In very short order we've become enchanted with this peninsula. The wide sandy beach is inviting to those on foot, horseback and automobile and is said to be the longest beach in the US. There are car free zones as well.
|Horses and birds on the beach.|
There is a wide, grassy dune and conifer buffer between the beach and the homes and businesses. Deer browse among the lovely swaying grasses. The paved Discovery Trail, running 8.5 miles from Long Beach to Ilwaco, cuts through the dunes...a perfect way to spend a day on the bikes, or walk a loop of beach and trail.
|The trail curves gracefully among the low dunes, the ocean serenades you just out of sight.|
|There's art along the Discovery Trail and Lewis and Clark interpretive signs.|
Ilwaco is the Southernmost town on the peninsula and has a nice Saturday Market in a lovely harborside setting during the summer. Not too much produce, but what there was, was good!
|The view as you walk the Ilwaco Saturday market,|
|This market runs rain or shine, Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend was a little rainy.|
Cranberries are farmed on the peninsula and Washington State University has a nice little museum where you can learn about the history of cranberry production.
|Excellent displays and information about the entire cranberry farming process from the old days to the present.|
We hiked about 6 miles at Leadbetter Point State Park, situated at the North end of the Peninsula. Hiking the perimeter trails takes you through a variety of habitats: Bay side tidelands, salt marsh, dune forest, grassy dunes and ocean beach.
|The forest opens onto the wide open tidelands of Willapa Bay on the East side of the peninsula.|
|Crossing to the West side of the peninsula you traverse the grassy dunes and drop onto to the beach.|
This section had ropes to keep you out of the Snowy Plover nesting zone.
|As we walked South on the beach the fog rolled in and we spied royal terns and seagulls resting along the water line.|
|Walking a foggy beach is an odd sensation, from the center of the beach|
we could barely see the grassy dunes or the crashing waves!
|Gotta watch your step walking through the forest!|
Another stop was the Willapa Bay Oyster House Interpretive Center where we learned a bit about the oyster farming history of the area.
|Fishing boats and discarded oyster shells in Oysterville.|
|There are staggering amounts of oyster shells, both whole and ground, all over this small community.|
We've only been here two and a half days and I already had so many photos I couldn't wait any longer to post them! We're really enjoying the casual, friendly, beachy vibe to this place. Lots of people own vacation homes or even lots where they set up their RV for the summer here. And we can walk two blocks to the beach from our RV park...perfect for sunset strolls.