Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Lacey, WA

  • Published 2022/07/22

Lacey, Washington, is a gorgeous city with plenty of green spaces.

It’s also a lovely little suburb in the Washington state capital, Olympia.

Since the Wood family founded the city in 1853, Lacey has become a hub of the lumber industry and an early pioneer of craft beer.

The city has dedicated a large portion of its land to parks, natural areas, and open space, making the city a popular weekend destination.

For those who prefer the great outdoors, Lacey has several parks and hiking trails, golf courses, and a large nature reserve.

If you’re looking for a quick getaway, this city is a great place to visit.

Start planning your trip now with these recommended things to do in Lacey, WA.

Learn Local History at Lacey Museum

The Lacey Museum is in a 1920s building that once was a residence, a firehouse, and a municipal hall.

Visitors to this museum can view historical relics, artifacts, photographs, and documents that shed light on Lacey’s past and its residents.

The museum’s must-see permanent displays are open year-round, including a Nisqually Totem Pole and the Lacey Schoolroom.

During specific times of the year, Lacey Museum also features traveling exhibits, such as the recent showcase of Sasquatch-related artwork and artifacts.

The museum offers educational seminars and activities throughout the year and presentations from guest speakers.

Visitors to the Lacey Museum can also learn about genealogy and conservation methods.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at Woodland Creek Community Park

While visiting Lacey, outdoor enthusiasts should spend some time at Woodland Creek Community Park.

This park encompasses a total area of 72 acres and provides a variety of excellent amenities for guests, including picnic shelters, bathrooms, playgrounds, and paved trails.

Kids of all ages will love this park because of its multiple playgrounds.

A fishing dock is available, even though Longs Pond prohibits swimming and boating.

In addition, there is a putting green, driving range, and nine-hole golf course for those who want to practice their swing.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family can take in the sights and sounds of the outdoors.

Take an Early Morning Walk in Wonderwood Park

In the 1970s, construction began on Lacey’s first official park, which became Wonderwood Park.

This expansive area of green space features 39 acres of natural woodland in addition to a variety of recreational facilities.

You can enjoy picnics either beneath the trees or at one of the numerous tables along the paved walkways that wind their way through the area.

Wonderwood Park caters to visitors of all ages; you can come here alone, with friends, or even with children to enjoy the playground, fields, or trails.

Since it has concrete trails, Wonderwood Park is an excellent location for children to practice riding bicycles.

Spot the Wildlife at Lake Lois Habitat Preserve

The Lake Lois Habitat Preserve comprises 28.6 acres of the protected area.

This park is also a popular destination for aspiring Eagle Scouts.

Through adding pathways, kiosks, and gates, the scouts have worked to improve the area over the years.

Guests are still welcome to explore this region, which has a forest management plan.

The interpretive circle route, which is 0.25 miles long, is a great place for a walk and see some local wildlife.

Woodland Creek feeds Lake Lois, which is a great place to relax on the beach or go fishing.

Visitors can fish from the bank.

However, the park strongly advises catch-and-release fishing.

You should also know that there are no toilets on the site, so come prepared.

Hike the William Ives Trail

The William Ives Trail is a forested walking trail through a 1.5-mile-long nature preserve with a natural surface.

It offers fairway views of the Woodlands Golf Course, located at the Golf Club at Hawks Prairie.

This trail is conveniently located; hikers consider it an easy hike.

It’s an excellent choice for inexperienced hikers and even young children.

The path weaves through the community of Meridian Campus in Lacey.

Walking through this area, formerly a tree farm takes hikers to some partially wooded places.

Those who plan to hike here may find the trailhead just to the east of the pavilion in the neighborhood park.

At a distance of 0.3 miles, hikers will reach a crossroads and will need to turn right.

After that, follow the trail through the woods before reaching Campus Park Drive Northeast and turning left to reach a pond.

Bring Your Kids to the Lacey Train Depot Park

Each of the various parks in Lacey has something unique to offer visitors.

The Lacey Depot Building, for example, is the City of Lacey’s 50th Anniversary Landmark Project in the Lacey Depot Park.

This facility is nearly a carbon copy of the original depot, which first opened in 1891.

The structure is a fitting addition to the neighborhood’s rich history and serves as a hub for local events.

From May through September, this space has inside picnic tables available for general use, as well as private rentals and city events.

Meanwhile, the Lacey Depot Park’s train-themed playground is a great spot to bring children.

The food trucks are a lovely recent addition to the park, which make picnics easier and watching the youngsters even more enjoyable.

Take a Refreshing Dip at Long Lake Park

You can find one of the best swimming beaches in Thurston County at Long Lake Park.

It also has sand volleyball courts and picnic tables.

The highly wooded property contrasts with the beachfront area, measuring 285 feet in length and featuring an evergreen canopy.

The upland region features picnic facilities and a nature trail that winds through the surrounding forest.

This lake’s water is clear and warm, and authorities have placed buoys on the water to separate different areas.

The first portion is shallow and safe for youngsters, while the latter part gradually deepens, best suited for experienced swimmers.

Most visitors to this location are families with children.

The park maintains a police presence to ensure the safety of the guests.

This quaint little lake is known for its serene atmosphere, where you can also observe people fishing from boats, kayaks, and paddleboards in the water.

Practice Your Swing at Marvin Road Golf & Batting Range

Do you feel like going for a round of golf, or maybe you want to work on your batting average?

The Marvin Road Golf & Batting Range offers a variety of activities, including miniature golf, a driving range, batting cages, a putting green, and a rock-climbing tower.

If you are interested in golf or baseball, going here is one of the best things to do in Lacey to get in a little bit of exercise and practice your sport.

The facility features practice greens where players can perfect their chipping and putting, in addition to a miniature golf course.

If you don’t have your bats or helmets, you can borrow a variety of them and use them in the batting cages, which are very popular with children who are working on improving their batting skills.

When in Lacey, be sure to visit this establishment because of the warm and welcoming service.

Relax in Meridian Neighborhood Park

Take a break from exploring Lacey by visiting this beautiful green space for some rest or a picnic.

Meridian Neighborhood Park has a playground, picnic areas, wooded trails, and a picnic shelter, making it a great place to relax with family and friends.

It’s an excellent place for a small get-together.

Bring your party to the covered picnic areas for barbecuing on Campus Glen Drive in Lacey’s northeast corner.

Kids have their play area while adults have access to a basketball halfcourt and hiking trail to a lake.

If you’re looking for a bit of a workout, there’s an open field big enough for soccer.

Indeed, one of the best ways to unwind in Lacey is to spend some time at Meridian Neighborhood Park.

Take in the Views in Wanschers Park

Wanschers Park, located on Hicks Lake Road, is a 16-acre park with mountain views, hiking trails, fishing, and picnic tables.

You can see beautiful Hicks from the trails in this wooded park, where you can relax and enjoy the scenery.

Additionally, you’ll see Mount Rainier from your lakeside vantage point.

Pets are welcome at this pet-friendly neighborhood family park, which features a small boat launch and local fishing.

Parking is limited in the area, though, because it prevents the area from becoming overcrowded.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Tour the Washington State Capitol Building and Grounds

Exterior of Washington State Capitol Building

Zack Frank /

Built in 1928, the Washington State Legislative Building stood 287 feet above the Capitol Campus.

The construction of this now iconic building cost more than seven million dollars.

You can find this building in Olympia, Washington, eight minutes from Lacey.

The towering white dome is the tallest masonry dome in all of North America.

You can see the dome from all points within the city.

The Governor’s Mansion, located on the Capitol Campus, is the oldest building in the area.

Many state governors and their families have lived in the building for more than a century.

Exterior of Governor's Mansion

Glenn Taylor /

This residence provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Visitors are welcome to stroll around the grounds.

If you get tired of walking, rest on one of the historic Olmsted Sunken Garden benches.

Visit the memorial to World War I, then continue to the replica of Copenhagen’s Tivoli Fountain, which is a fantastic spot for photographs.

Spend some time going for a stroll along Capitol Lake and maybe stopping for a picnic along the way.

Daytime view of Copenhagen's Tivoli Fountain replica

CL Shebley /

Visit the Bigelow House Museum

You can reach the Bigelow House Museum, inside Olympia’s oldest home, from Lacey by taking a ten-minute drive.

Built for Daniel R. Bigelow and his wife, the house is a prime example of the Carpenter Gothic style, prevalent in rural areas of the United States during the 1800s.

This house is now home to a museum chronicling the history of Olympia and Washington Territory.

The original land surrounds the house and contains artifacts and furniture from the 1800s that reflect life in the community at that time.

You can only join a guided tour of the Bigelow House Museum if you reserve one in advance.

This tour lasts for 45 minutes, shedding light on the Bigelow legacy and the history of Olympia.

Discover the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve

Aerial view of the Mima Mounds

Dan Schreiber /

Visit these strange mounds that resemble bubbles at the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve in Olympia, 24 minutes from Lacey.

Experts have attributed the creation of these mounds to giant gophers, earthquakes, glaciation, and even extraterrestrial activity.

Since no one is entirely sure what these mounds are, they have gained mystery and allure.

This trip is easily one of the most exciting things to do in the Lacey area.

Close view of the Mima Mounds

Dan Schreiber /

Regardless of the answer, the Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve is an excellent location for walking or hiking.

During the spring, you can see the wildflowers bloom on the rolling hills.

This National Natural Landmark also has a half-mile path accessible to people with disabilities.

Everyone can take in the beautiful and unusual scenery.

Stroll Brewery Park at Tumwater Falls

If you can’t get enough of the outdoors and nature adventure, this gorgeous park 6.6 miles from Lacey is a must-visit.

You can find Brewery Park in Tumwater, situated on the southern shore of Capitol Lake.

It’s nine minutes away from Lacey.

This picture-perfect location is a favorite among people interested in waterfalls and anyone looking for a landscaped space to enjoy.

The Olympia Tumwater Foundation now owns and manages Brewery Park, the most popular privately owned park in the state of Washington.

Visitors can relax in the park at one of the park’s lovely picnic areas.

While you’re there, don’t forget to take in the park’s breathtaking views of Tumwater Falls.

A half-mile-long hiking trail encircles the cascading waterfalls created by the Deschutes River.

Authorities have added 15 additional acres to the park, which means there is plenty of room to enjoy the beautifully landscaped scenery.

Enjoy a picnic, take a walk, or observe the changing seasons.

Learn Aviation History in the Olympic Flight Museum

The Olympia Regional Airport is home to this aviation museum, which opened in 1998 in the neighboring town of Turnwater, Washington.

Drive 13 minutes from Lacey to reach the museum.

The museum hangar is home to various artifacts, including vintage aircraft and helicopters.

This destination is well-liked among aviation enthusiasts.

Kids of all ages are also frequent visitors.

Several notable aircraft are on display, including fighter jets and helicopters from World War II, plus military aircraft from the Soviet Air Force.

The museum also organizes the annual Olympic Air Show, which takes place in August and features the museum’s very own vintage aircraft.

Other unique events, such as collectors’ shows and gear swaps, also occur in the area.

Final Thoughts

Lacey may seem like it’s all green spaces and nature reserves, but amid the outdoorsy vibe is a thriving city worth visiting.

Wear good shoes and sunscreen, and prepare to explore Lacey’s downtown.

Plan your getaway and have a fantastic time in Lacey, WA.

Book your trip today!

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