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Order of Cities - Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver

Order of Cities - Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver

Sep 28th, 2007, 06:11 AM
  #1  
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Order of Cities - Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver

I'm in the very early stages of building a trip using air miles.

I keep thinking of the sequence as Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver. I'm not sure why.

However, the airline schedule works better as Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle.

Is there a reason to go in one direction rather than the other?
Myer is online now  
Sep 28th, 2007, 06:37 AM
  #2  
BAK
 
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How are you planning to travel between cities?

If driving, and using ferryboats...

I've been in all these places a lot, and one consideration was when I could leave Seattle, drive north in Washington State, find a place to stay overnight, and then get a morning ferry from Washington State to Victoria.

Similarly, going the other way would make it necessary to know when ferryboats left Victoria for WAshington State.

You can, of course, go to and from Victoria from either just north or just shouth, of Vancouver, but that means you skip part of Washington State.

Also -- if you want to touring Boeing (assuming there still are tours) you'd need to be in Everett, Washington, on a day when tours are run.

I think weekends in Vancouver and Seattle are a good idea, and I'd be just as happy in Victoria during the week as on a Saturday or Sunday.
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Sep 28th, 2007, 08:15 AM
  #3  
 
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IMO I would go Vancoouver Vicotia Seattle. The ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria is very scenic (more so than one from Seattle area) and if you don't have a car you can get a bus to the ferry and one on the ferry to take you to Victoria. Don't think you need to be in any particular city on the weekend.
geosand is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 10:52 AM
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geo,
You mention something very interesting.

Is it realistic to plan such a trip without a car?
Myer is online now  
Sep 28th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Yes, it's realistic.

If you fly into Vancouver, take a taxi into downtown (about $25 give or take). Once downtown, you're within walking distance to most attractions, or you can take public transit (the cheapest option and very convenient). Having a car in Vancouver is expensive - hotels charge at least $20 a night for parking, if not more. Plus, you'd be paying for parking at all the attractions. Not to mention, they're currently doing a lot of construction on the roads (literally digging up the roads to install a new subway line). Walking/public transit makes sense for Vancouver.

When you're ready to leave Vancouver for Victoria, take Pacific Coach Lines. You can call them and make a reservation so that they pick you up at your hotel, or you can take the skytrain (a part of the public transit system) 5 minutes east of downtown to the main bus station and take them there. It costs about $25 a person, one way. This includes the price of the ferry. They drive you from downtown Vancouver 45 minutes south to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. They drive on the ferry. Then for the hour 35 minute long ferry ride, you get off the bus and go upstairs to the top 2-3 decks of the ferry - there are restaurants, cafes, gift shops, seating areas, outdoor viewing decks, and on the newer ferries, a buffet and a quiet VIP lounge. The ferry sails across the strait of Georgia and then through the narrow channels of the Gulf Islands before arriving at the Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island. That's when everyone goes back downstairs to the car decks, gets back on the bus, and then the bus drives off the ferry and down the highway, through farmland and suburbia for about half an hour until you reach downtown Victoria. Then they drop you off behind the Empress Hotel in the heart of downtown Victoria - a block away from the Inner Harbour.

The Inner Harbour in Victoria is where 90% of the tourist attractions are located. It's very tiny physically - you can walk its entirety in one morning. So having a car is pointless. If you wish to see Butchart Gardens (which are actually located back near the Swartz Bay terminal), you can take public transit, or hop on one of the many tour buses that organize packaged trips there. I think even the Pacific Coach Lines offers a Vancouver-Butchart Gardens-Victoria tour (if that interests you).

Once you're done with Victoria, you can walk to the Victoria Clipper terminal, which is a walk-on passenger only ferry that takes you across the Juan de Fuca Straight, into Puget Sound and into downtown Seattle. It drops you off right next to the piers and across the street (and down the stairs) from Pike Market.

So yes, knowing your transportation options, I'd say it's totally feasible to get around without a car. I've never actually visited Seattle without a car, but I'll let Seattle locals inform you on how to get around there by public transit.
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Sep 28th, 2007, 11:41 AM
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Oops - just noticed a typo. Pacific Coach Lines costs about $35 (or perhaps now $40) to get from Vancouver to Victoria. The price includes the cost of the ferry.

However, how many of you are travelling? If it's more than 2, it might be more cost efficient to take a car to Victoria and then take the Washington state ferry (either to Port Angeles or to Anacortes) . With the BC Ferries (Vancouver-Victoria), you pay $11 per person, plus $35 for the car.

Look at your options if you're travelling in a group or as a family, because paying for one car to get on 2 ferries might be cheaper than paying the Pacific Coach Lines fee x 4, or the Victoria Clipper rate x 4, etc.
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Sep 28th, 2007, 11:43 AM
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And of course, with the price of gas and car rental fees (and dropping off a car from one country into another country, if that's even allowed at all) - it might make more sense just to stick to public transit.
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Sep 28th, 2007, 12:46 PM
  #8  
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Carmanah,
Thanks.

Much to think about but I have lots of time.

We're two. My wife and myself.

I have no problem with public transportation and could rent a car for days with day trips.
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Sep 28th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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agree with the post so far except the cost of the ferry is now around $75 for car and two people Vancuver - Victoria. The walk on ferry to downtown Seattle would be my vote.
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Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:21 AM
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Just got back yesterday from the same trip. Although the money advantage is now Canadian, the US portion of the trip was generally much cheaper. The upcoming Olympics is creating a lot of construction havoc in
Vancouver. Traffic in and out of the city was very congested, but not too bad in the city itself (we're from NYC so we're used to city driving). We did Seattle first, then Vancouver and finally Victoria. Each very different and all very enjoyable. Stayed at the Best Western Downtown in Vancouver--got a very good price on the internet, parking was only $10/nite and they have a free shuttle which will take you any where in the downtown area for free (no pick-ups though) (and no free breakfast unlike other Best Westerns). It was a very nice hotel at the foot of the Granville bridge and only a few blocks from the Granville ferry. We were very happy to have the car to travel betw sites and cities, although we did use some public transport. Driving in downtown Seattle was tough due to lots of one way streets and some poor signage, and of course parking was liimited. Seattle seems to have a very good public transport system with free buses in the central downtown area until 7 at nite and good transport to the outskirts where hotels are much cheaper. We stayed at the Hilton in Belleville and Radisson at the airport when we were leaving, both of which were less than $100/nite, very convenient to highways, airport and they each had a free shuttle (Radisson to the airport and Hilton had pick-up and drop-off to a bus to the heart of downtown Seattle). As for the sequence of your trip, the cities are increasingly urban, from Victoria (the smallest) to Seattle. We took the ferry from Tswassen/Vancouver to Sydney/Victoria, then from Sydney to Anacortes to end up back in Seattle. The first was an hour, with about half an hour to 40 minutes from towns to ferries. The second was 2.5 hours, with an hour delay on the arrival of the ferry before departure, then a lengthy wait to get thru customs--important to keep in mind if you're on a schedule. At this point they're on winter schedule, so the ferry options were very limited. The ferries were both lovely rides, but we didn't like being on such tight schedules (esp as there was only one Anacortes ferry per day). Good idea to make your ferry reservations in advance if you go that way. The drive from Seattle to Vancouver was very easy and pleasant, with distant mountain views and farm country in Skagit Valley--must be great at tulip season (what they're known for)! Took us 5 minutes to get thru customs at about 6PM on a Thurs nite. If you like gardens, the Butchart in Victoria is not to be missed. If you're interested in architecture, be sure to see the Seattle library...it's an amazing modern building. The Gastown steam clock in Vancouver was interesting, but not much to see and the chimes didn't work when we were there (and waiting in the rain). The Glass Museum and Tacoma Art museums (both small and very close to each other) were definitely worth the ride to Tacoma. As for restaurants, I'd highly recommend Kettle of fish,Il Giardano and Pacific Culinary Institute on Granville Island (great buffets on Friday!) in Vancouver, and the Dahlia Lounge (fabulous doughnut dessert!!!) in Seattle. Wonderful trip, beautiful scenery...and it doesn't always rain (but be prepared!!)!!!
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