"Typical Small Coastal Town, Famous for Kite Flying" Top 5 Page for this destination Long Beach by glabah

Long Beach Travel Guide: 47 reviews and 178 photos

Many Small Towns Like This

There are many small towns along the beach in Washington and Oregon. The have some hotels and restaurants, and increasingly a few bed and breakfast houses. They sit right on the beach and except for the occasional rare long weekend when a huge number of people decide to come, seem very vacant.

This is particuarly the case in the Long Beach area. People from Portland normally go to Seaside, Tillamook, or other beaches closer to Portland. People from the Seattle or Tacoma or Olympia area normally head to beaches closer to Seattle.

Long Beach and its environs were once famous for clams and oysters, but much of the unique industry that was part of this part of the Washington coast is simply gone now. It is a typical, and unfortunately all too often struggling, city on the Pacific Northwest coast, like so many other cities.

This is not to say that this area is void of people, but for many years it was a lesser visited section of the Washington Coast compared to communities more convenient to the larger cities.

Long Beach is famous for, and named after, the fact that this little peninsula has "the longest beach in the world" but the water is so rough in Long Beach proper that there are warning signs along the beach not to go into the water, as the currents are too strong for most people.

However, nearby areas (such as Cape Disappointment State Park) have people enter the water quite a lot. Furthermore, the other side of the peninsula is protected. So, don't think you have to keep dry if you come to this area.

However, I would point out that in the Pacific Northwest, the Pacific Ocean is quite cold and therefore most people don't enter the water anyway. Furthermore, because any bit of clouds coming from the Pacific Ocean tend to get tangled in the Coast Range mountaints, the weather on the Pacific Northwest coast can be quite cold and gloomy, even when the weather further inland is warm and sunny.

The Huge Kite Festival

At one point in time, someone realized that the Long Beach area, with its almost never ending wind, was a great place for kite flying.

Then, more people realized it was a great place for kite flying.

Ray Bethell is a world renowned kite flyer, and nine of his eleven world records were set in Long Beach, Washington.

Today, there is the Washington State International Kite Flying Festival in Long Beach, Washington and an entire tourist industry and folklore has sprung up surrounding this hobby / interest. The population of tiny Long Beach swells to fantastic proportions as 100,000 people come to the relatively small city to enjoy the festival.

2007 marks the 26th Anniversary of this event, though ancestor events go back even further.

It should be no surprise that there is a World Kite Museum is located here in Long Beach.

Most of the Time, Quiet Little Beach Community

Other than the mild choas of having the city's population multiplied many, many times over for the annual kite festival, you will find that Long Beach is a nice, quiet little community that has a pleasant beach and is investing money into various attractions to become a year-round tourist community. Items include a short boardwalk, a trail called The Discovery Trail that is slowly being extended to the point where it now reaches across several beach front communities along the peninsula, and various other beach activities including riding a horse on the beach.

Some odd beach attractions include whale bones and the occasional sculpture along the Discovery Trail.

There are many hotels to spend the night in the small cities along the Washington Coast, and Long Beach has its share. Since Cape Disappointment state park is very close, one interesting unique option to consider is spending the night in the North Head Lighthouse tender's quarters (not in the lighthouse itself, but the quarters where the people who maintained the lighthouse once lived).

Nearby Places of Interest

Along highway 101 north of Long Beach, you will come to one of the several segments of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, which includes eccentric artwork along a short trail into the woods.

Directly north of Long Beach, the beach itself continues north some 20 miles (approx. 42 km), passing several other beach communities on this sandy Peninsula, and eventually ending at Ledbetter Point State Park at the far northern end of the peninsula. This park, which also contains a portion of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, is more of a preserved beach wilderness than a resort community.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Small Community, Lesser Visited than Some Parts of Coast most of Year, Huge unique annual Kite Festival
  • Cons:Longer distance from larger cities in Northwest, typical Unpredictable coast weather
  • In a nutshell:Great place to visit, but weather in any coast city can be gloomy any time of year.
  • Last visit to Long Beach: Aug 2007
  • Intro Updated May 8, 2010
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