From the moment we arrived the Long Beach Peninsula charmed us with its laid back and friendly beach vibe. I've already posted about the first part of our week here, now I'll share how we spent the rest of the week.
I first mentioned the Discovery Trail in my last post; a couple of days later we rode our bikes from our site at Cranberry RV Park to the North end of the trail, two miles away, and proceeded all the way to the Beards Hollow trail head at Cape Disappointment another six and a half miles (Discovery Trail map). This portion of the Discovery Trail is the easiest, winding through the grass covered dunes, the elevation change is minimal. Beyond Beards Hollow you can drop another couple of miles into the town of Ilwaco or climb a bit into Cape Disappointment State Park. This a beautiful, peaceful trail and I would enjoy riding or walking this again and again.
|Sculpture of Capt. William Clark and the 10 foot long sturgeon he found on the beach.|
|Cape Disappointment rises from the low dunes behind Hans on this cloudy day.|
Once the Labor Day weekend crowds subsided we drove into the small town of Long Beach. Long Beach is the most kitschy, touristy beach town on the Peninsula, with lots of hotels, restaurants, arcades, sweets shops and amusements geared towards families. One of the most unique stores is Marsh's Free Museum, a large shop filled with funky antiques and taxidermy plus modern tourist junk for sale.
|To get to town we drove the beach highway!|
|Unfortunately the tide was coming up and not all of the hard packed beach was as wide as in the previous photo!|
We scared up a flock of seagulls as we kept to the water line!
|Mural depicting 1920 cranberry harvest in downtown Long Beach.|
We took a day trip into Astoria, OR. This lively port town has several miles of waterfront walking, a bustling downtown with unique shops and restaurants and lots of wonderful turn of the century homes perched on the steep hills overlooking downtown. It put us in mind of a mini San Francisco or Portland.
|The Oregon end of the Astoria - Megler Bridge.|
The covered portion is being painted and caused some traffic back ups as traffic was down to one lane.
Old pier pilings abound on the Astoria waterfront.
|Several large ships were anchored on the Columbia River waiting their turn to dock.|
Along with the old pilings, there were several abandoned structures as well.
|Heron on pallets.|
|Yarn art in downtown Astoria.|
|Sorry this is a little crooked, but it's the lightest shot I had that showed the wonderful paintings that cover the tower! |
The clouds were building quickly during our visit.
|From the tower you get a spectacular view of Astoria and the full span of the 4.1 mile long Astoria - Megler Bridge|
connecting Oregon and Washington.
|This zoom shot shows some sandbars in the ever changing Columbia River near the bridge.|
The black specks to the left of the visible sandbar are birds perched on another sandbar.
We visited Cape Disappointment State Park one day where we hiked a few trails, viewed both lighthouses and visited the very well done Lewis and Clark Interpretive center in the park. Note: trails throughout the park do not link up well, it is easier to drive to each trail head and do each trail individually.
The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is $5/per person (in addition to the Washington State Park entry fee) and contains an extensive historical timeline of Lewis and Clark's journey from St Louis to the Pacific Ocean including a short movie. There is also a bit of information on the lighthouses and the many shipwrecks that have happened in these treacherous waters. This was one of the better museums we have visited lately and well worth the entry fee.
|North Head Lighthouse warns ships on the ocean side of Cape Disappointment.|
|We saw a couple of bald eagles.|
|The Cape Disappointment lighthouse warns ships navigating the treacherous mouth of the Columbia River.|
We enjoyed a really lazy last day, driving to a beach North of us and having lunch at the edge of the dunes with a warm summer breeze waving the dune grasses and shifting sand particles across our toes.
|Nothing but wide open beach...|
|With occasional passers by.|
|So I failed to get a picture of us with John and Karen, but I got one of me with their adorable little PJ, |
short for Pepper Jack!
We spent our week on the peninsula at Cranberry RV Park, a small, full hookup, adults only park about two miles North of the town of Long Beach. Our site (#6) was difficult to get in to, but once we were parked we enjoyed a peaceful stay. On clear nights we could even hear the ocean about a quarter mile away. The sites are pretty close together but not as bad as some of the other RV parks we looked at in the area. This is a very friendly place to stay and is extremely dog friendly, the owners two standard poodles follow her around constantly (off leash). There is a Verizon cell tower about one block away so we enjoyed a blazing fast 4G signal!
We loved our time on the peninsula and we will definitely return. We'd probably look for another RV park since our rig was kind of large to get into the sites at Cranberry, though we really appreciated the low-key, helpful, friendliness at this RV park. Along with Cape Disappointment State Park, there are numerous other small RV parks on the peninsula to choose from.
Today we head into Oregon and make our way down the coast for a couple of weeks. September is looking like the perfect time to hit the beach, the crowds have dispersed and the weather is beautiful!