In the very southwestern corner of Washington, the Long Beach Peninsula is a serene hot spot for RVing between the Pacific coast, Columbia River, and Willapa Bay. The scenic landscape is something from a dream, with beautiful grassy dunes, ocean fresh air, and their renowned 28-mile stretch of drive-able sandy beach.
There’s quiet RV parks dotted across the peninsula, local museums of a wide variety, and gourmet restaurants for every kind of taste. We spent a few days exploring the area, and rounded up some of the most memorable places for you to swing by next time you’re heading out to the Pacific Northwest.
Where to park your RV:
Stay by the Pacific: Andersen’s Oceanside RV Park
Location makes Andersen’s one of the premier places on the peninsula to park your rig. Nestled between forest and grassy dunes, this family-run RV park is the closest you’ll find to the ocean. Their level full hook-up sites each come with their own picnic tables, and they’re set just beside a private trail that leads out to the water through the dunes.
They’re big-rig friendly, open all year round, and they welcome pets of all breeds and sizes. There’s a fenced dog run for pet owners to let their furry friends run free, as well as an outside hot wash to rinse all of the sand and dirt off them. A playground is open for the little ones, the showers are hot and pristine, and guests can connect to free Wi-Fi all throughout the park. For directions and more info, check out their website here.
For KOA campers: Bay Center / Willapa Bay KOA
In a woodsy setting along Willapa Bay, across from the peninsula, this campground is a favorite among KOA campers. They have both RV and tent sites, as well as their own trail that leads out from the campground through forest to a peaceful, sandy beach.
Here you can relax and bird-watch, or lay back and watch the sunset over the tidal bay. They also have three-wheel bikes you can race on with friends, as well as areas for playing volleyball, badminton, basketball and horseshoes.
Amenities including 50-amp service, free WiFi, cable TV, and propane & firewood available (at an additional cost). Get more details on their scenic bayside campground on KOA’s website here.
For RVers 40+ years of age – Cranberry RV Park
A “grown-up” RV park for travelers and retirees over 40, this place in Long Beach provides 35 full hook-up sites in a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. In their rec room, guests can play a game of pool and watch TV, or rather head out for a short walk to the beach.
Pet and big-rig friendly, the park offers sites with water, electricity, sewer, and cable TV, with WiFi available at an additional cost. On site, they also have a coin-operated laundry, spotless showers, and RV/boat-sized storage. For rates and reservations, click here.
Where to eat & drink:
Lunch and/or dinner: Lost Roo
Australian-themed, Lost Roo is the prime spot to grab a bite to eat in Long Beach. Not just cause of their quirky “Land Down Under” decor, and huge HDTVs for the sports fans, but all of the dishes here are most definitely five-star worthy.
They serve a variety of dinner entrees, like sandwiches, burgers, local seafood, chowders, and salads. Pictured above, their prime rib special came topped with fresh chanterelle mushrooms. On my plate was the vegetarian Portobello Mushroom burger with a side of thick-cut fries, which was also wildly delicious. Really, you can’t go wrong with anything at this place. Plus, the extensive selection of local beer on tap and wines completely topped it all off! (Take a look at their menu.)
Breakfast and/or lunch: 42nd Street Cafe & Bistro
Just down the street from Lost Roo, along the main drag of Long Beach, 42nd Street Cafe is a homey roadside cafe to stop in for breakfast, brunch, or lunch. In a country-style dining room, they serve fresh egg breakfasts (like the Russian Vegetarian Scramble below), omelets, and waffles (like the Bacon Waffle, with bacon actually cooked inside).
For lunch, their menu varies from burgers and sandwiches to seafood entrees, soups, and salads. And by PM, cocktail enthusiasts (such as myself) can order a drink from their fully stocked bar, which also includes beer, cider, and Northwest wines. (Their breakfast and lunch menus are on their website here.)
What to do during the day:
Walk (or drive) along the beach
Long Beach is well known for their gorgeous 28-mile long stretch of Pacific coastline, which looks like a scene straight from heaven. The white sand is packed so densely, most vehicles are able to drive on it beside the ocean at low tide.
Some parts of the beach are closed to vehicles through Labor Day, but it’s always open to pedestrians looking for a quiet stroll. (For more info on their beach driving regulations, click here.)
Visitors can also go for a refreshing walk along their oceanfront wooden boardwalk, which stretches for about a half-mile with interpretative displays and stunning views the whole way.
Make a trip to Marsh’s Free Museum
Marsh’s Free Museum is a fun place to grab the perfect keepsake for your trip. It’s both a curiosity shop and museum, with an eclectic variety of quirky souvenirs, gifts and miscellaneous items. They’re home to the famous and freaky “Jake The Alligator Man” (a half-man half-alligator oddity), and there’s several antique coin-operated machines scattered all throughout the store.
Bring a bag of change and you can still slip a nickel or quarter in these old “Gypsy” and “Love Tester” machines, just like the good old days. It’s a fun way to get a look into your future, and also pick up some seashells, t-shirts, and mugs to take back home.
Or any of the other local museums
Even if you arrive on a rainy day, Long Beach has local indoor activities galore for people of all ages and interests. Admire stunning kite designs at the World Kite Museum, learn more about local history at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, and sip on a cup of fresh cranberry tea while you browse the current displays at the Cranberry Museum.
Go hiking at Cape Disappointment State Park
Cape Disappointment State Park is at the very bottom of the Long Beach Peninsula in Ilwaco, where the Columbia River (between Washington and Oregon) meets the Pacific Ocean. It’s home to not just one – but two historic lighthouses, as well as miles of hiking trails, cabins for rent, and over 200 sites for tent camping. While you’re in the area, take a step inside the Lewis & Clark Interpretative Center and be sure to see their interesting, interactive exhibits.
And while you’re on the Long Beach Peninsula, head down to Seaview to see the Sou’Wester Lodge.
Have you gone RVing on the Long Beach Peninsula before? Where else would you recommend visiting? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments with us below.