It should come as no surprise that Washington State's capitol city, Olympia, is another unique culturally-rich waterfront community. Olympia is located at the southern end of the Puget Sound on Budd Inlet and offers visitors and residents a wonderfully-unique downtown waterfront experience. If you've never walked along 4th Ave or State Ave in Downtown Olympia, you will surely be intrigued by the eclectic mix of storefronts and delicious restaurants.
The Olympia waterfront features Capitol Lake, the East Bay, and the West Bay. Capitol Lake was created when the Deschutes River estuary was dammed in 1951 and now offers residents and visitors a beautiful scenic stroll along its low banks.
Olympia's West Bay features the lovely Percival Landing Park, located along the eastern shoreline of the Budd Inlet's West Bay. Percival Landing Park features picnic areas, public art, boat moorage, and a playground for the youngsters. Extending just under a mile, a boardwalk directs patrons walking from Downtown Olympia to the Olympia Farmers Market. Strolling the Olympia Waterfront and gazing at the stunning Capitol Building overlooking Capitol Lake is a must do for all of you who love Washington Waterfront destinations.
For those of you who love birdwatching, Olympia and the neighboring towns offer some of the best natural bird habitats in the greater Puget Sound. Located along the Henderson Inlet in east Olympia, the Woodard Bay Natural Resources Conservation Area is a renowned 600-acre sanctuary for a variety of birds, including bald eagles and a vital great blue heron rookery. Other wildlife such as harbor seals, river otters, and a colony of bats will make visitors of all ages jump with delight as they spot these majestic creatures.
Just north of Olympia is the second wildlife attraction that we highly recommend visiting. The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a confluence of freshwater from the Nisqually river and the saltwater Puget Sound, which creates a variety of unique environments for local wildlife. Over 20,000 birds, made up of 275 different migrating species use the freshwater marshes and grasslands for breeding, resting, or wintering. If you are a birding enthusiast, you will find the most abundant species in the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge to be raptors, shorebirds, and songbirds.
If birding is not up your alley, Olympia will not disappoint. Browse our listings below to find the best attractions, restaurants, and lodging in Olympia for your trip to this incredible south Puget Sound waterfront community.