Posted on April 1, 2011
There are a number of wonderful picnic spots locally, offering everything from beach to woods to grassy parkland for your picnicking pleasure. Many of the fine local restaurants offer box, bag and picnic lunches for you to pack along with you if you don’t want to create your own, or even if you want to be pampered by fine cuisine or the simple luxury of a sandwich made by someone other than you. Here are a few choice spots for your perfect Peninsula Picnic.
There isn’t much that beats a blanket on the beach on a warm summer day, the lapping sound of the surf and the chatter of shorebirds. Bring buckets and shovels (along with your picnic basket) to build a world-class sandcastle or take advantage of our perfect winds and learn to fly a kite all over again.
If there is more wind than you enjoy, try one of the wind shelters in front of the Long Beach Boardwalk. Each holds a picnic table perfect for a beach meal. Or, visit one of our local kite shops for a beach tent that provides shelter from the sun, wind and even a bit of rain as it lets you enjoy our vast expanse of beach.
Automobiles are allowed on most of the beach year-round, which means you can find a secluded spot if you want to take your car onto the sand. Beard’s Hollow, on the south end of the Peninsula, is a favorite with its protected cove and rocky tide pools. The further north you drive on the Peninsula, the more likely you are to find interesting shells and sand dollars.
If you’d like to avoid places where cars and trucks roam, choose Benson or Waikiki Beaches in Cape Disappointment State Park or enjoy the stretch of sand between the town of Seaview’s beach approach at 38th Place and the Bolstad (traffic light) approach in Long Beach. This section of beach is closed to automobiles between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year.
And don’t forget a beach fire for a fun evening picnic. Fires are allowed on our beach; just keep them at least 100 feet west (that’s toward the water) from the extremely flammable dune grass. It is always wise to dig a fire pit, and we offer all the free saltwater you need for dousing your fire, so make sure it is completely extinguished before leaving the beach. Maximum fire size is 4′ x 4′ x 3′. Visit Pacific County Fire District #1 for more information.
Please bag all refuse from picnics or celebrations. Do not attempt to burn or bury it.
Panoramic View of The Columbia River and Pacific Ocean
Within Cape Disappointment and Fort Columbia State Parks there are some lovely picnic spots with spectacular views of the mouth of the Columbia River. Spread your blanket on the lawn at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center or at either the Cape Disappointment or North Head lighthouses. Pick up one of our information sheets on Fort Columbia State Park for trail maps that will lead you to some stunning panoramic views that include the more than four-mile long Astoria-Megler Bridge
In addition to Cape Disappointment and Fort Columbia State Parks, you can enjoy fine picnicking at several small state parks. Loomis Lake State Park, roughly 5 miles north of downtown Long Beach, and Pacific Pines State Park in Ocean Park each offer group picnic areas with restroom facilities and short footpaths to the beach.
Leadbetter Point State Park, at the northern tip of the Peninsula, offers a variety of fine hiking experiences as well as public access to Willapa Bay where you can enjoy a beach picnic.
A number of fine city parks dot the Peninsula. Ilwaco’s City Park, located just two blocks off Hwy 101 at Spruce & Adelia streets, is a gathering spot for family groups throughout the year. With a covered picnic and barbecue area and some equipment for the kids to play on as well as a ball field, your group will happily spend the entire day.
Ilwaco also proudly boasts a roadside park on the shores of Black Lake. With picnic tables and restroom facilities, the park allows paddle and electric motor boats on the annually stocked lake. No gas boats are allowed. The lake is a favorite hangout of Trumpeter Swans in the winter and birds of many varieties year-round. The Port of Ilwaco Harbour also sports green lawns and beautiful views for a picnic.
The city park in Long Beach is alongside the Long Beach Elementary School at 2nd & Washington Streets, just two blocks east of the main drive in downtown. The fields here are often filled with softball players during the spring, summer and fall.
Ocean Park’s city park is across the street from the Ocean Park Elementary School, right on the Pacific Way downtown. Home to several fine festivals, including the famous Garlic Festival, the park has both tree covered and sun-drenched picnic tables.
On An Island
For those with kayak or canoe and a sense of adventure, picnicking on Long Island is a memorable experience. After paddling to the island (the only way to get there) hike through a virgin old-growth cedar grove and dine among the wildlife.
Nestled in the woods with fine trout fishing
On the hill above Naselle, just 20 miles inland from the Peninsula, there is a little known local secret: Radar Ridge and its two man-made lakes, Western and Snag. Nestled in the woods along these two fish ponds are some really fine picnic areas. Restrooms are somewhat primitive, and you’ll need to bring your own fresh water.
Start from the intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 103 (the main north-south road on the Peninsula), and head east on Hwy 101 to Hwy 4 into Naselle. Just before you get into town, you’ll see the Naselle Youth Camp on your left. Turn left and go up the gravel road for 2.7 miles to road C2600 where you will turn left again. Just over half a mile down the road you’ll find road C2400 off to the right (this is the driveway to Snag Lake). If you travel another 9/10 of a mile to road C2000 and turn right, you will arrive at Western Lake after 1.2 miles. For a wonderful view of the Peninsula, Willapa Bay and the Naselle River, skip the turn off the main road onto C2600 and continue another mile and a half up the hill to the Radar towers at the top. But be forewarned: The road gets bumpy!
Butte Creek Picnic Area & Trail — Open May 1 – November 1
Old growth Sitka forest on the historic Marion and Sarah Ann Monohon homestead turned public area. Raymond High School students maintain the trail and facilities; look for dark forest dominated by spruce with some Western Hemlock and Douglas Fir, along with a thick carpet of moss. Butte Creek, a small stream, runs through the parcel and the trail crosses it several times. The terrain is easy; forest paths with an elevation gain of 200 feet. 1.5 miles round trip.
From Raymond travel north on US 101 2.5 miles. Butte Creek Picnic Area is on the right (east) just beyond Mile Post 61. The picnic area has a restroom; likely no water.
Tunerville Campground — Open year-round
Popular with picnickers, hikers, strollers and equestrian, Turnerville campground is just out of Naselle, Washington. The trail is hilly, but the path itself is easy. Access to horse and human water sources, ample parking, good picnic areas and campsites. There are restrooms at the trailhead; the camp and trail are approximately 6 miles long. Expect winding paths through trees, old logging roads and corrals.
Drive 6.4 miles west of Rosburg on State Route 4; then turn north onto Salmon River Road.