Oyster Pioneers of Oysterville & Willapa Bay
You'll know you are in oyster country when you start to see the immense piles of shells heralding the entrance to each shucking facility. With over 260 square miles of water surface, Willapa Bay is the second largest estuary on the United States Pacific coast. Fairly shallow, more than half of the volume of water inside it enters and leaves with every tide. The vast oyster beds filter and improve the quality of the water.
Begin your journey at the Willapa Bay Interpretive Center, a replica of an oyster station house, exhibits the 150-year history of oyster growing on Willapa Bay.
Drive north to Oysterville, an immaculately preserved beach town, first settled in 1841. Over time many structures were lost to the sea and elements, but today there are still several historic buildings, including a restored school house and church. At the end of the shore road, take the time to visit Oysterville Sea Farms, to sample the morning's tide harvest. Down the road is Oysterville Store featuring local art intermingled with handmade soaps and foods. Even the shirts and hats are made locally.
Or maybe outdoor activities are more your thing? Then make a stop at Leadletter State Park to enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding or a nature hike. The park features beach frontage on the Pacific Ocean and Willapa Bay. The park is part of the Willapa Bay Water Trail.
Hungry? Visit one of the many local shellfish farms lining the road or take a short hillside detour to Willipa Oyster Company and pick up fresh steamer clams or a take-and-bake oyster pot pie. Packed with fresh plump oysters in a rich sauce, the stew is topped with a flaky puff pastry. No oven? No worries. These and many more locally made or harvested items can be overnighted to your home kitchen. Prefer to have your fresh shellfish prepared for you by a local chef? Check out the many area restaurants including the Pickled Fish Restaurant with a fantastic water view over Long Beach.
There are so many activities, you may want to stay overnight! No problem, the area has everything from beachfront campgrounds and hotels to guest cottages and historic B&B's complete with their own beachfront sea gardens – growing a year round crop of oysters and clams. Sea you there!