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Please Critique Vancouver Island Itinerary

Please Critique Vancouver Island Itinerary

Jun 4th, 2012, 09:18 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Please Critique Vancouver Island Itinerary

Thanks to Fodorites for suggestions on my two other posts.

We are now coming up with the following itinerary when my wife joins me in mid-August after I do the West Coast Trail hike:

Day 1) She flies to Seattle, I meet her in rental car and spend night in Anacortes.
Day 2) Ferry to Sidney, spend night in Saanichton, near Butchart Gardens
Day 3) Full day tour of Gardens, return same hotel
Day 4) Drive to Ucluelet
Days 5-7) Explore Uclelet / Tofino, options include Wild Pacific Trail, Long Beach, other hiking trails, bear watching, whale watching, aquarium, Tofino botanic gardens.
Day 8) Drive to Victoria
Days 9-11) Explore Victoria, options include Royal BC Museum, bug zoo, maritime museum, Craigdarroch Castle, Parliament Buildings wander harbor, city parks, pubs.
Day 12) Ferry to Seattle, hotel near airport
Day 13) Fly home.

This seems like a reasonable schedule for our travel style and interests, but always willing to hear suggestions. Thanks.
Nelson is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 05:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2012
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is she renting a car at SeaTac Airport to meet you in Anacortes? the only problem i see is that if she is renting in Washington State and you need to return it there, ferry service between Victoria and Seattle does not include vehicle transport.
Gonzo_Kerouac is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 06:21 AM
  #3  
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Yes, how to deal with the car was a minor issue.

What I settled on was: after the WCT my friend will drop me off at a hotel in downtown Seattle. He will have a car and will then be on his way to other parts of his trip. I'll have a day alone to clean all the mud off my gear!

Then I'll pick up the car at a downtown Seattle location - much cheaper than renting on at the airport, and only a minor surcharge for returning it at the airport. When she arrives I pick her up and we drive directly to Anacortes for one night. Our ferry passage with car will already be reserved.

Sound OK? Other options? Thanks.
Nelson is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 06:29 AM
  #4  
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PS. when we return the car it will also be via Anacortes (or maybe Port Angeles), and then we'll drive to the airport.
Nelson is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 08:11 AM
  #5  
 
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Hi Nelson - I'm curious as to what rental company and location you chose in Seattle. Am looking for a good offsite option myself.

Be sure that the company you use allows you to bring the car across the border; have run into some that restrict this.
sludick is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 08:56 AM
  #6  
 
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In Ucluelet you may want to consider the day trip on the archepeligo

http://www.archipelagocruises.com/

This is a great little cruise and you will see bears eagles sea lions and most likely whales. They also stop for lunch near the Broken Group Islands. I learned so much on this trip. Keep in mind that August, we call Fogust. It can be quite foggy up until noon some days.

Where are you staying in Ucluelet?
live42day is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 09:13 AM
  #7  
 
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It is nice to see that you are able to spend this much time in the area, so you won't be too rushed. I do like your itinerary.
sludick is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 09:19 AM
  #8  
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sludick, I was looking at Budget which has a couple of downtown locations, but I'll check some others before booking. As of this morning rates for for 12 days economy car are approximately:

Airport: $60 / day
Downtown Financial District (2200 7TH AVENUE): $30 /day
Downtown with Return to Airport: $40 / day

I was planning to call about crossing the border so I just did that and was told "absolutely no problem as long as you bring the car back."

live42day, Thanks for info on the archipelago cruise. Looks great, added it to my bookmarks. We have not yet booked a place in Ucluelet (realize I need to do that in the next few days) but the West Coast Motel and Pacific Rim Motel are high on the list. We are OK with basic accommodations since presumably we won't be spending much time there. Recommendations welcome.

In my reading about the West Coast Trail ("Wet Coast Trail") I was aware of likelihood of fog in August. Fog is OK, it is rare in Colorado so we kind of enjoy it, but I guess we'll take whatever you throw at us!
Nelson is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 01:23 PM
  #9  
 
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We usually rent from Budget when going into Canada, so I can vouch for that. Do make sure you tell them when renting the car, as the agent may need to add a notation to your rental agreement (for the benefit of border security). But in any case, we've never had an issue with them.

I already have a reservation at the Budget 7th Avenue office and would be most interested in hearing from you how that works out, should you use them. We'll be going in mid-latter September.
sludick is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 01:36 PM
  #10  
 
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Both motels are just fine. I have not stayed at either myself, but I have not heard anything negative and they both have good reviews.
They are both close to everything, although not usually and issue in Ukee anyhow.
The West Coast does has a good gym if you need it though. I would still book before long. Our unit is already fully booked for August so things are much busier than last year already which is great.
live42day is offline  
Jun 5th, 2012, 02:41 PM
  #11  
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Thanks. I'll report back when I book something in Ukee and with the car rental, hopefully by tomorrow or Thursday. I'm checking out various flight and car rental scenarios. We are newly retired so have become somewhat more cash-flow conscious than normal!
Nelson is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 01:32 PM
  #12  
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We had to deal with another issue for a few days, but I finally got this trip booked! Here is what we came up with for our time on Vancouver Island:

1) Arrive by Anacortes Ferry and spend two nights at motel in Saanichton to be near Butchart Gradens, where we will spend all day.

2) Drive to Ucluelet, stopping perhaps at Merridale Cider (my wife loves cider!) and Cathedral Grove. Spend 5 nights at West Coast Motel in Ucluelet. Various activities as noted above.

3) Return to Victoria for 3 nights at Helm's Inn.

4) Return to Seattle for a night before flying home.

Looking forward to our visit. Thanks for the information. Now I'm going to work on flights and car rental...
Nelson is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 09:00 AM
  #13  
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Update in case this is useful to anyone: I wound up renting a car from Avis downtown, 1919 5th Ave. The price was comparable to Budget, but the downtown office is open until 7:00 PM instead of 5:00 PM, giving a bit of leeway in returning the car the same day we get off the Anacortes ferry, arriving at 2:10.

At least that's the plan!
Nelson is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 09:54 AM
  #14  
 
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I think you will find ALL day at Butchart isn't necessary, but you can probably spend half a day. That said, You could include a visit to Sidney which is a very nice little town not far from Saanichton with lots of good restaurants and shops to poke around in. If you are in the Saanichton/Sidney area on a Thursday evening there is a wonderful night market in Sidney that shuts down the main street with all sorts of various artisans. food vendors, musicians, etc which is a lot of fun.
Have a great visit!
amygirl is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 10:40 AM
  #15  
 
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There is also an aquarium in Sidney which is supposed to be great, I havent been there yet myself but heard good things about it.
http://www.oceandiscovery.ca/
live42day is offline  
Jun 19th, 2012, 12:36 PM
  #16  
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Thanks much.

However, ALL day in a major garden usually works out fine for my wife! Hidcote Gardens in England is one example. I actually enjoy them too and I'll have a new camera as a toy to play with.

But if we decide to leave in the middle of the day for a while or if the weather is not cooperating, then it is good to know of other options, so appreciate the info.
Nelson is offline  

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