With spring around the corner, many of us have one thing on our minds: getting out and about. It’s safe to say most dogs out there would agree with this idea – in fact, just the word “go” usually gets tails wagging. If you are looking to get away from the city hustle and bustle to somewhere just a little quieter, but with plenty of entertainment, why not take a trip across the Thurston County line? Our neighbors to the south in Olympia offer a host of fun attractions for you and your dog.

Whether you’re picking out treats at Mud Bay stores or walking a nature tail, you’ll find plenty of places for you and your canine to stay, play and even shop while in town. In fact, the Olympia area has a reputation for being especially welcoming to pets on the go. This SoundSoundTalk writer took my human travel companion and the charming, high-energy collie pup Reilley out on the town to check out some spots for you.

Reilley, a young collie, gets excited to stop at the Lacey Mud Bay store. Photo credit: Gale Hemmann

Reilley’s ear-to-ear smile said it all. No matter whether you are planning a day trip, a weekend staycation or a longer excursion – use some of these resources to help plan your visit.

Another bonus? Since Olympia is close to Joint Base Lewis McCord, the area is very military friendly too, and many places offer a military discount as a “thank you” for your service.

Adventuring with Your Dog – Where to Go

You’ll find plenty of fun around Thurston County that is suited to both humans and their four-legged pals. A great way to see the area is to take a dog-friendly hike (we also have abundant options for those hiking with both dogs and kids). Note: You will need a Discovery Pass to visit most Washington State parks. A one-day pass is available, and there are free days throughout the year.

McKenna Kennels
If your trip involves portions where Fido will need a place to stay, McKenna Kennels and Pet Resort is one of several great options where dogs have a great time. Photo credit: Gale Hemmann

There’s much more fun ahead – check out the ThurstonTalk guide to off-leash dog parks. The Thurston County Off-Leash Dog Area in Lacey even features fun obstacles for your dog. For a more urban walk, walk your dog around downtown Olympia, then check out the many shops and restaurants the downtown core holds (check out the Olympia Downtown Association’s listings for ideas).

Pick Up Some Paws-itively Fun Treats

Do you need to pick up some pet supplies, or want to let your pup pick out their own treats? The locally owned Mud Bay pet stores are a stellar choice and a “must-stop” destination. The expert staff always makes it a welcoming experience. Choose from their locations in West Olympia, Lacey (Martin Way and Crossroads Center) or Tumwater (or stop at them all). Reilley and other canine customers had a good time picking out treats at the Lacey store, conveniently located on your way into the area.

Other shopping locations for pets include Lacey’s Bark Avenue: A Boutique for Dogs and Cats  and Pet Works in downtown Olympia.

And if you’re looking for a hip thrifting spot in Olympia, stop by the Thrift Store Supporting Emmit’s Magic Animal Rescue. Dogs are definitely welcome in this store – you’ll be supporting a good cause, and may find some bargains to stretch your travel dollar (read more about Emmit’s here).

Dining out for Humans and Canines

Mud Bay
Local Brendan Calhoun treats his Australian labradoodle to some treats at Mud Bay. Photo credit: Maureen Seymour

You will both probably be hungry after all this adventuring. And shouldn’t your dog eat along with you? Did you know that you can even bring Fido along to some area restaurants? There are many spots with seasonal outdoor seating where dogs are allowed, at all price points. You’ll have plenty of choices for sampling Olympia’s growing food scene.

Check out this list of five places you can bring along your dog with ThurstonTalk’s dog-friendly dining guide.

River’s Edge on the banks of the Deschutes River welcomes your pooch and offers a casual, pub environment that is family friendly and dog friendly on their extensive patio.

Another pet-friendly outdoor option is Fish Tale Brew Pub. The legendary brewers, winners of 2015 World’s Best Beer award for their Beyond the Pale Ale, also offer a cozy brewpub with outdoor seating for your canine and indoor 21-and-over options alongside a family dining area.

And bring them along for people watching and European-style baked goods, artisan bone broth, fresh oysters, hand-crafted gelato and more at the new 222 Market in downtown Olympia.

Daycare and Boarding Options – All the Services You Could Need

Rest assured that Olympia has top-notch canine services available. Your dog will look fabulous after visiting the grooming facilities at West Coast K-9 Centers (with three locations, including two next to Mud Bay stores).

McKenna Kennels
Canine guests at McKenna Kennels stay safe and entertained while their humans enjoy some people-only activities in Thurston County. Photo credit: Gale Hemmann

Do you have items planned on your itinerary where Fido can’t come along? Leave him or her in good hands at West Coast K-9 or the family-owned McKenna Kennels Pet Resort (read more about them here – they are conveniently located and offer a military discount). Or pamper them at Friendly Grove Resort and Spa for Dogs.

Where to Stay – Lodging Where Pets Get to Stay and Play

Why call it a day? You’ll find many attractive, reasonably priced lodging options in the Olympia area, including plenty that where both you and your pet can put your feet up (tip: call first for each hotel’s policy). One great pick is the newly renovated and hip Hotel RL Olympia by Red Lion overlooking Capitol Lake. The Red Lion’s GuestHouse Inn and Suites – Tumwater also welcomes pets, and is conveniently located near the Washington State Capitol Campus. And the Marriot Townplace Suites Olympia provides an extended-stay option in the heart of downtown Olympia, also near the Capitol and many attractions. You can also bring your pup to the nicely appointed La Quinta Inn (in Lacey and Olympia/Tumwater), Best Western Tumwater-Olympia or Best Western Plus in Lacey.

If you enjoy the outdoors for lodging, Thurston County is home to plentiful campgrounds and RV parks where your dog is welcome to enjoy the natural beauty of the area with you.

Get More Ideas

By now, hopefully you and your pup are both happy and with some verve in your hearts from the grand adventure, if you’ve followed our ideas for pet-friendly destinations. Reilley, for one, went home a satisfied, calm and tuckered-out dog. If you have a service dog, you’ll find even more places where your dog is welcome to accompany you. For more visitors’ information to plan your ideal stay with your pet, check out the out the Visit Olympia website and blog. For more ideas and updates, follow the Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Both you and your dog will both want to hurry back to the capital city for your next outing.


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