Road trip Vancouver to Seattle?

Apr 3rd, 2015, 09:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 147
Road trip Vancouver to Seattle?

We will end our Transpacific cruise in Vancouver. We have never been to the NW and rather than fly home from Vancouver we are thinking of renting a car and driving to Seattle. Our cruise would arrive early morning (May) and we could spend one day exploring Vancouver. The following morn we would head south. We really do not have much time (we will have been gone 21 days already) but we're wondering if the drive would be worth the time? Is this a scenic must see route? We could then spend one day in Seattle before we HAVE to fly home.
Maggie101 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2015, 09:53 AM
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Probably not worth it because you probably can't rent in Canada and drop off in US...and you'll spend a chunk of time at the border crossing,,,and it's not especially scenic.
elberko is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2015, 10:04 AM
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You can make a very enjoyable day out of it. Here's a map -

Get an early start (to minimize border delays) and head south on BC 99 to the Peace Arch border crossing. Note there's an alternative crossing, called the "Pacific Highway" crossing by the Canadians, just the "truck crossing" by the US; there are reader boards showing wait times along the freeway south from Vancouver.

Cross the border and stay on I-5 until the south end of Bellingham, around 20 min. south of the border, then visit Fairhaven, a very attractive historic district with fun cafes, shops, etc. as well as the Alaska ferry terminal.

From Fairhaven, follow WA Hwy 11, known as Chuckanut Drive, which follows the coast on a rather winding but very scenic few miles, then drops to sea level. Follow Chuckanut to Bow Hill Rd., then Farm to Market Rd down to the junction with WA Hwy 20, which will cross a bridge and put you on Fidalgo Island. Continue on SR 20 to Deception Pass, an amazing narrow channel between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands.

Deception Pass has it all - great views from the bridges, but also from the driftwood-covered beaches below (easy access) and if you're lucky you might be there when the tide is changing. The water rushing through the gap between the islands is VERY impressive.

Continue down Whidbey (through Oak Harbor, home to a naval air station) down to Fort Casey State Park a little west of the (cute) town of Coupeville. Fort Casey has a nice little lighthouse, and some fascinating coastal defense gun batteries, nice for a short walk.

Keep heading down the island, maybe with a lunch/pie stop at Whidbey Pies - but in any event aim for Langley, a very cute little waterfront town near the south end of the island. Langley has nice shops and cafes, some lovely historic buildings, and its setting on a bluff over the water is exceptionally scenic.

After Langley, take the ferry back to the mainland at Mukilteo, and, unless your hearts are set on paying cruise-season price$$$ for a Seattle hotel, consider spending the night in Mukilteo at the Silver Cloud hotel that sits on pilings over the water. Mukilteo is around half an hour from downtown Seattle.

From the hotel you can walk to Ivar's, a fun local seafood chain, or to a couple of brewpubs or pizza places; look at Mukilteo's darling little lighthouse, beachcomb, watch the sun set behind the Olympics - all minutes' walk from the hotel.

The next morning (your Seattle day) head into town, using Hwy 526 from Mukilteo to I-5. That will take you past the Boeing Everett plant, home of the 747s, 777s and 787s, and the biggest building in the world. If interested, you can visit the factory while you're there.

The "Whidbey loop" (which you're only doing one way) is a terrific introduction to the Puget Sound country, and offers a way, way more scenic and interesting route between the border and Seattle than just blasting down the freeway.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2015, 10:08 AM
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Probably not worth it because you probably can't rent in Canada and drop off in US...and you'll spend a chunk of time at the border crossing,,,and it's not especially scenic.

Not true, all the major firms allow one-way rentals between Vancouver and Seattle; we've done it on numerous occasions. The daily rate will be higher because of the one-way fee, but if you limit the rental to just a couple of days, and use the car to stay outside of downtown Seattle and to get to the airport (in lieu of cabs etc.) the hotel/cab savings can easily outweigh the extra cost of the car rental.
Gardyloo is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2015, 12:08 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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I agree with Gardyloo's itinerary very scenic. If your plane leaves early in the day I would not spend the night in Mukilteo however - Seattle traffic can be brutal so I would get closer to the airport.
traveller69 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2015, 03:18 PM
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Location: Vancouver
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Great advice from Gardyloo - the Whidbey Loop is a really great overview of the PNW...and an easy
drive on good roads.
immimi is offline  
Apr 10th, 2015, 08:39 AM
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Thank you all so much for the help. We are still unsure of how best to spend our few days in the Pacific NW before we must fly home. So much to see, so little time!
Another idea has come up...
We have discovered an overnight cruise from Vancouver to Seattle that we are contemplating. That would mean no time in Vancouver and sights between the two cities only from the sea. However it WOULD mean we could spend two full days in Seattle. Any advice on this option???
Maggie101 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2015, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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To get from Vancouver to Seattle, take the 6:30AM Amtrak Cascades train #513 or the 9AM Amtrak Thruway bus to Seattle.
You do get to see some nice scenery from the train (better than the bus or driving a rental car. You may be sick of riding boats at that point.
The train or bus is always less than 4 hours.
At the very least see the totems in Stanley Park.
tomfuller is offline  
Oct 6th, 2015, 09:33 PM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 5
We are planning on a trip to Seattle and plan to drive to Vancouver, but not sure what to do when we get there. Can anyone give som pointers? Thank you.
randyndelia is offline  
Oct 7th, 2015, 01:25 PM
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randyndelia: You keep topping old threads to ask the same thing.

Why not stick to your own thread . . .
janisj is online now  
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