Long Beach has always been a popular place to visit during the summer for families. Located in the very southwest corner of Washington, it’s about a three hour drive from Seattle. At 28 miles long, it’s the longest beach in the United States. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never actually been before! I kept making plans to go, but for some reason didn’t commit to them. I love to travel to new countries, but there’s a lot of places in my own state I’ve never even visited. I decided to change that this year.
On my recent visit, I stayed at the The Adrift Hotel, which could not be in a better location. It’s a few minutes walk to the beach, and I was greeted by a view of the ocean every morning from my room. The hotel is a chic boutique hotel, with amenities like free bike rentals and flavored water in addition to tea and coffee at any time day or night. They also had games and DVDs you could borrow to bring to your room (I definitely watched all of season 2 of Lost while I was there!). The lobby was also stocked with snacks, quick meals to make, and even bottles of beer and wine so I never had to go to to store to buy anything.
My main reason for visiting Long Beach was to explore all the outdoor activities they had available. I was not disappointed – there was so much to do here! I did a lot of activities I hadn’t done in a long time, and it made me want to come back to Long Beach again to explore even more.
Walk Along the Coast
Walking along the beach every morning was such a peaceful way to start my day. Not only can you walk along the beach, but the eight-mile-long Discovery Trail is also nearby. You can walk in between the dunes and take in the ocean as you go. It’s fun to people watch and see kids fly kites or people horseback riding on the beach.
This was so fun! I’m from Texas and have been on a horse before, but that was a long time ago. I certainly have never rode one on the beach, which was a completely different experience. The folks at Back Country Horse Adventures calmed any nerves I had and gave me some quick tips for handling the horse, and off we went. My horse was so sweet, and I found myself in a meditative state as we trotted down the beach. The two hours went by much faster than I wanted.
I was originally supposed to take surfing lessons, but the waves were pretty crazy and they deemed it unsafe for a beginner to try surfing. Plans were quickly changed and I went on a bike ride instead. I headed to Black Lake, which has miles of trails to hike or bike on. Some of them were surprisingly steep enough that I had to walk my bike up the hill, which was a challenge I enjoyed. Locals maintain the trails several times a week to help the community safely enjoy them.
The Washington State International Kite Festival is by far the most popular event in Long Beach, bringing hundreds of people to the area every August. I stopped by the World Kite Museum to learn about the festival and see festival posters from years past. The best part was being able to make my own kite. While mine didn’t fly the greatest due to heavy wind, I’d love to go back with a sturdier kite during the festival and join the hundreds of others on the beach.
The hiking in this area is some of the most scenic in Washington, which is saying a lot. I headed up to Cape Disappointment State Park to hike to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, the oldest operating lighthouse on the West coast. Its purpose is to protect mariners from the rough and constantly changing Columbia River Bar in the dangerous area known as the ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’. The hike is a bit steep at the end, but worth it for the views of the Pacific.
After all that activity, you’ll probably be starving. Have no fear, as there’s plenty of local restaurants to visit in Long Beach. I enjoyed every one I visited, and the people that work there are very welcoming. It’s not often you have a server spend enough time with you to get anything besides your order, much less ask about your vacation and your life in general. Here are my recommendations based on what you’re looking for.
For a hearty breakfast
The 42nd St Cafe and Bistro is a small restaurant off the main street, and the energetic waitress looked so happy to see me the second I came in from the rain. I’m allergic to eggs, so eating breakfast is often challenging and unpleasant. She worked with me to make an amazing custom salmon hash that I could eat, which I promptly scarfed down. They also do lunch and dinner, and those menus looked equally delicious. I liked the fact that I was surrounded by locals (yes, I tend to eavesdrop when I travel alone) at the other tables, which is always a good sign at a restaurant.
For a beer
I was delighted to find they had their own brewery in Long Beach. North Jetty Brewing was exactly my kind of place – a wide selection of beers on tap, friendly bartender, and again filled with locals who had just gotten off work. They were so popular that they were even out of one of the beers I wanted to try. The Yellow Boots Kolsch and Discovery Coast Coffee Milk Stout were my favorite out of my samplers.
For amazing dessert
I went to The Depot for dinner on my last night and was thoroughly impressed. The relaxed ambiance in this cute Clam Shell Railroad train depot house was clearly popular with guests, as it was packed. On the owner’s recommendation, I had the catch of the day with roasted vegetables and garlic potatoes, and almost finished the entire plate because it was so tasty. Although I was stuffed, I was told I had to try dessert. I got the warm, gooey brownie with a side of caramel-covered ice cream, which was amazing! I rolled out of the restaurant, thoroughly satisfied.
For appetizers and live music
The hotel I was staying in happened to have the Pickled Fish, a low-key restaurant bar with a view of the ocean and a section for live music, which is most nights of the week. As my room was literally next to the bar (a little too convenient), I headed over one night to catch the folk band that was playing. I got the salmon sliders with a salad, which was perfect for an appetizer.
My trip to Long Beach was far too short, but I know I’ll be coming back again! Even though I came in what was technically winter and it rained half the time, I found it so relaxing. Being in a warm room overlooking the ocean as it pours and the dune grass gets blown sideways is my idea of getting away from it all. I can’t wait to explore Long Beach more.
I was a guest of the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau, but all opinions are my own as always.
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