46° 18′ 45″N, 124° 1′ 47″ W
The port community of Ilwaco on the Columbia River was named for a local Indian chief, ‘Elowahka Jim.’ Established as a town in 1876, Ilwaco soon became a favorite port of salmon fishermen and a transportation hub for all of Pacific County.
Travelers from Oregon or inland Washington could take a steamer down the Columbia River to Ilwaco, where they could travel by stage, and later by the Ilwaco Railway and Navigation Company train, also known as the ‘Clamshell Railroad That Ran With The Tides’, to the ocean beach resorts on the Long Beach Peninsula. They could also travel to Oysterville, or Nahcotta, by stage and train, connecting with a passenger steamer to cross Willapa Bay to Raymond or South Bend.
The town now features a busy marina, a thriving art community, and some of the finest salmon and sturgeon fishing in the country. Home to two lighthouses, the southern end of Discovery Trail, and the Lewis and Clark National & State Historical Park, Ilwaco provides delights for both locals and visitors.
Installations at the park feature the work of Maya Lin, artist/architect known for the Vietnam Wall, and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center showcases the arrival of the Corps of Discovery Expedition at the Pacific Ocean. Trails throughout the park offer adventures for all ability levels.
Ilwaco has developed a number of outstanding festivals and events. Art walks sponsored by the area’s many art galleries, an annual cranberry festival, antique shops, a Saturday fresh air farmer’s market during the summer, a Slow Drag, Fishing Derbies from the all-kids Black Lake Fishing Derby to the Oregon Tuna Classic, which fishes for food banks (and great prizes!), Tall Ships, Blessing of the Fleet, Old Fashioned 4th of July Fireworks, ‘Ocian in View’ Lewis & Clark Speaker Series, Clamshell Railroad Days, Blues & Seafood and the increasingly well-known Crab Pot Christmas Tree celebration.
- Clamshell Railroad
- Historic Colbert House
- Historylink.org on the formation of Pacific County
- Historylink.org on Cape Disappointment State Park
- U.S. Coast Guard Opens National Motor Lifeboat School at Ilwaco in 1980.
- Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum
- Grays Harbor College
- Columbia Education Center
- Chinook Nation
- Lewis and Clark National & State Historical Park
- Oregon Tuna Classic
ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS:
- Razor Clam Dig Days – Jan-March
- Beach Cleanup Days – January, April & July
- Whale Watching On The Coast – March & December
- Saturday Market at the Port – May through September
- Charter Fishing – May through September
- Art Walk at Ilwaco Harbour Village – July, August & September
- Valentine’s Dance at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum (aka Ilwaco Heritage Museum) – February
- Peninsula Quilt Guild Show – March
- Black Lake Fishing Derby – April
- Loyalty Days Children’s Parade & Blessing of the Fleet – May
- Annual Beach to Chowder 10K Run & 5K Walk – June
- Relay For Life – June
- Independence Day Fireworks at the Port – July
- Clamshell RailRoad Days – July
- Ilwaco Waterfront Dance & Juicy BBQ (aka Blues and Seafood) – August
- Slow Drag at the Port – September
- Annual Cranberrian Fair – October
- Wild Mushroom Celebration – October
- Water Music Festival – October
- Holiday Activities – December