Little Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington is a delightful place to stop if driving the Pacific Coast Highway. Pronounced ‘Squim’, it’s earned the nickname of Sunny Sequim thanks to almost 300 days of sunshine a year.

The Road to SequimThe Road to Sequim

Sunny Sequim

Although it’s on the edge of the Olympic National Park, which has the USA’s only rain forest and gets very wet, Sequim is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. These protect it from the worst of the rain and it gets only about 16” (41cm) a year, on average. The rainfall is pretty evenly spread over the year, with October-March being the wettest months.

The warmest months are from June to September with average highs being in the upper 60s/low 70s (about 18-22C). The nights will still be cold, though, so be sure to have something warm to wear in the evenings.

Lavender Farm Near SequimLavender Farm Near Sequim

Where is Sequim?

Sequim is on the north coast of Washington State, between Port Angeles and Port Townsend. It’s about 70 miles (113 kms) northwest of Seattle by the shortest route. This involves a ferry crossing so allow about 2-3 hours for the journey.

Watch Out for the Elk!

Be warned when you’re driving the Pacific Coast Highway that Sequim has a herd of Roosevelt elk that live near the town. They occasionally wander into the road, although some of the elk have been fitted with radio collars which should trigger hazard lights for motorists. You still need to take care, though, and don’t speed.

Sequim's Roosevelt Elk HerdSequim's Roosevelt Elk Herd

Photo Courtesy of Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce

The Manis Mastodon Site

In 1977 in Happy Valley, to the south of Sequim, some mastodon bones were found by a farmer, Emanuel Manis, while hoeing his land. An archaeological team from Washington State University was brought in to investigate further, and as well as the mastodon, estimated to be 12,000 years old, they also found bones from caribou and bison. The finds from the dig are on display at the Museum and Arts Center in Sequim, and there is nothing to see at the site today except a plaque to mark the spot.

What to Do in Sequim

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

Dungeness National Wildlife RefugeDungeness National Wildlife Refuge

About 8 miles (13 kms) northwest of the town, this wildlife refuge overlooks the Strait of Juan de Fuca and runs along the longest natural sand spit in the USA. You’ll find birds there all year round, including bald eagles, but at peak migration times there are as many as 30,000 birds passing through. Snowy owls sometimes make an appearance in the winter.

Harbor seals are common here and sometimes you might see an elephant seal. Whales are also occasionally seen swimming by. On land there are deer and squirrels. The Wildlife Refuge was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1915.

Museum and Arts Center

Sequim Museum and Arts CenterSequim Museum and Arts Center

The museum displays the finds from the Manis Mastodon Site (see above). There are also exhibits about the local Native Americans (the Jamestown S’Klallam people), local agriculture, transport and maritime histories. There’s also an art collection and the museum is the place to go to find out about the monthly First Friday Art Walks.

The New Dungeness Lighthouse

The New Dungeness LighthouseThe New Dungeness Lighthouse

This stands at the end of the sand spit within the Wildlife Refuge, and was ‘new’ when it was built in 1857. It houses the headquarters of the Wildlife Refuge and it’s an enjoyable 5-mile (8-km) hike from the refuge parking lot along the sand spit to reach it. Do check the tide timetables before setting out, though, and remember you have to hike 5 miles back again. Volunteers offer tours of the lighthouse, and while they are free a donation towards upkeep is always appreciated.

The Olympic Game Farm

Close to the Wildlife Refuge is this drive-through game park where you take a bus tour to see where over 200 animals live. The unique feature is that they have all appeared in movies. Some have retired, getting too old to do stunts, but others still make appearances. If you’re lucky your visit might coincide with a film sequence being shot, as it can be easier for the studios to film here on location than to take the animals into the studios.

A Bear at the Olympic Game Farm in SequimA Bear at the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim

Photo Courtesy of Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce

There’s no guarantee which animals will come out on which days, but among the residents are llamas, yaks, zebras, lynx, coyotes, Kodiak bears, Roosevelt elk, Sika deer, lions, tigers, and American bison. There’s also a petting zoo with smaller animals, a duck pond, reptile house, and an aquarium. In addition there’s a barn which is full of movie memorabilia.

Sequim Lavender

Thanks to its climate Sequim has become a center for the growing of lavender, and there are some beautiful views when the plants are in bloom in the summer months. There are farms where you can tour and pick your own lavender, and naturally plenty of opportunity to buy gifts to take home. There’s also a Lavender Weekend in the summer, usually in July.

Sequim Lavender FieldsSequim Lavender Fields

Photo Courtesy of Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce

Where to Stay in Sequim

More Information about Sequim

For more information visit the really excellent website created by the City of Sequim:

Other Washington pages

  • Westport Washington

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  • Washington Wine Country

    Washington Wine Country includes plenty of vineyards and wineries that can be visited while traveling the Pacific Coast Highway including the Olympic Peninsula.

  • Washington State Travel Guide

    The Washington State travel guide from Frommer's covers hotels in Seattle, driving the Pacific Coast Highway, Olympic National Park, where to eat and more.

  • Washington Coast Hotels and Inns

    The Washington Coast's hotels, inns, guesthouses, b&bs and other places to stay include 5-star luxury hotels and resorts, motel chains, RV parks and camping.

  • Unique Inns on the Pacific Coast Highway

    Unique Inns on the Pacific Coast Highway include some of the best independently-owned boutique hotels, spas, and lodges in California, Oregon and Washington.

  • Things to Do in Seattle

    The best things to do in Seattle include visiting Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium and the Seattle Art Museum.

  • Seattle

    Seattle is a great city break vacation destination and also the perfect start for the Pacific Coast Highway drive, and the gateway to Washington wine country.

  • Seattle Hotels

    Downtown Seattle hotels are near attractions and the waterfront. Hotel Vintage Park, Edgewater Inn, and Inn at Harbor Steps are tops for travelers.

  • Port Townsend

    Port Townsend is noted for its Victorian architecture, sits at the top of the Olympic Peninsula, close to the Olympic National Park and 55 miles from Seattle.

  • Port Angeles in Washington State

    Port Angeles in Washington is the largest town on the Olympic Peninsula. It stands on the Pacific Coast Highway and is the gateway to the Olympic National Park.

  • Longest Beach in the USA

    The Longest Beach in the USA is arguably in Long Beach in Washington, though claims that it is also the longest beach in the world are wide of the mark.

  • Long Beach Peninsula

    The Long Beach Peninsula in Washington runs north of Ilwaco and includes the town of Long Beach and others, and claims to have the longest beach in the USA.

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