World's Longest Drivable Beach
Long Beach, Washington
Long Beach's large arch gateway leading to the Pacific Ocean is labeled "World's Longest Beach." In an age of armchair web searchers and global beach aficionados, it's hard for such a brazen civic claim to go unchallenged. Longest beach boosters in South America, New Zealand and Bangladesh point out its folly.
The Long Beach beach, a state park, is 28 miles in length. The sand expanse is densely packed enough to support most vehicles, and in years past, has been promoted as the "World's Longest Drivable Beach." This provided added incentive for tourists, who could drive the length of the beach and go home with something to brag about.
We discovered the hard way that only part of the beach is sturdy enough for driving -- like a navigable river channel -- and we'd only traveled a few hundred feet off the entrance pavement.
Today, parts of the drive are forbidden, to protect clam beds, and Long Beach hedges officially by saying they are the "World's Longest Continuous Peninsula Beach." There are no plans to correct the entrance sign. And from the Earth's other longest drivable beach claimants, we're waiting to hear more about how billboards promote those drives, and whether there's a lucrative career in towing stuck tourists....