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Washington State Parks

USA Parks
The Coast Region
Fort Canby State Park
Fort Canby State Park Cape Disappointment Lighthouse © Randy Hutchison
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was constructed in 1856 to warn seamen of the treacherous river bar known by then as the graveyard of the Pacific. This is the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast.
Fort Canby State Park © Ray Ortiz
Cape Disappointment State Park (formerly Fort Canby State Park) is a 1,882-acre camping park on the Long Beach Peninsula, fronted by the Pacific Ocean. The park offers 27 miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses, an interpretive center and hiking trails. Visitors enjoy beachcombing and exploring the area's rich natural and cultural history. The nearby coastal towns of Ilwaco and Long Beach feature special events and festivals spring through fall. The park offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, North Head Lighthouse and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse. The park has old-growth forest, lakes, freshwater and saltwater marshes, as well as streams and tidelands along the ocean. Three vacation rentals are available.

Park hours/updates:

Summer: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.Winter: 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The park is open year round for camping and day use.

Camping:Check-in time, 2:30 p.m.Check-out time, 1 p.m.Quiet hours: 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.
Nature of the Area
Wildlife Mammals Birds Fish & Sea Life? Bears? Chipmunks? Coyotes? Deer or Elk? Rabbits? Raccoons? Skunks? Squirrels? Weasels ? Crows or Ravens? Doves or Pigeons? Ducks? Eagles? Geese? Grouse? Gulls? Hawks? Herons? Hummingbirds? Jays? Ospreys? Owls? Snipes? Swans? Woodpeckers? Wrens ? Clams? Crabs? Mussels? Sea Birds? Seals? Shellfish? Shrimp? Squid? Starfish? Whales? Bass? Cod? Perch? Red Snapper? Salmon? Steelhead? Sturgeon? Trout? Tuna

Environmental FeaturesPhysical Features Plant Life ? Cedar? Douglas Fir? Hemlock? Ponderosa Pine? Spruce? Alder? Maple? Poplar? Daisy? Foxglove? Rhododendron? Rose? Berries? Eel Grass? Ferns? Moss or Lichens? Seaweed? Thistle? Poison Oak
History of the Area
In 1788, while in search of the Columbia River, English Captain John Meares missed the passage over the river bar and named the nearby headland Cape Disappointment for his failure in finding the river. In 1792, American Captain Robert Gray successfully crossed the river bar and named the river "Columbia" after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva. Only a few years later, in 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived at Cape Disappointment.

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was constructed in 1856 to warn seamen of the treacherous river bar known by then as "the graveyard of the Pacific." This is the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast.

In 1862, Cape Disappointment was armed with smoothbore cannons to protect the mouth of the Columbia River from enemies. The installation was expanded to become Fort Canby in 1875. The fort was named after General Edward Canby, who was killed in the Modoc Indian War. The fort continued to be improved until the end of World War II. Gun batteries still sit uptop the park.
Park Store
Available in the park Available in the area? Camping? Park store? Pay phone? Fire wood ? Auto repair? Camping? Diesel? Fishing/hunting? Gasoline? Gifts? Golf? Groceries? Hardware? Horse rental? Hospital? Marine supplies? Overnight Accommodations? Pay phone? Postal service? Propane? Recreational equipment? White gas? Wood

The park store offers gifts, ice, wood, fishing gear and other camper essentials.
Cape Disappointment has 152 standard campsites, 83 utility sites, five primitive campsites, one dump station, eight restrooms (two ADA) and 14 showers (four ADA). Maximum site length is 45 feet (may have limited availability).Camping is available year-round. To reserve a campsite, call (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688.
Nearby Accommodations
Ocean Park Resort - Ocean Park, WA
In the heart of Long Beach Peninsula lies the Ocean Park Resort. Ocean Park Resort offers many amenities for this beautiful resort some including a Playground, Pool, Spa, Coin Laundry, Recreation Hall. When you stay at Ocean Park you will have many options on how you want to stay these include RV Sites, Guest Houses, Tent Sites, along with the very nice Motel.
13.8 miles from park*
One boat ramp and 135 feet of dock are provided on Baker Bay in the Columbia River.

A daily watercraft launching permit and a daily trailer dump permit is available at the park.Annual permits also may be purchased at State Parks Headquarters in Olympia, at region offices, online, and at parks when staff is available.

The day-use area has 20 unsheltered picnic tables, available first-come, first-served.
Area Attractions
ActivitiesTrails Water Activities Other? 7 mi. Hiking Trails ? Boating (freshwater)? 1 boat ramp (freshwater)? 135 feet of dock (freshwater)? Fishing (freshwater)? Fishing (saltwater)? Clamming? Crabbing ? 1 Amphitheater? Beachcombing? Bird Watching? Golf? 1 Horseshoe pit? Interpretive Activities? Museum? 3 Softball Fields? 2 Volleyball Fields? Wildlife Viewing

Baseball fields and basketball courts located nearby. A Columbia River fish-cleaning station is available to fishermen.

Park events occur spring through fall:- Loyalty Days - first weekend in May.- World's Longest Garage Sale - Memorial Day.- Garlic Festival - third weekend in June.- Stunt Kite Competition - fourth weekend in June.- Fireworks on the beach - 4th of July.- Sand Sculpture Contest - third weekend in July.- Rodeo - fourth weekend in July.- Jazz & Oysters - third weekend in August.- Kite Festival - third week in August.- Rod Run - second weekend in September.- Water Music Festival - fourth weekend in October.

Swimming in the ocean on the Long Beach Peninsula is not recommended. Strong currents, riptides and unexpected high waves pose a hazard to swimmers.

Significant nearby natural areas include Willapa Bay, Leadbetter Point and Beard's Hollow.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
March 22 Outstanding experience! by Ted
During the summers of 2000 and 2001 my wife and I were honored to be volunteers at Fort Canby. We gave tours of Northhead Lighthouse. What an awesome experience. The sights and sounds of the ocean and shoreline were breathtaking. The opportunity to meet people from all over and share the history of the lighthouse and of the area, in particular that of Lewis and Clark was special. It is a time we will never forget--even sitting on the beach watching the Fourth of July fireworks shivering. It was all worth it. It was an opportunity of a lifetime. Thanks!!
July 1 Great people by happyvisitors
Great well maintained park, So much to see and great history. The people at the Lewis and Clark center were friendly and courteous as well as being knowledgeable.
June 29 Great times, good privacy by a mom
Close beach access, great memorial day memories. decent privacy, and ok for big groups

Area Campgrounds
Andersen's RV Park on the Ocean
1400 138th Street
Long Beach, WA
Ocean Park Resort
25904 R Street
Ocean Park, WA

Located two miles southwest of Ilwaco, Wash. in Pacific County.

From Seattle:Take I-5 south to Olympia, SR 8 west to Montesano. From there, take U.S. Hwy. 101 south to Long Beach Peninsula.

From Portland:Take I-5 north to Longview, then SR 4 west to U.S. Hwy. 101. Then drive south to Long Beach Peninsula. Follow signs to Ilwaco and the park.


Washington State Parks