Visitor Information


Welcome to a place that offers many of Washington’s “firsts and onlys,” a place where Puget Sound starts, the Oregon Trail ends, and the things-to-do list goes on and on. Welcome to Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and the communities of Thurston County.

In 1889, Olympia won a heated battle with Seattle and several other challengers to become the state capital. Today, residents and visitors reap the rewards of that first legislative victory – an impressive 82-year-old capitol building whose campus boasts Vietnam War and World War II memorials, state library, governor’s mansion, capitol museum, alluring gardens and conservatory, and vistas of the sound, mountains, forest and city.

Less than 20 miles from the capitol, but a world away from everyday politics, mysterious mounded prairie lands draw folks to a 624-acre preserve and challenge them to explain the origins of the regularly spaced, seven-foot-tall sloping mounds. A nearby chorus of howls originates from the residents of an 80-acre, open-to-the-public sanctuary for captive-bred wolves.

North of the capitol, Lacey lures outdoor enthusiasts with 425 acres of wooded parkland, four golf courses, three freshwater lakes and several miles of protected, undeveloped Puget Sound shoreline. Every fall, visitors go eye-to-fin with spawning salmon in Tumwater’s Deschutes River canyon. Year-round, a wooden footbridge over Tumwater Falls, panoramic views of a century-old brew house and historic markers make the area a popular retreat.

An array of activities to work the mind or the body is found in abundance throughout Thurston County. Kayakers frequently put in at downtown Olympia’s Percival Landing, start of the Cascade Marine Trail. Bikers are drawn to the 4,000-acre Capitol Forest, where terrain ranges from gentle to intense. Birders flock to the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Golfers have 159 fairways calling. Antique-seekers find treasures in virtually every community, while art lovers find creative endeavors on sidewalks, streets, in many of the county’s 52 parks and in dozens of galleries.

Thurston County is conveniently situated between two major cities, Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Mount Rainier and the rugged Cascade Mountains provide majestic scenery, while Washington’s Pacific Ocean coast is just an hour’s drive to the west. With its mild climate and abundance of natural treasures, outdoor recreation is popular with residents.

Visitor Resources

Experience Olympia & Beyond
(360) 704-7544 / (877) 704-7500

Lacey Parks (360) 491-0857

Olympia Parks (360) 753-8380

Thurston County Chamber of Commerce (360) 357-3362

Thurston County Parks (360) 786-5595

Tenino Parks (360) 264-2368

Tumwater Parks (360) 754-4160

Washington State Department of Tourism (866) 964-8913

Washington State Parks (360) 902-8844

Miles from Olympia
Spokane 320
Olympic National Park (Quinault) 95
Vancouver, Canada 201
Mount Rainier National Park (Paradise) 81
Neah Bay 187
Pacific Ocean (Ocean Shores) 74
Cascade Mountains (White Pass) 121
Seattle 60
Mount St. Helens 120
Seatac Airport 46
Portland, OR 113
Tacoma 30