Unlike the coast to the north, or the Oregon coast to the south, Washington’s southern coast is one of long sandy beaches and broad shallow bays. Squally and cool, we based our weekend of oyster-questing out a yurt at Grayland State Park.
The road from Grayland skirts the cranberry bogs, before rounding Cape Shoalwater into Willapa Bay. For over 150 years, Willapa Bay has been the center of Washington’s oyster industry, shipping oysters by steamer to San Francisco a long time ago. Here’s an Oyster Cam! If your view appears as if the glass is wet, it is probably raining.
Willapa Bay oysters are gigantic and the ones we picked out were better for eating cooked than slurping down raw. We easily picked up 4 dozen oysters for less then twenty bucks and smoked fish for dinner before heading further south to look at the Lewis and Clark history at Cape Disappointment. This is the Washington side of the Columbia River’s treacherous mouth into the Pacific. The exhibit has undergone major renovation since the last time I was there and the center is perched above a cormorant nesting colony with stunning views of the ships navigating the river channel.
We have yet another oyster knife as I forgot the two from last year. Next time, regardless of weather, we definitely will have the bikes and knives along unless we can figure out borrowing kayaks for camping on Long Island. Part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, it’s accessible only by boat and would be a very quiet weekend away.
Washington State’s Southern Coast