Long Beach was founded in 1880 by Henry Harrison Tinker of Maine and has remained one of the Northwest's great resort towns ever since. Long Beach is a fun place, famous in the Northwest for its eccentric charm, its bustling summer sidewalks, its many festivals and soaring kites. Long Beach takes pride in its reputation for great hospitality. Visitors to the Peninsula are attracted to Long Beach for its colorful amusements. From bumper cars and boats to go-carts, horse adventures, bicycles, mopeds and arcades, Long Beach has something for the kid in everyone, including famous Jake the Alligator Man at Marsh's Free Museum. For the more mature visitor, Long Beach offers its famous Boardwalk, a nice variety of art galleries, gift stores and restaurants, as well as a great new paved trail along the crest of the dunes. This trail is known as 'Discovery Trail'. When complete, the trail will be 8-miles long, running from the North end of Long Beach to the Port of Ilwaco. Much of the trail is already complete, with several bridges and interpretive markers such as a gray whale skeleton, basalt monolith and "Clark’s Tree", an 18-foot bronze tree commemorating the most NW point in the Corps of Discovery’s trek westward.
Ilwaco was founded in 1852 and named after local Indian chief "Elowahka Jim", son-in-law of famous Chinook Chief Comcomly. The headquarters for fishing in Southwest Washington, Ilwaco offers many charter boats and other ways of getting a line into the water. It is probably best known today for Fort Canby State Park, where day visitors and campers flock year-round to enjoy its history, abundant hiking trails and the only swim-safe beach on the Peninsula. Many of Ilwaco's houses date from the 1880's, the heyday of the salmon fishing industry. Colbert House, a State Historic Landmark, gives a glimpse of 19th century life. It is located and Spruce and Quaker streets. Home to the North Head and Cape Disappointment Lighthouses, as well as the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and a fine Heritage Museum, Ilwaco invites visitors to explore its rich history. The local high school, as well as Ocean Beach Hospital and one of the Peninsula's two public libraries, also are located in Ilwaco. At the end of Spruce Street is the City Park with a playground, day-use picnic facilities, tennis court, basketball court and a grass field. It hosts many Peninsula activities, including the annual all-class reunion each August and Community Picnic in July. A beautiful new park at Black Lake includes many recreational facilities. A walking trail around the lake and boat rentals offers great ways to spend an afternoon. Other attractions in town include the working port, several good restaurants and antique stores, as well as a good selection of motels, B&Bs and RV Parks. A local group is in the process of fostering an artist-in-residence program in Ilwaco to capitalize on its scenic assets and wealth of creative energies.
Founded din 1881 by Jonathon L. Stout, Seaview is sandwiched between Ilwaco and Long Beach but has character very distinct from its two neighbors. Seaview is home to some wonderful galleries, motels, B&Bs and restaurants including the nationally recognized Shelburne Inn, which houses the Shoalwater, one of Washington's top restaurants. It is also home to Sid's Market, the grocery store owned by Sid Snyder, majority leader of the state senate. Walking around Seaview, traditional summer retreat for the Portland elite, its easy to feel yourself transported back to a simpler time when neighbors visited on porches and shared campfires on the beach. A walking tour of Seaview's side streets offers visitors a glimpse into the past. This is one of the best preserved of any of the summer resorts in the Pacific Northwest. Seaview's protected dunes offer a unique hiking and birding experience for those who trek the rolling trails held within. The beach access road (38th Place) showcases well-tended flower gardens separating sidewalk from the auto approach. Besides visiting the Shoalwater restaurant we recommend a visit to Cheri Walker's 42nd Street Cafe and Depot Restaurant (housed in Seaview's original train depot).
Ocean Park was founded in 1883 as a combination Christian revival camp and summer resort. Original deeds prohibited any establishments selling alcoholic beverages, a stricture that is no longer observed. Ocean Park, about eight miles north of Long Beach on State Route 103, is a very friendly and personable place. It focuses on fun family events, like an old-fashioned Independence Day parade, The Northwest Garlic Festival and the Rod Run to the End of the World, a classic car show the weekend after Labor Day. The Peninsula Arts Association hosts its annual Arts and Crafts Festival on Labor Day weekend at the Ocean Park Elementary School, highlighting local talent. Ocean Park is the commercial center of the Peninsula's north end, with a good cross section of retail stores, including Jack's Country Store, which rises to the level of being a tourist attraction with its amazing collection of useful stuff. In the works is a ‘Bay to Ocean Trail’ which will guide visitors between the two bodies of water on a relatively short stroll.
Nahcotta was named for Chinook Chief Nahcati and his camp, which occupied a site just south of the Port of Peninsula boat basin. Nahcotta boasts a colorful beginning, marked by a bitter rivalry between two Peninsula pioneers on either side of railroad tracks dividing the town, the legendary Clamshell Railroad. Today the tiny village, rich in tradition and history, is a favorite spot for Peninsula residents and visitors who like their oysters fresh and their wine dry. Nahcotta exemplifies the Peninsula's complex but down-to-earth character. There's also a solid blue-collar feel to Nahcotta, coming from its status as a working port for the oyster industry on Willapa Bay. There's a state shellfish laboratory here, as well as a small interpretive center devoted to Willapa Bay. Nahcotta's a great place to come and stroll around with a picnic lunch. Stop by The Ark for some fresh bread, buy some oysters, and find yourself a patch of grass to sit and soak up Willapa's pale blue light.
Oysterville, one of the first settlements in Washington Territory, was founded in 1854. The one-time Pacific County seat was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Modern Oysterville is a living tribute to the gracious and neighborly ways of the past. Its restored 1892 church and 1908 schoolhouse host many Peninsula functions, including Water Music Festival and Jazz & Oysters. Its general store is a small-town classic. Oysterville was proclaimed the county seat of Pacific County in 1855, an honor that ended 38 years later when a party of raiders from South Bend took the official records and absconded with them to South Bend, which remains the county seat today. Oysterville celebrated its 150th birthday in 2004.
The site of the town of Chinook was occupied for thousands of years by the Chinook Indian Tribe, in fact the first village was an Indian settlement on the inland shore of the Columbia River with a population estimated at well above 1,000. White settlers began arriving in the 1850's, and Chinook coalesced into a town in about 1880. Tragically, the Indian population had been reduced to fewer than 100 due to white man's diseases by 50 years after Lewis and Clark first camped at the site of the village in 1805. A few miles to the west, a new Chinook, which came to life in the 1880's, took its name from the ancient Indian settlement. Midway between them stood Chinook Point, now the site of historic Fort Columbia. Fishing dominated the economy of Chinook from the very beginning, and its thriving salmon industry allowed Chinook for many years to lay claim to the title of the richest town per capita in the U.S. Even today, driving through its narrow back lanes one can easily envision that the calendar should read 1911. The fishing industry survives as the community's major industry. The vital Port of Chinook is one of three major fishing centers on the Peninsula. Although seldom thought of as a "beach" town, Chinook includes several thousand feet of lovely shoreline stretching from Fort Columbia State Park and Chinook County Park to the port. Other attractions include fine restaurants and art galleries.
A special thank you to Funbeach.com for these city descriptions and pictures!