Top Free Things to do in Long Beach Washington

Top 23 FREE Experiences and Activities for the Budget Traveler

Without spending a lot of money, we want our visitors to enjoy everything the Long Beach Peninsula offers. Because of this, we have compiled a list of free activities and sights you can see while visiting the peninsula. Even though the beach is unquestionably the most well-known attraction, there are plenty of other thrilling activities to try, including pickleball in a nearby park, cycling along the picturesque Discovery Coast, or trekking through one of the three magnificent state parks. The Washington Coast is the ultimate vacation spot for frugal travelers, and this list of free activities will help you make the most of your visit. You may also make the most of the best available cheap dining alternatives and organize your vacation around some of the free events on our events calendar, like September's 2023 Rod Run to the End of the Earth. So take in the Long Beach Peninsula's natural beauty and free entertainment! (updated:feb23)

Woman and two small children silhouetted at sunset at the beach

1. Enjoy the Beach Life


Visitors can take advantage of a tremendous opportunity if they visit the Beach, one of the Long Beach Peninsula's top attractions. Building sandcastles, playing in the ocean (WATCH OUT FOR RIP TIDES), or having a leisurely stroll on warm sand on a sunny day are all possibilities along the nearly 28 miles of unspoiled coastline. While looking north or south, seclusion is easy to find when all you can see is the coastline and the sea mist. When you learn and explore the shore, family fun is only a few grins and your imagination away. So unwind, put the pocketbook away, and enjoy these great, inexpensive activities while staying at Bloomer Estates.

Girl sitting on clam gun with arms outstretched

2. Clam Digging Festival


In the Long Beach Peninsula, the Clam Digging Festival is a must-attend occasion that provides tourists with an amazing and cost-free experience. This festival is special in that anyone under the age of 15 can dig clams for free, giving families a great opportunity to spend time together while exploring the shore. One of the many interesting events on the May calendar is the festival, which takes place in the spring. Don't skip the celebrations! The Long Beach Peninsula's guide to razor clam digging is a great resource for anyone interested in the activity because it includes all the details required for a successful expedition, from equipment to technique.

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


Throughout the summer, Long Beach and Ilwaco come alive with vibrant farmer's markets, engaging live outdoor music, energetic fun runs, colorful parades, and immersive Art Gallery walks. These months are brimming with activities, ensuring that every weekend in June, July, August, and September offers a unique experience. To help you keep track of all these exciting happenings, we've updated our Long Beach Peninsula Calendar of Events, featuring all the major events planned for the year. This is a fantastic resource for locals and visitors alike, ensuring you won't miss out on what the summer has to offer.

Bikers on Discovery Trail

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



For those venturing into the majestic landscapes of our region, the Discovery Coast Trail offers a panoramic journey from the bustling Port of Ilwaco to the serene North Long Beach, nestled just beyond the Breakers. This path is a haven for both pedestrians and cyclists, presenting an array of unforgettable vistas. As you traverse this scenic route, you'll encounter a series of interpretive panels and sculptures that pay homage to the historic expedition of Lewis & Clark. Whether you're up for the challenge of the entire trail or prefer to savor a segment, our comprehensive Discovery Coast Trail Guide provides all the essential details, including various access points to start your adventure.

Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Cape Disappointment State Park

8. Hike in one of our State Parks


For those seeking an unparalleled experience of natural beauty and historical significance on the Long Beach Peninsula, Cape Disappointment State Park offers an extraordinary blend of sandy beaches, historic lighthouses, and trails winding through coastal forests. This destination is a treasure trove for enthusiasts of history, nature, and marine vistas. You'll find yourself exploring the grounds of an old military fort, traversing old-growth forests, and marveling at the diverse ecosystems ranging from lakes and freshwater marshes to ocean tidelands. The park is also home to two iconic lighthouses that continue to guide ships to this day. For more information on these lighthouses, feel free to delve into details here.


To fully embrace the beauty and the plethora of activities available, you can discover more about all three State Parks on the Long Beach Peninsula here.


Cape Disappointment State Park is not just a destination; it's an experience that offers serene overlooks, the sound of crashing waves, and the chance to witness a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. Whether you're an avid hiker, a history buff, or someone looking to find peace away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, this park promises to be a memorable escape.

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.

Rod Run in Long Beach WA

22. Attend the 2022 Rod Run to the End of The World


This event is held the weekend after labor day every year. Families and car enthusiasts come from all over the world to watch the nightly parade of antique roadsters, muscle cars and trucks through downtown Long Beach, WA.  Be sure to read up on the latest information on the Long Beach, WA 2022 Rod Run

Bright Raven singer songwriter

23. Listen to Live Music-No Cover Charge

The Long Beach Peninsula has live music year-round, within singer/songwriters and bands traveling from Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and occasionally from California.  Be sure to check the schedules at our list of the best live music venues on the coast.