"There is no habit you will value so much as that of walking far without fatigue."
I spent my weekend in and around Long Beach, Washington, which -- if you're familiar with the history of, well, anything -- is where Lewis and Clark ended their jaunt across America.
Lewis or Clark (L) with a sturgeon (R).
As far as ocean resort towns go, the Long Beach/Ilwaco area sucks rocks. At least when compared to the incredibly touristy Seaside and Cannon Beach. Which is what I figured it would be when I headed out on Friday after work. I was wrong. If you want to eat in restaurants with beautiful ocean views (and other people, more on that below), sleep with the ocean a few yards from your balcony, and shop for a few hours in quaint little stores, this place ain't for you. Go to Seaside and/or Cannon Beach.
If you want a distant ocean view (if any), a trek to the beach, empty restaurants, hit or miss meals, and a small stretch of main street where you're sure the shops are in fact shops, by all means go to Long Beach/Ilwaco.
The view from my deck.
That's not to say the trip sucked rocks. Long Beach is great if you want to get away from it all. There's sketchy cell service, little to no data access unless you're at a rare place with WiFi, and not a hell of a lot to really do. Except lounge around, walk the beach, and hike in the parks.
Waikiki Beach at Cape Disappointment.
Despite having lived in the PacNW since I was ten months old, I can't remember ever going to Long Beach, so when I decided on Wednesday that that would be my next weekend trip I wanted to find a reasonably priced hotel with an ocean view and a gas fireplace. I felt like I found the only place that met all that criteria, and I totally lucked out. For $130 a night, I had a one bedroom condo with an actual view, king size bed, gas fireplace, and full kitchen. It was one of the only places I saw all weekend that could actually see the ocean; structures are set back some distance from the beach due to the dunes. Most places faced the ocean, but couldn't actually see the ocean, only the dunes.
Fog is often seen here. Gosh, thanks for the tip there, Skippy!
Saturday after dining totally alone in a big restaurant that somewhat scarily had vinyl duct tape holding together all of the booth seats (food was okay though and the waitress was very friendly), I headed back south to Cape Disappointment State Park. I could've hiked through there all day, and if I'd known that it would take me about an hour to shop my way through the main drag back in Long Beach I probably would have.
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.
There are two lighthouses at Cape Disappointment. The southern-most one is (go figure) Cape Disappointment. But you can't actually see the southern lighthouse up north, so when the south lighthouse didn't do as much as they had hoped to stop calling the area "the Graveyard of the Pacific" they put in the northern lighthouse, called (can you guess?) North Head.
North Head Lighthouse.
For every lighthouse I've ever visited, I always end up with a picture like this.
I don't know why.
The weather turned out to be absolutely spectacular. I was almost too warm as I hiked up to Cape Disappointment. And there were mosquitoes. Oh, and this beautiful young buck.
There were also a couple of beautiful young bucks up at the lighthouse. From the Coast Guard. Sadly, I did not get to take their pictures.
On your way up to Cape Disappointment, there is Fort Canby. Very cool.
If you've ever seen An Officer and a Gentleman, there is a fort just like this near Port Townsend; parts of that movie were filmed there.
The sign says something like "Don't bring ammunition in next to the fireplace, morons!"
There is also a nifty museum up here, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. If you take your time going through the exhibits, it's worth the $5 admission.
Back down below, you can walk or bike an eight mile trail that follows Lewis and Clark's path. At the end is Clark's Tree, which is actually bronze.
Although I had to knock on it to confirm that fact because it really looks like an actual tree.
I guess this carving wouldn't have looked as nice if it was a real tree.
But don't climb it, all the same.
All in all, if you like nature and history, go to Long Beach/Ilwaco. Stay at the Lighthouse Oceanfront Resort. Tell them the CilleyGirl sent you. They won't know who that is, but I've always wanted to say that.