Winter Storms Draw The Adventurous To Southwest Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula
LONG BEACH PENINSULA, Wash. – The season of Pacific Ocean storms carrying fierce winds and tumultuous surf crashing against the coast has begun and storm watchers are monitoring the best locations to experience nature’s power. The Long Beach Peninsula has many such vantage points.
Located on the southwestern most tip of Washington State and extending north from the Oregon Coast, the Long Beach Peninsula has 28 miles of Pacific Ocean beach on its west side, is bordered by Willapa Bay on the north and east and the mouth of the Columbia River to the south. As such, it is perfectly exposed to the elements.
“A good storm cleanses the soul and recharges the spirit. It’s both an exhilarating thrill and a humbling testimony to the awesome power of nature,” remarked Andi Day, executive director, Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau. “New little treasures are washed up the beach in the wake of a good storm, just waiting for discovery.”
Several locations along this 28 mile long spit of land provide excellent viewing sites, while famed restaurants, cozy bed and breakfast establishments and other inviting accommodations provide great places to stay warm and well fed.
Here are a few of the area’s choice storm viewing sites:
The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, at Cape Disappointment State Park near Ilwaco, is perched on the cliffs overlooking the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the mighty Pacific. From the Center’s panoramic windows, viewers can watch storms roll in off the Pacific Ocean, ships traveling up and down the Columbia River, and sea birds working the wind.
Waikiki Beach, in Cape Disappointment State Park, is particularly excellent when storms meet with high tides – on and around new and full moons. From a driftwood-strewn breakwater, storm watchers will be awed by huge waves crashing into the cliff, on top of which sits the historic Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. These huge swells can send sea spray nearly 100 feet in the air, giving photographers signature opportunities. The viewing site can be accessed through the main gate of Cape Disappointment State Park, a few short miles from the fishing village of Ilwaco.
Two locations in the festive beachside town of Long Beach are also excellent for watching winter storms. Those less keen on getting soaked by the storm’s fury will enjoy the bird’s eye view from Pickled Fish restaurant at Adrift Hotel on Sid Snyder Drive. Others steady themselves along a meandering boardwalk which stretches over the dunes from Sid Snyder Drive to Bolstad Avenue. A full skeleton of a Gray Whale anchors the south end of the boardwalk and interpretive displays run its one half-mile length.
For those wanting to brave the elements and stretch their legs, Discovery Trail – an 8.5-mile long coastal trail connecting Ilwaco to Long Beach – provides easy beach access at several locations, Lewis and Clark interpretive displays, and some protection by the grassy dunes from Pacific winds.