If there’s anyone who knows her way around the South Sound, it’s Shauna Stewart. CEO of the official destination marketing organization for Thurston County, Stewart is a Pacific Northwest enthusiast who has spent much of her life in the area. Passionate about helping tourists and enhancing the local community, she has a deep love of and knowledge about Olympia and beyond. We picked her brain to find out how we can take advantage of the sunny months to get the most out of summer in the South Sound.
To be Inspired
Anywhere I can see the water and mountain at the same time — it’s not hard to catch these views in Thurston County.
i.talia pizzeria in Olympia. The pizza toys are a life-saver when eating with two small kiddos in public.
Anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. From Oregon’s beaches and wine country to the Olympic Peninsula and Mount Rainier, we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. A good chat with fresh air and gorgeous scenery is a quick fix for stressful days and makes me feel relaxed and rejuvenated.
“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it.” — Amy Poehler
Apple Podcasts. Too many of my stories begin with, “I was listening to a podcast …”
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Hairspray! It makes me sing and dance every time. And I don’t sing or dance.
Who Inspires You?
Bob Goff (a best-selling author and speaker). He loves fearlessly.
Favorite Framed Photo in Your House
A photo of my dad and grandfather, a Lutheran bishop, baptizing me as a baby. My grandfather passed shortly after, and it’s a sweet reminder of him.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the South Sound in the summer?
Hike! We have some great local trails such as Priest Point State Park, Woodard Bay, and Tolmie State Park that make it easy to feel like you’ve escaped into a magical wonderland.
What is something touristy in the area you think everyone should do?
Get sprayed by the falls at Tumwater Falls Park.
How can a visitor get a taste of Thurston County’s culture this summer?
Eat and drink your way through the Thurston Bountiful Byway. You can meet local farmers and the makers of hand-crafted beer, wine, and spirits. If you want to understand this place, there are few things better than breaking bread with the locals and sampling the local flavors.