No crowds, great deals on places to stay and stunning weather makes winter on the Washington coast the perfect adventure for seekers of natural wonder and tranquility. Not to mention it’s the best time of year to enjoy fresh oysters and Dungeness crab.
To help you get the most out of your winter visit, here’s our guide for what to see, do and eat!
what to do
Winter on the coast doesn’t mean you’re trapped indoors. There are so many reasons to opt outside, from chasing rainbows to exploring trails without the crowds. And if the weather truly is nasty, don’t worry. There are still plenty of indoor activities.
1. Storm Watching
Storm season is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. It’s truly wow-worthy! Watching waves beneath the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is at the top of the list, but there are plenty of other places to enjoy this stunning natural display. Check out our storm watching tips, add a few of these key locations to your itinerary, and be sure to tag us in your storm watching photos on Instagram for a chance to be featured.
Watching fog drift through the tops of trees and walking among ancient giants is well worth braving a chilly day on the coast. Between Pacific County’s state parks and the incredible Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, there are miles upon miles of hiking trails that will satisfy your inner nature lover. Any trip to the Long Beach Peninsula would be incomplete without walking along the Discovery Trail. From windswept dunes to deep dark forests, there is so much to explore. You might just have to come back for more.
3. Dive into History
Would you believe that Pacific County has TEN museums and interpretive centers? Unfortunately, there are a couple that close for the winter, but that still leaves more than you can explore in one day. Learn about the Corps of Discovery and the mouth of the Columbia River at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park (part of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park). Get to know the area’s rich local history at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. Learn about a small town’s Finnish heritage and logging history in Naselle. Be wowed by a huge collection of carriages at the Northwest Carriage Museum. There’s no shortage of history to discover.
4. Shop Local
Almost all businesses in Pacific County are owned by hardworking locals. That means you’ll find truly unique gifts to take back home. Plus, you’ll be supporting our small communities, which makes a big difference in the winter months. Find antiques, original artwork, souvenirs, books and so much more. Every shop has a personality of its own.
WHAT TO EAT
Winter is the perfect time to enjoy fresh Willapa Bay oysters. Most local restaurants have an oyster dish or two or three on their menu.
Enjoy a classic hangtown fry at 42nd Street Cafe & Bistro along with delicious breakfast cocktails. Choose how you like your oysters at the Depot Restaurant in Seaview. They offer fresh, pan or deep fried Willapa Bay oysters with delicious roasted garlic aoili dipping sauce. Shelburne Pub has a Willapa Bay oyster Rockefeller on their menu, and you can enjoy fresh local oysters at Pickled Fish too.
You can also pick up fresh oysters at our local seafood markets to throw on the grill.
2. Dungeness Crab.
Dungeness crab is practically currency on the peninsula and makes an appearance on many local menus.
The Waterline Pub has a delicious Dungeness crab bisque on their menu that’s a must try. You can find crab mac n’ cheese at Lost Roo as well as Dungeness crab cake n’ chips and a delicious crab melt sandwich. Salt Pub and the Depot Restaurant also have a take on that delicious, creamy Dungeness crab mac n’ cheese.
3. Ask about seasonal specials.
Many of our local chefs love to incorporate fresh ingredients that are sourced locally and regionally. That means you can truly experience the flavors of the season! A few places to check out:
- Waterline Pub
- Salt Pub
- The Depot Restaurant
- 42nd Street Cafe & Bistro
- Shelburne Pub
- Pickled Fish
- The Cove Restaurant
Be sure to ask your servers for seasonal specials since this is not an exhaustive list.