Dig Clams? Long Beach Razor Clam Festival set for April 20

By Ann Powers | Saturday, March 30, 2019

If you’re a fan of clams, make sure to save the date for the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival on Saturday, April 20. The historic event dating back to 1940 is a family-friendly favorite among locals and visitors alike and a longstanding claim to fame for Washington’s beautiful Long Beach Peninsula.

The day is full of clam fest fun, and it starts at 6:15 a.m. with free razor clam digging lessons from ‘Clambassadors’ on the beach near the Bolstad Approach. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials say the best digging happens one to two hours prior to low tide, which is set for 7:58 a.m. that day – so this lesson will prepare just in time. You’ll need to register, bring a shovel or clam gun, a clamming license and a bucket or net for your harvest, and then get ready to dig razor clams like a local! Registration forms can be found here, or call (360) 642-2400 for more information.

Demonstrations on how to clean your clams will be held at the Bolstad Beach Approach Pavilion in downtown Long Beach from 8-9 a.m. While this can be a daunting task for the newcomer, seasoned clam diggers will be available to show you how it’s done effectively and efficiently.

After you’ve reached your clam-digging limit, bring your bounty over to Dennis Company from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., at 201 North Pacific Highway, to see how your catch measures up to others. Contests include Biggest Clam Dug, Smallest Clam Dug and How Many Clam Shells in the Tank. The lucky winners receive $100 each!

Mermaids and free face painting can be found at the Veterans Memorial Park from 12-4 p.m. Be on the lookout for photo ops with Sam the Clam, Dennis Duck and the infamous pirate Captain Jack Sparrow. They'll all be out and about during the day mingling with festival goers. There will also be an oyster shucking contest in the park from 3:30-4 p.m. 

Of course, one of the best parts of clam digging is clam eating! The Clam Chowder Taste-Off gets underway from 2-4 p.m. at the Long Beach Elks Lodge at 110 Pacific Avenue. Local restaurants square off for the coveted Best Chowder trophy. Your $10 entry ticket gets you chowder samples and a drink, a tide book, Beach Visitors Guide, an official Razor Clam Festival vintage postcard and the chance to win a Clam Hawk clam gun. You’ll want to arrive early because the taste-off is limited to 300 participants.

Next, gather around a replica of the World’s Largest Frying Pan to enjoy some delicious clam fritters from 3-5 p.m. at Veterans Field. They’ll be serving up winning recipes from previous fritter cook-offs.

Clam digging, as well as clam eating, is most definitely thirsty work! So stop by the North Jetty Brewing Beer and Wine Garden in Veterans Memorial Park, from 3-8 p.m. As an added bonus, there'll be live music too.

And what Razor Clam Festival would be complete without snapping a selfie next to Long Beach’s notorious (and hilarious) Giant Spitting Clam? Plug in a quarter to witness the creature in full-on spitting action! Use the hashtag #LongBeachRazorClam when posting your pictures to social media. 

A variety of vendors will be set up in downtown Long Beach during the day. You'll be able to enter drawings to win prizes and goods from area businesses.

A few good things to know …

Wear boots and prepare to get wet. You might want to bring a change of clothes to keep in the car. Coastal weather can be a bit moody so include some warm layers. 

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can claim 15 razor clams daily and must keep the first 15 they dig regardless of the clam's size. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. All clam diggers ages 15 and older must have a 2019-20 fishing license. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on the WDFW’s website and from license vendors statewide.

If you can’t make it to the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, no worries – clam digging is popular throughout the region. Favorite clam digging locales found along Oregon's north coast include Indian Beach, Cannon Beach, Short Sands and Cape Meares Beach. Check with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for what’s open, tips for a successful clam digging adventure and current regulations on the Oregon side. 

In addition to the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, learn about more Pacific Northwest adventures on our Daytime EventsNightlife and Community Events pages. We'd love to hear about your highlights while visiting, so please share them in the comments section below.

Photos courtesy of the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival. 

About the Author Ann Powers
Ann Powers is a reporter and writer who has lived and worked on the Oregon Coast. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison and currently working on her master's degree in multimedia journalism at the University of Oregon's Portland campus. Originally from Wisconsin, she now calls Oregon home, describing it as, "the Midwest of the Pacific Northwest," due to its dairy-state status, beautiful environment and friendly people.