Explore the sunny side of Western Washington in Sequim
Sequim, Washington is known for great weather, lavender and Dungeness crab. But did you know this coastal city also has a growing arts scene, epic hiking and paddling, plus dozens of locally-owned shops and restaurants that emphasize organic food and handcrafted goods? If not, it’s time to plan a getaway to the Olympic Peninsula and discover these fun things to do in Sequim.
But first, let’s talk about the weather: Sequim gets half the rain as the Seattle-Tacoma area. When it’s dumping in Bellevue, you’ll find blue skies and milder temperatures in Sequim. It’s located in a corner of Washington state known as the “Olympic rain shadow” and gets close to 300 days a year with some sunshine. So, while you can’t guarantee the weather, it’s a safe bet to search for blue skies in Sequim.
To spark inspiration for your next road trip, why not start with these 10 fun things to do in Sequim.
1. Visit a lavender farm
Known as the “lavender capital of North America,” Sequim is home to more than 20 lavender farms that produce a range of plant species. Take a farm tour and pick your own during the summer peak season in late June through August—or stock up on beauty and wellness products infused with lavender, including soaps and essential oils, at any time of year. Many farms are open for guided tours and have demonstration gardens. Learn about organic farming methods and bring a picnic to enjoy after your tour.
Tip: Lavender is a classic ingredient in many sweet and savory food recipes. Buy some culinary lavender as well as lavender cookies and shortbread.
2. Explore the Olympic Discovery Trail and picnic at Carrie Blake Park
Sequim is located on the Olympic Peninsula, the farthest northwest you can reach along the U.S. coast. It’s home to dozens of epic hiking trails, including the legendary Olympic Discovery Trail that runs through town. While the trail is 135-miles from start-to-finish, you can pick up the East Central portion of the trail in Sequim and hike a few miles either way. There’s a trailhead in town at Carrie Blake Park where you can enjoy a picnic—or takeout food and snacks from one of the many nearby restaurants.
If you hike the full Olympic Discovery Trail, you’ll experience views from sea-level to higher than 10,000 feet. If the weather is clear, you can even see all the way to Canada. Along the trail, you have a strong chance of spotting otters, eagles, seabirds, whales and much more.
Tip: Did you know you can save on hotels with your AAA membership? Find member deals here.
3. Shop at Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market
With more than 65 local vendors, a visit to the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market is a must. Open May through October, you’ll find handmade goods, artwork, jewelry, tea and coffee, spices and herbs, fresh flowers, and locally-produced meats, baked goods, fruits and vegetables, and, of course, lavender. Many local farms participate in the market, including small-scale organic farmers.
Tip: If you’re visiting for the day, bring a cooler with ice and stock up on groceries for the week ahead.
4. Go kayaking and paddle boarding
Sequim does not disappoint when it comes to kayaking and paddle boarding. Check the tides and weather, then map out a spectacular paddle. You can bring your own kayak or paddle board, or rent from one of the locations in town. Plan a day exploring Sequim Bay, which is about 4-miles long. (A paddle around the Bay is close to 10 miles.) You can launch non-motorized watercraft for free from Sequim Bay State Park, although you’ll need to pay for parking—or bring your Discover Pass parking permit.
Marlyn Nelson County Park at Port Williams is also a great spot to put your kayak or paddle board in the water. You can launch for a fee at John Wayne Marina or use the free ramp at the adjacent public park.
Tip: You’ll experience stunning scenery along your shoreline route, but bear in mind that some land is private. Watch for no trespassing signs.
5. Discover hiking and beachcombing trails
Work up an appetite for local seafood and berry pie with a scenic hike. The immediate area around Sequim has more hiking trails than we can name here, and there are some great options for all ages and abilities. Here’s a sampling.
- Dungeness Spit Trail: Stretching into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, this trail is 5.5-miles and is the longest natural sand spit in the nation.
- Sequim Bay State Park: 4,909 feet of saltwater coast is yours to traverse at this beautiful state park, where you can also stroll along a paved section of the Olympic Discovery Trail.
- New Dungeness Lighthouse: You can reach this historic lighthouse with a 5-mile hike from a trailhead/parking lot along the north side of the Dungeness Spit. The decommissioned lighthouse is maintained by volunteers, and you can take a tour for $3 per person (free for children under 16). Check the tide reports before you leave for the hike, as high tides will make it difficult to reach the tip. It’s a $3 entrance fee to the Dungeness Spit and National Wildlife Refuge and the fee covers up to four people.
Tip: At low tide, there’s ample sand to walk along the beach at New Dungeness Lighthouse. At high tide, the beach disappears.
6. Pick your own berries
Strawberries, raspberries, loganberries, boysenberries, blueberries, blackberries—you name the berry and chances are, you can pick it in Sequim. The mild weather and rich fertile soil that make Sequim excellent for lavender farming also make it ideal for growing berries. Many local farms offer visitors the chance to pick their own and pay by weight. Look for U-Pick signs and pick only in designated areas.
Tip: Picking berries, and making your own jam, is widely considered one of the top fun things to do in Sequim in summer. Check with local farms to determine when the berries are at their peak.
7. Tour Sequim Museum & Arts
Looking for fun things to do in Sequim in winter? Take a free tour of Sequim Museum & Arts. Completed in 2019, this hidden gem showcases artifacts, exhibits and memorabilia about the area’s rich and diverse history. Here’s a sampling of what you can see: 13,000-year-old Mastodon tusks, a 1907 REO automobile, a 1936 Autocar hauler, and the Journey Through Time exhibit where you can take an archaeological tour through Sequim Prairie. It outlines the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal settlement and early Spanish-English exploration, plus histories of the shipping, fishing, logging, railroading and agricultural industries.
Then, check out the “Boys In The Boat” exhibit, named after the bestselling book by Daniel James Brown, which honors Sequim’s Joe Rantz—one of the nine University of Washington Gold Medalist rowers at the 1936 Olympics. Plus, you can see 42-foot and 62-foot Western Red Cedar racing shells. These were built by George Pocock, who also made racing shells for the American rowing team.
Tip: The Old Dungeness Schoolhouse, a National Registered Historical place, is also part of the museum. Built in 1892 next to the Dungeness River, it’s an excellent example of a bell-towered schoolhouse and a glimpse into days gone by. The schoolhouse is located 5-miles north of the museum.
8. Visit the Northwest Native Expressions Art Gallery at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center
The Northwest Native Expressions Art Gallery at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center is a perfect stop to explore Pacific Northwest art. The gallery features a range of artworks, including hand-crafted baskets, carvings and plaques by Pacific Northwest artists. Next to the gallery, you’ll find the House of Myth Carving Shed, where local master-carvers create all the wood-carved artwork such as totems, signage and building decor for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.
Tip: The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe recently opened its new Seven Cedars Hotel and Casino, which includes fine-dining restaurants, RV amenities and The Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course, which is known to be the driest course in Western Washington, is located on the West side of Sequim.
9. Try geocaching
Looking for fun things to do in Sequim with kids? Think of geocaching as a treasure hunt with a GPS. If you take an item, you leave another behind. There are dozens of great kid- and family-friendly caches around the Sequim area and across the Olympic Peninsula, plus more challenging ones for experienced hikers. Click here to find a geocaching adventure.
10. Experience the local arts scene
Looking for fun things to do in Sequim at night? For a small town, Sequim boasts a remarkable number of art galleries and boutiques. Plan a visit during the first weekend of the month and go on the First Friday Art Walk. This free self-guided tour runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of each month and guides you through galleries and locally-owned shops and cafés on a tour showcasing the visual, musical, performance, literary, culinary and decorative arts. Several venues also have entertainment.
There are so many fun things to do in Sequim that it’s hard to stop at just 10. Our list didn’t even touch on local restaurants, breweries and wineries—not to mention fishing and boating, plus music festivals and hot air balloon rides. So, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll add new favorite things to this list.
The lavender starts blooming in June, and there’s no better time to grab your AAA membership and start planning a wonderful getaway to the mild, sunny shores of Sequim, Washington.
For more fun things to do in Sequim, WA this weekend, check out local happenings at Visit Sunny Sequim.
—Written by: AAA Washington staff
—Top photo: Jason Hummel Photography/Experience Washington
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