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11 Top-Rated Things to Do in Sequim, WA

Written by Brad Lane
Sep 29, 2021

Sequim, pronounced "Skwim," is on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington, bordering Sequim Bay and the Salish Sea. This tiny slice of small-town paradise has a lot going for it as a favorable place to visit. From its sunny weather in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains to a stunning mix of saltwater and freshwater surroundings, Sequim offers dramatic landscapes and a leisurely pace.

Sequim is also well known for lavender, and is often referred to as the "Lavender Capital of North America." It's the city's beautiful weather and historic canals that allow these fragrant plants to proliferate, and it's dozens of local farmers that add to the community spirit. Plan a visit in the summer months (late June to early August) for peak lavender bloom.

And there's plenty of reason to visit outside of lavender season. Whether you enjoy bike riding, blazing sunsets, or boating on the water, the town is open for adventure throughout the year. Find your next reason to visit the city and stay awhile with our list of the top things to do in Sequim.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Experience the Lavender Capital of North America

Sequim Lavender
Sequim Lavender

Sequim deserves its title as the Lavender Capital of North America. Environmental and engineering factors combine to make Sequim and the Dungeness Valley prime for this aromatic and versatile plant. These factors include the consistently sunny weather in the rain shadow, widely used irrigation canals dug in the late 1800s, and a community of enthusiastic farmers.

Lavender in Sequim is as much a tourist attraction as it is an agricultural industry. Like Purple Haze Lavender Farm and B&B Family Farm, dozens of farms offer visiting experiences during peak bloom season. These experiences also typically include a visit to gift shops with handmade lavender products. Bring a camera to whichever farm you visit, as the rows and rows of vibrant lavender often make for a good shot.

The best time to visit Sequim lavender farms is roughly between mid to late June and early August. The annual Sequim Lavender Festival occurs around the third weekend of July, and it has a good track record for full blooms.

Lavender and flowers blooming in Sequim
Lavender and flowers blooming in Sequim

More information on Sequim's lavender farms is available online or at the Sequim Visitor Information Center on East Washington Street.

Official site: https://sequimlavender.org/

2. Hike the Dungeness Spit at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

Dungeness Spit
Dungeness Spit

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is on the far northern tip of Sequim. It primarily consists of the Dungeness Spit, one of the world's longest natural sand spits. This unique extension into the water results from the nearby Dungeness River meeting the saltwater of Puget Sound, and thanks to several environmental factors at this confluence, it's teeming with wildlife throughout the year.

One of the most popular and ambitious things to do at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is hiking the Spit. The thin slice of sand and hiking trail extends for five miles in one direction, ending at the New Dungeness Lighthouse. While the spit is accessible any time of day, low tide offers the most room to walk.

Sunset near Dungeness Recreation Area
Sunset near Dungeness Recreation Area | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Dungeness Recreation Area is next to the Wildlife Refuge and is often the starting point for hiking the Spit. This 216-acre public space has campsites, picnic tables, and additional hiking trails. Over 60 campsites offer an excellent resource for those looking to make the 11-mile hike to the lighthouse and back.

Official site: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/dungeness/

3. Enjoy the Sights at John Wayne Marina

John Wayne Marina
John Wayne Marina | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The John Wayne Marina is on Pitship Point on the east side of the city. It encompasses 22 acres donated by Duke himself, as the famous Hollywood cowboy enjoyed taking his yacht into the adjacent Sequim Bay.

With transient moorage available, it's a popular spot for mariners visiting from across the region. Other public water amenities include fuel, a public boat launch, and a pump-out station. The marina also provides showers, laundry, and a dockside grill popular with sea goers and land-lovers alike.

And land-lovers have other reasons to visit. The entire waterfront area at John Wayne Marina is a park area with benches and picnic tables. A compact gravel path navigates this landscaping and offers fantastic views of the water.

Address: 2577 W Sequim Bay Road, Sequim, Washington

Official site: https://www.portofpa.com/186/John-Wayne-Marina

4. Camp at Sequim Bay State Park

Sequim Bay State Park
Sequim Bay State Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Sequim Bay State Park is on the east side of the city, off the 101, and is an excellent option for those looking to pitch a tent or park an RV. And with the Olympic Discovery Trail running through the middle of this 92-acre marine park, it's also a common pitstop for bicyclists.

The state park is also worth a pitstop when driving through. Over two miles of hiking trails traverse the park's lush coastal environment, offering nice opportunities to stretch the legs. Several picnic areas and playground equipment are also at the park. And a public boat launch on the park's north side caters to non-motorized and motorized vessels alike.

Sequim Bay has 45 campsites available. Fifteen of these sites have full hookups and enough space for RVs up to 45-feet long. Two separate forest loops offer quieter surroundings and dedicated tent camping. Water, flushing restrooms, and showers are available to all overnight guests. Reservations are recommended between May and September.

Address: 269035 US-101, Sequim, Washington

Official site: https://parks.state.wa.us/582/Sequim-Bay

5. Ride a Bicycle on the Olympic Discovery Trail

Olympic Discovery Trail
Olympic Discovery Trail | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) is a 135-mile trail that spans the peninsula's entire north side. Currently, the route comprises both multi-use trails and some road shoulders, with less than half of the route open to motorized vehicles. For the last three decades, the Peninsula Trails Coalition has added more vehicle-free sections every year.

The eastern terminus of the route begins at the boatyard in Port Townsend, and La Push, near Rialto Beach, is the western terminus. Several cities, state parks, and seaward views intersperse the route between these two portals. And one of the most completed sections spans from Blyn to Port Angeles, with Sequim right in the middle.

The 26 miles between Blyn and Port Angeles crosses over nine scenic bridges, including the Johnson Creek Railroad Trestle Foot Bridge. The ODT also makes its way right through the middle of Sequim Bay State Park. With several areas to hop on and off, the trail is popular for casual rides and long-distance "bike-packing."

Official site: https://olympicdiscoverytrail.org/

6. Discover Nature at the Dungeness River Audubon Center

Railroad Bridge, adjacent to the Dungeness River Audubon Center
Railroad Bridge, adjacent to the Dungeness River Audubon Center

The Dungeness River Audobon Center is west of the core downtown district, approximately a half-mile northwest of Walmart. Alongside the adjacent Railroad Bridge Park, the Audobon Center is an excellent place to learn about and discover nature.

The Audobon Center offers exhibits and hands-on activities throughout the week. This regular programming includes bird walks throughout the summer. The facility also features indoor exhibits that explore the surrounding environment in detail.

The adjacent Railroad Bridge stands as a testament to the railroad industry that once roared through the landscape. It's also a crowning feature of the Olympic Discovery Trail. The original bridge was built in 1915 as part of the Milwaukee Trail. Today, a steel replacement offers a smooth ride over the Dungeness River.

7. Peruse the Collection at the Northwest Native Expressions Art Gallery

Northwest Native Expression Art Gallery
Northwest Native Expression Art Gallery | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

East of the city on the Old Blyn Highway, Northwest Native Expressions Art Gallery showcases arts, crafts, and souvenirs created by native peoples of the Puget Sound region. This small shop is open seven days a week, and several items line the walls and counter space throughout.

Prospective shoppers find everything from T-shirts to large totems for sale. Other specialized items include hand-woven baskets, jewelry, and delicate wood carvings.

The Art Gallery is part of the economic development of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe. This band of the larger S'Klallam Tribe has owned land in the area for over a century and is today a beacon of self-reliance. Jamestown S'klallam also operates a seafood market, resort golf course, luxury hotel, and a family health and dental clinic.

8. Day Trip to Olympic National Park

Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park
Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Sequim makes for an excellent add-on stop or basecamp for an Olympic National Park adventure. The town is on the peninsula's north end, making areas like Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent the most accessible. These two memorable areas of the park are west of Sequim, and ambitious tourists can see both in a day.

Port Angeles is 17 miles west of Sequim and home to the Olympic National Park Visitor Center. Here, rangers are available to answer any questions about traveling into the park and assist in booking backcountry reservations. Port Angeles is also the jumping-off point for the drive up to Hurricane Ridge, home to one of the biggest drive-up views in the park.

Another half-hour drive west from Port Angeles is the sprawling Lake Crescent. This area of the park is brimming with several sightseeing and recreation options, including the popular Marymere Falls hike. And in the same area, Lake Crescent Lodge offers classic park architecture close to the water. The inviting Sol Duc region, including Sol Doc Hot Springs, is a 12-mile drive from Lake Crescent.

9. Take a Moment in the Day at Carrie Blake Park

Carrie Blake Park
Carrie Blake Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Carrie Blake Park is a 50-acre parcel of public land on the downtown's east side. It's a popular place to enjoy the nice weather of the region in a variety of ways. Among the park's several attractions are gardens, fishing ponds, and several photogenic landscapes. Pet owners also enjoy the off-leash dog area of the park.

Other public amenities include tennis and pickleball courts, a skateboard park, and playgrounds. There's also plenty of open lawn and field space for picnics or pickup sports leagues. Flushing restrooms are available during the park's regular operating hours (dawn to dusk).

Parking is available, but the Olympic Discovery Trail also traverses the park's eastern boundary. This paved route offers a more scenic route for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Address: 202 N Blake Avenue, Sequim, Washington

10. Tour the Olympic Game Farm

Kodiak bear, Olympic Game Farm
Kodiak bear, Olympic Game Farm | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Olympic Game Farm offers a unique drive-through safari experience on the north side of the city. This longstanding Sequim attraction dates back to the 1950s, when it first operated as a holding facility for Disney Studio animal actors.

Olympic Game Farm evolved its operations in the 1970s. They continued to care for only "in-need" captive wildlife, as they still do today, and have been offering public tours ever since. And these approximately hour-long driving tours are often a memorable experience, especially for kids riding in the backseat.

Upon admission, visitors have the chance to buy loaves of wheat bread to feed the llamas, elks, and bison along the route. The provided wheat bread is the only food visitors can feed to the animals. Other regulations include staying in the vehicle and keeping sunroofs closed.

Llama at the Olympic Game Farm
Llama at the Olympic Game Farm | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Several Kodiak bears are also along the route and enjoy the bread flung from open car windows. Other animals include tigers, lions, and timberwolves. And along the entire way, expect to see more than one peacock crossing the road.

Address: 1423 Ward Road, Sequim, Washington

Official site: https://olygamefarm.com/

11. Play a Round at the Rainshadow Disc Golf Park

Rainshadow Disc Golf Course
Rainshadow Disc Golf Course | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

This dedicated disc golf park is approximately 10 miles east of downtown Sequim on the Old Blyn Highway. It offers professionally designed 18 holes across 40 acres. The park has very few other amenities and was created solely for the free and fun sport of disc golf.

The course is challenging for those new to the sport. A few of the forested edges of the fairways consist of thick brush that makes finding errant shots difficult. But keep the disc inbounds, and it's by far one of the best disc golf courses on the peninsula. Complimentary scorecards and a large map are available in the parking area.

Address: 395 Thompson Road, Sequim, Washington

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