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Need itinerary advice - Port Angeles, Victoria and Olympic Nat Park

Need itinerary advice - Port Angeles, Victoria and Olympic Nat Park

Aug 16th, 2009, 04:34 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 10
Need itinerary advice - Port Angeles, Victoria and Olympic Nat Park

We are in the midst of plannig a short getaway to Olympic National Park and Victoria - our first visit to either place. We'll be driving from Portland, OR.

Right now here's what we're thinking ...

Day 1 - drive up to Port Angeles and stay the night at the Olympic Lodge
Day 2 - explore Hurricane Ridge and the Olypmic National Park and again stay at the Olympic Lodge
Day 3 - Take the ferry to Victoria - explore and stay at Grand Hotel Pacific
Day 4 - Enjoy and explore Victoria - again stay at Grand Hotel Pacific
Day 5 - Ferry back to Port Angeles and explore more of Olympic National Park - stay the night at the Olympic Lodge
Day 6 - Drive home

here are my questions...
(1) is Port Angeles the best spot to stay in or is Sequim or Port Townsend or another spot better? And is the Olympic Lodge a good choice if we do stay in Port Angeles?
(2) Do you think day 5 is necessary?
(3) Thoughts on the Grand Hotel Pacific - is this a good spot or what would you suggest?
(4) We'll have a car - think we should bring it over with us to Victoria or not bother?

Thanks for your help!

Thanks for any feedback!
MissO is offline  
Aug 16th, 2009, 07:23 PM
  #2  
dar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 144
Hotel Grand Pacific is in a fantastic location and is a great choice.
dar is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 02:25 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 521
We just stayed at the Olympic Lodge and we found it to be a good location. The rooms were just redone. Port Townsend is further than it looks from the Olympic Park. The breakfast at the Lodge was $7 but it was a very limited menu and absolutely no substitutions. We took our car to Victoria. The parking at our hotel (Fairmont Empress) was quite expensive and the walk from the ferry to our hotel really wasn't that bad. I don't know when you are going but I was shocked to find out that our hotel room was not air conditioned. Thankfully the heat-wave rolled in after we checked out. I liked having my car only for Butchard Gardens, I liked the idea of not being on a schedule.

You may want to include a couple of beaches into your itinerary.

I posted a trip report on the US Board.
debsnj is offline  
Aug 17th, 2009, 11:48 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 235
I can't comment on #3, but here's my input on your other questions:

1) I would recommend staying in Port Angeles since it's the closest to ONP. We stayed at the Olympic Lodge before it was redone and didn't have any complaints about the place.

2) Depends on what areas you want to explore and how in-depth. We were able to see Hurricane Ridge (strolled one of the short trails), Lake Crescent, Rialto Beach (short stroll), and Hoh Rainforest (moderate-long trails) in a little over a day and a half. Most of our time was in the rainforest. If we had more time, we probably would've tried to see more of Lake Crescent and the Sol Duc area. You should also account for the long driving times to/from Port Angeles if you plan on going to Rialto and Hoh.

4) What do you plan on seeing in Victoria? Just the downtown area or do you want to venture outside the city? For Butchart Gardens, you'd need to either drive, take public transportation, or a tour. If you just want to stay in downtown Victoria, most of the touristy spots are walkable.
Also, I'm not sure how long the wait times/lines are for the car ferries out of Port Angeles. I thought I've read that it can be long depending on the time of year, so you should do a search or research other people's trip reports who have used the car ferry, unless someone else can chime in on this topic.

Hope this helps in your planning.
globetrotterxyz is offline  
Aug 18th, 2009, 06:26 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 521
You can reserve the ferry out of Port Angeles ahead of time. We did. Then just show up, hand in your on-line paper work and check in. Then they told us how much time we had and we walked around the waterfront and even had a little time to eat.
debsnj is offline  
Aug 19th, 2009, 12:35 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 19
We just returned from that area and were there during the heat wave. Not all of the hotels up there have AC; always ask, and if not, be prepared!
We took the advice of many people on this site in planning our trip on short notice, and it turned out very well. For starters, we like to be efficient in covering a place fully only once, so we wouldn't visit ONP and then return later.
There is a scenic drive going up to Port Angeles from where you are; if I were coming from Portland, I would take that drive, take the ferry, spend 2 days in Victoria, return to Port Angeles, and spend 2 days exploring ONP.

We did a short hike at Hurricane Ridge, and it was beautiful at the end of the trail. If you go up the Ehmwah (sp?) trail for a ways, there is a beautiful wildflower field (don't go 7 miles; maybe 1 mile in). We spent about 4 hours there, driving from Port Angeles, and doing the Hurricane Ridge trail, and it was enough, although you can take other trails, too. It depends on how much of ONP you want to see as to how much time to spend there; at least a half a day at Hurricane Ridge, see Lake Crescent, and whatever else, but those two can easily be covered in 3/4 day, so plan wisely.


If you like sailing towns, Port Townsend is an old sailing town, but it's not quite as picturesque as we imagined. Going to Dungeness, though, was nice, to see the beach, and sometimes you can see whales.
We drove by Lake Crescent and walked around at the Inn there for a little while. Then headed to LaPush to see the "sea stacks", rocks protruding from the water, on the west coast, and on to Forks, the setting of Twilight, to get souvenirs for my daughters. We were told to go to Ruby Beach as it would have a garnet color to the sand, and would be really cool to see a reddish beach, but we did not see that at all! It was okay, though, as we liked stopping by the beach. However, to get to the beach you have to climb over huge trees that have piled up along the shore - we weren't expecting that, and the trees are quite a barrier to the shore.
If you like rainforests, you can proceed southeast to that area, but we've seen plenty of them, so we went on to the Oregon Coast, and then visited your Portland!
We took the Black Ball ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles only one way (as we had come from Vancouver), and it could not be reserved in advance. In fact, for the 10:30am ferry, we were advised to park our car in the line the night before as the only way to ensure getting on the ferry. It presents a little bit of a problem - either you leave your luggage in the car, or taxi it to the ferry the next day. So, we took the 6:10am ferry, had to get there by 5:15am to do so, as you have to go through immigration, a simple procedure at that time of day, of just presenting your passport and answering a few questions, such as, "What is the purpose of your trip?". (Other people got a few more questions than we did).

Victoria was wonderful; we followed Maria's advice (on here) and spent 2 days there. The best time to see Butchart Gardens is in the late afternoon & evening because it's illuminated; you don't need to spend the whole day. On Sat. night is a great fireworks show.
The Royal BC Museum in Victoria is a first class museum; we saw an IMAX show there on the Grand Canyon. Walking around Victoria is a must, and going to Fisherman's Wharf, eating at Barb's Place, and taking the little ferries that zoom around the harbor.
We visited Mt. Rainier last, and Paradise lived up to its name; we were amazed at that mountain from close-up. (Don't forget your binoculars to see the glaciers; we left them in the car).
We were glad to have the car in Victoria to be able to drive to Butchart, and not take the bus, although people like doing that. We drove by the Craigdarroch (sp?) castle, glad we didn't plan on touring, as it wasn't that impressive. Also drove to Sidney, a coastal town in the northeast, for a short visit. You won't need the car much in Victoria, but there are areas you may want to drive to.

Hope this helps!
rockinrobin is offline  
Aug 19th, 2009, 03:52 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,916
Just to clarify on the previous post--you CAN make advance reservations on the Coho (Black Ball ferry) if you're taking your car to Victoria. I'm assuming the PP could not because all the reserved spaces for the 10:30 sailing were sold out.
NWWanderer is offline  

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