NOTE: I started this post in July after our June trip to the Washington coast, but got
busy lazy. The excessive heat would continue prompting a second trip to the coast, which is included here.
June trip: Yes, I know it gets hot in Eastern Washington and in the twelve years we’ve lived here we have had some scorchers. I appreciate “dry heat” having moved here from Florida, but over 110 is brutal no matter how dry it is. We’ve come to expect two or three weeks each year where temperatures dance around the high 90s and low 100s, but this year, DAMN IT’S HOT! The end of June we hit an all-time daily high record of 117 degrees. The triple digits are the norm for three weeks, then it is supposed to get back to “normal” high temps of low-90s until the end of July (only lasted a few days).
As most Washingtonians from east of the Cascade Mountains do, we decided to escape the heat by heading to the Coast, specifically Long Beach, WA. The breezes off the cool Pacific Ocean set up what is called a Marine Layer. This time of year the air temps run in the mid-60s. Very refreshing, if not a bit chilly. The Oregon coast is probably a more popular destination for folks around here, with great beach access, the same cool weather, but more activities (a.k.a. more touristy). Another driver for this year’s trip was the start of re-opening Washington from much of the Covid-19 rules. Little did we know that enthusiasm would be short-lived..
We decided to try the historic Shelburne Inn, for a short mid-week stay. The inn is one of five properties owned by Adrift Hospitality in Long Beach, Astoria, and Seaview, Washington and in Seaside, Oregon. For our first trip to Long Beach, last year, we stayed at their Boardwalk Cottages with our daughter Megan.
This year’s trip was a bit of an impromptu venture when we learned that Ryan’s father had planned a family camping trip to Cape Disappointment State Park concurrent with the start of summer school camp at Ryan’s elementary school. The camp was important for him to catch up from the challenges of distant and hybrid learning over the last two school years. A plan was hatched to have him attend the first day of camp, then drive him to the coast to meet his father’s crew the next day and we would go on to Long Beach, a short drive further up the peninsula.
I’ve heard that Long Beach is known for the length of beach you can drive on and it is a popular thing to do. Darryl wouldn’t let me take her Subaru Legacy on the beach. Having cars and trucks running up an down the beach can be a bit unnerving at times, so it is nice the section of beach that parallels downtown Long Beach is closed to traffic during the summer.
The thing I find most interesting coming from the East Coast is the extensive public beach access in Washington and Oregon. Even during the peak of summer there is so much beach that it never seems crowded. That can’t be said for the downtown strip and restaurants, but there are miles of beach to enjoy.
August trip: Ryan finished up summer school camp at the end of July. It was time to give him a fun vacation. As the heat continued and our travel options became limited by another wave of Covid outbreaks and wild fires, we, again, opted for Long Beach. This trip we decided to try the Adrift Hotel at the beach, which turned out to be a great choice.
Ryan loves the beach and splashing in the cold Pacific Ocean water, though his Grandmother instructed him to not go deeper than his knees. To be fair, the surf is very dangerous.
There are also several State Parks and the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge on the peninsula. On this trip we visited Loomis Lake SP, Cape Disappointment SP, Fort Canby SP, and Leadbetter Point SP. A hike at the latter crossed over into the Wildlife Refuge a few times. Ryan loved looking around Fort Canby remnants and wanted to know if the Fort had dungeon. The view of the lighthouse and North Jetty from the observation area was beautiful. During our 2020 trip the fog was so thick we could hardly see the ocean. The Lewis and Clark interpretive center is there, which includes a small nautical exhibit.
The hike at Leadbetter Point was fun, but I think Grandma and Grandpa held up better than the nine-year-old.
All in all a wonderful vacation and furthering our attraction to the Long Beach peninsula. Ryan told us he expects a beach vacation next year. Works for us…