The beach stretches out as far as you can see in either direction. Wind whips off the Pacific Ocean, and the waves crash onto the sand that you stand upon. This is Long Beach, Washington; it’s a lesser-known Pacific Northwest destination, but a perfect beach getaway – and yes, it’s a real beach! If you’ve been considering a weekend away and are curious about things to do in Long Beach during your visit, I’m here to help you explore this great place.
While living in Seattle, I had the chance to take a number of epic weekend trips from Seattle. On that list, Long Beach is easily among my top favorite small towns in the U.S. I’ve taken several trips to Long Beach, under all conditions. (You’ll see this because my post has both blue skies and overcast grey.) Despite visiting in the ‘off’ season, I learned that no matter the season, no matter how much rain is falling, this community on the World’s Longest Beach has plenty to offer.
If you’re planning a trip to Long Beach and want to explore the Washington coast, read on. I’ll share the best things to do in Long Beach, places to stay, and places to eat and drink. You’ll be able to put together a great weekend itinerary for Long Beach once you’ve read all the advice I have to offer.
This post was originally published in September 2015, and was updated in July 2016 and again in June 2021.
The 9 Best Things to Do in Long Beach, WA
For a small seaside town, you might wonder about all the different things to do in Long Beach. Admittedly, most of them are based on visiting or exploring the beach – that’s why the town is named. There are other things to do in Long Beach too though, and I’ll cover some of my favorite things in this section.
1. Stroll Along the World’s Longest Beach
As you might guess, one of the best things to do in Long Beach is to visit the beach! Long Beach claims to be the world’s longest beach, at 28 miles long. In fact, it’s likely the longest continuous sand beach in the United States. Who knew Washington was home to an almost 30-mile beach?!
You can take a short walk on the beach or drive your car, depending on your beach-going style.
2. Go Beachcombing
Like all good beaches, Long Beach is a fabulous spot for beachcombing. The Pacific Ocean washes in all kinds of treasures! The best time for beachcombing is after high tide, so be sure to check the tide times during your planned visit if you want to see what you’ll discover as the water recedes.
3. Horseback Riding on the Beach
Lastly, you can take a horseback ride along the beach, if you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Long Beach. You won’t get to frolic in the waves like down in those envy-inducing Caribbean waters, but the horses are sure-footed on the sand and great guides among the dunes. Two options are Back Country Wilderness Outfitters or Skippers Equestrian Center, and tours start at $25 per hour, which is a great deal!
4. Stroll the Long Beach Boardwalk
As you can tell, anything to do with the beach makes the list of things to do in Long Beach. There’s also a beautiful long boardwalk and miles of trails that run through the dunes between the water and Long Beach. You can take a bike ride or walk to see such sights as the Grey Whale skeleton preserved along the trail, or a replica of Clark’s Tree – a spot where the Lewis & Clark expedition once realized their dream of reaching the west (more on that below!).
5. Attend the Washington State International Kite Festival
By complete chance, my first trip to Long Beach coincided with the famous Washington State International Kite Festival. One weekend every August, kite fans descend on the beach to take advantage of great onshore ocean winds. In fact, it’s a perfect place for kite flying year-round!
In 2021, the kite festival is scheduled to occur August 16-22nd; plan ahead to book your accommodation (tips below) if you want to visit during this popular week to visit Long Beach.
6. Visit World Kite Museum
With a steady wind that whips the sand off the dunes to sting your legs as you stroll in the chilly surf, kite culture is strong; Long Beach is also home to the World Kite Museum! There you can learn the history of kites, from pleasure to productive use. There are also interactive exhibits to help you learn more about kite mechanics and history. Yep, they really love kites!
(If you didn’t bring your own kite, there is a gift shop where you can buy one, as well as a few other shops in town.)
7. Explore Downtown Long Beach
Off the beach, there are plenty of things to do in Long Beach too. You should be sure to stop by Marsh’s Free Museum. This family-friendly establishment is filled with all kinds of interesting “historical” artifacts and a good bit of potential hoaxes, like the “Alligator Man.” I was smitten with some of the old games and circus attractions. What can I say; I’m a cheeseball like that.
The main street area of town is only few small blocks. It’s primarily comprised of real estate offices, mini golf, seaside shops with t-shirts in every neon color under the sun, and a few restaurants serving fare food. If you’re also feeling active for something other than sticking terrifying pieces of nylon and wood into the air, go play mini-golf at the little set up near Stormin Norman’s; you can pay for your balls and scorecards in the shop and then have fun with the little 10+ hole setup for cheap.
8. See the Lewis & Clark Sculptures
Long Beach is part of the region where explorers Lewis & Clark reached the Pacific Ocean after following the Columbia River from far inland. There are two beautiful sculptures to mark the town’s role in this chapter of American history: a sculpture of the two explorers downtown, and a beautiful windswept tree, Clark’s Tree, on the beach near the Breakers north of town.
If you’re interested in Lewis & Clark history, you can also visit the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in the Port of Ilwaco south of town or Lewis & Clark National Historical Park across the river in Astoria, Oregon.
9. Visit Neighboring Seaview
Most people don’t realize that what they consider “all” of Long Beach area also includes the neighboring community of Seaview, Washington. This small town area is south of Long Beach and you can get there by driving or just heading south along the beach. Mr. V and I stayed one night in Seaview and rented bikes to explore the path to the beach from Seaview – and yes, it lives up to its name!
Where to Eat & Drink in Long Beach
Having visited Long beach twice, I can honestly say: if you only have a weekend, you need to be A) ruthless in your desire to eat the best food in Long Beach (which will admittedly be tough since there are so many great choices) or B) willing to stretch out your stomach so you can try it all. Here are my recommendations.
Located down in Seaview, this former railroad depot’s humble appearance belies a massively talented chef making mouthwatering comfort food from around the U.S. From my ‘Southern Comfort Pork’ – roasted to perfect tenderness and piled atop cream corn – to the fresh clams Bucatini Mr. Valise enjoyed (pictured above), plus the two desserts AND port wine we enjoyed… The Depot was spot on. Oh man. So indulgent. How Bourdain can continue to describe food after all these years is beyond me – good meals make me lose my words.
The Pickled Fish
A recommendation made by the Long Beach Peninsula CVB, the Pickled Fish is located inside the Adrift Hotel but open to the public. I opted for the fish and chips because I really believe that you should eat fish and chips when you can see the ocean the fish came from with your own eyes; Mr. Valise had a burger that I will admit I also coveted. We also had brunch there one morning; eggs Benedict and biscuits & gravy are Mr. Valise’s and my favorite breakfast foods, and they offer both.
Other awesome notes about the Pickled Fish: they have live music. Like, a lot! If you dig that kind of thing, be sure to check their schedule. They also have an occasional bonfire on the beach. Given Washington’s intense burn during the summer months, we were pleasantly surprised by the fact that we could actually enjoy an open fire at some point during our adventures.
Scoopers is technically a market, but everyone goes for the ice cream… like, EVERYONE. We waited for at least half an hour for our scoops, and part of the reason for the delay is that they have about 60 different flavors to choose from and not everyone is decisive as I am: mint chip on bottom, peppermint on top. I could also have gone for the mango sorbet on bottom and marionberry on top… I guess that just means I have to go back someday!
North Jetty Brewing Company & Streetside Tacos 2.0
No guide to anywhere is complete without my hunting down any craft beer in town, and Long Beach happily fulfills that requirement. Named after locally significant events, each of the beers at North Jetty Brewing is rooted in the history of Long Beach and tells another piece of the story I became entranced with while visiting. Maybe it was the beer talking, but I was sure by the end of a few tasting flights that I never wanted to leave.
North Jetty Brewing also has a food truck permanently parked outside, Streetside Tacos 2.0. Yep, you read that right: the perfect marriage of food truck and craft beer happens every day in Long Beach. Between the chicken tinga and carnitas tacos and a few delicious beer samples, are you surprised that I’m still raving about why you should visit Long beach?
Where to Stay in Long Beach
Like all good west coast towns, Long Beach has tons of seaside condos and timeshares available for rent, as well as a Best Western. While these may work for family or budget travelers, they’re the more traditional – and less interesting – options available.
- The Adrift Hotel – The Adrift Hotel is right near the southern tip of the main Long Beach boardwalk. Rooms start as low as $170/night, and you can pay a little extra for an ocean view (it’s worth it!). Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
- The Sou’Wester Lodge – A creative take on the traditional RV park, The Sou’Wester Lodge is a collection of fully restored trailers that you can rent out for your stay. Located south in Seaview, you’ll have easy access to the beach, free bike rentals, plus be able to take advantage of the Finnish sauna installed on the property. Trailers start from $105/night. Book on Hotels.com.
- The Breakers – The Breakers is a hybrid condo/rental property north of downtown Long Beach. The four main buildings host a combination of permanent residents and hotel guests who have a fully-equipped condo with kitchen. The massive Breakers property is awesome for exploring the dunes, and the beach is much less crowded. Units start from $139/night. Book on Booking.com or Hotels.com.
Now that you know the best things to do in Long Beach, WA, plus where to eat, drink, and stay – do you have other questions about how to spend a weekend in Long Beach? Let me know in the comments.
Many thanks again to Long Beach Peninsula CVB and Zahorsky PR for helping set up my trip, including recommendations and accommodation introductions. Thanks to all the businesses who extended their hospitality and allowed me to enjoy Long Beach to the fullest.