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110 miles NW of Portland, 180 miles SW of Seattle, 80 miles W of Longview/Kelso

With 28 uninterrupted miles of sand, the Long Beach Peninsula, a long, narrow strip of forests and sand dunes, claims to be the world's longest beach open to vehicles. For more than a century, all those miles of sand have been attracting vacationers from the Portland area and parts of southwestern Washington, and today the Long Beach Peninsula is Washington's most developed stretch of coast. There are dozens of resorts, motels, rental cabins, vacation homes, and campgrounds up and down the peninsula.

Each of the peninsula's towns has its own distinct personality. In Seaview, there are restored Victorian homes. In Long Beach, go-cart tracks and family amusements hold sway. Klipsan Beach and Ocean Park are quiet retirement communities, while Nahcotta is still an active oystering port, albeit in a very attractive setting. Last is the tiny community of Oysterville, a National Historic District of restored homes and hands-down the prettiest community on the peninsula.

While kite flying, horseback riding, and beachcombing are the most popular beach activities here, digging for razor clams ranks right up there, too. Razor clams (and the area's oysters) also show up on plenty of area restaurant menus. Bivalves aren't the only seafood that attracts folks here, either. In Ilwaco, south of Long Beach, a fleet of charter fishing boats can take you out in search of salmon, tuna, or bottom fish.

Long Beach is one of the few beaches on the West Coast that allows vehicular traffic, so feel free to go for a drive on the beach. Just remember that the beach is a state highway and a 25-mph speed limit is enforced. There are beach-access roads up and down the peninsula, and once you're on the beach, be sure you stay above the clam beds (sand nearest to the low-tide area) and below the dry sand.