Peggy and I had our first road trip together 17 years ago, a one-night trip to Sequim. Our first hike together was Dungeness Spit. I share this because we're a bit biased: this place has meaning for us.
The walk from the parking lot to the Spit is a surprising treat. It's not just some woods to walk through to get to the star of the show, the five-point-five mile sandbar. When the light is out, it's a gorgeous forest, relatively empty of other guests. In the short half-mile, on a busy Labor Day morning, we saw some very photogenic squirrels, lots of birds, and a black-tail deer bounding across the trail. And the occasional screaming child, but it was a holiday weekend after all...
The spit itself needs more time and better preparation than almost anyone gives it. Many families stop at the bottom of the bluff to play in the sand or the gentle surf. We've never made it to the Lighthouse (an 11-mile roundtrip...someday!), but we have wandered further along the strand. There's something humbling about being on this increasingly narrowing spit of land stretching out into the mighty tensions of the currents of the Straights of San Juan de Fuca. Mount Baker rises over the lighthouse; you look back, and Mt. Angeles and the northern Olympics are staring at you. Fishers -- human and avian -- busily work the edges of the spit to find food.
It's also a place of incredible textures -- from sand to grain, to the patterns of remarkable driftwood logs, to the foam on the surf, to the rotting sea grasses -- all are alive with micro textures that compliment the overwhelming macro world of planes, boats, logs, fog, and even the occasional cruise ship passing by, in which you're immersed.
This is an extravagant, beautiful place in its own rights. It falls behind other local spots for me not because it is lacking but because it is limited. Sightings of more rare creatures, or aquatic mammals, are infrequent, and while the Lighthouse is a lure it's distance makes it a difficult one to comprehend.
If you're in Sequim, do it. But then go and find the other places -- the lavender farms, the railroad bridge park, Deer Park, Obstruction Point, etc. The spit makes more sense in the context of the remarkable natural network of the Sequim prairie and the northern foothills of the Olympics.