September is a sweet time on the Long Beach Peninsula.
As summer crowds dissipate, it’s a quieter, more contemplative time. A time for long walks on the beach without dodging traffic and for snuggling into that extra sweater. There likely will be sunny days and plenty of fun things to do.
The peninsula was developed as a resort destination from its beginning and featured the “Clamshell Railroad,” which transported visitors along the peninsula from 1889 to 1930. The narrow gauge rail line is no more, but the peninsula’s original intent to attract and accommodate visitors remains.
What to do
The long, beautiful 28-mile beach along the peninsula’s western coastline is the main attraction for walking, jumping waves, making sand castles and digging clams in season. At low tides, the sand is flat and hard-packed enough to drive upon.
The beach has a whole a new perspective when horseback or riding through the grassy dunes on meandering asphalt trails.
Most other recreation options can be found on or near Sid Snyder Drive in Long Beach, like the horseback riding stables or the Fun Beach Fun Center that has one of two mini golf courses and an adrenaline-raising go-kart track.
The fabulous World Kite Museum, located on the same street, may inspire action.
In the center of town there are shops and cafes galore, an arcade and Marsh’s Free Museum, the packed-to-the-rafters warehouse of a store featuring bizarre oddities.
Looking for more peaceful diversions? Away from the beach, north of town, take a walking tour at the Cranberry Museum and adjacent bog (October is harvest time) or enjoy another sort of walking tour at the nine-hole Peninsula Golf Course.
Where to eat
If you’ve never ventured to The Depot Restaurant in Seaview (the area with the large numbered streets south of downtown), you’re in for a real treat. The airy gazebo is perfect for outdoor dining, whether indulging on full dinners or simply sipping a glass of wine and sampling small plates like the Peruvian Mango Sea Scallops, the Gazpacho Seville or the go-to Dungeness Crab Mac & Cheese.
I always enjoy breakfast at 42nd Street Café and Bistro, just across the street from The Depot.
North Jetty Brewery & Tap Room is my go-to for craft beer. The small spot features indoor and outdoor dining, with a small menu of treats like pretzels and hot dogs.
The Shelburne Pub has a tasty menu to enjoy with beer, wine or cocktails outdoors on the small deck or in the serene garden.
Get your elevated bar food — burgers, salads and tacos — at The Lost Roo, where you can eat in the cavernous restaurant or order take-out for curbside delivery.
There’s the always eclectic and interesting Pickled Fish for dizzying deliciousness, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Curbside take-out delivery is available on request.
Next to Marsh’s downtown, there’s Patty’s Fish Tacos and Captain Bob’s Chowder. Order crab rolls or seafood chowder bread bowls for a filling lunch.
Farther north, it’s an unlikely but welcome, surprise to find terrific lunches and dinners at the Peninsula Golf Course cafe, The Cove.
Throughout Seaview and Long Beach, you can also find a variety of other options if the above-mentioned options don’t satisfy your hunger. Pizza, Chinese food, seafood, Thai food, tacos, barbecue, sandwiches, bakeries, candy stores, ice cream and bars are all easily accessible.
Where to stay
Take your pick of one of the four wonderful locally-owned properties, including the historic, sedate Shelburne Hotel, the hip Adrift Hotel & Spa, the sublime Inn at Discovery Coast and the cozy Boardwalk Cottages.
If you want a unique experience, there’s nothing like the Sou’wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Travel Trailer Resort, a sprawling jumble of cabins, vintage trailers and RV spaces. A favorite for artists, musicians, and the adventurous, this is communal living in self-contained spaces.
Steps from the beach and town are Akari Bungalows, eight comfy cottages with gas fireplaces and mini-kitchens.