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How to Go Storm Watching on the Long Beach Peninsula

Sep 5, 2018 | Fall, Outdoors, Photography, Winter

The Long Beach Peninsula is a storm watching wonderland, but it’s more than big waves. Storm season means dramatic skies, strong winds, dazzling sun breaks, and vivid rainbows that you feel like you could touch. It’s one of mother nature’s finest shows.

What’s the best time for storm watching?

The best times to catch a winter storm on the peninsula are November through February. Keep an eye on our local weather station. Sometimes squalls sneak in throughout the year.

Head to locations like Waikiki Beach the morning after the storm, and capture sunlight illuminating up the waves to reveal brilliant sea colors with the historic Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in the background.

What should you bring for storm watching?

  • Raincoat and rain boots: Staying dry makes your experience more enjoyable.
  • Camera: Bring along your favorite lenses, tripod, or anything else you think you might need for a great shot. A good camera phone works well too!
  • Hot coffee or tea: Having a hot cup of coffee or tea in the car is always welcome after standing outside.
  • Discover Pass: The popular storm watching spot Waikiki Beach is located in Cape Disappointment State Park. Get a Discover Pass online or at the entrance. It’s $30 a year (for all Washington state parks) or $10 for a day pass.

How to stay safe while storm watching…

  • Stay away from driftwood and large logs.
  • Keep track of the tides, and never ever turn your back on the sea. Sneaker waves are powerful and can sweep you out to sea.
  • Learn more about beach safety before your visit.

What are the best places for storm watching?

We encourage you to explore as there are many gorgeous locations for storm watching. These are just a few of our favorite storm watching spots.

  • Waikiki Beach: 200 foot cliffs, giant waves, and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse above make this a favorite spot for photographers. For a different perspective, head up to the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.
  • Dismal Nitch: Lewis & Clark christened this area “Dismal Nitch” after a rather unpleasant night camping along its shore. Find this location on the Columbia, just east of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
  • Pickled Fish: The restaurant atop the Adrift Hotel is the only Peninsula restaurant that overlooks the ocean, making the perfect perch for storm-watching season.
  • Willapa Bay: Watch miles of storm clouds hang heavy over the placid waters of the bay. Vistas stretch well into the Willapa Hills, offering expansive and exciting views of Pacific County.
  • The Beach: Bundle up and feel the full force of the storm. It’s an invigorating and refreshing experience unlike any other. Be aware of sneaker waves and tides.
  • Stay with a View: If you prefer to stay indoors and watch in your pajamas, find oceanfront lodging and simply open the curtains.

Explore the Graveyard of the Pacific this Winter

With powerful winter storms and a dangerous river bar crossing, there have been over 2,000 shipwrecks and hundreds of lives lost at the mouth of the Columbia  River. This treacherous history has fascinated locals and visitors for decades.

This winter, the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco invites you to explore the Graveyard of the Pacific!

The museum is putting together a special exhibition called Graveyard of the Pacific: Dangerous Currents-Shifting Sands from November 16 to March 9. The exhibition will highlight shipwreck artifacts, historic photographs, oral histories, and the important roles of the Coast Guard and lifesavers.

The museum is also organizing a walking tour on the Discovery Trail that highlights 12 wrecks that occurred on the peninsula’s shoreline.

Plan Your Trip

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