Relax on the Peninsula in Sequim
The Olympic Peninsula’s rain shadow makes Sequim a smart stop for those searching for sunny skies and the soothing scent of lavender, which blooms from July through August. The charming Dungeness Valley town is no longer just a stop on the way to Port Angeles and Olympic National Park, but a stand-alone destination with a walkable downtown and endless natural beauty. Whether you’re visiting for the summer Lavender Festival or looking for a quaint place to spend some time outdoors, Sequim is the place to be.
Arts and Events
Sequim is one of the premier lavender-growing regions in the country, and its three-day Lavender Festival in the third weekend of July includes farm tours, a street fair, lavender products and live music. If you’re visiting in late spring, the lesser-known Sequim Irrigation Festival has been running for 124 years and celebrates the development of local prairie ditches that brought water to the once bone-dry town.
In addition to an abundance of small-town events, Sequim has a vibrant arts community. The Sequim Museum and Arts Center is a great place to start, featuring art and history exhibits that are unique to the area and a new exhibit center that is expected to be complete by July 2019.
For a taste of the local talent and variety of art produced in the area, the First Friday Art Walk is another popular community event. If you’d rather explore local art on your own time, galleries scattered throughout the area include Blue Whole Gallery, a fine arts co-op in downtown Sequim that shows work from more than 35 local artists. For fans of Native American art, Northwest Native Expressions is owned and operated by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and sells creative works from artists throughout Washington state.
Sustainability and the Outdoors
The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is on one of the world’s longest sand spits. Visitors can hike along the tide flats, take photos of shorebirds and keep an eye out for harbor seals and other marine life. The Sequim area is also home to a Roosevelt elk herd, so drive with caution when you see warning signs flashing on Highway 101 and remember that these wild animals are unpredictable and dangerous.
Active travelers should consider a hike along the Olympic Discovery Trail, spanning more than 120 miles from La Push to Port Townsend. The 40-mile stretch between Sequim and Port Angeles is popular with hikers and cyclists. One noteworthy stop is the Railroad Bridge Park, an 1915-built railroad bridge over the Dungeness River that has been repurposed for the trail (watch for salmon spawning in the fall). The park is also home to the Dungeness River Audubon Center, an educational interpretive center focused on preserving the peninsula’s natural and cultural resources. In addition to exhibits and a native plant garden, the Audubon Center hosts school programs and events throughout the year. The park is a year-round birding destination, with the most variety during the spring and fall migrations.
Get in the water at Sequim Bay State Park or set sail from John Wayne Marina, built on land donated by the Duke’s family. They still own the nearby resort, which is also named after the legendary actor and has camping, cabins and RV parking.
Small Town Shopping and Dining
Despite its population of just over 7,000 residents, Sequim has a variety of downtown shops and restaurants to explore and cute cafes, boutiques and gift shops. nearby. Jungle Jane’s is a local favorite for garden and home goods, while Pieces of Time offers a more traditional antique-hunting experience.
If you’re looking for something to get you going in the morning, Oak Table Café is known for its all-day breakfast while Rainshadow Café serves up a great cup of coffee, complemented by its decadent pastries. When it comes to dinner, Blondie’s Plate is one of the most creative and stylish restaurants in the area, serving up Northwest contemporary cuisine in a former 19th century Episcopalian Church. Another great bet is Nourish, a charming restaurant serving fresh, gluten-free fare on an herb farm just outside of town.
–Written by Maggy Lehmicke, last updated in September 2022.