One of my favorite places to visit on the West Coast is Long Beach, Washington. You probably have heard of California’s Long Beach, but our state has the better one in my opinion.
This area 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.
Here are a few tips for visiting and how to spend a weekend in Long Beach.
Long Beach, Washington Travel Tips
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when booking a weekend trip from Seattle.
- Bring warm clothing – We can get some beautiful, warm days in Washington, particularly in the summer. However, you’ll be right on the coast during your vacation and should bring clothes in case it gets windy.
- Allow adequate time to get there – When you look at directions from Seattle to Long Beach, it’ll say it takes about 3 hours. However, you should account for traffic in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, especially if you leave on a Friday evening. You’ll also need to go much slower once you get on the road by the coast.
- Make reservations in the summer – Thousands of people visit Long Beach in the summer, so you’ll want to make restaurant reservations ahead of time. You’ll still be able to walk up to many Long Beach restaurants and get in with a short wait, but make a reservation if you have a certain place in mind.
Where to Stay in Long Beach, Washington
There are a variety of hotels near Long Beach, Washington. Here are a few I recommend.
Hotels Near Long Beach
- Adrift Hotel – This Long Beach hotel is hands-down my favorite, which is why I continue to stay there every time I visit. Depending on your room, you may have a view of the Pacific Ocean, and if not you’re only a minute’s walk away from the beach. The Adrift Hotel also has a restaurant, lounge, pool, sauna, and spa. (Rates start at $80 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- Shelburne Hotel – This bed and breakfast is a cozy place to stay for a weekend in Long Beach. They have a pub with tasty food and are on the main strip so you can easily walk around to stores. (Rates start at $89 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- Long Beach Studio for Two – This lovely condo is perfect for couples. Relax around the electric fireplace with a good book or in the jetted soaking tub after a long day. Pacific Avenue is a short distance away with shops, restaurants, and nightlife. (rates start at $193 per night; book your condo here)
- Oceanview Condo – A modern condo at the ocean side, ideal for families and groups. You’ll be steps away from the beach, or simply enjoy the view from the private balcony. (rates start at $139 per night, book your condo here)
- This charming cottage sleeps 4. It has free WiFi, and enclosed yard and a fire pit. (rates start at $73 per night)
- This beachfront cabin is recently remodelled and boasts a band new fireplace. It sleeps 6 and has a TV upstairs with a bluetooth theatre sound (rates start at $148 per night)
Read more: The Perfect West Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Long Beach, Washington Weekend Itinerary
I recommend taking all of Friday off, especially if visiting during a Seattle summer, so you have plenty of time to explore Long Beach, Washington. However, this itinerary is also doable if you can’t leave until after you get off work on Friday.
While some people may choose to make this a long Portland day trip, I highly recommend staying for a whole weekend.
Day 1: Explore the Beach
If you love being outdoors, Long Beach is the place to go. There are miles of beach to explore with a variety of activities you can do, which is one of the best things to do outside of Seattle.
I suggest checking into your hotel early so you’ll have plenty of time to be outside. You can take a walk along the boardwalk if you don’t want to get sandy.
There’s also the 8-mile long Discovery Trail nearby to explore. 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.
A unique thing to do in Long Beach is driving on the beach, which you’ll want to put on your Washington State bucket list. That said, make sure you feel comfortable driving on the sand first. You’ll also want to stay far away from the water, as the tide will come in eventually.
Depending on the weather, you may be lucky enough to see people on surfboards, as this is one of the better places to go surfing in Washington.
When you want a break from the outdoors, pay a visit to Adrift Distillers. They are a distillery that’s open from 12-8 on Fridays and Saturdays.
You can taste a variety of vodka, gin, and whiskey and take a few bottles home. My favorites are the Spiced Cranberry Liqueur and the Rhubarb Elderberry Liqueur.
Thanks to the wind, kite flying is a popular activity in Long Beach as well as one of the best things to do in Ocean Shores, as they’re both right on the ocean. You can visit the World Kite Museum to make your own kite. You’ll also learn about the history of kite making and see some incredible kites from years ago.
For dinner, head over to the Adrift Hotel. Their restaurant is Pickled Fish, which is a restaurant and bar with a view of the ocean. They also have live music many nights of the week, so it’s a great way to end your evening. I recommend starting with the salmon sliders.
Day 2: Have an Active Day
For breakfast, head over to the 42nd St Cafe and Bistro for a hearty meal to start your day. This restaurant is known as “the original roadside cafe” and has a variety of breakfast options and drinks to choose from. I highly recommend starting with their famous New Orleans-style beignets.
After breakfast, head over to the beach to go horseback riding. This is a unique way to see the beach, as you get to ride right along the water. Back Country Horse Adventures will get you set up with a horse and provide tips for handling the horse.
You can also find the whale skeleton while you’re visiting Long Beach, Washington. This is from an actual whale that washed up on the beach in 2000. You can now see the remains of it on display.
Another outdoor activity in Long Beach, Washington that the whole family can do is biking. Head to Black Lake to explore miles of trails that go around the lake.
Most of the trails are fairly flat and easy. However, some of them are surprisingly steep, so advanced bikers will like the challenge. Locals maintain the trails several times a week to help the community safely enjoy them.
I was delighted to find Long Beach had a brewery with a variety of beer on tap. North Jetty Brewery was exactly my kind of place – a casual place with games for adults and they were kid-friendly. The Yellow Boots Kolsch and The Milkman Knocks Twice Milk Stout were my favorites out of my samplers.
My favorite Long Beach restaurant is The Depot, so I recommend stopping there on your second night. You’ll need to make reservations in advance, as this place is constantly packed. Once you try the food, you’ll understand why.
The restaurant is set on an old train depot, giving it a cute and cozy vibe. They always have seasonal specials, and I always end up ordering one of these dishes. You’ll want to save room for dessert too, as they are all amazing.
Day 3 – Hike at Cape Disappointment
For your last day in Long Beach, you’ll head south to spend a day hiking and learning about the history of the area. Stop at Cottage Bakery first to grab a coffee and pastry to fuel you for your day.
The hiking in this area is some of the most scenic in Washington, which is saying a lot. Head up to Cape Disappointment State Park to hike a variety of different trails. You’ll need a Discover Pass or have to pay $10 for a day pass.
One of the shorter, more popular trails is the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. This is the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast.
This is a great place to continue south to find the best places to stop on the Oregon 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.
When you’re ready to come indoors, visit the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. There are a variety of exhibits that explain the history of the area, which I always find makes it more fascinating. Admission costs $5 per person, and kids under 7 are free.
There are several hikes nearby that are less than a mile long and relatively flat. They were great to take my young son on so he could explore nature without needing to get our hiking backpack out.
You’re probably ready for lunch at this point, so head to the nearby town of Ilwaco. The Waterline Pub at At The Helm Hotel is a cute place to have lunch while having a view of the water. There’s a variety of local seafood to choose from for your meal.
After lunch, you may start to think of heading back home depending on how far your drive is. You can always stop in a few local shops on your way out and grab a snack for the road. Enjoy your drive home while you talk about how soon you want to come back!