You need to check out Long Beach Peninsula, located on the southwest coast of Washington, where you can find good food, first class lodging, new things to learn and beauty enough for a feast.
We'd heard about the lighthouses on the peninsula and we'd talked about visiting them for years. Last week we took two days and made the four-and-a-half hour trip to Long Beach to celebrate Tom's birthday and finally see the lighthouses. We had a wonderful time, so I feel confident when I tell you that, with or without kids, this would be a great trip for you!
First things first. You need a place to stay when you travel, and we stayed at Boreas Inn, a B&B. The place was lovely yet homey, brimming with life but inviting you to rest. From the bouquet in our room to the patio seating to the gardens in full bloom, the enjoyment of their guests were priorities for hosts Susie and Bill. The following morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast, which was beautifully served, before we headed off.
|Boreas Inn (photo from their website)
|Flowers in our room
|The day bed in our guest room
|Boreas Inn patio
|Gardens galore at Boreas Inn
|Delicious fruit soup. just a small part of our delicious breakfast
After we checked in at the Boreas, which is in Long Beach, we drove three miles to Ilwaco, where we saw the North Head Lighthouse.
|The path to the North Head Lighthouse
|This is still a working lighthouse
|North Head Lighthouse, built in 1898
|Sea birds and their shadows
Great park. Bad name.The 3/4 mile hike from the parking lot to the lighthouse passed through old growth timber, Sitka pine, vines, berry bushes, and nursery stumps. We passed Dead Man's Cove. In 1853 a boat sank at the mouth of the Columbia River and everyone aboard drowned. Some of the bodies washed up into this cove, hence, the name. We got close enough for photos, but greatly respected the edge of the cliff above the cove!
Cape Disappointment State Park gets its nonalluring name from an 18-century English explorer who, sailing past what's now Washington's southwest tip at the mouth of the Columbia River, missed the river's entrance. The explorer, John Meares, was disappointed; hence the name he bestowed upon the cape during his 1788 voyage.
|Cape Disappointment Lighthouse from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center
|Dead Man's Cove (This was taken with a zoom lens; we're much higher above it than it appears!)
|Ginger in front of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment State Park is also the home of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It was very well done with many displays, most of them interactive. Families were there with children of all ages. We found it to be a moving experience to get a glimpse into the expedition that opened the West. The dedication, perseverance and ingenuity of the Corps of Discovery, the army unit recruited for this undertaking, astounded me.
|The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center as seen from Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
|Members of the Corps of Discovery, as listed on the wall of the museum
|It was a pretty rough trip
|One of the many paintings on the wall
I thought there was only one Waikiki Beach in the world, but I was wrong. There's another one at Cape Disappointment State Park. It's not large, but it is wonderful! I'm guessing it got its name because it's a good beach for surfing, though the water was too calm when we were there for anyone to surf! Driftwood lay in piles around the beach, and a number of forts had been erected there. Parents and their young children built sand castles or played in the water; folks sat on beach towels, propped against logs, reading or chatting. Even though it was a hot day, the beach was not crowded. It is a perfect place for families. Of course there are camping spaces and picnic tables at the park, too.
|Waikiki Beach with Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in the background
|Tom at Waikiki Beach
|One of many forts at Waikiki Beach
|A great beach to run and play
We had our dinner in Ilwaco at Pelicano Restaurant. The crab cakes melted in our mouths. Tom's seafood chowder and my rockfish with quinoa and shitake were absolutely delicious and totally satisfying.
|Pelicano Restaurant (Photo from their website)
One more thing. The beach near our B&B was nearly empty. The town boasts that it's the longest beach in the world. That's good, because August 18-24 they will be hosting the International Kite Festival, and it the place will be packed with people and kites, another great family attraction!
|The beach at Long Beach, nearly deserted
|Long Beach International Kite Festival