Reasons to Vacation at the World’s Longest Beach

The world’s longest beach is located on the West Coast of the United States? It seems like a stretch.


So…Google it.
You’ll discover that the 28-mile long peninsula in Washington State is indeed the longest “drivable” stretch of beach in the world. A beach in Bangladesh technically takes the title in distance of beach (but it isn’t vehicle accessible).
Two times in the past decade, we chose Long Beach, Washington as a March destination. Which probably isn’t the greatest choice weather-wise. The Evergreen State isn’t misnamed and in order to keep its verdant vegetation requires irrigation.
Nature obliges. In short, expect rain if you visit during a season other than summer. And don’t be surprised if precipitation accompanies your trip in June, July or August.
Since there is a Worldmark resort in Long Beach, and it’s located an easy drive from our home, it was an obvious choice for a “saving year” Spring Break when the kids lived at home.nd a mini-vacation when someone had “use it or lose it” vacation time.
Even without those tempting factors, it’s worth consideration if you’re looking for a beach destination for your next vacation.
Family Activities
An array of activities await all along the Long Beach Peninsula.
There is a family fun center (or three). Here you can find rides, like bumper cars and a carousel,, and games, maybe even Skee Ball, my favorite.
There are indoor AND outdoor miniature golf courses. This is entertaining for everyone, especially if you can’t make a single par.

What? Does he think my score is inaccurate?

Two go-kart tracks are an easy walk from the Worldmark resort where we stayed. If you’re unlucky, you might get the cart that has only one speed: putt, putt. You’ll put the pedal to the metal and eke along, slightly faster than a slug on slime.


Outdoor Fun
If you go to the coast, you’ll want to stop and see the lighthouses. There are two historic lighthouses on Cape Disappointment.
The Cape Disappointment light was build in 1856. Because of problems with the fog horn and light not reaching ships, the second lighthouse was built. Take a nice hike along the Cape Disappointment Trail. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

From our 2010 Spring Break trip…through the forest to the lighthouse

The North Head Lighthouse is on a rock headland in Cape Disappointment State Park and has been in service since 1897. If you’re fortunate, you might not get blown out to sea while visiting this site.


A paved trail offers a unique view of the peninsula. The Discover Trail runs 8.5 miles from Ilwaco to Long Beach. Mile markers track your progress, and side paths allow access to the beach. It’s perfect for walking, running or biking.
Horseback riding on the beach is another enjoyable way to pass the time on your vacation. A local rancher brings horses to a paddock adjacent to the Worldmark resort where we stayed, but there are other vendors, too.


Beach
Did I mention this is the longest stretch of beach in the United States?


Maybe you prefer a little sunshine with your beach outings. That’s fine. But you might be surprised to see the locals at the beach during slanting rain showers. They’ll be walking their dogs (without leashes), jogging, flying kites, windsurfing, parasailing or surfing.
In the evenings, cars will park in full view of the sinking sun. Trucks will have their beds facing the ocean while their occupants recline on camp chairs, eating and drinking.
People drove campers and motorhomes on to the beach. Talk about a drive-up ocean view for any meal! I wouldn’t recommend this when the sand is soft, but during the rainy season, even the dry sand doesn’t give way very easily.
What are your favorite beach activities?

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Talon by Julie Kagawa

Kagawa’s story of dragons living among us has been on my to be read list since I first read its description. Yes, I’m talking about Talon.

When it came, it appeared on my Overdrive app just in time for the weekend. *sigh*

Summary

Ember and her twin brother are on the last leg of their training. If they can successfully assimilate into human society, they will earn their position in Talon, the international organization of dragons.

Ember wants to taste freedom. She befriends the locals and finds a love of surfing. Not as good as flying above the waves-which is forbidden-but enthralling nonetheless.

Her summer is cut short by the arrival of adult dragons to train her and her brother. Separately. Wait a minute! They’ve done everything together for their entire sixteen years of life.

Soon, Ember is chomping at the restraints Talon places on her. Encouraged to defy their rules by a rogue dragon, she finds herself doubting everything she knows about dragons and drifting further from her beloved brother.

Enter the spies from St. George, the dragon hunter’s organization. Garret is known as the Perfect Soldier, but when Ember pushes him to embrace living, unexpected emotions – and doubts of his own – emerge.

Review

Kagawa creates two complex organizations with ideologies that diametrically oppose each other. She throws a teenager from each together. Conflict results. This conflict is central to the story and really the best part of the book.

The two secret societies battling each other is a perfect backdrop for this novel. What do teenagers care about some remote war?

Ember wants freedom. She’s not going to find it in Talon. Ever.

For Garret, he’s been a soldier his whole life. He learned to kill dragons at 14 and has more kills than anyone his age. But is there more to life than hunting the beasts that killed his family?

Some reviewers complained about the ease with which Dante and Ember fit into human society since they’d lived in isolation for sixteen years. Ember’s inner thoughts made it believable to me. Dragons have a natural chemistry for soothing people, easing in, making people trust them.

I enjoyed viewing the dragon society through the different eyes of the three narrators. Is Talon the evil organization the rogue dragon believes? Is there a greater purpose behind their disguises? Those answers must wait for the sequel.

Usually, I’m not a fan of love triangles. In this case, it didn’t bother me (as much) because it was obvious that Ember had a duality – dragon and human. Each side of her preferred the guy from its race.

I wasn’t thrilled with the ending because, while the story question was resolved, it introduced the problem for the sequel. Was she afraid we wouldn’t read the next book unless she wrote it this way?

It still earned 4.5 out of five stars from me because I loved the characters, the conflict, and the constant tension. Were there unbelievable moments? Not enough to throw me out of the story.

But I predicted the outcome fairly early on (although I didn’t guess every angle). And the ending could have been stronger.

Recommendation

If you love dragons, you want to read this book. They are everything you expect while being unexpected in their human disguises.

If you like snarky heroines, you will enjoy this book. Ember Hill has attitude. Being inside her head made for a great ride.

This book has violence but it’s handled with taste and delicacy, so the story is suitable for younger teenagers. The romantic element is secondary to the character development. A PG read in that respect too.

The biggest drawback of this book – the library didn’t have a copy of the sequel available for me to check out.

Rogue, consider yourself added to my TBR list.