Explorers can travel by land or boat to explore Olympia’s majestic waterfront. Sail, troll or motor into the award winning Swantown Marina where visitors can moor their boats for a day trip or stay longer (up to 30 days). Slips are typically available and offered on a first come, first served basis but reservations are encouraged for busy summer weekends. For day trippers, the Port Plaza Guest Dock on the Northwest tip of the peninsula is easily accessible for boaters to hop off and grab lunch or make a quick market trip from the boardwalk. Those traveling by land will find easy parking for cars or bikes. Click here for a brochure and map detailing the waterfront’s amenities. Travel solo, bring a special someone or the entire family for an all-ages adventure along the waterfront. Here are a few can’t miss stops:
- Olympia Farmers Market is the second largest farmers market in Washington State, and located at the Port Peninsula. Find fresh, top-quality regional produce, meats, seafood, baked goods and flowers. Nosh on fresh fare from local eateries and find arts, crafts and live entertainment. Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (April-Oct.: Thurs-Sun; Nov.-Dec.: Sat-Sun).
- Hands On Children's Museum is consistently voted "Best Place to Take Kids" in the Best of South Sound. This award-winning family destination features interactive fun and learning with more than 150 hands-on exhibits spread out over two floors and an Outdoor Discovery Center. Families can currently take an overseas adventure without ever leaving Olympia as the museum hosts a traveling exhibit, Children's China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucius (this exhibit runs until Sept. 4).
- Walking Trails. Travelers can stretch their legs on one of several walking trails surrounding the spectacular waterfront. Take a stroll around Port Plaza, located just north of the Percival Landing boardwalk on Budd Inlet. It features eye-catching landscaping with a viewing tower and a park. Visitors can also explore the east bay trail with more than a mile of unpaved trail that stretches along the shoreline (perfect for bird-watching).
- Find a table with a view. Waterfront dining options abound throughout the waterfront. Indulge in fresh local seafood, the finest Northwest beef and sip hand-crafted cocktails while enjoying exquisite views at Anthony’s Homeport or Anthony’s Hearthfire Grill. Sip a glass of Washington red with authentic Italian cuisine made from scratch at Mercato Ristorante. Caffeine junkies can fuel up at Batdorf & Bronson’s Dancing Goats Espresso Bar, with ample seating and a cozy fireplace.
Those hoping to keep their sea legs on land a bit longer will find a variety of hotels, inns and B&Bs detailed at www.visitolympia.com. Make sure to connect for real time updates on Facebook, Twitter (@VisitOlympia) and Instagram (@VisitOlympia). Learn more about the Port of Olympia at www.portolympia.com.
26th Annual Dixieland Jazz Festival, June 23-26, 2016
Mark your calendar and dust off those dancing shoes. The annual festival brings a lineup of national jazz and blues stars to Saint Martin’s University with much of the proceeds benefiting student scholarships to national jazz camps. Plenty of dance lessons, great bands, and four large dance floors provide a wonderful time for all ages. www.olyjazz.com
Plan Ahead for Fourth of July Fun: Celebrate Two Days, Two Ways
Patriotism rings throughout Thurston County this Fourth of July weekend with two days of festivities. Start the celebration on Sunday, July 3 at the Lacey Fireworks Spectacular and Freedom Concert. Food vendors, games, live music and an impressive fireworks display at 10 p.m. kick the holiday off right.
Continue the party the next day in Tumwater with a full agenda of festivities. The Fore on the Fourth Fun Run is a 4k race on the Tumwater Valley Golf Course where patriotic costumes are encouraged. Beginning around 11 a.m. the City of Tumwater launches its 25th Annual Independence Day Parade. Grab a seat along the parade route that begins at Capitol Boulevard and Lee Street. Wrap up the day at the Artesian Family Festival and Thunder Valley Fireworks Show on the Tumwater Golf Course Driving Range. With more than 10,000 visitors expected to attend the fireworks show, there will be music, food and games at this annual festival. God bless America indeed!