When most people venture on their summer vacations, it is usually to someplace tropical and warm. My family enjoys being different. For us, warm weather and palm trees are not necessities. So this year, we journeyed into the unknown wilderness of upper Washington to Sequim (pronounced SKWIM). Our whole family had a wonderful time kayaking, hiking, and fishing in the area. We assure you that traveling up north is not for those who enjoy indoor activities.
For those who love dirt and sweat, welcome to the Garden of Eden. Sequim surprisingly receives less rain than Los Angeles, so the weather was not really an issue. It wasn’t extremely warm out, but it was a nice, comfortable temperature where you could almost do anything and not break a sweat.
The town itself is small, but is rapidly growing into a paradise for retired individuals. Don’t be fooled by the town’s small population because it has numerous restaurants and a very quaint downtown. I personally recommend that during shopping you venture to the Sunnyside Country Store just of highway 101.
The prices on fresh produce and fish are amazing, not to mention the quality of the food and the charming air of the store. The town of Sequim even has its own elk herd that roams the area. Just be careful to watch for them crossing on the highway.
Overall, the area around Sequim is picturesque and perfect for a family getaway. My favorite activity by far was kayaking. We kayaked in Freshwater Bay, and the view was one I will never forget. The fog was pushing away on the ocean and the sun was shining as the waves rolled in and out of the bay. The water was so blue that it almost seemed unreal.
Our guide took us through kelp beds, where we saw harbor seals and sea lions, into coves and out on the open ocean. In the coves he showed us sea stars in spectacular colors and many different species of birds native to the area. My dad, at the guides urging, even ate a piece of kelp, because our guide was telling us about all the different recipes it could be used for. I have to say that was the highlight of our trip.
The hiking in the area is superb. The Olympic National Forest is basically a hop and a skip away from Sequim and the short drive is well worth it. One hike that is a must in the area is the hike up to Hurricane Ridge. The views of the surrounding mountain glaciers are absolutely breathtaking, not to mention the extremely tame deer population that will wander extremely close for some great photos.
Making the trek all of the way up to Hurricane Hill (it’s pretty steep) is rewarded by the feeling of being on the top of the world. In some areas there is even some snow left over. If you and your family are tired like we were after the hike, then you can stop at the little cafe and gift shop, where we rested our tired feet before the drive down.
Another hike that is slightly longer (11 miles round trip) is the trek down the Dungeness Spit. The Spit juts out five miles from the peninsula and is about 100 ft. wide, with the lighthouse near the end. We had to make sure to check the tide charts before leaving to make sure that it was low tide. We walked along the sand and stopped midway for lunch, where we sat on a piece of driftwood.
Nearing the lighthouse, a bald eagle flew directly over our heads and landed about fifty feet away from us. I got up to 20 ft away for the creature before it took flight, but I got some fabulous pictures. We reached the lighthouse and got a tour of the facility, where we climbed all 75 stairs to the top of the lighthouse and were greeted by a magnificent view of the surrounding area. The hike was very tiring, but it was well worth it.
Overall, our trip to Sequim was very relaxing and rejuvenating experience. To travel there, it is a requirement to have a love of the great outdoors and of having fun. I recommend the trip to all families, no matter what age. There are activities for the seasoned adventurer to the amateur enthusiast. Sequim, and the surrounding areas greeted my family with great hospitality and we hope to return very soon.
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