Blink-and-you'll-miss-it Ilwaco is known for its port, crammed with fishing boats bringing in salmon, Dungeness crab, albacore tuna and other treats from the Pacific. What passes for downtown is a collection of wooden cabin-style homes overlooking an appealing harbor. The early growth of the salmon-canning industry here was aided by the development of salmon traps, a method of catching the fish that was made illegal in the 1930s.
Unlike the rest of the Long Beach Peninsula, Ilwaco is hemmed in by rocky hills. West of town, on a rugged promontory above the mouth of the Columbia River in Cape Disappointment State Park, are the remains of Fort Canby, a Civil War–era bulwark designed to protect river shipping from Confederate interference. The hiking-biking Discovery Trail terminates here.