Although Sequim has a thriving downtown with plenty of services for more than 25,000 residents, it still has the charm of a small town. People smile at each other on the streets – whether they know each other or not- and conversations in the checkout line between two strangers doesn’t seem so strange here. The same friendliness will extend itself to tourists, who can quickly fit in by pronouncing Sequim (Skwim), the way the locals do.
Visitors will find plenty of accommodations, restaurants and shopping opportunities in Sequim, especially along Washington Street , but the true attraction of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley is its surrounding beauty. Imagine snow- capped mountains of the Olympic Mountain Range to the south and west, blue waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north, and Mt. Baker (presiding over the Cascade Range) to the east. Farmland is now dotted with houses, not only for farmers, but folks who appreciate the beauty of the rolling fields around them. Sunshine of 306 days annually and a moderate, two season climate (dry and warmer, dry and cooler) have made retirement the #1 cash crop in Sequim.
Part of Sequim’s charm is the lack of rainfall, a plus in rain-soaked Washington. Being in the shadow of the Olympics, Sequim is the driest spot on the Pacific Coast north of Los Angeles. A good reason to be called “Sunny Sequim”, only 16 inches of rain fell last year. In neighboring Port Angeles, it added up to almost 25 inches and on the west end of the Peninsula, moisture laden ocean winds pour more than 150 inches of rain per year. Although further north than Maine, average winter temperatures range between freezing and 50 degrees. In August the average temp. is 72 degrees.
Minimal rainfall was the downfall of Sequim area farmers until irrigation was introduced in 1895. Today the Sequim Dungeness Valley has about 97 miles of irrigation ditches. The opening of the first ditch was cause for celebration which gave birth to the Sequim Irrigation Festival, the oldest event of its kind in the state.
The name Sequim comes from the earliest settlers, before pioneers, the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. It means quiet waters. The tribe’s legacy can be seen at their Native Art Gallery and Tribal Center located on Route 101 east of Sequim. Their 7 million dollar “7 Cedars Casino” is welcomed in Sequim as a promotion of the entertainment and tourism trade and a boost to our local economy.
One of the most popular attractions in the area is the Dungeness Spit, the largest natural sand hook in the nation. Open to foot traffic only, visitors who make the entire trek, about 6 miles one way, will be treated to a close-up look at the Dungeness Lighthouse, built in 1857 and now automated.
Originally started in the late forties to train animals for Walt Disney Studios, the Olympic Game Farm, one of our more novel attractions, has provided “stars” for more than 80 movies and T.V. shows over the years. Recently, the emphasis is more on protecting and breeding endangered species than providing cinema entertainment. One trip through the farm will bring true meaning to the term “buffalo breath”.
Whether you’re interested in hunting, fishing, hiking, golfing, rock or mountain climbing, crabbing, claming, camping, beach combing, skiing, bicycling, boating, photography, antiquing, shopping dining or gambling you’ll find something to satisfy every appetite on the Olympic Peninsula.