In autumn, the longer shadows and a slight chill in the air create a captivating vibe of sleepy town over the coastal towns of the Long Beach Peninsula. The buzz of summer tourists is gone and life slows at an appreciable rate. The locals consider this to be the best time of the year to enjoy their special place, and this is the reason why you will too.
Come in autumn and enjoy the misty mornings watching the fishing boats return to the port of Ilwaco. Take a quiet walk through high cedars and climb to a historic lighthouse, or walk alone a part of the 28 miles of Long Beach with an occasional seagull riding the wind currents as your companion. Snuggle up next to the crackling fire with a great read and a steaming cup of coffee. Explore art galleries, look at a jewelry maker or woodcarver working in your studio, walk through the desert in a wildlife sanctuary, visit a blueberry farm and museum or try some blueberry spirits in Adrift Distillers.
If you are a lover of fresh seafood, you will find your nirvana here. According to Nancy Gorshe and Michael Lalewicz, co-owners and chef of The DEPOT restaurant in Seaview, “this fall, the salmon remains and seems to be available until mid-October. Then, as the waters cool, we will have fresh-bottomed fish, including Rockfish and Sole. We will continue to serve local clams and oysters and, of course, December brings the crab season (Dungeness)! "
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Here, in Pacific County, you will find Willapa Bay, the cleanest estuary in the United States. And in the estuary there are oysters from Willapa Bay, one of the best tasting oysters on the planet. Oyster lovers know that the cold months that end with an "r" produce a fatter and tastier oyster, which makes the autumn visit perfectly timed.
Two informal restaurants to recommend for fresh Willapa Bay oysters, clams and shellfish fresh from the boat are located in the port of Ilwaco. Salt Hotel & Pub, a modern motel style hotel skillfully renovated with pieces of reclaimed wood and the fishing industry, also has an excellent restaurant that offers artisan cocktails and fabulous clam chowder. Fishermen can be seen on bar stools at the end of their day and you may be lucky to enjoy a daily special from a source of fresh whole fish.
Next door is OleBobs Seafood Grill & Market, a fresh seafood seller from Ilwaco that has added coffee in front of the marina. The owner makes delicious cakes of icy layers to complete his meal, so save space.
In Seaview, without a doubt, it is the DEPOT restaurant for fried oysters, Dungeness Crab Mac, steak and lamb, clam chowder and the popular Oyster S’Cargot, which is a snail game with small oysters roasted in lime butter and garlic. The DEPOT was the train station of the "Clam Shell Railroad", which transported the inhabitants of Portlanders who traveled upriver by the Columbia River by ferry to their summer homes, hotels and coastal towns along the Long Beach coast .
It's not always about oysters here in Long Beach; The coast is also famous for spring clams, Dungeness crab, salmon, halibut, sturgeon, albacore, cod and other seafood. But when eating according to the seasons, in autumn, oysters are king.
There are many unique places to visit, but two highlights are synonyms for the Long Beach location.
One of them is the 2000-acre Cape Disappointment State Park, where you will find two lighthouses, a sandy beach that glitters with real gold dust after a heavy storm, hiking, camping, and parking for recreational vehicles and floating wood-covered beaches. This is an impressive natural area because the landscape and wildlife are always changing: wild waves hit the coast in autumn, attracting photographers and storm watchers, while birds migrate with the seasons. For the disappointment of the Cape, you will need a Washington Discover Pass if you plan to get out of your car. A day pass or an annual pass valid for the entire state is available online.
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The beaches are public in Washington and your trip should include a walk along the Long Beach boardwalk. This half-mile wooden walk snakes along the Pacific Ocean from Sid Snyder Avenue to Bolstad, through undulating sand dunes, tracing part of Lewis and Clark's Discovery Trail.
Antiques is still an affordable hobby in the area and one of the favorites is the Long Beach Peninsula Trading Post at 226th Hwy in Ocean Park. This well-curated collection covering two floors is owned by only one couple. Records, Persian carpets, period clothing, books, mid-century furniture, paintings of local places of interest, jewelry and ephemeral are organized into sections, making this one of the shops of most pleasant antiques to visit and discover a treasure.
If you like 19th-century buildings, park your car on any of the streets of Seaview and walk along the lanes next to the beach to see the exterior of well-maintained houses, some dating back to the 1860s. Higher up in the Coast, near Ocean Park in Willapa Bay, visit the Oysterville enclave in Ocean Park.
This area was originally used by the people of Coast Salish for the cultivation and harvest of oysters. Established by settlers in 1854, marvel at the beautiful historic houses and a small white church framed by elegant old trees in this 80-acre city that is on the National Historic Register. The road takes you to Oysterville Sea Farms, so stop to see some shooters and a glass of Washington chardonnay while enjoying the view of the bay.
A couple of new hotels have appeared in the Ilwaco Marina and Long Beach area, but you can also find cabins and a cozy B&B. The prices of the accommodations vary and our recommendations are these two unique stays at a good price:
Salt Hotel & Pub in the Ilwaco Marina is a very cool place with an excellent restaurant and pub. Have dinner and have drinks and walk to your room for the night. The owners Jules Orr and Laila Brown are the king and queen of the reuse of building materials in a modern way.
The award-winning Boreas Bed & Breakfast Inn on the ocean side of Long Beach is a cozy Cape-Cod-style inn full of antiques on a quiet street with a large property that opens onto the beach. The private hot tub is the ideal place to drink champagne at sunset. The outstanding innkeepers Susie and Bill prepare their excellent breakfasts with a hot plate, local fruit, jams, cookies and cakes.
How to get there
Fly to Seattle, rent a car and drive down (more than 3 hours). Or fly to Portland, Oregon and drive 2.5 hours, crossing the Astoria bridge over the Columbia River.
What is there in
Keep up to date with events such as the local wild mushroom celebration, from October 1 to November 15, through the Long Beach Peninsula Office of Visitors online.
More places of interest are listed, along with places to stay, fishing trips, tips, arts and music, festivals, tide tables, food and drink, plus a free downloadable travel guide. Or visit them to see maps and information at 3914 Pacific Way in Seaview.
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