Thrifty Summer Get-together Ideas in Thurston County

YesYou don’t need to spend a lot of money this summer to have a memorable date with your sweetheart! Make the most of the sunny days and warm nights ahead by spending quality time without hurting the budget. Here are some thrifty summer get-together ideas for Thurston County.

Pretend to be tourists for the day

See Thurston County with fresh eyes by pretending this is your first time visiting the area with your date. One way to pretend to be a tourist for the day is to drive, or even cycle, the Thurston Bountiful Byway! The 60 mile scenic drive is a mini road trip where you can stop at local farms, shops and sample locally grown and produced food. Each stop is unique and celebrates the county’s agricultural offerings. Seasonal summer stops include exploring the lavender fields at Evergreen Valley Lavender Farm and the farmers markets of Yelm and Tenino. If you’re not sure where to start, Experience Olympia & Beyond has several road trip itineraries you can use to plan your road trip adventure.

If you don’t have time to drive the road but want a taste of the county’s agricultural bounty, stay closer to town and explore the Olympia Farmers’ Market or the Saturday Market at West Central Park.

Take a hike and bring a picnic

burfoot park beach and ocean
Burfoot County Park offers 1,100 feet of shoreline overlooking Budd Inlet. It’s a great place to enjoy a romantic summer picnic with a date.
Photo credit: Anna Rhoads

There are several beautiful walks and hikes in Thurston County that are sure to wow your date! Turn a casual hike into a romantic nature walk by planning ahead and packing a surprise picnic. If you didn’t pick up any goodies on the Bountiful Byway, stop by Lucky Lunchbox or Meconi’s Italian Subs and grab your date’s favorite sandwich or wrap. Depending on how far you want to travel, there are several romantic and scenic spots to hold your picnic.

Burfoot County Park, located north of Olympia off Boston Harbor Road Northeast, covers 50 acres and includes a trail leading to 1,100 feet of waterfront on Budd Inlet. Set up a blanket on the beach and enjoy the view with your date. A more secluded option with views of the Eld Inlet waterfront and the occasional peak of Mount Rainier is Frye Cove County Park, located on the Steamboat Island peninsula. If you want to stay closer to town, Brewery Park in Tumwater Falls offers three cascading waterfalls and a half-mile scenic loop. There are several picnic benches near the parking lot.

Berry picking

blueberries in a brown bucket
Self-serve berry picking is a low-stress date idea for getting to know your date and picking the freshest fruit you can find. Photo credit: Anna Rhoads

A stress-free date where you can talk and get to know your date is berry picking! There are several U-Pick berry farms in Thurston County that are open to the public during the summer months. Starting in mid-June is strawberry season, with strawberry picking opportunities at Spooner Berry Farms. Spooner Berry Farms usually has a two week picking time, so be sure to follow their Facebook page to stay up to date when the strawberries are ready.

Later in the season, you can find several U-pick blueberry farms open, usually from mid-July to late August. Blueberry picking farm options include Carr’s Organic Blueberry Farm, Friendly Grove Blueberry Farm, Gile Blueberry Farm, and several others throughout the county. The cost is usually by the pound, and some farms only accept cash or checks.

For more information on U-pick farms in Thurston County and Washington State and to schedule your U-pick berry date, visit the Pick Your Own website.

Take an Ice Cream Tour

Enjoy your ice cream or gelato overlooking the water at Percival Landing.
Photo credit: Anna Rhoads

If you’re trying to beat the heat, eat dessert first and go on a round of ice cream! Starting in downtown Olympia, try Sofie’s Scoops Gelateria, located at 222 Market. Sofie’s Scoops sells authentic homemade ice cream fresh daily. With your ice cream in hand, walk to Percival Landing and enjoy the waterfront views. Or, visit JuJu’s Iced Cream & Frozen Custard, located on Fourth Avenue, a neo-vintage frozen treat shop. JuJu’s specialty is frozen custard, which is softer and creamier than ice cream, and is homemade daily. JuJu’s also offers vegan soft drinks and other frozen treats.

Other ice cream options in greater Olympia include Sweetlee’s Ice Cream, a red and white ice cream food truck that partners with small local farms and businesses to source the fastest growing, freshest ingredients for their frozen treats. Follow Sweetlee on Instagram to see where they are currently parked. In South Olympia, Humble Cow Ice Cream, creates small-batch artisanal ice cream, made from scratch.

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