Snow Peak is opening its first campground in the United States in Long Beach, Washington. In summer 2023, the Long Beach Campfield will welcome outdoor enthusiasts to experience the healing power of time outside on Washington's scenic southern coast. In anticipation of the opening, we're featuring the sights, activities and rich heritage of the Long Beach Peninsula in a series of blogs. Follow along on Instagram and sign up for our newsletter to learn more about the project.
While there are countless things to do at the beach year round, here are a variety of ideas to make the most of a summer visit to the Long Beach Peninsula:
Experience the Zen of kite flying
When a kite is aloft and climbing high in the sky, focusing on its dance in the coastal winds is mesmerizing. This is especially true on Long Beach with its spacious, unobstructed shoreline. Looking for more? Immerse in the kite-flying universe at the Washington State International Kite Festival, held each year during the first full week of August. Among the festival’s many aerial displays, the lighted night flies are especially magical.
TIP: If the weather isn’t cooperating for kite flying, visit the World Kite Museum, with special exhibits and a collection of over 1,500 kites including over 300 kites from Japan.
Ride bikes on Discovery Trail
Discovery Trail, a paved, 8.5-mile path, which mainly follows the contours is ideal for an easy going bike ride. Find free parking and trail access from the Seaview, Sid Snyder or Bolstad beach approaches. Head into the wind for a few miles and let ocean breezes assist you on your return ride!
Shop for supper at a Farmers’ Market
Make your campfire meal even more delicious with picked-that-morning fruits and vegetables from the Columbia-Pacific Farmers’ Market (Fridays, noon to 5PM, June-Sept.) or the Ilwaco Saturday Market (10AM to 4PM, May-Sept.). Think roasted new potatoes with shallot and fresh herbs, grilled summer squash with vine-ripened tomatoes, and an easy salad of baby lettuce, arugula or kale, berries and chevre. If s’mores aren’t your thing, head to the Long Beach Pie Lady or Cottage Bakery to pick up something satisfyingly sweet.
Birdwatch with your ears
A bonus to sleeping in nature is that you can tune into bird song before leaving your sleeping bag. In the early morning hours, simply listen. The sparrow song, the calls of a crow, the flute-like sounds of a thrush, the screech of a hawk, the squawk of a bald eagle. Take a slow, easy walk, and let your ears lead your eyes to the source. Birdwatching is at its best early or late in the day. Looking for a good birding site? Try the Tarlatt Slough Trail. It’s notable for songbirds, swallows, and waterfowl. Consider downloading the Merlin Bird app to help identify birds by their calls. Hundreds of species of birds make stops on the Long Beach Peninsula during fall migration, which can start as early as August.
Wade at Waikiki
The hottest days often happen in late summer on the Long Beach Peninsula. When temperatures reach the 80s, Waikiki Beach at Cape Disappointment State Park is the calmest place to splash in the surf. A Discover Pass is required for parking.
Hike at Leadbetter Point
The north tip of the 28-mile Long Beach Peninsula, known as Leadbetter Point, is quiet and abundant with wildlife. A 3.5-mile or longer loop can be created by linking trails from the bay to the beach. The hike is easiest an hour or two before low tide and best experienced in the drier months, when muddy trails have dried up and the mosquitoes are manageable. A Discover Pass is required for parked vehicles.
Build a sandcastle
Grab a few buckets and shovels, and let your imagination flow! Spend an afternoon creating castles and fanciful sculptures. See massive, professionally created sand sculptures, and take lessons at Sandsations, held mid-July in Long Beach. Tips:
Build at the high tide line on an outgoing tide to keep your 3D works of art safe from being prematurely erased by the surf,
During the summer, the section of beach from Bolstad to Seaview is closed to motorized vehicles making it a good area for sand play and dog walking.
Take a moonlit stroll on the boardwalk
Looking to stretch your legs after dinner, a moonlit stroll on the ½-mile long Long Beach boardwalk is a lovely way to wind down from the day. Park at either the Bolstad or Sid Snyder beach approach for easy access to this wide, wooden path over the dunes. Wanting more? Arrive early, and watch a dramatic Pacific Ocean sunset before dusk fades to dark.
Carol A. Zahorsky: An adventurer by nature, Carol put down roots in the Northwest and has been touting its wonders ever since. When not at her computer or walking the beach, you'll find her hiking with her dog, tending to her gardens, and visiting with her daughters, wherever on the globe they might be.