Are there areas, vistas, scenic lookouts or other destinations within Southwest Coast, Washington that are known for their uniquely beautiful fall foliage displays?
Running 26 miles from north to south, the Long Beach Peninsula boasts a string of communities — many have cranberry bogs. In October the leaves and berries turn crimson red. The majority of bogs are in Ilwaco at the south, Long Beach and Ocean Park, midway up the Peninsula. Look for bogs along Sandridge Road starting from Black Lake/Ilwaco and proceeding north toward Oysterville. There is also a Cranberry Museum with demonstration bogs on Pioneer Road outside of the town of Long Beach.
What are the local and regional roads or highways that are favorite scenic routes for fall tourists?
Pick up a map at the Visitors Bureau or keep an eye out for the bogs while driving north on Sandridge Road and its side roads from Black Lake in Ilwaco towards Oysterville. When starting out, look for CranMac Farm on the right hand side of Sandridge before crossing Hwy. 101. In addition to bogs, there is a U-pick cranberry farm called Cranguyma on Sandridge Road.
What festivals or other public events are taking place during the fall foliage season?
Cranberry farmers have been gathering to celebrate their harvest for nearly a century on the Long Beach Peninsula. Visitors are welcome to join in at the Cranberrian Fair, a harvest festival, taking place Oct. 8 and 9, 2011, at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum with a cranberry trolley providing transportation for tours of the bogs. This year marks the 91st annual fair.
Overlapping the Cranberrian Fair is the Peninsula’s Wild Mushroom Celebration – Fungi-loving visitors will find special dinners, cooking classes, identification workshops, lodging packages, and more. Visit funbeach.com for details.
Over Veterans’ Day Weekend, in November, the Long Beach Peninsula is host to a cultural and historical weekend called ‘Ocian in View,’ which originated during the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration.
Are there historic or cultural sites that are popular destinations for fall foliage travelers? What are they?
The Long Beach Peninsula has several, unique, small museums — The World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame, the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, the Cranberry Museum, Willapa Bay Interpretive Center, as well as the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center at Cape Disappointment State Park.
What are some other popular tourist attractions for autumn travelers to Southwest Coast, Washington. What are some of the less well known, but much loved local attractions?
The Long Beach Boardwalk is a not to be missed attraction touted on The Today Show and by Travel & Leisure magazine. This one-half mile long span was constructed above grassy dunes and affords expansive views of the beach and Pacific Ocean.
Stretching for 8.3 miles from Ilwaco, across the Cape Disappointment headlands, through Beards Hollow and up the beach to Long Beach, Discovery Trail is one of the best, paved coastal trails in the West. Pedestrians, cyclists, and in-line skaters are welcome to trace this serpentine path through spectacular dunes, wetlands and headlands. The trail is dotted with interpretive markers illustrating journal entries made by Capt. William Clark when he explored this section of coast in 1805.
Adjacent to ocean, bay and river, the destination is also known for award-winning restaurants with chefs creating mouth-watering dishes from the bountiful ultra-fresh fish and seafood. Willapa Bay oysters are prized around the world, as are Columbia River sturgeon and salmon. Razor clams, butter clams and Dungeness crab are also found here.
Are there favorite destinations for history, literature, architecture buffs, or antique collectors? What are they?
Those interested in Lewis and Clark and the early development of Washington’s coast will be intrigued by this destination. It was here that the Corps of Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean, realizing the quest set before them by Thomas Jefferson.
The entire town of Oysterville is on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers a self-guided walking tour. Seaview’s Victorian homes are also pointed out in a self-guided tour. The seaport of Ilwaco also boasts some historical homes and landmarks.
Cape Disappointment and North Head Lighthouses are also favorites. These historic markers helped ships navigate the treacherous waters where the Columbia River pours into the Pacific Ocean, oft referred to as the “Graveyard of the Pacific.”
What are some favorite destinations or activities of families traveling during the Fall travel season?
Walks and bike rides on Discovery Trail; hiking at Cape Disappointment; bird watching at Leadbetter Point; kite flying and browsing the shops in Long Beach and Ilwaco; visiting the Kite Museum; go-carts and other amusements in Long Beach; and horseback riding on the beach.
What are some helpful resources for discovering local inns, bed and breakfasts, lodges, boutique hotels, and other local lodging and dining?
The Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau is an excellent resource for prospective visitors. Call 800.451.2542 to get help and order a Beach Vacation Planner, stop by their information-packed visitor center at the intersection of Highways 101 and 103, and visit their comprehensive website — www.funbeach.com.
Is there anything else you would like to tell visitors thinking about traveling Southwest Coast, Washington for the fall foliage season?
Weather is always variable and unpredictable on the coast. You might have fog in the morning and a sunny afternoon, or get to experience the exhilaration of an early winter storm at the beach. Always pack rain gear and layers for warmth.
The Long Beach Peninsula is very picturesque. Waikiki Beach offers a great view of Cape D lighthouse. North Head affords an expansive view of the Pacific Ocean, mouth of the Columbia River and, on a clear day, the beach stretching for 20 miles up the coast.
We thank Carol Zahorsky of Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau for providing us with these answers to our foliage interview.