Pacific NW vacation planning

Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 07:15 AM
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Pacific NW vacation planning

I need help planning our summer vacation, July 2007. We have an almost 5 and 7 year old, would like to fly into Seattle and depart from Vancouver. Need to know the best way to travel so we can visit Victoria and Tofino. Total of 8 nights. Do we rent a car the full 8 days. Can we take our car on the ferry? Should we take a catamaran from Settle to Victoria? Not sure what the best transportation would be? Any recommendations for accomodations for Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver? Do we need to stay a night in Victoria? or just drive to Tofino. I wanted to stay at least 4 days in Tofino. Any help is appreciated.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 07:53 AM
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With relatively young kids, I think it would be easier on you to pick up your car in Seattle and drive, rather than taking the Victoria Clipper from Seattle to Victoria and having to schlep your luggage and the kids on the boat (although the Clipper is a faster trip so that's a consideration).

If you did rent a car here, then you'd drive from Seattle to Tsawassen and take BC Ferries to Swartz Bay, just north of Victoria (and yes you take your car on that ferry)--or you could drive out to Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula and take the Coho ferry from there to Victoria (but it runs less often and you need to be sure to reserve). I would overnight in Victoria because it takes about 5 hours of traveling time with the ferry to get to Victoria from Seattle either way, and then it's about a 5 hour drive from Victoria to Tofino. You could travel from Seattle directly to Tofino in one long (about 8 hour) day, but you'd need to skip Victoria to do that efficiently (you'd take the ferry from Tsawassen to Nanaimo rather than to Swartz Bay).

So if you want to spend 4 nights in Tofino, your itinerary might look like this:

Night 1: Seattle

Night 2: Victoria

Nights 3-6: Tofino

Nights 7-8: Vancouver (it'll take about 5 hours to travel back from Tofino to Vancouver, taking the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay).

You wouldn't necessarily need a car for your first night in Seattle and you could drop the car off in downtown Vancouver after you arrive as both cities can be explored pretty easily on foot. You'd need to weigh the cost of the the extra days of car rental and parking at the hotels vs. the cost of taking a cab to and from the airport to see which works out better (and also consider if there are things you want to see in each city that are outside the downtown core).

As far as accommodations, it would be helpful to know what your price range is and what types of places you tend to prefer.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 08:47 AM
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I think having a rental car is the best bet with two little kids.

Youmight think about a circle route, so that you arrive and depart from the same city. This could save considerably on car rental drop off fiees with cropss-border surcharges.

Assyming a Seattle start, go up to Port Angeles and take the car ferry to Victoria, drive to Tofinao, over to Duncan and take the ferry back to the mainland, north of Vancouver, and then drive down through White Rock and Blaine into WAshington state, and back to Seattle.

Lots to see and do the whole way, and you don't retrace any of the route, with minor excepton.

Or fly to Vancouver and just modify the circle.

BAK
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for the detailed information. I am undecided on whether we should stay at the Tin Wis Best Western or Crystal Cove Beach Resort in Tofino. Or any recommendation would be helpful? The cost difference is $500 over 4 nights. For the other nights, we wanted to spend less per night, @150. Any ideas for Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver? I like your idea of not renting a car the first day in Seattle as well as Vancouver. I was considering 2 nights in Seattle since we arrive July 3rd and would enjoy all the 4th of July activites in a US city. 1 night in Victoria, 4 nights in Tofino, last 2 nights in Vancouver. A total of 9 nights.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 12:59 PM
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If I could add my 2 cents worth here. Why don't you spend 2 nights in Victoria. It would be a shame to miss the Royal BC Museum. It has something for everyone especially the kids. There is a lot to see and do just walking around the Inner Harbour and I think the kids would certainly be entertained.
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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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We stayed in Tin Wis once and the service was excellent. It has a very good view of the Pacific and you can enjoy it from you room, also has benches were you can sit and spent a nice time. The food at the restaurant was very good.
On another trip we stayed at the Middle Beach Lodge and it was also a great experience. Ask for the seaside Lodges not the beach lodges for the best views
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