While the Washington Coast is dotted with small beach towns, Long Beach, WA, carries its own unique charm, bringing visitors and their families back year after year. There is nothing quite like a long weekend getaway in a beautiful vacation home rental on the shores of Long Beach!
Here in the Pacific Northwest, time moves a little slower. Historic buildings line the streets of this charming seaside town, and the sounds of the waves crashing along the shore far outweigh the sound of any traffic. The 28-mile beach is backed by picturesque sand dunes and tall grasses, swaying in the wind – all beckoning you to come soak up the sea salt air.
Long Beach is the perfect place to unwind and relax, and it also delivers ample opportunities for culinary, cultural, and fun outdoor experiences. Whether you’re making a road trip for the famous Kite Festival, planning a family reunion, or a romantic getaway, Long Beach is an ideal location to suit any adventure.
In this guide, we’ve curated an itinerary to make the absolute most of three days in Long Beach, which of course, includes plenty of time to relax and enjoy your Long Beach vacation home!
Day 1: Arrival and Exploration
Morning: Explore the Beach and Local Trails
Once you’ve arrived to town, it’s hard not to resist the call of the beach! You’ll have until 4 pm check-in time to explore this beach town’s magic. Long Beach boasts 28 miles of open coastline with an accompanying boardwalk, so there is a lot of beach to explore. Here’s how best to experience the beach before checking in!
Keep an eye on the skies, the Long Beach Peninsula is a prime location for birding. Long Beach is home to species like great blue herons, screech owls, and trumpeter swans, which migrate along the Pacific Flyway each winter.
While you’re on the beach, you’ll more than likely notice several kites fluttering around. That’s because Long Beach is a famous destination for kite flying! If you or the kids want to join in on the fun, you can pick up a kite from Wind World or the World Kite Museum in Downtown Long Beach.
Drive the Beach
If you have a 4WD vehicle and want to try something different, Long Beach is one of the few places where it’s legal to drive your car in the sand. However, be sure to follow local regulations and exercise caution to protect yourself and the local environment. Not doing so can result in getting stuck in the sand and paying a lofty fine!
Afternoon: Settling into Your Beach House
Kick off your first of 3 days in Long Beach by settling into your custom-built beach home. Then, take plenty of time to relax, unpack, and explore all your rental’s unique, custom features.
You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the amenities of your new home away from home – fully loaded kitchens, hot tubs, endless indoor and outdoor entertainment (cornhole anyone?), and even luxury additions for your pet!
You can also scout out where you want to enjoy your morning cup of coffee, evening glass of wine, or a cozy nook to curl up with your favorite book!
Night: Dinner at a Local Restaurant
After a fun day of enjoying the beach, and exploring your beach house rental, treat yourself to a delicious dinner at one of Long Beach’s many delicious restaurants.
If you’re craving seafood, you can head on over to The Depot or Drop Anchor Seafood & Grill. Both of these restaurants are prized for their fresh, locally-sourced seafood dishes, although they also have various other options.
If you are looking for live music, try the family-friendly World’s End Public House.
Celebrating a special occasion? Make a reservation at the Pickled Fish for truffled cheddar fondue and local Dungeness crab. This upscale restaurant is located on the upper floor of the Adrift Hotel. It offers stunning panoramic views of the coastline, making it an ideal location for a romantic dinner or celebration.
Day 2: Adventure and Relaxation
Morning: Cape Disappointment or Ilwaco Fishing Village
Start your second day in Long Beach with a jaunt down to Cape Disappointment State Park or the Ilwaco Fishing Village.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Quite the opposite of disappointing is this beautiful state park that perfectly encapsulates the coastal Washington experience. Located just ten minutes south of Downtown Long Beach, Cape Disappointment State Park is perfect for hiking, learning about the local area’s history, and taking in the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River.
Within the park, you can explore the historic North Head and Cape Disappointment Lighthouses, visit Waikiki Beach, and discover the fascinating interactive exhibits at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.
The numerous hiking trails in the park also present the opportunity to traverse the old-growth forests and saltwater marshes. Some of the best hikes in Cape Disappointment are:
- Cape Disappointment Trail (1.9-mile )
- Cape Disappointment North Head Trail (3.1-mile)
- Bell’s View Trail (0.5-mile)
Ilwaco Fishing Village
Another option for a jaunt just two miles south of town is the small fishing village of Ilwaco. You’ll be immersed in a charming coastal community full of eclectic shops, art galleries, and maritime history here. Start your morning by taking along the waterfront, admiring the colorful waterfront shacks, and watching the local fisherman coming and going.
The Ilwaco fishing village is also known for its fresh seafood. Head over to one of the local seafood markets to pick up the catch of the day, which you can grill and enjoy later tonight at your beach house rental. For a caffeine boost, visit the Olde Town Trading Post, a cozy coffee shop and cafe offering delicious brews and treats.
If you’re an angler, Ilwaco is a fantastic place to book a chartered fishing trip to try your luck at catching salmon, cod, albacore tuna, or halibut.
There are several different options for fishing charters in Ilwaco, including Sea Breeze Charters, Coho Charters, and Pacific Salmon Charters. Each of these fishing charters can cater for your trip needs based on your group size, how long you want to spend fishing, and what type of fish you’re hoping to catch. Just be sure you’ve arranged your fishing license in advance!
Afternoon: Horseback Riding in Long Beach
After a fun morning of exploring either Cape Disappointment State Park or the Ilwaco Fishing Village, it’s time to get back to Long Beach – but this time on horseback! Horseback riding in Long Beach is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding and uniquely Long Beach ways to experience the coast.
For your horseback riding tour, you can check with either The Long Beach Horse Rides or West Coast Horse Rides. They’ll get you paired with a horse, tacked up, and guide you on your ride. No prior horseback experience is necessary, as your guides will provide all the instructions and assistance you need.
Night: Relax and Unwind at your Beach House WA Rental
After a long, fun day of hiking, exploring, and horseback riding, it’s time to wind down at your beach house rental. This is the perfect time to enjoy all of the unique features in your home away from home. You can go for a soak in the hot tub, easing your muscles after the day’s activities, or settle in front of your premium flat-screen TV for a movie night.
Or, you can pull out one of the many board games provided, for an epic board game night for the whole family. You can spend hours playing pool, table tennis, and foosball if your rental has a gameroom.
Alternatively, you can curl up by the firepit for a cozy night, sharing stories, roasting marshmallows, and making s’mores. Between the warm fire glow, the waves in the distance, and the company of your loved ones, this might be your favorite night in Long Beach.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your evening at your Long Beach vacation house, it’s sure to be incredible and leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and right at home. After all, your beach house rental is your sanctuary during your three days in Long Beach.
Day 3: Discoveries & Farewell
Morning: Clamming and Exploring the Discovery Trail
Early risers are in for a treat! If you’re visiting during the clamming season, bring your shovel and bucket or use the provided clam guns and bags to dig for fresh razor clams – a local delicacy. This is the perfect activity to add to a little morning beachcombing on your last day in Long Beach!
You can extend your time at the shore by taking a late morning walk or bike ride along the Lewis & Clark Discovery Trail, an 8.5-mile paved path adjacent to Long Beach. The trail is especially nice for biking, but it’s also a great place to go for a walk and maybe even bring your picnic lunch along.
The Discovery Trail offers an excellent opportunity to spot local wildlife, such as deer, bald eagles, and many kinds of seabirds year round. You may want to bring along your camera or binoculars to capture any wildlife encounters.
Along the trail, keep your eyes peeled for a wooden sculpture of a gray whale. The sculpture was commissioned to commemorate an actual gray whale that washed onto the beach in 2000.
The original skeleton was once displayed in this spot on the Discovery Trail, but sadly, its bones were stolen by vandals over the years. The trail is also dotted with interpretive signs that detail the history of the area, providing insights into the rich cultural and natural heritage of Long Beach.
Afternoon: Museums, Fun, and Exploring Downtown Long Beach
After checking out at 11 am, it’s time to head over to Downtown Long Beach and explore the rich history and culture of Long Beach through a series of shops, monuments, and museums.
The World Kite Museum
Start with a visit to the World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame, where you’ll learn about the fascinating world of kites and the town’s famous kite-flying festival, which takes place annually.
Marsh’s Free Museum
Next, venture over to the peculiar Marsh’s Free Museum, home to “Jake the Alligator Man,” a bizarre, mummified, half-man, half-alligator. While you’re at it, be sure to snap a pic in front of the World’s Largest Frying Pan, which is only recently retired.
The Cranberry Museum
Another great museum you should pay a visit to is the Cranberry Museum. Cranberries have been a staple of the Long Beach Peninsula since the 1800s when cranberry farming really got started.
At the time, cranberries were a vital source of Vitamin C, and the berry strongly impacted the Long Beach community and the natives that inhabited the coast at the time. You can learn all about it at the Cranberry Museum and also take some mouthwatering, homemade cranberry products home with you.
Downtown Long Beach
Downtown Long Beach is also home to several art galleries showcasing the work of local artists. Take some time to browse these galleries and admire the creativity and talent of the community. As you stroll through downtown, don’t forget to visit the local souvenir shops and pick up some keepsakes to remember your three days in Long Beach.
Before you head to dinner, take a sunset stroll on the Long Beach Boardwalk, the perfect cap for your second day!
Night: Sunset on the Beach and Nighttime Activities
As the sun starts to set on your final day in Long Beach, be sure to head to the beach to watch the sunset. In some parts of Long Beach, you can even have a beach bonfire to commemorate your last night in the area.
Funland Family Center
In the evening, there are a few different ways to spend your last night. For some family fun, you can head over to Funland Family Center, where you can play arcade games and experience the thrills of their laser tag arena. This is a great way to enjoy some lighthearted entertainment before your trip comes to an end while also tuckering everyone out.
You can also enjoy one last night out on the town by enjoying some delicious brews from North Jetty Brewery and then having dinner at one of the best Long Beach restaurants that you haven’t yet had a chance to try out.
You’re Ready for the Perfect 3 Days in Long Beach
It’s time to start planning your next vacation – a three-day stay in Long Beach, Washington! Between exploring the wide-open parks and natural spaces, the long sandy beach, and the fun and interesting museums and shops, Long Beach will leave a lasting impression.
Let nature restore your soul as you soak in the serenity of this beautiful coastline. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Beachhousewa getaway today!
Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk