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CITY DETAILS

Chinook, Washington

Salmon fishing shaped the historic town of Chinook and fishing is still a major contributor today. Recreational fishing in the mouth of the Columbia River now brings in visitors from around the world during the summer months but Chinook is a year-round commercial landing point and processor for fin fish and crab. Chinook is home to Ft. Columbia at which visitors can view history from Native American artifacts to coastal defense gun emplacements.

Ilwaco, Washington

Located north of the mouth of the Columbia, Ilwaco is a summertime destination for thousands of fishermen looking to claim a share of the sometimes raucous Buoy 10 salmon fishery. As the southern terminus of the historic “Clamshell Railroad,” Ilwaco was the landing port for goods, tourists and beach goers from the Oregon side of the Columbia before Washington roads made the trip easier.

Long Beach, Washington

Originally platted as Tinkerville in 1881, the town of Long Beach flourished with the building of the Ilwaco Railroad & Navigation Company’s narrow-gauge railroad that ran from the docks of Ilwaco to its northern terminus at Nahcotta. Long Beach quickly established itself as a tourist destination as hotels and shops sprouted up to serve the beach-goers. Today Long Beach is the peninsula’s largest town and hosts a full schedule of colorful summer events.

Nahcotta, Washington

Today, a quiet shadow of its former glory, Nahcotta was once the norther terminus of the Ilwaco Railroad & Navigation Company rail line. A seaport, that served schooner traffic from San Francisco and West Coast ports, it saw millions of native Willapa Bay oysters shipped in the mid-to-late-1800s. A fire in 1915 burned the bustling port town to ashes and decline oyster stocks turned it into a quaint village. Nahcotta is still the hub of the Peninsula’s oyster industry.

Naselle, Washington

Naselle’s population was 419 at the 2010 census. Though very near Columbia River’s estuary, the valley’s Naselle River flows west into nearby Willapa Bay and then into the Pacific Ocean. Close about the town lie the evergreen-covered Willapa Hills. The river’s name has been spelled Nasel and Nasal. An early settler along the river called it the Kenebec. The name comes from the Nisal Indians, a Chinookan tribe formerly residing on the river.

Ocean Park, Washington

If Long Beach represents the noise and color of a tourist town, Ocean Park is the quiet sibling. Originally the site of a religious retreat, the Ocean Park area became an easier to reach destination with the closing of the railroad and the opening of road access along the peninsula. Clamming has become a major driver of the local economy and many seniors have made Ocean Park (and neighboring Surfside Estates) their retirement spot.

Oysterville, Washington

A true boom and bust story, Oysterville became the center for the Northwest oyster boom in the 1800s. Within months of it’s founding in 1854, Oysterville, driven by revenues from the native oysters found up and down Willapa Bay, became a town of 500 and soon became the county seat. Many of the graceful homes there today were built from lumber brought on schooners from California – a charming echo of times past.

Seaview, Washington

Seaview was a beach resort town before Washington was a state. Those with the means could take a steamboat from Portland to Astoria and ferry across to Ilwaco, then make a wagon trek to Seaview. The coming of the Ilwaco Railroad & Navigation Co. rail line in 1889 cemented Seaview as a tourist destination and some of the homes built in those early days are still beach homes today.

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