Cape Disappointment

Hike through history as you traverse one of the best parts of Washington’s coastline. Cape Disappointment got its name when one of the first European captains to sail along the coast failed to navigate through the sandbars at the mouth of the Columbia River. Make no mistake though, Cape Disappointment is no disappointment!

Location: Southwest Washington
Rating: ★★★★★

There are a number of gorgeous attractions located inside Cape Disappointment State Park. You might choose to visit the North Head Lighthouse, which is featured in the video above, or you could head over to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center (pictured below). There is a small fee for entrance, but the exhibit is worth seeing (and if you’re lucky you can do some whale watching from their ocean view window!).


There are also a number of hikes in the area. You might want to try section hiking a portion of the Discovery Trail or marching up to Mckenzie Head. If hiking isn’t really your thing you could opt for water activities as well. There’s boating opportunities as well as fishing, clamming, and crabbing!

Either way, it’s nice to relax at a beautiful campsite after a long day of exploration. In fact, there are two campgrounds located within the park! The Cape Disappointment Campground also has a few small cabins for rent.


If you’re really up for an adventure you could rent out a portion of the lighthouse keeper’s residence! It’s located near the North Head Lighthouse and is packed with history. This home might be a century old, but it still comes with a TV and DVD player!

It rents for $200-300 per night in winter and up to $440 in summer. If you would like to see pictures of the inside of the residence you can follow the link in the resources section of this article.


Are There Toilets? : Yes! There are many restrooms located throughout the park

 How about Picnic Tables? : There are a few located in the day use area just beyond the ranger station.

 Do I Need a Parking Pass? : Yes. You can purchase a day pass for $10 or use a Discover Pass.

 Are Dogs Allowed? : Yes

Can We Camp Here? : Yes! There are a few campgrounds located here.

 When is the Best Time to Visit? : If the weather permits, head on down! It can be rainy in late fall and winter, but if there’s a break in the weather you should certainly take advantage of it.

Extra Resources:

Cape Disappointment Map – PDF

WA State Parks – Cape Disappointment

Weather Forecast

Vacation Rental: Lighthouse Keeper’s Residence


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