Have you ever seen a cotton ball hopping around on the sand?
You will see all kinds of birds at Leadbetter Point State Park on the upper Long Beach Peninsula, between Willapa Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
So, bring out the binocs, field guide, tripod and camera and scan the horizon for eagles, peregrine falcons, brown pelicans, terns and ducks. The park’s forest is also alive with feathered friends - western tanager, warblers and black-headed grosbeak in summer, and chickadees, kinglets and thrushes year round.
If you come at the right time of year (March through September) and you’re lucky, you may even see a snowy plover chick. These spotted white puffs look like energetic cotton balls - serious cuteness alert! They – and their elegant parents, are an endangered species, and many begin their lives on the sandy beaches of Leadbetter Point. Just watch your step and stay within marked walking areas.
This small day-use park is adjacent to the expansive Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. And if you’d rather watch the avian action from the water, the Willapa Bay side of Leadbetter Point is kayak, canoe and paddleboard-friendly when the tides and the weather cooperate.
Looking for a quiet day at a seaside forest? Leadbetter is a lesser-known park, so you may have the place to yourself. As long as you don’t mind sharing it with the denizens of the sky.
Leadbetter Point State Park is a 1,732-acre natural area open for day use. The park features beach frontage on the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay. The adjacent Willapa National Wildlife Refuge has about 5 miles of ocean beach and several miles of bay beach. Dogs are allowed (on leash, of course) on the park’s southern trails and beaches. Dogs are not allowed in the northern part of Leadbetter Point, which encompasses the refuge and snowy plover habitat. The park is part of the Willapa Bay Water Trail. Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing and clamming at the park.
Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
A recreational license is required for fishing and shellfish harvesting at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.