You don’t have to break the bank to bring your family to the beach this spring. Here are just a few budget friendly activities to make your vacation to the Long Beach Peninsula one to remember!
Visit Our State Parks
Cost: A Washington State Park Discover Pass only costs $10 for a day pass or $30 annually. If you have a few days to explore, the annual pass is worth the extra cash. Use it at Cape Disappointment State Park, Leadbetter Point State Park, and Fort Columbia State Park in Pacific County. You can also use it at any Washington State Parks.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Discover Pass required
You could easily spend days exploring this state park. Stop by Waikiki Beach and watch the waves roll in below the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. Visit two working lighthouses. Hike to Bell’s Overlook for an expansive view of the beach. Spot salamanders, birds of prey, deer, and a variety of wildlife. Look for the Maya Lin (renowned designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial) art installments throughout the park.
The opportunities for learning, fresh air, and awe-inspiring views are endless. Be sure to pick up a free Discovery Map from the Visitors Bureau (or order one here) to help you find trails and points of interest.
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
Discover Pass required
Cost: $5.00 Adults, $2.50 Ages 7-17, Free Ages 6 and Under
Located in Cape Disappointment State Park, this interpretive center will require the Discover Pass to park. Hike up the hillside, and you’ll first run into Fort Canby. After a little exploration, head inside the interpretive center to learn about Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery as well as local maritime and military history.
The interpretive center sits 200 feet above the Columbia-Pacific confluence. Be sure to bring a few quarters for the observation area outside. You can watch ships being guided out to sea by tugboats, waves crashing on the North Jetty, and spot the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. You might even spot some whales!
Fort Columbia State Park
Discover Pass required
Spend a day exploring military history above the Columbia River. Constructed between 1896 and 1903 to strengthen defense of the Columbia River, it was renovated during WWII and decommissioned in 1947. It is home to two of six remaining WWII era disappearing guns, beautifully maintained officer homes, artillery batteries, and other structures. This is considered to be one of the most intact coastal defense sites in the United States. It’s certainly an impressive site for military and maritime history buffs, but it is also a place sure to inspire curiosity at any age.
More Places to Explore
Middle Village – Station Camp
Just off US-101 sits an unassuming site packed with history and amazing views of the Columbia River. Middle Village – Station Camp is part of the Lewis & Clark National Historical Park, but you won’t need a pass to visit. Walk along the paths to learn about the Chinook village that once existed there as well as the Corps of Discovery’s visit in 1805. Look for replicas of Chinook canoes next to the historic St. Mary’s McGowan Church and walk among trees on the boardwalk.
Willapa Art Trail
This short trail located at the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge headquarters features nature-inspired art installments. These commemorate the restoration of the stream and tell the story of the many species of wildlife that live there. This a is a short, whimsical hike that is wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly.
Tip: Find more trails in the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge here.
Visit the Kite Museum
Cost: $5.00 Adults, $4.00 Seniors, $3.00 children.
The Long Beach Peninsula is a prime kite flying spot, but it’s also home to the largest collection of kites in North America. The World Kite Museum is a must see when you make your trip to the Peninsula. They have over 1,500 kites in their collection with kites from all over the world on display. Be sure to check their calendar for workshops and other fun activities.
Explore the Discovery Trail
The Discovery Trail stretches for nearly 8.5 miles through three unique ecosystems. You can find old-growth forests, wetlands, and sand dunes as you walk or ride a bike along the trail. There are many interpretive panels, art installments, and statues along the way. You can explore the entire trail or just a part of it. Be sure to get your Discovery Map before you go!
Stroll Down the Boardwalk
The Long Beach Boardwalk stretches almost half a mile through windswept dunes. This boardwalk offers panoramic views of the beach and the North Head Lighthouse. You can easily spot shorebirds and eagles or watch people fly kites on the beach. No matter what time of year you visit, this is a gorgeous walk to take with the whole family. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible as well.