winter fun at tolmie state park

winter fun at tolmie state park

For the first time in a long time, we had a full weekend with very little rain. Despite a light mist on Saturday, the weather was generally pleasant, and Sunday was downright sunny! If you follow me on instagram, you likely saw that my mama – Oma, as the kiddos call her – came for a quick weekend visit before she won’t be able to travel for a bit. Since Ryan was getting ready go TDY again, we figured it was the perfect time to see one another, and she hopped a plane, came out to see us, and we were able to pull off a surprise for the boys. Best of all though, we got to share some much needed sunshine with her and, because of that, some winter fun at Tolmie State Park.

If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you’ve probably seen a few of our visits to Tolmie. Located in Lacey, it’s a mere 20 minutes from JBLM North where we live, making it the perfect place for the kids to throw rocks in the water, splash in the shallows, and build sand castles when the tide goes out. Even better, it’s the perfect place to search for sand dollars, and I really wanted to share that with my mom. I did some digging (fun fact, you can check the tides here), and we found out that the perfect time to go was right around noon.


winter fun

tolmie state park low tide


all seasons at tolmie

oakiwear jacket

oma visits



You know those times that you plan as perfectly as possible, but you still fail, and yet it still makes for a fun, ridiculous, and memorable trip? Yes, this was one of those. The last time we went to Tolmie at low tide for sand dollars, it was warm, and we all went barefoot. This time, however, it was a brisk 40ish degrees despite the sun, and we wore rain boots and my favorite Bean boots to protect our feet from the cold, wet shoreline. I did not, however, expect for the sand to be more muddy and almost exactly like quicksand. When we tried to wade through a small tidal pool (only about 3-4 inches deep), we got the surprise of our lives and started quickly sinking up past our ankles and to our calves. Oma’s feet were drenched, but she’s a great sport.

We found a good sandy spot for the kiddos to build, and my mom and I hunted for sand dollars with great success. They’re plentiful there, but most of them are alive, and I obnoxiously try to educate people who go to collect them. Sand dollars are black and covered with tiny hairs when they’re alive. The white ones we love to collect? Those are dead and, in fact, just their exoskeletons, and those are fine to take. Anyway, we were well into our sand dollar hunt when Porter fell in the water, quickly putting a halt to our trip.

It should have been a huge bummer, and he was definitely chilly, but it was so refreshing for all of us to have been able to get out, enjoy the sunshine, and just soak up some winter fun at Tolmie State Park. Of all our little haunts around JBLM, Tolmie remains a favorite of ours, and I can’t wait for many more days there this summer!

Do you have local haunts you love near where you live?