Seattle to Tofino itinerary

Old Mar 20th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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Seattle to Tofino itinerary

After reading the message boards, I am trying to plan a summer vacation to Tofino. We will be flying into Seattle because we have frequent flier miles. Is it unrealistic to plan this trip for 10-11 days? There is so much to do and so little time! We will be flying from Nashville so days 1 & 11 are pretty much tied up with flying. My itinerary rough draft looks like this:
Day 1
Arrive in Seattle at 12:40pm
5:15pm Ferry to Victoria
Day 2
Explore Victoria
Day 3
Drive to Tofino (4-1/2 hrs)
Day 4,5,6
Explore Tofino
Day 7
Drive to Vancouver (5-1/2 hrs)
Day 8
Explore Vancouver
Day 9
Drive to Seattle (2-1/2 hrs)
Day 10
Explore Seattle
Day 11
Noon flight back to Nashville
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 06:55 AM
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It looks do-able. Which ferry to Victoria--from Anacortes or Port Angeles? You should be able to make either one although you don't have a lot of margin for error if your flight is late.

I'm assuming you know you'd take the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay to get to Vancouver on Day 7? Depending on which day of the week it is you may want to make a reservation.

The trip back to Seattle from Vancouver is likely to be longer than 2.5 hours due to the wait at the border--although that will again depend on which day of the week it is and what time of day. Waits of 2+ hours are not unheard of in the summer, unfortunately.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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I am thinking the Coho Ferry. I was concerned about the timing of arriving in Seattle at noon and getting on the 5:15 ferry and you confirmed my thoughts. I guess to be safe I should plan on spending the night in Port Angeles unless you have other ideas. I have never done the "ferry experience" before. As far as timing goes, if it is a 90 minute ride, how much time should be allotted for arrival, wait time, customs and anything else that I don't know about? I am planning on making a reservation.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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The Coho will tell you what time you need to arrive--with a reservation, it's still probably going to be at least an hour in advance, but check with them. I'd drive around from Seatac through Tacoma to have a shot of making it to PA by 4 PM. If you have your baggage and rental car by 2 PM, you should be able to make it but again, that doesn't give you much margin for error if your flight is late. But there's a later ferry in the summer months so you should be able to make that one for sure so it shouldn't be necessary to spend the night in PA unless you want to see something of the Olympic Peninsula.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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Great itinerary! Here are my ideas:

You might want to stay the night in Port Angeles anyway. You might want to visit Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park. You could drive straight to the park, stopping at the visitor's center for information.

There is a wonderful hike at the top on the Hurricane Hill Trail (1.5 mile of good path with gradual elevation). The viewpoint is from a mile high, over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria to the north and over the snow capped Olympics to the south. It is awesome and will orient you geographically as well as get you totally into the experience.

Our sun sets very late in summer, so you should have plenty of time for this (depending on park closings). Also, as you'd be getting there later in the day, the sun would be low and it should be very picturesque.

Then you could drive to Port Angeles (maybe 20 to 30 minutes down the hill) for the night and catch the ferry in the morning.
You might have one day less in Tofino.

I think it will take you longer to drive to Vancouver as you have to allow extra time to be sure you catch the ferry. Count on 3 hours for the drive. Allow 45 minutes to wait for the ferry. (Be sure to make reservations days in advance. If you don't, allow at least an hour to wait). Then it's a two hour ride, plus a drive from the ferry to your hotel.

On your way from Tofino to the ferry, stop at the Goats on a Roof place. This adds another hour at least. So, I'd give it 7 hours to get from Tofino to the mainland near Vancouver (if you're lucky and the ferries are running smoothly)

Finally, be sure to post a trip report!
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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The "Goats on the Roof" place is more formerly known as Coombs.
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Old Mar 20th, 2008, 12:12 PM
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Thanx! I'd forgotten. It's very cute, in any case, and worth a stop, imho.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2008, 05:15 AM
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I guess I will need to decide if I want to take the 9:30 ferry and arrive in Victoria at 11pm or spend the night in Port Angeles. If we decide to stay in Port Angeles, do you have any recommendations for lodging and restaurants?
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Old Mar 22nd, 2008, 07:02 AM
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If you're just planning on spending the night and leaving on the ferry early the next day, then the Red Lion or Best Western will work. If you're planning on staying a while the next day to explore the area, then you might want to see if Lake Crescent Lodge has availability. There's also a wonderful B&B, Colette's, in the area, but it's probably not worth the splurge for such a short stay.

Bella Italia is a decent place to eat in PA.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 11:49 AM
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Clipper Vacations offers ferry service out of Seattle to Victoria (clippervacations.com). Rent a car out of Victoria to drive to Tofino. Via BC Ferries, drive to Vancouver and tour the area, then leave your car in Canada and fly to Seattle via Alaska Airlines. Sample one way flight in June costs $138. (incl. taxes, etc.) Considering what you'll pay for gas this summer (currrently $1.20 per litre) plus the cost for a days car rental and time spent in the car a 55 minute flight from Vancouver to Seattle is cheaper. OR Amtrak back to Seattle from Vancouver.
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 03:17 PM
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Middle Beach Lodge is booked the dates that I am interested. Any suggestions for other places? There will be 6 of us so some type of house/cabin/condo would work. Thanks.
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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Oh, that's too bad. Try Tofino Vacation Rentals--I booked a 3 BR on Chesterman Beach through them last Christmas and it worked out great for our group.

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Old Apr 4th, 2008, 08:50 PM
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Long Beach Lodge had a two story cabin/lodging with two bedrooms and a sleeper sofa and a small kitchenette - maybe that would work for 6?

Tofino is wonderful - be sure to find Soba for some wonderful meals.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 04:04 AM
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I am trying to finalize plans for my trip. I still need to make ferry reservations from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay. If I am leaving from Tofino in the morning, what time do you suggest for my reservation? I am interested in going by the Goats on the Roof place.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 06:54 AM
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What are your ferry options for the date you're traveling? It takes about 3 hours to get from Tofino to Nanaimo without stops and even with a reservation you need to be there at least 30 minutes in advance (and they will cancel your reservation if you're even a minute late).

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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 08:10 AM
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Options below: Do you think that I could make the 3:30 departure? I would like to get to Vancouver in time to have a nice dinner.

depart 12:55 arrive 2:35
depart 3:10 arrive 4:50
depart 5:20 arrive 7:30
depart 7:30 arrive 9:10
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 08:14 AM
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Well if you count back 4 hours to give yourselves a bit of a cushion, that puts you leaving Tofino at 11:30 AM for a 3:30 PM ferry with a reservation.

But you said 3:30 in one place and then 3:10 in another?

Where did you end up making reservations to stay?
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Old Jun 3rd, 2008, 06:02 PM
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Yes, it is actually the 3:10 ferry...so that sounds like the best bet. We have a house through Tofino Vacation Rentals. I made the reservations a couple of months ago & it was the last one available for the size and date that I needed so I feel lucky to get it.
NWWanderer, thanks for your help. I am sure as time gets closer I will have many more questions.
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