When planning your next escapade, you want an experience that will tick all the boxes. Choosing a perfect destination can be challenging when trying to please different personalities. Where can you get unparalleled outdoor recreation, rich history, the beach, the forest, unique small-town experiences, and some of the best oysters in the world? When you choose your own adventure in Pacific County, you’ll find a little something for everybody.
Location, Location, Location
We are perfectly positioned halfway between Portland and Seattle. You can reach us by car in just a few hours from SeaTac or PDX. We are a quick weekend or vacation getaway. But it’s not just the ease of location that makes us unique. It is THE location that sets us apart.
Our county borders hug both the Pacific Ocean and the Willapa River. Lush landscapes make up the soft folds of our terrain in between. The result is a quilt of ocean, rivers, lakes, beaches, forests, cliffs, dunes, wetlands, and more, all within one county. You can experience a different adventure in Pacific County around every bend.
And adventure you must, especially if you love the great outdoors.
Outdoor Adventures in Pacific County
If you’re all about the great wide open, an adventure in Pacific County is for you. Our outdoor recreation is unmatched. Our county has seven state parks, five wildlife/conservation areas, not to mention 28 miles of sandy beach. The diverse outdoor adventure opportunities are a magnet for those that love to hike, bike, forage, play in the sand, and even surf.
Hiking in Pacific County
The great philosopher, Pythagoras, is claimed to have said, “Leave the road. Take the trails.” We couldn’t agree more, so strap on your Keens and hit the backroads. Hike through the underbrush to hidden coves, breathtaking overlooks, and weathered lighthouses in Cape Disappointment State Park. Explore the wetlands, woods, and wildlife habitats of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. And discover the labyrinth and art installations on the WNWR art walk. We have miles of trails for you to traverse.
Our small-town communities and trails are the perfect place to cycle. The Discovery Trail is a stunning way to take in the diversity of the scenery of Pacific County. The paved trail will wind you along the sea and take you past dunes, over bridges, and through the woods. Black Lake in Ilwaco offers two trails for cyclists. And when completed, the Willapa Hills State Park Trail will be a 56-mile journey through the historical railroad corridor connecting farmlands to the coast.
Bikes are plentiful on the Peninsula. Many of the local accommodations offer them in their lobbies. And you’ll find bike rentals at Beachin’ Bike or Tsunami Cycle.
Ocean and River Adventures in Pacific County
The lifeblood pumping through our region’s veins comes from the rivers and ocean at the heart of our community. We’re known for incredible fishing, crabbing, clamming, and water activities, so take advantage of the miles of fresh and saltwater surrounding us.
Every adventure in Pacific County should experience the fantastic fishing opportunities along our coast. Secure a spot on one of the fishing charters at the Port of Ilwaco and reel in seasonal salmon, halibut, tuna, and more. Or join one of CoHo Charter’s crab trips when Dungeness crab season begins. Head over to Spawn Fly Fish for supplies and discover the thrill of fly fishing. And clam it up with razor clam celebrations and digging. And don’t forget to gather your own oysters at the Nahcotta Tidelands. All our fishing, clamming, and crabbing opportunities follow the seasons and require permitting, so be sure to check the appropriate sites before you go.
The surrounding shores aren’t just for harvesting. You can grab a kayak from Willapa Paddle Adventures in historic downtown Raymond and paddle the beautiful Willapa River. Or rent boards and get lessons on surfing the temperamental waves of Long Beach Peninsula from Skookum Surf Co. (Be sure to watch out for undertow and sneaker waves!)
Pacific County Food Adventures
The flavors that await a food lover on their Pacific County adventure are tantalizing and vary from casual to fine dining. We are not a cookie-cutter, chain restaurant type of environment. The offerings here are straight from the hearts and families of the community. And because the area is abundant with fertile soil and waterways, you’ll experience authentic farm-to-table, boat-to-table type fare.
Our menu of restaurants includes fine dining, casual eateries, food trucks, and sweet shops. Quench your thirst and wet your whistle at the numerous taverns, coffee shops, and homegrown breweries that sprinkle the area. We even have our own winery! And as the Oyster Capital of the World, don’t forget to get a dozen fresh Willapa Bay beauties.
Adventure in Pacific County History
If you’re a history buff, look no further than our towns. The roots of our region go deep into the soil of the people of our community.
Explore the stories of the people who fished and harvested the land long before the settlers. Follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. Witness the birth of the oyster boom and defunct Clamshell railroad. See long-abandoned military forts growing fuzzy with moss. Or research the more than 200 shipwrecks that haunt our Graveyard of the Pacific. And get up close and personal with artifacts that carry the fingerprints of a time long gone at one of our eleven museums.
Adventure in Pacific County with Fido
And what Pacific County adventure would be complete without a human’s best friend? We are completely Fido-friendly. With a host of pet-friendly hotels, dog-worthy trails, and miles of open beach, Pacific County welcomes your furry friends with open paws.
There is no shortage of things to do in our coastal town. Our treasure chest of experiences is overflowing. Come choose your own adventure in Pacific County and create your own magic!
By: Danelle Dodds
Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.