A Day in a State Park: Long Beach Edition

The Long Beach Peninsula boasts many state parks allowing you to have a jam-packed week (or weekend) of adventuring along the coast of Washington. The peninsula is home to Leadbetter Point State Park, Pacific Pines State Park, Cape Disappointment State Park, and Fort Stevens State Park. While you’re in town, make sure to make The Lamp Camp your home base.

We’ve got your day to day itinerary for a fun-filled week (or weekend)  jumping from one state park to the next. Let’s get started:

Leadbetter Point State Park

Leadbetter Point State Park is located on the upper Long Beach Peninsula, between Willapa Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The park is a 1,732-acre natural area open for day use. It is adjacent Willapa National Wildlife Refuge which has about 5 miles of ocean beach and several miles of bay beach. Good news for all of our dog lovers, they are allowed (on a leash, of course) on the park’s southern trails and beaches. However, they are not allowed in the northern part of Leadbetter Point, which encompasses the refuge and snowy plover habitat. 

We recommend coming between March and September since this time of year is when you could see snowy plover chick which are just like energetic cotton balls. In addition to snowy plover chicks, you’ll be able to see all sorts of wildlife–the perfect place to go birding. Visitors should check ou the Willapa Bay side of Leadbetter Point as you can kayak, canoe and paddleboard when the tides and the weather cooperate. Visitors can also enjoy hiking, fishing and clamming at the park.

Pacific Pines State Park

Pacific Pines State Park, on the western side of the Long Beach Peninsula, gives you a glimpse into a southwest Washington-style beach day. 

Dune grasses and knobby shore pines drop gently down to the wide, sandy, Pacific Ocean shore. This 10-acre day-use park is ideal for playing and walking on the beach, birding, fishing, shellfish harvesting and watching the sunset.

Cape Disappointment State Park

Cape Disappointment is a 2,023-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean and looking into the mouth of the Columbia River. Cape Disappointment was named for Captain John Meares’ first thwarted voyage to find the Columbia. For all of our history lovers, this is the place for you! Explore U.S. military and maritime legacies and experience the story of Lewis &

Clark and the effect of their Corps of Discovery Expedition on Native American tribes.

Make this a fun trip for your kiddos by stepping into the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center for interactive exhibits. You’ll also find overgrown ruins of military bunkers and coast defense batteries, and hear tales of two lighthouses and the first attempts to reach the Columbia River by sea.

Get active by going through old-growth forest or around freshwater lakes, saltwater marshes, and ocean tidelands. You’ll gape at the breathtaking views as you can watch others diggin for clams at Benson Beach. You’ll also notice that fishers love to set up on the North Jetty to catch salmon and crab. The beaches at Cape Disappointment also lure kite-fliers, sand-castle builders and those who love to walk and explore. Contrary to its name, Cape Disappointment will do quite the opposite.

Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens is a 4,300-acre park offering a variety of recreation adventures but was once the primary military defense installation in the three-fort, Harbor Defense System at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Beach-combing, freshwater lake swimming, trails, wildlife viewing, a historic shipwreck, and a historic military fort make Fort Stevens a diverse park. Take a bike ride on the nine-mile network of paved bicycle trails and hike on the six miles of hiking trails. Explore a variety of habitats, including spruce and hemlock forests, wetlands, dunes, and shore pine areas.

Long Beach, Washington has endless opportunities to eat, stay, and play. We hope you enjoy your time the next time you visit!