Sequim, Washington

Best Places to Retire in Washington


Sequim (population 5,000) is located on the north Olympic Peninsula in the extreme northwest of the U.S. It is in the fertile Dungeness Valley farming lands, with the majestic Olympic Mountains to the south, and the Strait of Juan de the north. About 25,000 people live throughout the Dungeness Valley. Historic Port Townsend (population 8,500) is about 20 miles to the east, and Port Angeles (population 19,000) is 16 miles west.

This area has a temperate climate that supports many farms and gardens. It is known as the “Lavender Capital” of the U.S, and for its fine strawberry and raspberry crops. The region also supports a wide variety of birds year-round, including waterfowl, eagles, Peregrine falcons, osprey, and many land birds, including common finches, sparrows, juncos, doves and meadowlarks. It is also home to a herd of about 100 Roosevelt Elk who consider the Sequim area a part of their grazing range.

The community is representative of small-town America. It is quiet, laid back and welcoming to visitors. There are numerous small shops with specialty items, galleries, antique and craft shops, and a good selection of restaurants, including fine dining. One of the areas culinary delights is Dungeness Crab. On Saturdays the Sequim Open Aire Market is a popular event featuring fresh produce, flowers, processed foods, and arts and crafts. There may also be local music.

As a result of retirees moving in gradually over the past couple of decades, the community boasts more amenities as well as a number of the large chain stores. Sequim offers great scenic beauty, from views of the snow-capped mountains to wide vistas of Sequim Bay and the main channels in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Its mild climate and minimal annual rainfall allows for a many outdoor activities throughout the year and an easygoing, healthy lifestyle. Popular activities include hiking, biking, camping, birding, gardening, fishing, sailing, boating, kayaking, and golf. There are acute care hospitals in nearby Port Angeles and Port Townsend, and it is about 90 minutes to the state-run ferries into Seattle, and a half-hour from the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia. Silverdale, which is about 50 miles, is a favorite place for a major shopping adventure.

Sequim is known as a “senior friendly” community and welcomes retirees. A number of merchants offer senior’s discounts and the bus rides are free.

Arts & Culture

Sequim City Band, with more than 50 members, began performing outdoor concerts in 1992. Since its formation it has presented one concert each month from April through September. In recent years it has also presented two indoor concerts at the Sequim High School.

Dungeness River Audubon Center —

Museum & Arts Center exhibits both specimens and artifacts from ancient cultures.

Dungeness River Audubon Center offers a number of programs, including free birding walks.

Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival —

Lavender Festival in downtown Sequim celebrates the beauty of this purple, sweet-smelling herb each July. This event includes a street fair, farm tours, craft exhibits, live music and food booths.

The Irrigation Festival celebrates irrigation coming to the fields of the valley, sparking its outstanding agricultural businesses. It is the oldest celebration in the Sequim Valley.

Women’s barbershop choruses abound throughout the region.

Clallam County Fair, Port Angeles —

Port Angeles Fine Arts Center presents exhibits of visual art in all media. It’s collection features works by more than 500 artists.

Port Townsend Marine Science Center, located in Fort Worden State Park, offers hands-on live exhibits, and a variety of educational programs.

Port Townsend Community Orchestra is dedicated to providing quality concerts that are absolutely FREE!

Port Townsend Summer Band gives free band concerts in the gazebo at the park in Port Townsend during June, July, and August. (360) 344-3658 Professional musicians clad in blue jeans present the Olympic Music Festival (Port Townsend) inside a beautiful barn on a turn-of-the-century dairy farm. These performances, which are held on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from late June through early September, date back more than 20 years.

Key City Players, (Port Townsend) in operation since 1950, presents an annual series. They perform at the quaint Key City Playhouse.

Olympic Shakespeare Productions (Port Townsend) produces “Speak the Speech” programs, education programs, Shakespeare in Your Living Room, and mainstage productions.

Peninsula Chamber Singers (Port Townsend) performs “the world’s greatest choral music.”


The Sequim area is ideal for biking, with gently rolling farmlands and cliffs overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Olympic National Forest has hundreds of roads suitable for mountain biking, with access at trailheads on Palo Alto (east of town) and Taylor Cutoff Road (west of town). There is excellent fishing, boating, and sailing, with well-protected marina facilities.

There are two local golf courses, and Sequim boasts a relatively dry, 11-month golf season. Dungeness Golf Course is open to the public, and Sunland is a private course that offers reciprocal privileges to members of other private clubs.,

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge features what is purported to be “the world’s longest natural sand spit.” It forms a barrier against the sea to create calm waters and tidal flats, with an abundance of marine life. It also attracts thousands of migrating birds each spring and fall as a resting stop and place to feed.

Sequim Bay State park is a 92-acre camping park, just inside Puget Sound. The park has 4,900 feet of saltwater coastline.

Bay Olympic Game Farm is home to many familiar animals, including buffalo, tigers, wolves, bears, and others.

Olympic National Park is comprised of more than 900,000-acres, which includes glacier-capped mountains, Pacific coastline and magnificent old-growth forests. It includes nature trails and campgrounds, although much of it remains inaccessible. You can drive from its high country in the east to the Hoh Rain Forest, where 12 feet of rain a year creates a world of huge trees and profuse greenery. You can also drive to view the Pacific Coast and the wilderness beaches.

Fort Worden State Park Conference Center (Port Townsend) is a 443-acre park with more than 11,000 feet of saltwater shoreline, wooded hills with trails and the remains of gun emplacements and parade grounds. The park is perched on a high bluff overlooking Puget Sound. There are many historic buildings on this 19th century military installation.

Anderson Lake State Park (south of Port Townsend) is a remote marine park with a 70-acre lake, surrounded by wetlands and pine and alder forests. It offers hiking and biking trails, non-motorized boating, and birding.

Fort Flagler (Port Townsend) is a 784-acre marine camping park with 19,000+ feet of saltwater shoreline. It offers a panoramic view of the mountains and the opportunity to explore the remains of this 19th century military installation.

Old Fort Townsend is a 367-acre marine camping park with 3,900+ acres of saltwater shoreline on Townsend Bay. The park itself is heavily wooded and offers nature and history interpretive events. There are 6.5 miles of hiking trails, boating, fishing and crabbing.


Peninsula College is a two-year institution located at the foothills of the Olympic Mountains in Port Angeles. It has extensions at Port Townsend and Forks. The college offers more than 500 courses and certificates. Total enrollment is just over 10,000 students.

Washington State University (WSU Extension of Jefferson County) works in partnership with Peninsula College to offer a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies, Human Services and Education.

Olympic Park Institute provides educational adventures in nature, including seminars and Elderhostels.

Senior Programs

Sequim’s Senior Center offers many activities, including tours, trips, social events and much more.

Clallam-Jefferson County RSVP Program is a part of the Senior Corps, a retired senior volunteer program.


Olympic Medical Center, Port Angeles, (16 miles) includes Olympic Memorial Hospital with 126 beds, and a level III trauma center. Other facilities include imaging centers, a cancer center, medical laboratory, and other services. The medical center is the largest employer on the north Peninsula with a staff of more than 900.

Jefferson General Hospital, Port Townsend – about 20 miles, is a 42-bed full-service hospital.

Airport & Ferry Service

Jefferson County Airport at Port Townsend offers taxi service but no scheduled commercial flights.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac Airport), Seattle, WA.

Bainbridge Island Ferry (Bainbridge-to-Seattle) —

Port Angeles Ferry to Victoria, British Columbia —


The average temperatures for January are a high of 45 degrees and a low of 29 degrees. The average temperatures for July are a high of 69 degrees and low of 49 degrees. Average snowfall for January is just over five inches.


Sequim News —
Peninsula Daily News —

Property Taxes

Clallam County Tax Office — 

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

Sequim-Dungeness Chamber of Commerce —

State Aging Agency


Port Williams – 3.5 miles
Jamestown – 4 miles
Dungeness – 5 miles
Port Angeles – 16 miles
Port Townsend – 31 miles
Whidbey Island – 31 miles to Port Townsend, plus a scheduled Ferry to the Island Silverdale – 50 miles
Kingston – 54 miles (to reach a Seattle to Edmonds ferryboat)
Bremerton – 60 miles
Bainbridge Island – 65 miles (to reach a Seattle ferryboat)
Tacoma – 88 miles
Seattle – 65 miles (plus a car ferry ride), or, 122 miles (driving around Puget Sound)

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