Dramatic, Thrilling Seasonal Storms Draw The Adventurous To Southwest Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula

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With Pacific Ocean storm season approaching, storm watchers are monitoring the best locations to experience nature’s power. According to the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau, the Long Beach Peninsula has many such vantage points, especially when storms hit the coast during full and new moons.

Storm watching, winter storms, Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, Willapa Bay, Long Beach Peninsula, Cape Disappointment, winter on the coast, lighthouse, Southwest Washington, Coast, Northwest

Huge Pacific Ocean swells crash dramatically against the Cape Disappointment headlands during a winter storm on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula.

A good storm cleanses the soul and recharges the spirit," remarked Day. "It’s both an exhilarating thrill and a humbling testimony to the awesome power of nature.

Heralded by last week’s heavy rain and 60mph wind gusts, the season of Pacific Ocean storms carrying fierce winds and tumultuous surf crashing against the Southwest coast of Washington has begun, and storm watchers are monitoring the best locations to experience nature’s power. The Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau touts many such vantage points, that are especially dramatic when storms hit the coast during full and new moons.

“A good storm cleanses the soul and recharges the spirit. It’s both an exhilarating thrill and a humbling testimony to the awesome power of nature,” remarked Andi Day, executive director, Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau. “New little treasures are washed up the beach in the wake of a good storm, just waiting for discovery.”

Located on the southwestern most tip of Washington State and extending north from the Oregon Coast, the Long Beach Peninsula has 28 miles of Pacific Ocean beach on its west side, is bordered by Willapa Bay on the north and east and the mouth of the Columbia River to the south. As such, it is perfectly exposed to the elements.

Several locations along this 28 mile long spit of land provide excellent viewing sites, while famed restaurants, cozy bed and breakfast establishments and other inviting accommodations provide great places to stay warm and well fed.

Here are a few of the area’s choice storm viewing sites:

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, at Cape Disappointment State Park near Ilwaco, is perched on the cliffs overlooking the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the mighty Pacific. From the Center’s panoramic windows, viewers can watch storms roll in off the Pacific Ocean, ships traveling up and down the Columbia River, and sea birds working the wind.

Waikiki Beach, in Cape Disappointment State Park, is particularly excellent when storms meet with high tides – on and around new and full moons. From a driftwood-strewn breakwater, storm watchers will be awed by huge waves crashing into the cliff, on top of which sits the historic Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. These huge swells can send sea spray nearly 100 feet in the air, giving photographers signature opportunities. The viewing site can be accessed through the main gate of Cape Disappointment State Park, a few short miles from the fishing village of Ilwaco.

Two locations in the festive beachside town of Long Beach are also excellent for watching winter storms. Those less keen on getting soaked by the storm's fury will enjoy the bird’s eye view from Pickled Fish restaurant on the top floor of Adrift Hotel. Others steady themselves along a meandering boardwalk, which stretches over the dunes from Sid Snyder Drive to Bolstad Avenue. A full skeleton of a gray whale anchors the south end of the boardwalk and interpretive displays run its one half-mile length.

For those wanting to brave the elements and stretch their legs, Discovery Trail – an eight and one half-mile long coastal trail connecting Ilwaco to Long Beach – provides easy beach access at several locations, Lewis and Clark interpretive displays, and some protection from the Pacific winds by grassy dunes.

At Leadbetter Point State Park on the northern tip of the Peninsula, a trail from Willapa Bay to ocean beach provides contrasting landscapes for viewing the effects of a storm, while a drive around Willapa Bay at high tide brings one up close to the churned up waters.

“But by far the best thing about being out in a storm is coming inside and warming up with a steaming bowl of chowder, hot toddy or piping hot cup of coffee,” added Day.

About Southwest Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula
With its mix of sensational restaurants, local seafood, ocean-view lodging, colorful festivals, unique museums and attractions, landmark lighthouses, fine art galleries, meandering trails, birding spots, state and national parks, and, above all, its long, wide, windswept beach, the Long Beach Peninsula continues to be one of the Northwest’s most enjoyable and refreshing coastal destinations. Located 2.5 hours from Portland and 3.5 from Seattle, the Peninsula is a longtime favorite for those seeking easily accessible outdoors, great food and affordable creature comforts. For more information on the Long Beach Peninsula as well as local tide tables and remote viewing links, please access http://www.funbeach.com or call the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau at 800.451.2542.

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Carol Zahorsky

Andi Day
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