As we sat in our homes, “leaving only for essential travel,” we dreamed of places we’d like to go. And, we started plotting out some post-closure travels where it would be safer even though the threat of Covid-19 still lingered. The Long Beach Peninsula in Southwest Washington came to mind. The businesses had managed to weather the storm and were opening up, albeit with restrictions. Here are five reasons why I would consider a short trip to the Washington coast and what the folks on the Long Beach Peninsula are asking visitors to do to keep everyone safer.
28 Continuous Miles of Beach
Except during events such as the International Kite Festival, I’ve never felt crowded on the open beach. In fact, people drive, bike, horseback ride, and run on that beach often without seeing many other people.
If you don’t want to get sand in your shoes, there is always the 8.5-mile Discovery Trail running parallel to the ocean, which is plenty wide for social distancing. This Lewis & Clark commemorative trail ends at the north end of Long Beach with an 18-foot bronze tree and meanders south to Beard’s Hollow climbing over the cape and into the fisherman’s port of Ilwaco. It’s a great paved trail for biking and rollerblading. Walkers will find that it links to boardwalks to make getting out to catch some ocean air very easily.
Fine Dining with a Beach-Casual Flair
Both The Depot and Mycovio’s remained open during the state-wide closure serving take-home deliciousness from their chef’s kitchens. The Depot, housed in an old Clamshell Railroad depot, feature award-winning chef, Michael Lalewicz and his wife, Nancy Gorshe, who manages the business.
Michael is a classically-trained chef with an eye toward the tastes of beach-goers. You’ll find hearty comfort food cooked to order with a continental flair. While the cuisine is eclectic and always delicious, I just love their award-winning “Clamshell Clams Chowder.” Now that they are able to open, they feature their outdoor patio and limited seating inside. Fresh-air dining is the preference of those taking precautions against the Corona Virus.
At the northern end of the peninsula, you’ll find the small wooden building housing Chef Paul’s restaurant, Mycovio’s. Chef Paul Klitsie moved his culinary skills to the Long Beach Peninsula after owning successful restaurants in Portland and Vancouver, Washington. He is also a classically trained chef and you often find marvelous pasta dishes with delicate sauces on the menu. His brunches (now on hold) have been popular and his take-out during this pandemic highly sought after.
Mycovio’s is now open but seating is very limited. Reservations are almost essential but Chef Paul suggests you call for last-minute dining opportunities just in case. You can check out table availability on Yelp. Masks are required until you are seated because the restaurant is cozy. Plan to dine there at least one evening of your stay on the peninsula. You won’t be sorry!
Hiking to Long Beach Peninsula Lighthouses
Cape Disappointment is one of Washington’s most popular state parks and has more than eight miles of hiking trails. With two functioning lighthouses, the remains of Fort Canby, old-growth forests, and rugged stretches of beach, it is an ideal place to socially distance and get some exercise and fantastic pictures.
The State Park system maintains an up-to-date Covid-19 opening list so you can check out open day-use areas as well as find a few places where you can camp.
The North Head Lighthouse is the easiest to hike to. The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse can be viewed from the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. If the Center is not open you can take the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse Trail and walk right up to it to enjoy the view of the crashing surf hundreds of feet from the high cliff.
Walking Historic Oysterville
The entire town of Oysterville is on the National Historic Register. Oysterville, named after the rich oyster beds of adjacent Willapa Bay, is picturesque and very different from the bustling beach towns of the Long Beach Peninsula. Take a walk through the whole town (it won’t take long), peek into the little church, or relax with a view of Willapa Bay. The maintenance of the little town is a labor of love by the locals. You, too, will fall in love with Oysterville when you visit, and it's super easy to socially distance.
Experience Unique Places to Stay
You can find a full range of places to stay including the luxury (and very pampering) Boreas Inn as well as the funky and fun Sou’wester trailer resort where you can socially distance to your heart’s content in your own restored vintage travel trailer.
The Sou’wester has modified their property and advises visitors that “we have chosen to limit access to public spaces, including our lobby, honor system store, pavilion, thrifty, bike shed, and sauna.” Recently travel writer Adam Sawyer stayed in a vintage trailer there, did some hiking, and enjoyed several of the local restaurants and found the getaway a great “respite from cabin fever.”
Meanwhile, Susie Goldsmith and Bill Verner have been busy re-opening the beautiful Boreas Inn located on the beach within walking distance of the shops in Long Beach. Under current guidelines, they are permitted 75 percent occupancy. So, their guests have plenty of space. Susie even has arranged to serve breakfast both in the living area as well as the dining room in order to enhance social distancing and do whatever is necessary to make guests comfortable.
When You Go to Washington's Long Beach Peninsula
If you're looking to make a road trip to Washington's Long Beach Peninsula, we have a few tips thanks to the visitor's association and based on my knowledge of the area from the many times I have visited.
Guidelines for Visitors During the Pandemic
The Long Beach Peninsula Visitor’s Association has these recommendations and resources that are geared to safety during the pandemic:
- Email or call ahead – make sure the communities and businesses you would like to visit are ready for guests and open for business.
- Make lodging and camping reservations ahead of time.
- Consider scheduling visits and activities during off-peak times, days, and seasons.
- As restaurants open on-site dining, making reservations is highly encouraged.
- Look for or ask about social distancing policies and please observe.
- Practice social distancing with anyone outside your household.
- The beach approaches may be closed to auto traffic. You can walk – but not drive – so plan to park a little further away.
- Please be patient. They are adjusting and services might look different or take longer. Please be kind.
- Changes and new policies are designed to keep everyone safe and healthy.
- Please wear a mask in public places when you are near others. Masks need to cover the nose as well as the mouth to be effective.
- Remember to wash your hands frequently and carry and use hand sanitizer.
- Enjoy activities with only those you are traveling with. If contact tracing is needed, you may be asked for your name and contact information.
- Slow down and relax. Enjoy the beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, delicious food, and spectacular scenery. The Long Beach Peninsula is eager to welcome you back.
Getting to the Long Beach Peninsula
For more ideas on visiting Washington State see these articles by Wander writers.