Cape Disappointment State Park, Ilwaco
Categories: National Parks, Beaches, Nature & Parks, Outdoor Activities
Cape Disappointment State Park is a publicly owned recreation area located southwest of Ilwaco, Washington, on the bottom end of Long Beach Peninsula, the northern headlands where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. The state park's encompass a diverse landscape of old-growth forest, freshwater lakes, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and oceanside tidelands. Sights in the park include the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, of ocean beach, the North Head Lighthouse, and the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.Cape Disappointment is one of several state parks and sites in Washington and Oregon that make up the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks.Add Cape Disappointment State Park to your Ilwaco travel itinerary, and discover new vacation ideas by using our Ilwaco family vacation planner.
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There is much to see in this park - 2 lighthouses (one has a rather steep walk), parts of the former Fort Canby, hiking trails, beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and a Lewis & Clark Interpretive Ce... read more »
Can't say enough about this park. The camping is wonderful! Clean, plenty of room between sites. We were literally a block from the beach...clean and pristine. The Interpretive Center was fantastic. I... read more »
Very beautiful and very green. We enjoyed seeing the lighthouses and hiking through the park and along the beaches. Great day for surf watching. It was pounding today.
Nice state park. Rather large with more than one area to visit. Parking is EXPENSIVE for a secondary attraction. I think Grand Canyon was about the same cost wise. Absolutely love view from end of jetty watching ships and sea lions (45 minute rock hopping but worth the effort). Walk to actual lighthouse is long and light house itself disappointing. view from top of cliff is the main reason to do the walk up
This photo of Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was taken from next to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It is NOT around the point in Ilwaco as the address supplied suggests but I can't get maps to change it. The lighthouse is up a rather steep trail, as is the Interpretive Center but they are NOT on the same trail, so it is two hikes to see both (although they do have an accessible parking lot higher and closer to the interpretive center). Beautiful view of the ocean. Apparently a great whale watching place. Just before the turn off to the lighthouse on Jetty Road is beach access to Waikiki Beach. So named because of a crew of Hawaiians that were shipwrecked, died, and buried there before being returned to their native Hawaii. There is a great parking lot with public restrooms and a campground. You CAN drive down to the beach parking, but the lot there is very small and you will find only a Honey Bucket for a toilet.
We stayed at Campsite 143. It was one of many sites that were along the ocean and only a short walk (less than one minute) to the sand. There was a burn ban but we bundled up at night and had glow sticks for the kids. The beach is amazing, the bathrooms were cleaned daily. Our campsite was on a culdsac so kids could ride their bikes without much supervision. There is a small store that has wifi, pizza, and everything you could need to camp, fish, eat... it had a little bit of everything.
Yogi in a Bag
This is more of a review on the park's outsourced reservation system. Be aware that the reservation company charges fees over 50% of campsite price. Yes, over 50%! I first tried to reserve a site for one night, for a $25 tent campsite. When the total came up for $38, I was baffled. So we called and the final fee was $40! We asked why and were told there was a $5 out of state resident fee and $10 reservation fee if the reservation was made over the phone, $8 if don't online. When my friend said, no way was she paying over %50 for fees the agent said "well, you run the risk of not getting a site, there are only a few left." It was raining, with a forecast of more rain, so we doubted she was telling the truth. When we arrived the site was $25. When we asked about the out of state resident fee the gal at the gate was baffled, "we don't charge people out of state extra."
Holy crap 55 bux to camp in an RV circle. Extra fee for a car. We moved to a " primative" site , Visited by rangers a couple times for more money, got the lecture, BUT It is a pretty campground. Nice walk on the beach that has litter as well as the two sites we have rented. Bring a garbage bag on your walks , to your camp or where ever you hang here.People are slobs. Also you pay for showers which SHOULD be included in a $ 25.00 a nite site. Very over policed, man they hunt you down for that $ 10.00 for extra vehicle.They charge for EVERYTHING. Nothing included and the store/cafe is nice but prices jacked way up. Once you get away from people and park gestapo ITS AWESOME. There are some raccoons who will get into stuff and they crap all over so take due caution , use common sense.
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