Bridge, houses a wonderful collection of early marine displays and historical artifacts. An art museum is maintained by the Fort Columbia Art Association, where old gun emplacements and underground fortifications may be explored.
The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is located on Cape Disappointment at Fort Canby State Park. The center contains artifacts and exhibits describing the explorers’ travels, which ended on the Long Beach Peninsula. The center provides an excellent place from which to watch ships and boats cross the Columbia River. Camping facilities are available at the park.
For those interested in recreation such as bowling, golfing, horseback riding, bicycling, jogging and kite flying. all are available in Long Beach. There is also an amusement center with a variety of rides for all ages. Prices are reasonable and people are friendly.
A wide variety of eating places, private accommodations, excellent camping facilities and congenial, service-related businesses combine to ensure a relaxing vacation.
SPECIAL EVENTS Long Beach Loyalty Day Parade: May; World’s Longest Beach Run: June; Garlic Festival: June; Parade and Fireworks: July 4; Sand-Sations Contest: July; Long Beach Rodeo: August; WA State International Kite Festival: August; Rod Run to the End of the World: September; Cranberry Festival: October; Water Music Festival: October