Make the most of spring break and warmer days by rediscovering the gems in your hometown. A “staycation” means less stress and is often friendlier to your wallet. You can be more spontaneous and see places you’ve been meaning to visit.
We asked some of our locals to share some of their favorite Thurston County hidden gems. Continue to follow safe travel guidelines by wearing a face covering and keeping physically distant from others:
Yelm's graffiti wall greets walkers, runners and cyclists on the Yelm-Tenino Trail. A Yelm High School graduate—now a professional graffiti artist—regularly updates this longest free art wall in the Northwest with help from 20 of his friends. Line Critchfield, executive director, Yelm Chamber of Commerce, said the ever-changing graphics make every visit interesting.
Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls is a beautiful walk that includes views of the old brewery, says Thane Bryenton of Evergreen Valley Lavender Farm. The park is scheduled to reopen April 1 after construction projects and trail cleanup are completed. Two footbridges at each end of the gorge over the Deschutes River are highlights of the park’s paved trails.
Experience "main street" shopping in Tenino at The Iron Works Boutique, Aunt Kate's Chocolates and more. Residents and visitors can present $20 in cash at the Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce and receive a $21 Wooden Scrip. “During the Great Depression, the Tenino Chamber issued a similar wooden scrip to help support businesses. We’re taking a page from the history playbook to support our small businesses and give a benefit to our residents and visitors for their support of our community,” Chamber President Cheryl Pearce said.
Even with COVID closures, there’s still plenty to see and do in Thurston County this spring break. More ideas:
- Pick up flowers and early season produce at the Olympia Farmers Market. Starting April 1, the market will be open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Pack snacks and car BINGO for a drive on the Thurston Bountiful Byway. “Although some of the venues (like our lavender farm) are only open seasonally, just to drive around Thurston County can be very charming,” Thane said.
- Count the many birds and other species enjoying spring at the Billy Frank Jr Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
- Capitol State Forest has miles of trails for mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding and off-road vehicles. You’ll need a Discover Pass for your vehicle to access the area, managed by the state Department of Natural Resources.
Don’t forget to share.