The Colors and Solitude of Long Beach

Long Beach bills itself as the longest beach in the world.  Maybe that’s a stretch – no pun intended. Still at 28 miles, it ranks #3 on the list of longest US beaches and #8 in the world. And if you add in some other qualifiers it rises further to the top. Longest driving beach in the world?  Yes, you can take your car out there but be careful or you’ll get stuck in the sand. Longest beach on a peninsula? Sure. The beach in Washington State runs the entire length of the Long Beach Peninsula, which is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by Willapa Bay and on the south by the Columbia River.

There’s much to do in the area.  A few small towns line the narrow Peninsula as you drive north to Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.   At the bottom lies Cape Disappointment where Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific Ocean in 1805, after a long walk across the country.  There are historic lighthouses and an interpretive center but more about those in another post.  In this one I will focus on the star attraction of our visit, the beach itself,  in all its different color palettes.

We woke up in the morning to see the ocean and sky blended into lovely blue pastels.

Patchy afternoon clouds added interest as we walked the boardwalk through the dunes.

All appeared silver and gray when the clouds took over, and horses and riders stood out in contrast.

And later when the clouds burned away we were treated to the golden glow of sunset over the Pacific.

Yes, the weather here can sometimes be fickle and strong currents and riptides make the beach unsuitable for swimming.   But this is a place of quiet and solitude,  a beach to enjoy for its sheer magnificence.  Where you can walk for miles in the sand or stroll the wooden boardwalk; ride a horse on the beach or a bike on the Discovery Trail.  A wonderful place to retreat; I can’t wait to return.

~ Susanne

16 Comments on “The Colors and Solitude of Long Beach

  1. I do miss the sea 🙂
    Hard to imagine a sandy beach that long, though. When we were in Somerset, we lived not far from Britain’s longest sandy beach. The danger there was the mud. Supposedly, the beach has the second highest tidal range in the world, so you could barely see the sea when the tide was out and peeps would go looking for it and get stuck in the mud out in the estuary. Cars were also regularly submerged as the tide comes up over the sand extremely quickly. Nonetheless, at just 7 miles long, it would be dwarfed by Long Beach! Isn’t everything bigger in the States? 😉

    • Yes, I suppose so! 😉 I’d seen the sign at Long Beach for years but only decided to look it up this time to see how factual it is. A bit of a stretch but closer to the truth than I imagined. I’m thankful to be near water here, whether Puget Sound, Hood Canal, Salish Sea, or the Ocean. Somerset sounds beautiful too as long as you know to be wary of the tides. 😉

  2. For anyone who doesn’t live in this part of the US, the entire coastline of California and Oregon are developed, with state parks, beaches, businesses, etc. then you get to Washington and it’s desolate…Susanne, has any real development been done in the area? It is so gorgeous but it seems so isolated…

    • Hi John. Yes, the whole Long Beach peninsula is surprisingly isolated and undeveloped. The beach towns are tiny and quiet with hardly any change for years. There are a few nice restaurants and places to stay, along with shops and typical beach activities (e.g. go-carts, bike rentals, etc.) but not much else. I guess that’s what makes it so special and charming. Like stepping back in time!

      • Thanks for the update…I know there was a big push to make legalized gambling in Ocean Shores in the 70’s – glad that didn’t happen!

      • I think Ocean Shores did get a casino, but that’s a couple hours north of Long Beach in the middle section of the coast, not on the Peninsula, But even that didn’t change Ocean Shores much. It still looks much the same too, other than the casino/hotel which is out of town and hidden from view. Of course if you really want remote, there’s the northernmost section of the Washington coast, the most rugged and wild in the contiguous US and part of Olympic National Park. It’s like we have 3 different coasts here!

      • Hey, no problem. I had to keep looking at the map too, to see the layout of the land! And I live here! 😉

  3. I noticed the wooden walkway. That looks like a good solution to the destruction of the beach grasses and nesting birds.

    • The boardwalk is relatively short in length with respect to the length of the beach but it does protect a good part of the dunes. And it’s a wonderful place to walk.

  4. The north coast here has long and easily accessible beaches and paths. I went with a friend, and walked 11 miles on beaches and coastal paths, from one village to another. No towns or shops in between, and no facilities or buildings. The photo on my ‘About’ page was taken on that walk.
    But the North Sea in Britain doesn’t really compare to the majesty of the Pacific Ocean. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Sounds like a wonderful place Pete! There’s nothing like a walk on the beach, for the fresh air, quiet and solitude. Great picture of you and Ollie too! And you have me beat with your 11 miles! thanks as always for your comment. 🙂

      • My friend is a ‘big walker’. He pushed me to the end of that path, and then we had to walk all the way back too! We were out from 8:30 am until 6 pm, with one short stop for tea and cake! 🙂

      • Wow! That’s quite a walk. When I was younger I used to go on long walks. My longest was 20 miles for a charity event (I admit I was still in high school for that one.) I’m afraid those days are long gone. But it’s good to be pushed now and then. Even 5 miles would make me happy now! 😉

      • I walk Ollie for 2-3 hours a day, sometimes longer. At a walking pace of 3 miles per hour, I generally cover at least six miles a day, allowing for the odd stop. So, 40+ miles a week, and every week of the year.
        Mind you, that is all on flat ground! 🙂

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