Top Free Things to do in Long Beach Washington

Top 21 FREE Experiences and Activities for the Budget Traveler

On the Long Beach Washington Peninsula, the best things in life really do not cost anything.  Enjoying the beach is the most obvious, but there are lots of sights, activities, and attractions that are completely free. From playing pickleball in the local park to biking up the Discovery Coast, or hiking in one of our three state parks, budget travelers have learned there is no better place to spend their vacation than on the Washington Coast. Speaking of budget, check out some amazing food at very low prices. Be sure to plan your holiday, romantic getaway, workcation, or "flexcation" around the no-cost activities listed in our events calendar.

Woman and two small children silhouetted at sunset at the beach

1. Enjoy the Beach Life

 

With 28 miles of pristine sandy shoreline there so much to do on the beach.  Beachcombers love the endless miles of treasure hunting, children can be seen building sandcastles, and couples on romantic getaways can be seen strolling up the boardwalk hand in hand. The beach itself has been the most fun FREE activity for tourists for nearly 140 years.

Girl sitting on clam gun with arms outstretched

2. Clam Digging Festival

There is no license required for children under 15 years old, so kids can go clam digging for FREE. The annual Razor Clam Festival in our May Calendar of events is at no cost and is fun for the entire family. See our Guide to Clam Digging on the Long Beach Washington Coast for more information on where to buy supplies, clam digging dates, and how to clean and cook razor clams.

Man taking photograph in Oysterville Washington.

3. Photograph the Wildlife

 

Whether you are an experienced photographer or someone just learning, there are abundant opportunities around Long Beach Washington for amazing photos. A few examples of fun subjects; the birdlife, Cape Disappointment and North Head Lighthouses, and the annual kite festival.  Check our photo gallery for more photographs of the area.

 

Aerial lighthouse on long beach wa

4. Visit North Head and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

 

The lighthouses are a must-stop for anyone visiting the peninsula. Nestled high on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the Columbia River the views are breathtaking.  People often have their micro-wedding ceremonies at the lighthouses. During the winter storms, you can watch the local coast guard run drills.

Board walk at sunset

5. Stroll the Long Beach Boardwalk

 

Everyone loves to stroll along the Long Beach boardwalk that stretches for almost half a mile along the beach. With panoramic views of the Washington coastline and  North Head Lighthouse, this boardwalk is just a short walk from downtown Long Beach and runs along the Discovery Trail.  This is a favorite spot for viewing kites during the international kite festival. 

Woman at Saturday Ilwaco Market

6. Check Out the Many Spring, Summer, and Fall events

Over the summer months the city of Long Beach and Ilwaco, Washington host farmer's markets, outdoor live music, fun runs, parades, Art Gallery walks, and more. There is always something to do during a weekend in June, July, August, and September.   Our new Calendar of Events for the Long Beach WA Peninsula lists the major events for the year.

Bikers on Discovery Trail

7. Hike, Bike, Run or Walk the Discovery Trail

 

The Discovery Trail stretches from the Port of Ilwaco to North Long Beach, just behind the Breakers. Whether you’re on foot or on a bike, you’ll be treated to unforgettable landscapes and views. Along the way, you’ll find interpretive panels and sculptures commemorating Lewis & Clark’s journey. Tackle the whole thing or enjoy a mile or two. There are multiple access points highlighted in our Discovery Coast Trail Guide.

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Cape Disappointment State Park

8. Hike in one of our State Parks

See all three State Parks HERE

Cape Disappointment State Park features sandy beaches, two working lighthouses, an old military fort, trails through coastal forests, and spectacular vistas, including breathtaking overlooks and quieter views of Baker Bay.  The park has old-growth forests, lakes, freshwater and saltwater marshes, streams, ocean tidelands, and a large variety of wildlife. 

Gowen Church at Middle Village

9. Visit our Historical Sites

 

 

There are many lovely outdoor walks and hikes around Long Beach, WA. From the tiny town of Oysterville in the North to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse to the south, you will want to see all of these historical sites before leaving Long Beach. Bloomer Mansion Vacation Rental is listed on the historical tour of Seaview Washington.

Astoria Column on a bright sunny day

10, Throw Airplanes off the Astoria Column

 

The  Astoria Column sitting atop a hill overlooking the Columbia River is a must-stop. And while technically the balsa wood airplanes cost $1.00 (so not free) this is a very low-cost activity that will delight the entire family.   Visitors buy the $1.00 biodegradable balsawood planes at the gift shop, climb to the top of the 125-foot column and launch them into the air. Shouts and laughter of children and adults abound as they try to guess how far their airplanes will fly.

Two kids in front of the Long Beach WA worlds largest Frying Pan

11. Get your picture at the "Worlds Largest Frying Pan"

 

This massive frying pan hangs in downtown Long Beach just across from Marshes Free Museum. The Pan was manufactured in 1941 and has toured the West Coast. It was actually used to fry up clams during the clam festival years ago--the original recipe called for 200 pounds of clams. Today, it is used mostly for souvenir photos.

kids and adult flying kites in Long Beach Wa

12. Come to the International Kite Festival August 2022

 

Every third week of August, for over 20 years, the International Kite Festival has drawn competitors and tourists from all over the world.  This is not to be missed, and the activities are all free of charge! This festival also made our Overall Top 15 Things to Do at the Beach. Located off Bolstad Avenue in downtown Long Beach, WA. 

Marsh's Free Museum

13. Experience Marsh's Free Museum

 

No trip to the Long Beach Peninsula is incomplete without a stop at Marsh's Free Museum. Visit the world-famous Jake the Aligator Man (yes, half-man, half alligator, and only in downtown Long Beach, WA), see the old piano players and arcade games from your great grandparents' day.  A fun stop, no need to buy anything, the sights and cool stuff is all free to look at. Marsh's is also listed in our Family Fun activities and the top 10 best museums.

Kids playing at Fort Canby State Park

14. Visit Fort Canby State Park

 

Open year-round and free to visit is a family favorite exploration of Fort Canby State Park with the WWII bunkers, amazing ocean views, and a short hike to the Cape Disappointment lighthouse.  The State Park hosts the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and Museum as well.    

Labroodle carrying a big stick on the beach

15. Take Your Dog to the Beach

 

Your best friend loves the beach perhaps more than you do. Bloomer Estates has over 35 pet-friendly vacation rentals, meaning there is no reason to leave your dog at home.  We have several homes with enclosed fenced yards and be sure to read our new blog on planning your dog-friendly holiday.

Marie Powell Gallery with paintings

16. The Summer Ilwaco Art Walk

The  Art Walk from June to September in Ilwaco Washington is a perfect outing for couples on a romantic weekend activity, for art lovers in general, or anyone looking for an interesting and fun night out.  See our calendar of events for Art Walk times and nights in June, July, August and September

 

Bald Eagle flying in Nahcotta Washington

17. Go Birdwatching

 

The Long Beach Washington Coast is a birdwatcher's paradise with over 300 species of birds ranging  from tiny hummingbirds to giant pelicans with the longest wingspan of any bird in the world. But perhaps the most fun is catching sight of Bald Eagles soaring over Cape Disappointment or the Nahcotta Bay. While you can see Bald Eagles almost anywhere at any time, catching sight of them is almost guaranteed at sunset in Oysterville near Sea Farms Seafood Market.  All of our Ocean Park, WA rentals are close to Willapa Bay where the birdlife is especially plentiful. 

Person Surf fishing in Seaview Washington

18. Catch Dinner While Surf Fishing

 

Long Beach, WA is famous for its charter deep-sea fishing on the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. However, with a license found at any of the local stores, one can surf fish at no additional cost all along the 26 miles of the peninsula coastline. The beach fishing is found in Seaview, Washington, and Beards Hollow. Our fishing guide provides additional information for first-time visitors. 

Father and Daughter enjoying a sunset at Cape Disappointment

19. Enjoy a Sunset at Cape Disappointment State Park

 

The lighthouses offer tremendous views at all times of the day but the best time to catch a great sunset is at the Cape Disappointment State park with a view of the lighthouse from the North Jetty.

Two hikers  at Ledbetter Point

20. Hike Along the Ocean, in the Pine Beach Forests and Through the Wetlands

Long Beach has some of the finest hiking on the entire Washington Coast. From the paved Discovery Trail to the birdwatchers paradise of LedBetter point on the Willapa Bay, there are several short pet-friendly and family friendly hikes to choose from. Most of all, it doesn't cost anything to go out and explore nature.

Sandsation mermaid sculpture

21. Attend Sandsations at the End of July

 

This is a 'fun for the entire family event' not to be missed. If you are a master or a wanna-be master sand sculptor please join the competitions. For the rest of us, we love just seeing what the masters create. Every year has different and amazing creations. See our July Calendar of events for dates and times.