Overnight in Sequim
Average summer high 68
For miles of windswept beaches, pristine seas and weathered bluffs—all drenched in sunshine—serenity seekers need look no farther than Sequim, just a two-and-a-half-hour drive northwest of Seattle. Located in a sunny valley in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, the tiny farming town gets less than 16 inches of rain per year—about the same as Los Angeles. That’s less than half of Seattle’s 37-plus inches per year; better yet, offshore breezes keep the skies clear. The bluest skies you’ve ever seen may actually be in Sequim.
Soak up staggering seascape views with your sunshine; head to Dungeness Spit (fws.gov/washingtonmaritime/dungeness) at low tide. This 5.5-mile-long finger of sand is the longest natural sand spit in the world—and also a national wildlife refuge, home to puffins, seals and more than 250 species of birds (and, yes, Dungeness crabs). On a fine, clear day (that’s most days here!), the long hike out to the end of the spit pays off with splendid views from atop the New Dungeness Lighthouse (360.683.6638; newdungenesslighthouse.com), one of the oldest in the Northwest (built in 1857). Consider signing up to be a temporary lighthouse keeper, so you can return to live here for a week.
Settle in for the night at the luxe and lovely Juan de Fuca Cottages (182 Marine Drive; 360.683.4433; juandefuca.com), situated on a low bluff on Dungeness Bay, with views of the lighthouse, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hurricane Ridge, just a 30-minute drive away (side trip!). Rent a kayak from the cottage and launch from the private beach, paddling out into the serene bay. Reward yourself with something smoky and cheesy (or perhaps some planked seafood) from the wood-fired oven at the Alder Wood Bistro (139 W Alder St.; 360.683.4321; alderwoodbistro.com).
Sunny Sequim’s other nickname is the “Lavender Capital of North America,” and the annual lavender festival (July 19–21) draws hordes to the more than three dozen local farms. If you’re not the festival type, take a stroll through an organic lavender field at Purple Haze Lavender Farm (180 Bell Bottom Road; 360.683.1714; purplehazelavender.com) and pick a bouquet (May–Labor Day) to put on your dashboard, where it can bake in the ever-present sun, sweetening your short drive home. Kristen Russell