By Douglas Scott
If you were to find out that you could explore the most beautiful areas of Washington State for free, would you take advantage of a great deal and get out into nature with your friends and family?
The State of Washington is hoping you say yes, as they are offering numerous fee free days in 2014. With the winter rain in the past and sunny skies in the future, now is the perfect time to get outside and explore any of the 117 State Parks.
The State Parks have been around for 101 years, but they are anything but old and outdated. From lakes and river to waterfalls, forests and old forts, Washington State Parks offer some of the best experiences in the country, all right outside your front door. Experiencing the state parks of Washington make a fantastic weekend trip, and are the best way to discover the beauty, history and culture of the Pacific Northwest.
Normally, a $30 Discover Pass would be needed to enter a State Park, but on the fee free days, the gates are open for all to enter. If you haven’t visited the state parks around Thurston County, this is your chance to see the beauty of the region without having to pay for an annual or a day pass. Even if you have seen the state park, check out the parks for free and pick up a Discover Pass to enjoy the beauty of Washington State Park year round.
Fee Free Days 2014
- April 19 – A spring Saturday free day
- April 22 – Earth Day
- May 11 – A spring Sunday free day
- June 7 and 8 – In honor of National Trails Day and WDFW Free Fishing Weekend
- June 14 – National Get Outdoors Day
- Aug. 25 – In honor of National Park Service’s birthday
- Sept. 27 –National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 11 – Veteran’s Day weekend
3 Park Highlights near Thurston County
Situated just south of Olympia, Millersylvania State Park offers swimming, fishing, boating and hiking opportunities. With 8.6 miles of hiking trails and 7.6 miles of biking paths, all through lush forests and wetlands, exploring this often looked over park is sure to become a family favorite. With picnic shelters, campgrounds and a swimming area in a gorgeous lake, lifelong memories are sure to be made at this park.
Twanoh State Park is located in Mason County, on the beautiful Hood Canal and is home to one of the warmest saltwater beaches in the State of Washington. With over half a mile of shoreline, full of oysters, mussels and shorebirds, this small, yet accessible state park is a perfect day trip destination. From the park, you can canoe, kayak or take a much larger boat onto the Hood Canal, which occasionally is home to Orca Whales, seals and salmon. Read a full story about visiting Twanoh State Park here.
With a well-made boardwalk that leads to the beach, this park feels just right for you. The park is 105 acres, but offers over 1800 feet of shoreline right along the Puget Sound. In fact, this park offers an underwater park that uses an artificial reef for once-in-a-lifetime scuba diving experiences. With picnic benches and plenty of parking, take your family, yourself or your significant other to this secluded section of beach along the Puget Sound. Dogs are welcome and restrooms are available, as well as an occasional ranger to answer any of your questions.
Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.