No matter which way you shuck it, the truth is that the Willapa Bay towns of Nahcotta and Oysterville are quite literally defined by the slurpy sweet meat of the mollusk of love. The latter’s name says it all, while the former’s namesake is Chief Nahcati, the Native leader who first clued the white man into the oystery bounty of the bay.
Willapa Bay is believed to be the cleanest and least developed estuary on the West Coast of the Lower 48 states. Locals posit that these waters produce the best-tasting oysters in the nation (a claim disputed by folks in Grays Harbor  and Shelton ).
The oyster beds are closed to the public, but interpretive signs next to the Nahcotta’s Willapa Bay Field Station explain local ecology and the lives of shellfish. Willapa Bay Interpretive Center (south side of the Port of Peninsula breakwater, Nahcotta, 360/665-4547, www.portofpeninsula.org/oysterhouse.html , 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Fri.–Sun. late May–mid-Oct.) displays exhibits on the oyster industry and the natural history of Willapa Bay.
You can purchase fresh oysters and other seafood in Nahcotta at Wiegart Brothers Oyster Co., Bendiksen’s East Point Seafood Co., or the smaller Hilton’s Coast Oyster Company. Or stop at Oysterville Sea Farms (360/665-6585, www.oysterville.net ) for fresh or smoked oysters and clams.
A number of homes constructed during the town of Oysterville’s heyday have been restored and are now part of the Oysterville National Historic District. For a self-guided walking tour map, visit the beautiful white-and-red Oysterville Baptist Church, built in 1892. On Sunday afternoons in summer the church comes alive with vespers programs featuring an ecumenical mix of secular and religious music.