Welcome to Lakewood
The Heart of South Sound's Lakes District
Lakewood is the ideal place to use as a home base for touring South Sound’s many wonderful attractions, including Lakewold Gardens. The City of Lakewood is conveniently located just off Interstate 5. It offers everything from excellent value in lodging and dining to an elegant stay at Thornewood Castle-one of the region’s finest places to overnight.
During your stay, whether you’re a garden lover, a history buff, or a scenic adventurer, the information below will guide you through the best of Lakewood. We’ve highlighted our parks and museums. And we’ve thrown in a couple of suggestions for some wonderful day trips. You can also find additional information through the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and the Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Lakewold Gardens' website is brought to you in part by a City of Lakewood Lodging Tax Advisory Committee Grant. We are very thankful for our partnership with the City and the tremendous support received as a historical tourist attraction and community asset.
We hope you have a delightful visit.
The Essentials and a Little Shopping Tooclock
Let’s get you settled in first. If you’re looking for a comfortable place at a great price, take your pick from Best Western Lakewood Motor Inn, America’s Best Value Inn, Candlewood Suites or Holiday Inn. Best Western Lakewood Motor Inn offers close proximity to the center of Lakewood, while America’s Best Value Inn, Candlewood Suites, and Holiday Inn give easy-on/easy-off access from Interstate 5. Or, if you’d prefer to sleep in the same room where Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft once slept, book yourself into Thornewood Castle Bed & Breakfast .
Lakewood also offers a range of convenient dining and shopping. Lakewood Towne Center caters to everyday needs. It’s the ideal place to stroll from shop to shop, grab a bite to eat or take in a movie. A little further exploration of the city will turn up Design Gallery and The Key Antiques. Unique dining opportunities at Steeped in Comfort and Carr’s Restaurant can round out your day of shopping. And, if you have time, Lakewood Playhouse offers up some fine entertainment.
Scenic Beauty & Recreational Playgrounds
It’s clear why this area was once known as the Lakes District. Within a twenty-mile radius, there are a number of lakes with public access that offer a mix of scenic beauty, picnicking facilities, and recreational fun. Gravelly Lake is the only private lake, but you can get a peek from Lakewold Gardens, which is tucked along its shores. American Lake and Steilacoom Lake are great for everything from a leisurely boat row to some fine fishing and water-skiing. There’s also swimming or just plain relaxing.
For those of you who’d rather go for a leisurely walk or jog, Fort Steilacoom Park and Seeley Lake Park are perfect. Fort Steilacoom Park is 340 acres and features loop trails through wooded areas, up hills, and around Waughop Lake for walking or bicycling. There is also a large play area for children and an off-leash area for your dog. For kite fliers, the open fields are always inviting. The smaller of the parks is Seeley Lake Park in the heart of Lakewood. This 47-acre park is a favorite with walkers and runners who enjoy winding their way through woods and wetlands. For golfers, there are two public courses: Fort Steilacoom Golf Course and nearby Meadow Park Golf Course.
A History of High Society and Military Might
Lakewood offers a rich blend of Northwest history. It starts with being home to Fort Steilacoom, which played a major role in the settling of Western Washington, and goes on to attract some of Washington State’s most successful business leaders who built their country estates on the Lakes District’s desirable lakefront properties.
Two of these grand estates are now open to the public:
Lakewold Gardens and Thornewood Castle. Thornewood is a magnificent three-story mansion dating from the turn of the century and is one of the few private castles in the U.S. In the summer of 2000, it was used as the movie set for Stephen King’s Rose Red. Thornewood is now a romantic bed and breakfast
For a look into the city’s beginnings, visit the Lakewood History Museum. You’ll find it in the old Colonial Center–once the heart of Lakewood’s historic past. Trace the footsteps of the area’s rich and famous who were lured here by the beauty of this South Sound Lakes District retreat. They came to play on their lakeside estates and ended up building a city.
Our region’s military history begins at Fort Steilacoom where the first trial ever held in the Puget Sound area convened in 1849. Area settlers also used the fort as a gathering place and relied on Army doctors for medical attention. Today, the restored officers’ quarters, built in 1857-8, are the oldest group of buildings west of the Cascades.
Lakewood is also a close neighbor to Fort Lewis Army Post and McChord Air Force Base. Both have museums worth visiting. Lewis Army Museum gives visitors a look at their fine collection of uniforms, arms and accessories along with cannons and tanks. Its new Army Family Gallery chronicles military families at the fort. McChord’s Air Museum offers exhibits of our Air Force, past and present.
See for yourself what makes this region unique! Discover a variety of experiences from relaxing and luxurious to rugged and adventurous in the new Tacoma + Pierce County destination video.