Nahcotta: The peninsula’s north end

Morehead Park beach overlooking the Port of Peninsula, canneries, and Willapa Bay.

Exploration of the communities north of Ocean Park is easiest traveling along Bay Avenue to the Willapa Bay side of the Peninsula (follow the signs to Nahcotta). As you do, you will go by artists’ studios and galleries and several bed and breakfast establishments. Stop by and talk to these folks. They can help orient you to the area’s cultural offerings.

While most of the bay’s tidelands are privately owned, an opportunity exists, just south of the Nahcotta Post Office, to explore public tidelands. Here, at the Shellfish Interpretive Center, you may even try your hand at picking an oyster. All oysters gathered here must be shucked where they are found and the shells left for new oysters to grow on.

The port area in Nahcotta is a charming place on the bay nestled among processing plants and mountainous piles of oyster shells near the Willapa Bay Interpretive Center. A short walk away is the Port of Peninsula’s boat ramp. Several interesting little shops are located in the area.

Follow the signs to Oysterville, taking note of the old cypress trees lining the roadway. I. A. Clark, a missionary who co-founded Oysterville, brought the trees to this area. At the Oysterville sign, six miles north of Nahcotta, slow down and prepare to enter the past. 

Following the signs to Leadbetter Park will take you past the Oysterville Post Office and Store. Over the years they have been the gateway to the Oysterville Cemetery. If you have a bent for history, stop and buy the book describing who is buried in the cemetery or take a peaceful hour to read headstones.

If going to the beach means peace and solitude and a chance to get away from crowds, then take some time to hike the trails at Leadbetter Point. Part of the area is a state park and the remainder is part of the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. The ocean-side trail is rugged and impassable in the winter but many hikers love this trail in the summer.

Throughout the Peninsula natural experiences abound. Birding is particularly engaging due to the wide variety of birds that migrate here during the summer and winter. Swans, pelicans, eagles, hawks, snowy plovers and songbirds call this an interim home. Even hummingbirds and robins excite the heart in spring. The magic of their passage and return are a true wonder.

Leaving the park and retracing the route back to Ocean Park is easy. The adventuresome can wend their ways back to Ocean Park through the ocean side residential area of Surfside and perhaps take in a game of golf.

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