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Inquiry from Australian Family - Vancouver/Seattle

Inquiry from Australian Family - Vancouver/Seattle

Old Dec 28th, 2000, 08:12 PM
Posts: n/a
July/August are by far the best months weatherwise in this area. Daily temperatures range from 13C-24C on average in Seattle and 12C-21C in Vancouver and the humidity is NEVER a problem. Rainfall is about one inch each month. Be sure to do as much as possible outdoors. Looks like plenty of advice has been given for the two cities proper, so I'll focus on the Seattle/Vancouver drive. Unless you are in a grand hurry, do NOT take I-5 all the way there. Two wonderful alternatives(you can do one each way) are Chuckanut Drive and Deception Pass. Going north on I-5, take exit 232 and follow highway 11. On a clear day, the view of the San Juan Islands is spectacular. It ends up in Bellingham, a quaint city/town(pop. approx 50000) where you can lunch and rejoin I-5. On the way down, take exit 230 and head west to Deception Pass, one of Washington's most scenic attractions. You can then travel southward the length of Whidbey Island on Hwys 20 and 525. Pass right through Oak Harbor(unless you like strip malls and generic Americana), stop in Coupeville or Fort Casey for an hour, and take the ferry from Clinton at the south end of the island Mukilteo. You cannot visit the Puget Sound without taking at least one ferry ride. From Mukilteo, find your way back to I-5 to Seattle. When crossing the border, NEVER TAKE THE PEACE ARCH CROSSING!!! Lines can be over 2 hours either in summer. The line at the truck crossing(officially the Pacific crossing)is always at least 40% shorter and only 1 mile out of your way. To get to the truck crossing northbound, take exit 275 on I-5, cross the border, go one mile to 8 Ave and turn left back to Hwy 99(what I-5 turns into). Going southbound, take exit 2 for 8 Ave Eastbound. Go one mile to 176 St(Highway 15), turn right, cross the border and go back to I-5. I'd also recommend Victoria and Vancouver island but unfortunately, in summer, the BC Ferries are jampacked. I have waited 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon in July at the Swartz Bay(Victoria) ferry terminal. It gets real old real fast. Have a great trip; I'll be sure to ask folks from your country what to do when we visit Australia in 2008.
Old Dec 28th, 2000, 08:37 PM
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Andy, just FYI, the BC Ferries now take advance reservations on that route. Also, I have not found the truck crossing to be that much shorter, at least not coming back into the US. It's a bit out of the way, but I almost always go to the Lynden crossing these days.

Just took Chuckanut Drive on my way home from Lummi Island today...a reminder of what a gorgeous drive that is!
Old Dec 29th, 2000, 11:06 AM
Posts: n/a
Denise, an interesting and very scenic alternative route from Seattle to Vancouver BC involves crossing over the Cascade mountains east of Seattle (use US Hwy. 2 or Washington Hwy 20), then traveling through beautiful red rock and canyon country northwards to the Canadian border, then back west into Vancouver. The drive can be done in one day, but an overnight somewhere in eastern Washington or the Okanagan region of central BC can be rewarding - "old west" country with Indian reservations, the Grand Coulee Dam, fruit orchards, lots for your family to see, and a great contrast to the "wet" side of the mountains. If you're returning to Seattle, the trip via Vancouver Island described in other postings above is much more enjoyable southbound - you can leave your car in the queue for the Coho ferry in Victoria and spend some hours wandering around the city center, which is where the dock is located.

If you have several extra days, the drive from Seattle or Vancouver to Banff National Park in the Rockies can be done in one long or two short days - nothing in Oz like it, I promise.
Old Jan 11th, 2001, 02:35 PM
Mark Olwick
Posts: n/a
Hi Denise. I live in Seattle and would be happy to give you any info you'd like in addition to what's been posted here. Feel free to e-mail me directly.

Suggestions for Vancouver:

Stanley Park & the Vancouver Aquarium (an absolute must-see)
The Capilano Supension bridge. Kids love it.
Grouse Mountain can be fun in the summer, taking the tram to the top and seeing the entire city and harbor beneath you.

Between Vancouver & Seattle:

While Chuckanut drive is great, I'd recommend going down I-5 then taking a slight detour towards Oak Harbor. Deception Pass is stunning, and the park there is a blast to explore (tidal pools, beaches, etc.) If you want to stay in Oak Harbor, there is a relatively inexpensive Best Western right as you enter town.


Another definite must-see is Seattle Center. The Space Needle is there, along with the new Experience Music Project (www.emplive.com) (if your son is into music at all this is well worth it). The funnest part of Seattle Center is the Pacific Science Center. it has a ton of interactive exhibits, IMAX theaters, planetarium with laser shows, etc.
Another must-see is Pike Place Market, right in the heart of downtown. You can see vendors selling fresh fish straight from the boats (and throwing them above your heads!) arts, crafts, flowers and tons of other stuff. Great eating around this area, plus street performers, etc.
Lots of interesting places along the waterfront as well.
Alki beach is great in the summer. Grab some fish & chips from one of the restaurants along the water, then walk along the beach with its postcard view of the Seattle skyline.
Check out http://seattle.citysearch.com/ for tons of great suggestions.

Have fun!


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