The word "funky" is often used to describe odd little towns and villages, but it fits the Willapa River town of South Bend perfectly. The community has an eclectic riverfront, with restaurants and other buildings on pilings above the banks, and with parks that allow access to the water. But what you may notice most are the piles and piles of oyster shells, for this is the self-styled "Oyster Capital of the World." You can buy oysters—in the shell, shucked, or smoked—everywhere, even at gas stations.
The downtown business district, crowded onto a narrow shelf between the river and a hill, has many shops in false-front 19th- and early-20th-century buildings; the steep slopes above the river are densely packed with houses and cottages. The stately Pacific County Courthouse (1910-11) towers above all this with its colorful glass dome.
South Bend at a Glance
Elsewhere in Southwestern Washington
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