DescriptionProtected by tall headlands to the west, Ilwaco lies northeast of Cape Disappointment and just inside the mouth of the Columbia River—the location of one of the most treacherous river bars in the world. Over the course of more than 200 years, the hazardous conditions at the Columbia bar and along the nearby coast have claimed hundreds of vessels, earning area waters the nickname “Graveyard of the Pacific.”
Cape Disappointment Coast Guard Station and Lighthouse, 3.7 miles southeast off US 101, is the home of one of the largest search and rescue facilities in the state; it also houses the Coast Guard's only heavy-weather Motor Lifeboat School. A local landmark is the Colbert House, built in Chinookville in 1872 and moved by barge to its present-day location at the corner of Spruce and Quaker streets.
Ilwaco is a popular sport fishing port. Charter operators specialize in guided fishing trips for salmon, halibut, tuna, bottom fish and sturgeon; the prime fishing season is May through October. A Washington fishing license, available from charter operators, is required.