Even with its thriving downtown and more than 25,000 residents, Sequim 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 in Sequim, especially along Washington Street, but the town’s true attraction is the breathtaking beauty of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. Imagine snow-capped peaks of the Olympic National Park to the South and West, blue waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the North, and Mt. Baker presiding over the Cascade Mountains to the East. The surrounding farmland is dotted with houses for folks who appreciate the beauty of the rolling fields around them. 306 days of annual sunshine and a moderate, two-season climate (dry and warmer, dry and cooler) have made retirement the #1 cash crop in Sequim.
Being in the shadow of the Olympics, Sequim is the driest spot on the Pacific Coast north of Los Angeles. “Sunny Sequim” gets an annual average of only 16 inches of rainfall. In comparison, neighboring Port Angeles receives almost 25 inches, and moisture laden ocean winds pour more than 150 inches of rain per year on the west end of the Peninsula! Although Sequim is further north than Maine, average winter temperatures range between a mild 31 to 50 degrees. In August, the average temperature is a comfortable 72 degrees. Minimal rainfall limited Sequim’s development until irrigation was introduced in 1895. Today, the Sequim Dungeness Valley has about 97 miles of irrigation channels. The opening of the first ditch was cause for celebration and gave rise to the Sequim Irrigation Festival, the oldest event of its kind in the state.
The name Sequim comes from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe. It means “quiet waters”. You can view the Tribe’s proud heritage at the Native Art Gallery and Tribal Center, located on Route 101 just east of Sequim, in the Jamestown S’Klallam reservation. You can also try your luck at the glittering 7 Cedars Casino, a popular tourist destination that provides a big boost for Sequim’s local economy.
Another must-see attraction is the Dungeness Spit, the largest natural sand bar in the nation. Visitors can explore a 6-mile trail, where you can enjoy lovely views of the Dungeness Bay and a close-up look at the Dungeness Lighthouse, built in 1857. The Dungeness Spit is located within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, home to 250 species of birds and 41 species of land mammals, along with Chinook, Coho, Pink, and Silverbrite salmon.
One of Sequim’s more novel attractions is the Olympic Game Farm. Originally started in the late 40s to train animals for Walt Disney Studios, the Olympic Game Farm has provided “stars” for more than 80 movies and T.V. shows. These days, the emphasis is more on protecting and breeding endangered species. From the safety of their cars, visitors can get up-close look to wildlife such as bison, Kodiak bears, elk, yaks, llamas, Tibetan yaks, and even zebras.
Whether you’re interested in hiking and camping, golfing, beach combing, antiquing and shopping, photography, boating, skiing and cycling, fishing and hunting, crabbing and clamming, rock or mountain climbing, fine dining, or games of chance, you’ll find your adventure in Sunny Sequim.