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Small communities, packed with exploration!

Explore the offerings of the smaller communities of the Olympia region

Bird Watching at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Photo Credit: Ingrid Barrentine

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If you're in search of exploring outside the hub of Downtown Olympia, we recommend soaking in the charm that can be found in the surrounding smaller communities. Lacey, Yelm and Tumwater are musts visits while stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Laceyis an outdoor recreational playground that will welcome you with miles of hiking trails, biking trails, lakes, saltwater, densely-forested parklands and a 3,700-acre wildlife refuge. If you're looking to spot local birds while leisurely strolling, you will definitely want to visit the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Looking to fish or kayak one of the five freshwater lakes? Long Lake Park is the perfect place to start. Kite flying enthusiasts will find the Regional Athletic Complex has the perfect hill on windy days. The best part about exploring Lacey? There is plenty of outdoor space to allow individuals to remain socially distanced.

For a full list of opportunities to safely explore Lacey visit here:

Tumwateralso provides the opportunity to get out and explore the great offerings of the Pacific Northwest. Nestled along the Deschutes River there is plenty to be explored in the area. Start at Pioneer Park which features a children's play area, multiple trails and access to the Deschutes River. The perfect place to burn off any excess energy from being cooped up inside. It's always recommended, if possible, to plan a visit on a weekday when parks are less crowded to ensure a more spaced out and safe experience. If unable, it's important to remember to enjoy the parks while socially distancing. If you're looking to fuel up before or after visiting the park, we recommend stopping by Biscuit House, located inside of the Toyota of Olympia in Tumwater. Here you can indulge in biscuits and gravy in many forms, their Sunshine Pizza and many other delicious options.

For a full list of opportunities to safely explore Tumwater visit here:

Yelm is located in south Thurston County with stunning views of Mt. Rainier and locally-owned shops and restaurants. It truly is a hidden gem of the Olympia region. The Yelm-Tenino Trail is the perfect place to start your exploration. Originally a railroad, this now 14.5-mile trail is great for a family bike ride. But if you're in the mood for something more laid back, Yelm Cinemas is now open Thursday through Sunday and safely serving guests with unlimited soda and popcorn. 

For a full list of opportunities to safely explore Yelm visit here:  

Please note it's important to check links above to ensure businesses remain open under the COVID-19 restrictions put into place. 


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