Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Franklin County, WA

  • Published 2022/11/30

Washington’s Franklin County is a little-known treasure.

Located on the south-central portion of the state, Franklin County was established in 1883 when it separated from one of the counties adjacent to it, Whitman County.

With its location near two picturesque rivers, Franklin County offers a lot of beautiful outdoor attractions for tourists.

Aside from this, the county also has an incredibly rich history that people would enjoy learning about.

Franklin County is the perfect vacation spot for something exciting, educational, or relaxing.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Franklin County, Washington:

Step Back in Time at the Franklin County Historical Society

Exterior of the Franklin County Historical Society

Allen4names, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Franklin County Historical Society is a fantastic resource for information on Franklin County’s past.

The museum, housed in the historic town of Pasco, has several exhibits about the county’s history, ranging from its early days as a fur trading post to its current status as a flourishing agricultural center.

Explore all the exhibits and get more information about the county’s heritage as you roam around this institute.

Franklin County Courthouse at the Franklin County Historical Society

Allen4names, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Franklin County Courthouse and Pasco City Hall are two historic structures you can also explore on the museum’s grounds.

Aside from being a historical place, the Franklin County Historical Society also has a gift shop where you can purchase books.

Make sure to stop by this store and buy gifts for your loved ones!

Relax under the Starry Night Sky at The Grain Bin Flowers & Inn

Situated on an organic farm in Pasco with wide crop varieties, The Grain Bin Flowers & Inn is the perfect place for a secluded weekend getaway.

With homegrown flowers and plants carefully situated around the inn, you’ll love the natural sights as much as you’ll enjoy the fun activities.

This inn on Ringold Road has a fire pit and outdoor seating in other areas, like the lounge in a grain bin.

Unwind as you sit with your loved ones under the stars and engage in deep conversations!

You can also book the whole farm to celebrate special events with your family and friends.

The Columbia River is only a short boat ride away from the inn.

Get Freshly Baked Goods at Vinny’s Bakery-Cafe & Bistro

Vinny’s Bakery-Cafe & Bistro on Lewis Street in Pasco is an excellent option for freshly made bread, pastries, and cookies.

Fresh sandwiches and salads are only a few of the many foods you can enjoy at this bakery, which has been providing residents of the Pasco area with delicious baked goods since 2014.

As a Pasco staple, they also offer a range of sweet and savory bread, cookies, and sweets, all of which are freshly prepared throughout the day using only the finest ingredients.

They even provide breakfast options seasoned and marinated in their homemade sauces.

Stop by this restaurant and dine on delectable meals that will fill your stomach!

Roam around the Great Outdoors at Juniper Dunes Wilderness

Daytime view of Juniper Dunes Wilderness

Tobin, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Juniper Dunes Wilderness is a vast and beautiful land spanning more than 7140 acres.

This gorgeous outdoor location is home to some of the tallest dunes in the world, which tower 130 feet high and 1200 feet wide.

You can also find the northernmost growths of western junipers here, some of which have existed for over 150 years.

Aside from junipers, there aren’t many trees that grow here, but plenty of plants and flowers blossom magnificently in the spring, even though the mountains that divide western and eastern Washington squeeze the moisture out of the air.

The wilderness lacks water and maintains trails for horseback riders.

View of the sunset from Juniper Dunes Wilderness

Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington from Portland, America, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Backpackers should prepare for a wide range of temperatures during overnight excursions.

If you want to explore this area, it’s better to have someone knowledgeable about it with you as it’s pretty challenging.

Nonetheless, if you’ve always wanted to explore picturesque outdoor areas, this is the place to be!

Remember to bring your camera since you’ll want to take pictures with all the massive trees and stunning flowers all over the area.

Sharpen Your Axe-Throwing Skills and Visit AXE KPR

If you want to see how accurately you can throw an axe, head to AXE KPR and engage in a brand-new sport!

Many additional activities are available here, including laser tag and arcade games.

Axe-throwing at this indoor range should take between one and two hours.

Children aged eight and up are welcome to play, but minors must be with their parents or guardians.

While they accept walk-ins, they advise that you make a reservation so you don’t have to wait to start throwing some axes.

Learn about Aviation History at the Pasco Aviation Museum

If you’re an aviation enthusiast, the Pasco Aviation Museum is the right place for you!

Pasco, a railroad town founded by the Northern Pacific Railway, played a significant role in aviation history.

In 1909, Charles A. Zornes relocated from St. Louis to Walla Walla to explore aviation opportunities.

In 1911, he rented 40 acres of level land in Pasco that faced the Columbia River for his experiments.

He started the Zornes Aviation School, the first flying school on the West Coast, and produced aircraft.

This was the location of the Pasco Holding and Re-consignment Center (Big Pasco).

This significant depot used to be a store and export for military equipment to the Soviet Union and military stations in the Pacific Northwest and the Manhattan Project during World War II.

Malin Bergstrom and a few locals established Save the Old NAS Pasco Control Tower in 2012.

These like-minded folks banded together to preserve history and honor the Greatest Generation to rescue and restore this historic structure.

A replica of the first airplane built by the Wright brothers is one of the museum’s many exhibitions.

At the Pasco Aviation Museum, you will also see other aircraft types, including helicopters and jets.

Let Go of All Your Worries at Chiawana Park

A playground at Chiawana Park

Kirk Bagley, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Find yourself a spot for a breather here at Chiawana Park, a 127-acre riverfront park along the mighty Columbia River.

It is located directly across the Yakima River Delta and offers scenic views of the waters.

Until 2007, Franklin County was in charge of managing it, but the City of Pasco is now responsible for the park’s upkeep.

Welcome sign of Chiawana Park

Gregory Varnum, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the park’s east end is a boat launch with parking and a playground where your kids can run and play around.

Three covered picnic shelters, four horseshoe pits, a boat dock, a playground, and a sand volleyball field are all located on the west side.

Find a quiet spot here so you can unwind and relax through meditation.

You can also sit by the picnic areas with your loved ones and unwind from a long week together!

The grounds of Chiawana Park

Gregory Varnum, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Score One-of-a-Kind Items at the Pasco Flea Market

The Pasco Flea Market is one of the best places to find bargains in Franklin County.

There are a bunch of vendors selling various products, from antiques to clothes to produce.

You can also find great food at the market, including fresh meats, eggs, chicken, beef, jams, and more that local farmers in the county grow.

There are also fresh vegetables, spices, flowers, and food stalls.

Live music is also available, making your shopping even more fun.

You’ll enjoy your visit to the Pasco Flea Market as you can choose among many items from many shops and stalls.

Make sure to stop by this destination before coming home so you can purchase unique gifts for your loved ones.

Watch Movies at the Classic Sunset Theater

Enjoy an unforgettable movie-watching experience at the Sunset Theatre in Connell!

August Aubert built the Sunset Theater in 1952 and, at first, was named after its founder.

However, because several letters were damaged on the marquee letters and people had trouble pronouncing “Aubert,” the establishment was renamed The Sunset Theatre in the late 1950s.

The theater also hosts Summer of Rock live performances apart from movies throughout the year.

You won’t have to worry about what movie to choose at this theater because it offers a wide variety of movies, from blockbuster hits to independent films.

Visit this place with your friends and family and have a fun time viewing an entertaining film after a long week.

Grab your popcorn and drinks while catching a movie at the Sunset Theatre!

Gain More Knowledge at Mid-Columbia Libraries – Basin City Branch

The Mid-Columbia Libraries – Basin City Branch is a small public library built from scratch by Henry Barnett and has been serving the public since it opened on Aug. 28, 1990.

This library in Mesa offers a convenient and delightful way to gain knowledge on many topics.

This is due to its comprehensive collection of books, magazines, DVDs, and more that spans a broad range of interests.

Whether you’re looking for fiction or non-fiction, art or history, this library has you covered.

You can also use their computers with internet access and a printer.

The library also offers a variety of classes and programs throughout the year, covering everything from computer basics to advanced gardening techniques.

Whether you’re looking for your next great read or need a quiet place to study, the Mid-Columbia Libraries – Basin City Branch is ideal.

Gaze at Stars in the Bechtel National Planetarium

Interior of the Bechtel National Planetarium

Keylimepie222, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Heads up, astronomy lovers!

If you want to take a closer look at the shining stars in the sky, head to the Bechtel National Planetarium!

This planetarium features a 36-foot viewing dome that uses the latest projection technology to provide visitors with realistic visuals and sound without 3D glasses.

The planetarium opened its doors to the public in December 2012 to educate the community about science, technology, and outer space.

The planetarium averaged 20,000 visitors annually in its first six years of operation, with most guests being elementary and high school students.

It produces extra high-quality visuals using state-of-the-art technology, such as nano steam constructed hemispherical projection surface and a top-notch projection system.

Not only does the planetarium offer shows, but it also hosts events and field trips!

Get a better look at the beautiful stars in the sky at the Bechtel National Planetarium in Pasco.

Grab Some Ice Cream at Helados la Michoacana

If you want something cold to relieve the heat, why not stop by Helados la Michoacana?

An original Mexican ice cream business, Helados la Michoacana serves juices and typical Mexican snacks.

They have soft-serve ice creams and shakes made from fresh fruits and king sod deserts.

They also offer burritos, sandwiches, quesadillas, and many other filling dishes that will satisfy your cravings!

If you’re craving coffee, you don’t need to find another place to get your fix because they also have it here.

Treat your sweet tooth with a cold treat at Helados la Michoacana at Pasco!

Support Local Vendors at Country Mercantile

Jay and Janece Wood have been running Country Mercantile as a family business since 1996.

They started as a little produce stand selling local, in-season products.

Today, you may choose from a fantastic array of the highest-quality gourmet delicacies from the Pacific Northwest and the most luscious handcrafted chocolates and fudge.

Their store tripled in size thanks to the most recent development, which was completed in 2002.

Enjoy their homemade tamales, enchiladas, salsa, and ice cream.

Browse the gift section of the store to find original collectibles, home décor, and gift suggestions.

It would be best to arrive hungry, so you may enjoy their deli, which is always a hit and serves up gourmet sandwiches, legendary wraps, fresh soups, and more.

Show your support for local businesses and shop for unique gifts and delicacies at Country Mercantile in Pasco.

Break a Sweat at Sylvester Park

Welcome sign of Sylvester Park

Kirk Bagley, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Unleash your inner sportsman as you keep active in the sports areas at Sylvester Park in Pasco!

This park on Sylvester Street features basketball and tennis courts where you can enjoy friendly sports competitions with your loved ones.

Shoot some hoops at the basketball court or swing your racquets at one of the tennis courts within the park.

If you want a relaxing stroll, you can also walk around and explore the Rose Garden at the park.

Admire the beauty of the flowering plants and the surrounding natural environment here!

Sylvester Park also has a playground where kids can run around and play.

Spend a Day Intimately Bonding with Your Loved Ones at Mariposa Park

If you’re looking for a park for your child that is not too big as the other parks, Mariposa Park is the right place.

If you want to bond more with your kids or family, this park is a great destination because of its size!

It’s smaller than other parks around the area, so you can be confident that there aren’t many people who stop by.

Enjoy the quiet afternoon as you spend quality time with your loved ones at this park.

Although Mariposa Park is small, it has a playground area consisting of slides, wings, and many other play structures for kids.

It also has a basketball court where teenagers can play and break a sweat.

Moreover, there’s a picnic shelter where you can relax and sit while your children play in the park.

The park also has a walking path that leads to the Sacajawea Heritage Trail.

Final Thoughts

There are many things to see and do in Franklin County, such as hiking, shopping, and exploring the local food scene.

These activities are great ways to spend time in the county, whether you prefer exploring the outdoors or diving into the area’s history.

If you want a great time, try these 15 best things to do in Franklin County, Washington.

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