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“What a Park!”

Cape Disappointment State Park
Ranked #1 of 15 things to do in Ilwaco
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A scenic state park with hiking trails and cabins for overnight visitors.
Olympia, Washington
Level 5 Contributor
74 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“What a Park!”
Reviewed August 30, 2013

We were looking for a place to stay in our RV for a couple of nights before joining a group of friends in nearby Long Beach, and happened upon Cape Disappointment State Park. I couldn't figure out why I was unable to make a reservation on-line since the site indicated there was a space available which would accommodate the size of our RV. A call to the 800 number connected me to a most helpful woman who explained that yes there was a site, but only for one night and we would have to move to the next door site on the second day. She completed all the arrangements, answered my questions and we were set within minutes, so I highly recommend the Washington State Park reservation system. As for the park, what a pleasant surprise. I'm a native Washingtonion and thought I knew western Washington very well. Turns out I didn't. Cape Disappointment has so much to offer, we couldn't do it all in two days! The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center sits high on a bluff overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River and easily eats up an entire afternoon. There are two historic lighthouses - both are working and one is open for a climb to the top where a volunteer docent is waiting to answer almost any question you might ask. The beaches were beautiful and a bonus was a Coast Guard sea rescue drill occuring just steps away from our campsite. We will definitely go back and spend more time exploring everything we missed.

Visited August 2013
Thank OlyCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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361 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California
Level 6 Contributor
497 reviews
218 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 353 helpful votes
“It Won't Disappoint You !”
Reviewed August 22, 2013

"Welcome to the Edge of the Continent", says the sign.

We began at the Interpretive Center where there is a fascinating history, movie and artifacts that depict the arduous, Lewis & Clark expedition. The journey covered 4000 miles and spanned two years to find the Pacific Ocean and a navigable route to St. Louis.

Outside, are million-dollar views views of the confluence of the Columbia River & Pacific Ocean, a map showing the "sand bar" that makes the area so difficult to navigate and caused so many shipwrecks. (It is though the name "Cape Disapointment" was given to the area when they saw no ships upon their arrival). There is even a QR code to watch a video on your smartphone of a ship trying to enter the river.

There are two lighthouses, several trails to hike and a campground that looked very nice. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a jacket as it's always windy and often foggy/misty/cool. There is a $10 fee (or annual Discovery Pass for $30) to park and small fees for Interpretive Center & Lighthouse access. But it's very worthwhile to take this walk thru history.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Bchgrl9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Coquitlam, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great Ocean-Front Camping Experience”
Reviewed August 15, 2013

Booked into the state park campground for 3 nights in late July and added an extra night as we enjoyed it so much and wanted to explore more. We tow a small trailer and pitch a tent for our 16 year old - the sites are both very dry and clean (paved pad for trailer) but also large enough to accomodate our set-up and private enough such that you are not eating dinner with your neighbours. Lots of exploring on the desolate and and windswept (and very clean) beaches and along the trails. Collectively we did lots of walking, hiking and and fishing and vowed to return. Clean washrooms and showers. Lastly, while visiting the area one must take in the Cottage Bakery in Long Beach - unbeliveable baked goods at awesoem prices. In short, a great experience.

Visited July 2013
2 Thank The_D-man27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Graham, Washington
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Camping, hiking and a beach to boot”
Reviewed August 13, 2013

Cape Disappointment State Park is a very diverse park with many activities for visitors. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, North Head Lighthouse, a boat launch, general store and hikes between them all.

Camping ranges from basic tent camping to full hook up RV camping. This park can be tough to get reservations during peak summer months, so planning ahead is a must. The campground is on a great beach, but be aware of high foot traffic next to spaces adjoining "beach access" point. The spaces are relatively close together but trees create a buffer between most.

Cape Disappointment State Park could easily become a favorite destination.

Visited August 2013
Thank scottiam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Went for the lighthouses, stayed for Lewis & Clark!”
Reviewed July 29, 2013 via mobile

We honestly went to visit the lighthouses, and walked to each. We're not hikers and found both to be pleasant walks. Great photo ops at both. Before we left we decided to check out the Lewis & Clark interpretative center. We didn't expect much and were truly surprised at how much info and displays they had on the full journey. The volunteers were cheerful and helpful. Truly enjoyed ourselves!

Visited July 2013
1 Thank MJRinNV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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