Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula for Families

Photo by Elizabeth Rose

Old-fashioned beach town fun on Long Beach Peninsula

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The Long Beach Peninsula in Washington is one of those places that meets the expectations of both Boomers and younger families. While the beach town is just like it was in “the day”, it also has plenty to cater to the families of today. You can easily spend a day right in the middle of Long Beach and keep all ages of children happy.

Explore the Main Street of Downtown Long Beach

Pacific Way is the place to be. Like an old-fashioned beach town, Long Beach has lots to draw children of all ages (and I mean the young-at-heart too!). You can shop for neon sweatshirts, beach toys and souvenirs. You can get an ice cream cone, pastries or candy. Side streets lead to the “Longest Beach in the World,” and you can drive on it too!

On Pacific Way you’ll find such kid-attracting devices as Funland an indoor-outdoor amusement park. Inside is the arcade with video games and old fashioned skee-ball. Outside in spring and summer you’ll find a carousel and small carnival rides. Don’t forget to challenge the young ones to bumper cars. The shops and restaurants are all painted in cheerful colors.

Marsh’s Free Museum is a must-do. This combination kitchy gift shop and museum has oddities like Jake the Alligator Man or the two-headed calf, ocean items such as rare corals, and stuffed animals that include a Yak, a Lioness, and a Russian Boar. Kids love to explore this wonderland of vintage coin operated oddities and beach gifts. In front, don’t forget to check out the world’s longest chop sticks.

Across the street you’ll find the giant spouting razor clam and the world’s largest frying pan, which provides a great photo op for the family.

At the intersection of W Sid Snyder Drive and Pacific Way, you’ll find an outdoor Go Kart track. Rent a go kart and become a kid again! Children can practice their driving skills on the track.


Many accommodations have either HBO or rental movies. But if you want to catch a current flick, you can go to Neptune Twin Theaters at 809 Ocean Beach Blvd. S. The theater accepts only cash and has discounts for kids.

On the Beach

Like most Pacific Northwest beaches, relaxing in a beach chair is saved for those special sunny days with no wind. But you’ll find people on the beach year ‘round beach combing, digging for razor clams, running, walking dogs, flying kites, riding horses and… driving a car.

Families would enjoy a ride with Back Country Horse Rides. Their corral is on W. Sid Snyder Drive. You can ride on the beach. One evening we encountered elk just before sunset. They are as big as horses!

Also on W. Sid Snyder drive is the World Kite Museum. There are colorful kites from around the world and a great kite shop.

For those who want to bike along the beach or just don’t want to get too sandy, the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail runs from Ilwaco through Long Beach. Part of the trail (accessible from Sid Snyder Drive), is a boardwalk. All along the trail you’ll find public art and information about the Lewis & Clark expedition.

During Razor Clam season you can dig your own.  You can buy a license and bring your own shovel or buy an inexpensive clam gun at Dennis Company Stores. The limit is 15 clams per person per day. It’s a great experience for kids to find the elusive clams. Sometimes digs are scheduled for nighttime and you’ll be on the beach with a lantern.

Staying on the Long Beach Peninsula

You can rent a house or condo or stay at a large condo complex like The Breakers. They are kid and pet friendly and right on the sand dunes leading to the beach.

There’s plenty more to do on the Long Beach Peninsula and Astoria. This will get you started.

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