Roadside attractions have been a staple for as long as we’ve traversed the highways and byways of the world. Towns would create imaginative landmarks that entice traveling road warriors to stop for a spell and a snapshot. Wacky, often weird, colorful, and sometimes downright artistic, these intriguing points of interest have become the quintessential hallmark of road trips worldwide. And we’re proud to boast a few of our own. Join us as we take you through a few of our favorite Pacific County roadside attractions in our backyard.
World’s Largest Frying Pan
In 1940, we had our first annual Long Beach Razor Clam festival, where we used a giant, 14-foot-tall pan to cook an enormous clam fritter. It took over 200 pounds of clams, 20 dozen eggs, 20 pounds of flour, 20 pounds of cornmeal, and 10 gallons of milk to create one fritter in the pan! The frying pan was so popular that we loaded it onto a dairy truck and took it on a tour around Washington State. It was eventually retired and now stands on the corner of 5th Street and Pacific Avenue as one of our favorite Pacific County roadside attractions.
World’s Largest Spitting Clam
We don’t know how many other oversized spitting clams there are in the world, but we’re proud to say we’ve got the world’s largest one. The World’s Largest Spitting Clam is made of driftwood and stands 5 feet high. The clam used to delight onlookers by proudly erupting waterspouts that shot several feet into the air. The statue is another homage to the annual Long Beach Razor Clam Festival. It is within “spitting” distance of the World’s Largest Frying Pan. (See what we did there?) You can snap photos with these two Pacific County roadside attractions in one corner swoop.
World’s Largest Oyster
When you’re known as the “Oyster Capital of the World,” having an appropriate statue that celebrates the title seems only fitting. Our famous World’s Largest Oyster stands proudly in South Bend’s Robert Bush Memorial Park. The mammoth mollusk welcomes guests with an open gape. Guests can perch sweetly on the provided stoop, where they can live out their best pearl fantasy.
World’s Largest Chopsticks
The World’s Largest Chopsticks are a brainchild for a senior project by Ilwaco High School student Zhuang Zhuang Zhao. Zhao collaborated with chainsaw carver Josh Blewitt, and together, they created bright red chopsticks on permanent display outside of Marsh’s Free Museum. Made from cedar logs, they measure 30 feet in length.
This next one has more historical intrigue than your usual, run-of-the-mill Pacific County roadside attractions. The legend of the “Pickled Pioneer” dates back to 1855. The founder of Bethel, Missouri, Dr. Wilhelm Keil, decided to move his colony west. Less than a week before departing, his young son Willie died suddenly from malaria. His father and the colony didn’t want to leave Willie behind, so they built a unique casket. They created a lead-lined wooden barrel and tenderly placed Willie’s body inside before filling the casket with 100-proof Golden Rule whiskey.
Willie’s body traveled with the colony for six months, preserved in whiskey until they arrived in Willapa Valley. He was laid to rest on a hill in the town that would become present-day Menlo.
You can pay your respects to Willie off Highway 6, just 6 miles east of Raymond. A heritage marker tells his story and marks his burial plot there. Willie’s original wooden grave plaque is also found at the Northwest Carriage Museum in Raymond. It’s customary for visitors to say “cheers to Willie” when they pay their respects.
Jake the Alligator Man
One of Long Beach’s most notorious locals is the infamous Jake the Alligator Man. Part human, part crocodile, Jake’s lineage is as murky as his mummified, reptilian skin. Some lore reports that he was a performer in a sideshow. Other stories say that he was a swinging cannibal from Florida. No matter his past, he enjoys retirement as one of the most legendary Pacific County roadside attractions. You can find him tucked into a case as the star of Marsh’s Free Museum. Considering the curiosity shop is full of shrunken heads, an 8-legged lamb, and the “Wyoming Werewolf,” that’s saying something.
In addition to the robust taxidermy oddity collection, you can spend hours playing vintage arcade games or shopping from their collection of glass floats.
Long Beach Arch
Despite our Bolstad Beach approach archway proclaiming the “World’s Longest Beach” title, we can’t claim that award. We are the World’s Longest Contiguous Beach. And we’ve got up to 28 miles of gorgeous surf, sand, and saltwater waiting for you. As far as important Pacific County roadside attractions go, a selfie under the arch is mandatory.
Oysterville Sea Farms Sasquatch
There are plenty of Sasquatch sightings in the Pacific Northwest. They may be one of our most famous Pacific County roadside attractions. The dense forest line and leafy coverage make great hiding spots for the hairy beast. But our favorite Squatch is in plain sight on Oysterville Sea Farms’ deck. The wooden carving wears a distinctive expression ready for a selfie close-up with you.
In the 80s, local artist Fred Bero carved a 9-foot mermaid out of wood with a chainsaw. Unlike the lithe sirens customary in most folklore, our mermaid is strong and body positive. With a Mona Lisa smile, she serenely holds court over visitors to the Mermaid Inn.
The nostalgic charm of small-town, roadside attractions is strong in Pacific County. They dot the landscape like wistful smiles of happy times. On your next visit to town, be sure to snap selfies with as many of them as possible. And tag us at @visitlongbeachwa so that we can share in your unofficial roadside attraction scavenger hunt! And be sure to check back here for more things to see in Pacific County.
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.