Ecola Beach State Park, Oregon Coast

Coastal Day Trips From Vancouver, Washington

Summer is a great time to get out to the coast, and Vancouver is central to a lot of great seaside locations in both Washington and Oregon. The Pacific Northwest has some of the greatest coastal views and activities in the country, and we’re only a short road trip away from many of them. Here are a few of our picks for best coastal day trips from Vancouver, Washington.

Long Beach, Washington

Image Source: Jim Belford

Drive Time From Vancouver, WA: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Long Beach, Washington lives up to its name by boasting the world’s longest beach at 28 miles. While this isn’t necessarily true (Praia do Cassino Beach in Brazil has a length of 157 miles), it’s certainly the longest beach on the West Coast and has plenty of room for all the beach visitors that flock there during the summer.

If sand isn’t your style, the Long Beach Boardwalk lets you stroll for half a mile beside the beach. Grab an ice cream cone from a local vendor and take a leisurely stroll while you take in the ocean views.

The World Kite Museum is another place in Long Beach that’s worth a stop. Year-round, they exhibit kites from around the world. In August, they host the World Kite Festival, a celebration of kite flying that fills the beach with kite enthusiasts. Find more information at

Cape Disappointment State Park

North Head Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment State Park

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Drive Time From Vancouver, WA: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Cape Disappointment is a state park tucked away at the very southwest corner of Washington state. This park features the dramatic, rocky coastline at the mouth of the Columbia river. Two stunning lighthouses – North Head Lighthouse and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse – are an interesting exhibit of maritime history. They also make for a really neat photo opportunity.

If you want some beach time, Waikiki Beach is a popular spot in the park for an oceanside picnic. Don’t count on going for a swim, though – the cold temperatures and unpredictable currents make swimming a little too dangerous.

Astoria, Oregon

A bridge in Astoria, Oregon

Drive Time From Vancouver, WA: 2 hours

Just across the Columbia River on the Oregon side is Astoria, the oldest city in the state. Once a busy hub of fur trading, fishing, and canning, Astoria is now a magnet for tourists who appreciate historical architecture, local breweries, and the stunning vistas at the intersection of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean.

Astoria’s history can best be experienced by visiting the many local museums. The Columbia River Maritime Museum celebrates the nautical aspect of Astoria’s past, from the dugout canoes of indigenous peoples to the Coast Guard vessels used to rescue victims of the deadly Columbia Bar. You can also take a tour of the Lightship Columbia, a decommissioned ship that once served as a floating lighthouse to guide ships out to sea.

For a look at some more recent history, the Oregon Film Museum celebrates the many films and television shows filmed in Oregon. Located in the old Clatsop County Jail (a notable location from the hit film The Goonies), this museum lets you browse exhibits and film props from some of your favorite movies.

The Astoria Column is another must-see attraction. Located atop Coxcomb Hill, this 125-foot high column is decorated with a mural depicting Oregon’s history. If you climb the 164 steps to the observation deck, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning 360-degree view from Astoria’s highest point.

Seaside, Oregon

Seaside, Oregon Promenade

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Drive Time From Vancouver, WA: 2 hours

Seaside is one of Oregon’s top destinations on the coast. The main attraction is the Seaside Promenade, a 1.5 mile paved path that hugs the beach and leads straight to the downtown entertainment district. It’s the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll, enjoy the view of the beach, and take in all that Seaside has to offer.

One of the most popular stops along the Prom is the Seaside Aquarium. Founded in 1937, this aquarium is one of the oldest on the West Coast, and has a long reputation of entertaining visitors to the coast. At the Seaside Aquarium, you can experience a variety of marine exhibits, interact with sea creatures in the “touch tank,” and even feed the harbor seals that live at the aquarium!

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach Oregon

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Drive Time From Vancouver, WA: 2 hours

Cannon Beach is another coastal town just a short drive south from Seaside. If you’ve ever seen a picture of the Oregon coast, you’ve probably seen an image of Cannon Beach’s most famous feature: Haystack Rock. This impressive sea stack was made famous when it was featured as a location in the hit film The Goonies. But that’s not the only thing Cannon Beach has to offer. Miles of beaches, a quaint downtown, and a variety of restaurants and shops make this beach town one of Oregon’s top tourist destinations.

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist town, Ecola State Park is a great natural escape. This state park is just north of Cannon Beach, and is the site of many popular beaches and trails. Check out Crescent Beach and Indian Beach for sandy beach fun.


All of these destinations are just a short drive away from Vancouver and offer some unique coastal adventures. Any one of them would make a great excuse to get out there and enjoy some sun, sea, and sand!