Basecamp in Sequim, Washington

Find sunny weather, lavender farms and a cute downtown in Sequim.

Photo: Getty Images

Because it’s the driest place in notoriously rainy western Washington, the coastal city of Sequim (pronounced squim) doesn’t look like the rest of the Olympic Peninsula. The first thing you’ll notice in this vibrant town located half an hour from the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles, is that it really likes purple. Everything from the benches to the storefronts in town features the vibrant color. Come summertime, the entire area is painted in purple as fields of fragrant lavender bloom, giving the town a Provencal air.

Visit any time of the year and you’ll find lavender bath products in the boutiques, lavender simple syrup in the cocktails and lavender ice cream being scooped into cones, but summertime is definitely the best season to visit to truly immerse yourself in this wonderful flowering herb. More than 15 lavender farms in the area welcome visitors, usually from late spring to early fall. Stop by for you-pick lavender and to purchase lavender products and plants. B & B Family Farm at 5883 Old Olympic Highway offers lavender ice cream and lemonade. Jardin du Soleil has a garden maze and farm animals for kids to meet at 3932 Sequim Dungeness Way. The culmination of the town’s lavender obsession happens the third weekend in July, during Sequim Lavender Weekend with a downtown street fair and festivals at many of the farms.

If you’re looking for something a little less purple to do, Sequim has that too. Spend an afternoon perusing the boutiques, galleries and antique stores in downtown Sequim. Grab a cup of coffee or an ice cream at Hurricane Coffee Company at 104 W. Washington Street to fuel your shopping. When it’s time for lunch, head to Salty Girls Seafood Co., where you’ll find local oysters on the half shell, clam chowder and grilled cheese sandwiches in addition to local beer and inventive cocktails. It’s located at 210 W. Washington Street.

Hike America’s longest natural sand spit is in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Hike America’s longest natural sand spit is in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge (Photo: Getty Images)

While Sequim’s location close to Olympic National Park makes it a great basecamp for outdoor recreation in the park, there’s also plenty of opportunities to get active in town. The Olympic Discovery Trail, a 120-mile route stretching from Port Townsend in the east to La Push in the west, goes right through Sequim. The 40-mile section just east of town is paved all the way to Port Angeles. Rent a bike at Ben’s Bikes in Sequim and enjoy the paved bike trail to the west or the unpaved sections to the east. You’ll pass through beautiful scenery along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge.

John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Washington
John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Washington (Photo: Getty Images)

To get out on the water, head to the John Wayne Marina on Sequim Bay. Several boat tours depart from the marina including Puget Sound Express’ whale watching tours. Enjoy lunch or dinner overlooking the water at the Dockside Grill.

There are plenty of places to stay in Sequim, making it a great place to basecamp out of for your trip to Olympic National Park. There are a variety of vacation rentals and RV parks, as well as a state park and recreation area that offers camping. There are also a variety of hotels, including the new 7 Cedars Hotel & Casino.

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