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Thurston County Cities 🏙️ | Explore Thurston County + Towns Near Olympia WA

Last Updated on: 26th December 2023, 05:55 am

Thurston County is one of the most popular counties in all of Washington State. The county is full of gorgeous nature, picturesque homes, and friendly people. If you are thinking about moving to the area, then you need to choose a city that fits well with your needs and lifestyle.

There are many different Thurston County cities and communities for you to plant your roots in. Let’s explore all of the cities in Thurston County for you to choose from. All of the data provided about each city comes directly from the United States Census.

Thurston County, WA

Where is Thurston County? Thurston County, Washington is located at the southern end of Puget Sound and is about 60 miles south of Seattle and 100 miles north of Portland, Oregon. The population of Thurston County is just over 294,000, making it the sixth most populated county in the state. Thurston County comprises the Olympia-Tumwater Metropolitan Statistical Area and is included in the Seattle-Tacoma Combined Statistical Area.

Thurston County, Washington is known for its amazing natural attractions and is just west of the gorgeous Mount Rainier and the breathtaking Cascade Mountains. The county is situated about an hour’s drive east of the Pacific Ocean, providing residents with easy access to beautiful beaches. You will also find several rail trails in the county, including the Karen Fraser Woodland Trail, Yelm-Rainier-Tenino Trail, and the Chehalis Western Trail.

The county is popular among young families, and 62% of the households in Thurston County are occupied by married couples. 19% are occupied by non-family members, 13% are occupied by female householders, and 6% are occupied by male households.

Thurston County Demographics

  • Thurston County population: 294,793
  • Thurston County median age: 40.6
  • Thurston County median household income: $81,501
  • Thurston County median price of housing: $507,000
  • Thurston County area: 774 square miles
  • Thurston County density: 368 people per square mile
  • Thurston County educational attainment: 94.2% high school degree (or higher), 36.2% bachelor’s degree (or higher)

Thurston County Cities

What cities are in Thurston County? These 11 cities and communities make up most of Thurston County.

#1 Lacey

Lacey is one of the most popular Thurston County cities as well as one of the most noteworthy cities near Olympia, WA. Lacey is known for its natural attractions, as 20% of the city is covered in parks and nature areas. In this city, you will find the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, which is a 762-acre nature preserve with trails, an education center, and bird-watching opportunities. Some of the major cities near Lacey, Washington are DuPont, Olympia, and Tacoma.


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  • Lacey population: 53,526
  • Lacey population growth: 26.2% increase since 2010
  • Lacey area: 17.66 square miles
  • Lacey median age: 37.1
  • Lacey median household income: $75,059
  • Lacey median house price: $499,950
  • Lacey crime rate: 2,729 crimes per 100,000 people (9.8% lower than state average and 16.3% lower than national average)
  • Lacey map

#2 Olympia

Olympia is the most populous city in Thurston County, as well as the county seat. This stunning city is the capital of Washington and is known for its bustling downtown area and endless job opportunities. Olympia provides 113,980 jobs and has a median salary of $73,000 per year, according to PayScale.  There are many popular cities and towns near Olympia, WA, including Lacey, Tumwater, and South Bay.



  • Olympia population: 55,605
  • Olympia population growth: 16.6% increase since 2010
  • Olympia area: 20.09 square miles
  • Olympia median age: 38.4
  • Olympia median household income: $67,975
  • Olympia median house price: $486,000
  • Olympia crime rate: 3,773 crimes per 100,000 people (24.7% higher than state average and 60.8% higher than national average)
  • Olympia map

#3 Rainier

Named after Mount Rainier, Rainier is one of the most popular cities in Thurston County. This beautiful city is one of the safest places to live in Thurston County, with a crime rate that is lower than both the state and national average. When searching for cities near Mount Rainier, Rainier should be at the top of your list. It is about 50 miles from Rainier to the peak of Mount Rainier.


  • Rainier population: 2,772
  • Rainier population growth: 54.5% increase since 2010
  • Rainier area: 1.74 square miles
  • Rainier median age: 38.2
  • Rainier median household income: $88,036
  • Rainier median house price: $438,450
  • Rainier crime rate: 1,579 crimes per 100,000 people (48% lower than state average and 33% lower than national average)
  • Rainier map

#4 Tenino

Tenino is one of the most popular cities near Olympia, Washington, and is only 15 miles south of the capital city. Tenino contains 50 acres of parks, with the Yelm-Rainier-Tenino Trail crossing through the city as well as Tenino City Park situated near the city center. Tenino is a very rural area, making it perfect for those who want to enjoy owning many acres of land.

  • Tenino population: 1,854
  • Tenino population growth: 9.3% increase since 2010
  • Tenino area: 1.46 square miles
  • Tenino median age: 34.3
  • Tenino median household income: $55,202
  • Tenino median house price: $442,500
  • Tenino crime rate: 1,697 crimes per 100,000 people (43.9% lower than state average and 27.7% lower than national average)
  • Tenino map

#5 Tumwater

Situated at the end of the Oregon Trail, Tumwater is one of the best cities in Thurston County, Washington. Tumwater is popular among families and is home to some of the best schools in the state. Students in Tumwater are served by the Tumwater School District, which offers high-quality programs and AP classes. When living in the area, make sure you check out the Brewery at Tumwater Falls and Trosper Lake Park.

  • Tumwater population: 25,350
  • Tumwater population growth: 45.9% increase since 2010
  • Tumwater area: 17.76 square miles
  • Tumwater median age: 35.4
  • Tumwater median household income: $77,849
  • Tumwater median house price: $487,450
  • Tumwater crime rate: 2,760 crimes per 100,000 people (8.8% lower than state average and 17.6% higher than national average)
  • Tumwater map

#6 Yelm

Yelm is an affluent city near Olympia, Washington. The median household income in Yelm is $83,027, which is higher than the Washington average of $82,400. The City of Yelm employs around 4,000 people, mostly in the retail trade, healthcare, and public administration industries. The Yelm real estate market is very stable, with home prices only up about 0.9% compared to last year.

  • Yelm population: 10,617
  • Yelm population growth: 54.5% increase since 2010
  • Yelm area: 5.72 square miles
  • Yelm median age: 31.3
  • Yelm median household income: $83,027
  • Yelm median house price: $454,000
  • Yelm crime rate: 3,858 crimes per 100,000 people (27.5% higher than state average and 64.4% higher than national average)
  • Yelm map

#7 Bucoda

If you are searching for towns near Olympia, WA, then look no further than Bucoda. This town is known as the “World’s Tiniest Town with the Biggest Halloween Spirit.” Every year, the town hosts “Boo-cada,” a month-long celebration with Halloween festivities. Homes in Bucoda are cozy and small, and are some of the most affordable in all of Thurston County.


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  • Bucoda population: 557
  • Bucoda population growth: 11.3% decrease since 2010
  • Bucoda area: 0.60 square miles
  • Bucoda median age: 38.6
  • Bucoda median household income: $62,778
  • Bucoda median house price: $322,000
  • Bucoda crime rate: 4,719 crimes per 100,000 people (56% higher than state average and 150% higher than national average)
  • Bucoda map

#8 Grand Mound

When searching for the best cities near Olympia, WA, look no further than Grand Mound. Grand Mound is just 18 miles from Olympia and is known for its attractions such as the Great Wolf Lodge and the Lucky Eagle Casino. More and more people are moving to this Thurston County city, and the community has seen an 86.9% population increase over the past decade.

  • Grand Mound population: 3,642
  • Grand Mound population growth: 86.9% increase since 2010
  • Grand Mound area: 3.93 square miles
  • Grand Mound median age: 33.8
  • Grand Mound median household income: $72,566
  • Grand Mound median house price: $420,000
  • Grand Mound crime rate: 2,544 crimes per 100,000 people (32% lower than state average and 12% lower than national average)
  • Grand Mound map

#9 North Yelm

Located near the intersection of Washington State Route 507 and SR 510 sits the community of North Yelm. North Yelm is one of the safest Thurston County cities, with a crime rate that is well below both the state and the national average. You will also find affordable real estate in North Yelm, with an average home price of $390,000 (lower than the national average of $412,020).


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  • North Yelm population: 3,708
  • North Yelm population growth: 32.7% increase since 2010
  • North Yelm area: 3.4 square miles
  • North Yelm median age: 34.7
  • North Yelm median household income: $70,529
  • North Yelm median house price: $390,000
  • North Yelm crime rate: 1,720 crimes per 100,000 people (43% lower than state average and 9% lower than national average)
  • North Yelm map

#10 Rochester

Located near the southern tip of Puget Sound, Rochester is one of the most sought-after cities near Olympia, Washington. People are flocking to this beautiful community, with a 153.9% population increase over the past decade. Rochester is home to many top-rated attractions, such as Lael’s Moon Garden Nursery and South Sound Speedway. You will also find amazing restaurants in the area, including Bigfoot BBQ and Mariachi Alegre.

  • Rochester population: 6,064
  • Rochester population growth: 153.9% increase since 2010
  • Rochester area: 2.3 square miles
  • Rochester median age: 40.4
  • Rochester median household income: $83,399
  • Rochester median house price: $473,250
  • Rochester crime rate: 1,370 crimes per 100,000 people (55% lower than state average and 27% lower than national average)
  • Rochester map

#11 Tanglewilde

With a population of just over 6,000, Tanglewilde is a cozy CDP in Thurston County. Tanglewood is popular among both young families and retirees, with the biggest age groups being 0-9 (18% of the population) and 60-69 (17% of the population). This CDP includes the community of Mushroom Corner, which takes its name from the local mushroom crop as well as the many mushroom farms that are located in the area.

  • Tanglewilde population: 6,265
  • Tanglewilde population growth: 6.3% increase since 2010
  • Tanglewilde area: 1.4 square miles
  • Tanglewilde median age: 36.7
  • Tanglewilde median household income: $80,828
  • Tanglewilde median house price: $395,000
  • Tanglewilde crime rate: 3,821 crimes per 100,000 (2% higher than state average and 32% higher than national average)
  • Tanglewilde map

Cities in Thurston County Map

Unincorporated Communities in Thurston County

  • Boston Harbor: Affluent exurb of Olympia home to the Boston Harbor Marina.
  • Delphi: Located just west of Tumwater, Delphi is a gorgeous rural community in Thurston County.
  • East Olympia: Rural area just 6 miles south of downtown Olympia.
  • Gate: This small community is the trailhead for the Gate to Belmore Trail.
  • Littlerock: Quaint community with many natural attractions nearby, such as Glacial Heritage Preserve and Black River Habitat Management Area.
  • Maytown: First founded as a lumber town in 1911, Maytown is now known for its low crime rate and affordable housing.
  • Offlutt Lake: This community is situated around Offlutt Lake and is just east of Millersylvania State Park.
  • Skookumchuck: Skookumcuck is located just northwest of Rainier and is home to the Chehalis Western Trail.
  • Steamboat Island: This is an island located in southern Puget Sound. The island is only 0.01 square miles and has a population of just 41 people.
  • Union Mill: Located to the east of Lacey, Union Mill is a suburban area mostly made up of single-family homes.
  • Vail: Vail is an unincorporated community just south of Rainier.
  • Nisqually Indian Community: This reservation was formed in 1854 after the signing of the Treaty of Medicine Creek. Today, the community has a population of just over 650 and a population density of 216.5 people per square mile.

Which One of Thurston County’s Cities is Right for You?

Now that we have explored all of the cities in Thurston County, Washington, which one is best for you and your family? Any one of these Thurston County cities would be a wonderful place for you to settle down. When you are ready to make your move, give All Ready Moving & Storage a call at 360-507-2447 for a free estimate!

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