You do not need to spend a lot of money this summer to have a memorable date with your sweetie! Make the most of the sunny days and warm nights ahead by spending quality time that doesn’t hurt the budget. Here are a few thrifty summer date ideas for Thurston County.

Pretend To Be Tourists for the Day

Experience Thurston County with fresh eyes by pretending this is your first time visiting the area with your date. One way you can pretend to be a tourist for the day is by driving, or even biking, the Thurston Bountiful Byway! The 60-mile scenic byway is a mini road trip where you can stop at local farms, shops, and sample locally grown and produced food. Every 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 Yelm and Tenino Farmers Markets. If you aren’t sure where to begin, Experience Olympia & Beyond has several byway trip itineraries you can use to plan your byway adventure.

If you don’t have the time to drive the byway but would like to sample the county’s agricultural bounty, stick closer to town and explore the Olympia Farmers Market, or the Saturday Market at the 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. This is a great location to enjoy a romantic summer picnic with a date.
Photo credit: Anna Rhoads

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

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

Berry Picking

blueberries in a brown pail
U-pick berry picking is a low stress date idea to get to know your date and pick the freshest fruit you can find. Photo credit: Anna Rhoads

A low-stress 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 open to the public during the summer months. Starting mid-June is strawberry season, with u-pick opportunities to pick strawberries at Spooner Berry Farms. Spooner Berry Farms typically has a u-pick timeframe of two weeks, so be sure to follow their Facebook page to stay up-to-date for when the strawberries are ready.

Later in the season you can find several u-pick blueberry farms open, typically mid-to-late July through early August. Blueberry u-pick farm options include Carr’s Organic Blueberry Farm, Friendly Grove Blueberry Farm, Gile Blueberry Farm, and several others throughout the county. Cost is typically by pound, and some farms are cash or check only.

For more information on Thurston County and Washington State u-pick farms and planning your u-pick berry date, visit the Pick Your Own website.

Go on an Ice Cream Crawl

Enjoy your ice cream or gelato with a view of the water at Percival Landing.
Photo credit: Anna Rhoads

If you are trying to beat the heat, eat dessert first and go on an ice cream crawl! Starting in downtown Olympia, try Sofie’s Scoops Gelateria, located in the 222 Market. Sofie’s Scoops sells handcrafted authentic gelato made fresh daily. With your gelato in hand, walk to Percival Landing and enjoy the waterfront view. 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 made in house daily. JuJu’s also offers vegan soft serve 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 most vibrant and freshest ingredients for their ice cream treats. Follow Sweetlee’s on Instagram to see where they are currently parked. In South Olympia, Humble Cow Ice Cream, creates small-batch, made from scratch artisan ice cream.


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