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Vancouver-Seattle 10 days in mid-May. Please help!

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We just changed our vacation plans and booked tickets to Seattle - May 9 and back on May 20. I will get guidebooks but I would like to ask for help with the planning - Where to go, What to see, Where to stay, How many days in each location. We will rent a car. Main activities are photography and a bit of hiking. We would like to We would prefer to explore Seattle on our way back (Friday/Saturday) Ideally, Friday/Saturday is preferred days for Vancouver as well if this is logistically possible - so we don't have to drive. Thank you in advance for all your help.

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    Please clarify:

    You "will rent a car" and you "prefer" (the initial) "Friday/Saturday" in Vancouver "so you (won't) have to drive"???

    What exactly do you mean by that?

    At any rate, if landing in Seattle on Wednesday May 9, it makes sense to spend that first night in Seattle before driving off to Vancouver, Canada the next day. Stay there through Saturday night if you like... but unless you leave for the U.S. at an odd hour, you'll be spending ages at the border line.

    I can't yet understand whether you do indeed intend to drive to Vancouver from Seattle, or if that is what you're trying to avoid. You could opt to take the train to and from Vancouver, accomplishing leg one of that journey on the day after your Seattle arrival.

    Generally speaking, you have to give us a better sense for what you want, in order so that we can fine-tune your visions to what is really here.

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    Sorry, this is to clarify - We'll have a car and we are planning to drive to all destinations but due to religous observance we would prefer to avoid driving from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday (Jewish Sabbat).

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    Agree with the above poster about the boarder line up. Try to time your travels to avoid the line up, which is typically awful on the weekends.

    Things to see in Vancouver, BC. So many! It's so beautiful. Stanley park is a typical tourist spot. For great photography I'd head over to the north shore. If you are active, you can hike the grouse grind, or if you prefer you can take a tram to the top. By far one of the best places to take pictures of the Vancouver skyline, stanley park, lions gate bridge, etc. It's stunning.

    Also, you will want to drive the sea to sky highway. On a sunny day, you will have endless photo ops. The sea to sky highway will take you up to Whistler. Or you can go as far as britanna beach (about 30 minutes from lions gate bridge) where you can grab amazing coffee and a snack at Galileo's and then head back to the city if you prefer.

    I'm assuming you will be taking landscape photos so that's what I based my recommendations on.

    Have fun!

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    Wow, the clarification is entirely helpful... and I'll admit that I'd have never connected that one on my own.

    So, arriving on a Wednesday... seems ideal for getting you planted in Vancouver before sundown on Friday night.

    I have no idea how many of you there are... but were it me, with no more than two people, I would definitely attempt to use to land a "4-star" hotel in downtown Vancouver for Thursday night through... eh, maybe even SUNDAY night (to avoid weekend border lines coming BACK into the USA FROM Canada).

    The OTHER option would be to stay IN Vancouver late into the evening on Sunday, and then drive back across after 8 or 9pm (for what would/could then be a 2-hour drive from the border to Seattle) (NOT that you intend to GET to Seattle then... just giving a sense of distance...)

    If you come back across the border either late Sunday or on Monday, then perhaps you might consider the "North Cascades Highway" (East from Burlington, WA on Hwy #20)... spectacular nature scenery along that path to the quaint town of Winthrop, WA.

    As you'd have already traveled between Seattle and Vancouver along the freeway, you might consider a return trip via another path.

    Maybe, from Winthrop, WA... you could take a path through Wenatchee, Leavenworth, (backtrack a tad to) Ellensburg, Yakima (cuz you have to?)... and then back to the west on Highway #12 prior to a semi-circle around Mount Rainier.

    (important note: IF you happen to take such a scenic route, when traveling between Ellensburg and Yakima, DON'T take the dull path along the I-82 freeway, instead opt for the "Canyon Road" (state Hwy #821)) {the choices come down to a freeway alternately going up and down steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep hills, with trucks all over the place, and little or nothing to see near the sides of the roads... vs. a winding road which parallels the Yakima River in a canyon for 25 or 30 miles}. Both roads end up at the same place, and there are no (non-local) trucks allowed on the canyon road between May 15 and Sept. 15 every year.)

    (back to Mount Rainier...)

    The most popular destination spot there is Paradise, which is perhaps the snowiest place on earth at which regular snowpack measurements are taken. (there were 10 FEET of snow on the ground up there as of June 30 of last year - so you can do the math for mid-May) (the roads should be fully dry and plowed though, so no worries).

    OK, let me start to summarize my idea here:


    Weds May 9 (Seattle)
    Thurs (Vancouver)
    Fri (Vancouver)
    Sat (Vancouver)

    (leave LATE Sunday evening from central Van. (after 8pm, if it were me)...

    Then maybe stay in/near

    Sun (Bellingham, WA)
    Mon (Winthrop, WA)
    Tues (Winthrop, WA)
    Weds (Yakima, WA) (not for its appeal, but for convenience)

    Thurs (Seattle area)
    Friday (Seattle area)
    Saturday (Seattle area)

    ... then fly home on Sunday

    Hope this gets you thinking...

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