Museums & Historic Sites
On the Long Beach Peninsula, history is alive and well. You can explore historic forts, walk in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, wonder over artifacts, and visit two lighthouses each over a century old.
North Head Lighthouse
The North Head Lighthouse sits high above the ocean and the rocks near Beard’s Hollow. From the top of these cliffs, you can spot the North Jetty and look down on Benson Beach.
Did you know?
Winds of 120 miles per hour have been recorded at North Head, making it the windiest lighthouse site on the West Coast and the second in the nation. The first head keeper’s wife couldn’t stand the wind and jumped from the cliffs one summer morning…
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is white with black stripes. It overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River, also known as the Graveyard of the Pacific.
Did you know?
In 1853, the first shipment of lighthouse materials sank two miles offshore! Most of the shipment was lost, and this was just the beginning of the difficulties this lighthouse faced.
Washington State Parks like Cape Disappointment, Fort Columbia, and Leadbetter Point require a pass for parking.
The North Head Lighthouse is currently closed for tours as it undergoes restoration. Check back for updates!
Walk in the Footsteps of Lewis & Clark
On November 5, 1805, a terrible storm pinned the Corps of Discovery in a rocky cove off the Columbia River. They were only a few miles from their destination. But they almost didn’t make it…
The Corps of Discovery spent 10 days here, and Clark used it as a primary survey station as he mapped the mouth of the Columbia River. The Chinook people, who have lived along the Columbia for thousands of years, used this site as a trade village.
Construction began on three forts to protect the mouth of the Columbia River in the late nineteenth century. Now, these coastal defense sites can be explored by visitors. Fort Columbia Historic State Park is considered the most intact, historic coastal defense unit in the United States. The remains of Fort Canby can be found throughout Cape Disappointment State Park.
Seekers of history and abandoned vibes will enjoy exploring both. Pick up maps at the Visitors Bureau or parks.
You may feel as though time forgot this tiny, historic village that sits on Willapa Bay, but the homes and buildings here are lovingly maintained by its residents. The historic homes, church, schoolhouse, and oyster farms were once part of a booming community fueled by the California Gold Rush. Local resident, “Sydney of Oysterville”, keeps an incredible blog detailing the stories and history of the village.
Walking tours are available in the church as well as online. Read the stories behind the homes as you savor the peace and quiet in this sweet little village.
MUSEUMS & INTERPRETIVE CENTERS
Carefully preserved and full of fascinating artifacts from another era, Knappton Cove was once the US Columbia River Quarantine Station, the Columbia River’s “Ellis Island”. Check their season schedule or call to set an appointment.
Once a home to an oyster grower and his family, this interpretive center offers a glimpse into the history of Willapa Bay’s oyster industry, now almost 150 years old. The display was created by artist Nancy Lloyd of Oysterville.