Five Perfect Last-Minute Weekend Trips

Greene
Greene September 2, 2022

The weather begins to cool, the sunlight fades earlier, and families prepare to go back to school. You and your family might be looking for some last-minute, easy weekend trips to take. Whether it’s a solo weekend hike, a getaway with friends, or a weekend outing with family, there are plenty of places less than an hour from Olympia that will make for a good time.


Here are five easy and accessible places to quickly get away this  weekend.

Labord-Day-TOLMIE
Summer Hours: 8:00 AM – Dusk
Drive Time: Approximately 25-30 minutes
Click here for directions

Tolmie State Park

Set on a spit in a cove, Tolmie State Park is remarkably close to Olympia, Tacoma, and the communities in between. Backed by a forest, the park’s main draw is the beach, with calm waters for pint-sized waders. The area is filled with families on summer weekends, but it can be quiet during the week, and its shaded trails provide more than 3 miles of hiking.

The park offers a day-use picnic area with both sheltered and unsheltered picnic tables and grills. Tolmie State Park is perfect for beach exploration and bird watching, highlighted by a beautiful wooden dock that extends into the shoreline with picturesque views of Puget Sound.

While there is no watercraft launch, there are still plenty of opportunities for boating and fishing (provided you have your license). There are even areas for swimming and scuba diving.

A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

Labord-Day-MILLERSYLVANIA

Summer Hours: 6:30 AM – Dusk
Drive Time: Approximately 20-25 minutes
Click here for directions

Millersylvania State Park

Conveniently located between Olympia and Centralia, this 903-acre camping park is nestled along the shoreline of Deep Lake and offers a 100-foot dock that is perfect for boating, kayaking, swimming, and fishing.

The park also offers multiple biking and hiking trails, an amphitheater, horseshoe and firepits, and even a tap house with a variety of local craft beers and ciders.

A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

Labord-Day-NISQUALLY-WILDLIFE-REFUGE

Summer Hours: Sunrise – Sunset
Drive Time: Approximately 20-25 minutes
Click here for directions

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is located where the freshwater of the Nisqually River flows into Puget Sound. The mosaic of different habitats found in the Nisqually River Delta provides optimal conditions for diverse and abundant wildlife.

This refuge is meant to protect and preserve the fish, wildlife, and plants of the river delta, so it is built to minimize human impact on the environment. This means that boating and grilling are prohibited.

But that won’t stop you from having a good time. The trail leading through the refuge is perfect for families with little ones or nature lovers that aren’t looking for a strenuous hike. The trip starts at the Norm Dicks Visitor Center and offers a range of walking options that take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on your mood and pace.

The daily entrance fee is $3.00 per four adults and children under 16 years are admitted free. The refuge can only accept cash or checks, not credit cards. Fees can be paid at the entrance fee kiosk located near the entrance to the Norm Dicks Visitor Center. All of these passes will admit the pass holder and 3 additional adults. Children under 16 enter free.

Labord-Day-BELFAIR-1
Summer Hours: 8:00 AM – Dusk
Drive Time: Approximately 1 Hour
Click here for directions

Belfair State Park

Wetlands, pebble beaches, tidal flats, and salmon runs are the stuff that Puget Sound is made of. You will find those features and more at Belfair State Park. Located on Hood Canal between Shelton and Bremerton, the park's gentle breezes offer ideal conditions for kite-flying, windsurfing, and kicking back on a warm summer day.

This breathtaking state park offers year-round camping and plenty of available picnic tables. There are numerous places to fly kites and a large grassy area that is perfect for kids to run around playing soccer, baseball, or football.

The park is also flanked by more than 3,700 feet of saltwater that allows for guests to go clamming, fishing, and swimming.

A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

Labord-Day-CAPITAL-FOREST

Summer Hours: Varied
Drive Time: 15-30 minutes
Click here for directions

Capital Forest

Located southwest of Olympia in the Black Hills of Grays Harbor and Thurston counties, the 110,000-acre Capitol State Forest is both a timber-producing forest and a popular recreation destination.

The forest is filled with hiking options ranging from easy, short walks for the entire family, to more intense trips that go deep into nature.

The McLane Nature Trail offers a low-impact hike that takes an hour to complete and is perfect for viewing wildlife. Visitors can also check out the beaver pond area which is sure to appeal to kids. The trail is minutes away from downtown Olympia and is open from 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM every day. Click here for a map of the area.

One rare gem in the Capital Forest is the Mima Falls Trail. This beautiful trail is perfect for more adventurous hikers, horseback riders, or mountain bikers. The trailhead starts just half an hour from Olympia and culminates at Mima Falls, a small landmark in the heart of the forest. Click here for a map of the trail.

A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.

Camping-Labor-Day-Fun

Whatever You Do…Have Fun

No matter what you do this weekend, make sure you spend it with friends and family while taking in the amazing scenery Western Washington has to offer.

For more information on other state parks, you can visit the Washington State Parks and Recreation website by clicking here.

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Written by: Greene