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Driving from Seattle to Port Angeles

Old Mar 28th, 2012, 12:28 AM
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Driving from Seattle to Port Angeles

Hi guys, November this year ill be travelling from Seattle to Port Angeles. I am from Australia so i really havent the slightest clue on how to do it so i thought i'd see if any locals would give me tips. We dont need to leave at any specific times or anything so if theres a time you'd recommend leaving [eg. to avoid peak traffic] that would be great.

We will be staying in Seattle but the day we depart for Port Angeles we will be picking up our hire car from Sea Tac first, so i thought maybe it might be easier just to drive down through Tacoma and come back up Bremerton way? Or would you recommend going back to Seattle and catching one of the ferrys across?

any help appreciated, thanks!
omitycassie is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 01:11 AM
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No, you really do want to take the ferries. It is a major treat if you don't have to take them every day. There are lots of alternate routes (Seattle-Bainbridge Island, Edmonds-Kingston, etc). Basically, you drive up to a parking lot, get in line, and go on the next ferry with space. Mid week, I didn't have a problem.

This is one of those drives where the journey is more important than the destination, so take your time. Decide on which ferry route after you have researched places to go. I personally wouldn't make this trip without visiting Port Townsend, which is well out of your way but extremely interesting and picturesque.
Ackislander is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 02:47 AM
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I'm also Australian - and drove the other way last year (in June). Use the ferries - but avoid the peak hour rush - in the direction I was travelling - in the morning.

The ferry (we also used the Port Angeles - Victoria BC 'ferry' both ways)regular - no great shakes compared to the Black Ball Line crossing to Victoria.

It's a very pleasant part of the USA!
obione980 is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 03:02 AM
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thanks guys! Any particular ferry better to take? I see there's a couple different routes?
omitycassie is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 04:09 AM
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If you take a ferry, and I reccommend that too, Bainbridge Island from downtown Seattle--make sure you get the right ferry as 2 different Destinations leave from this dock.

I would not go all the way back to SeaTac for a will be cheaper to lease one from downtown.

Double check you can drop off at SeaTAc without a penalty fee. November should not be a problem, nor going in the am as you will be going against the prevailing work commute. Pm will be a challenge so go before 3:00Pm

To get to Port Angeles you will need to cross the Hood Canal is a great floating bridge that does open for certain very special ships.

Detor thru Port Gamble is interesting as it was a wealthy lumber town founded with old time sailing vessels...just a few of the original houses left which you can lease for vacation. Surprisingly, it has an international shell of the largest in the world and an old time settlers cemetary.

Let me know if you want more info...I grew up in this area and know it well.
1JAR is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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Living in Seattle, we have family in Port Angeles and drive there often.

The direct route from SeaTac is 130 miles and takes about 2 1/2 hours.

The scenic route that goes up (or down) Highway 101 on the west side of Hood Canal is much more scenic, but it is 172 miles and takes about 3 1/2 hours.

(On the rare occasion we take a ferry, we do so from Edmonds to drive through historic Port Gamble, but this would not be practical for you.)

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 12:55 PM
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Do we have any clarity at all about whether this is a one-way trip, or a round-trip?

IF it were a round-trip from central Seattle to Port Angeles, and one were from far away... it definitely makes the most sense to rent the vehicle AWAY from the airport (meaning "downtown Seattle" in this case)... then maybe taking the Ferry in the westbound direction (I'd leave from central Seattle that way, vs. Edmonds to the north, only for photo-taking)... then going to Port Angeles, and MAYBE then retaining an option to go WESTWARD FROM Port Angeles on the return, passing through "Forks, WA" (of "Twilight" movie fame)... and then down to Aberdeen (on the coast) and finally inbound to Olympia, and then north again to return downtown.

Then you take the link light rail to the airport, having saved plenty for picking-up and returning the car DOWNTOWN ("away from the airport", which charges heaps of taxes and fees not known elsewhere).

IF, however, it is a one-way trip FROM the airport (as mentioned)... TO Port Angeles, then you just might want to drive 'around' via Tacoma, since it would all be new territory for you anyway. The Ferries do add small hassle, and when as far south as SeaTac airport anyway, going around isn't that much more difficult.
NorthwestMale is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 05:15 PM
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you guys have all been really helpful thankyou!

I didn't even thinking about hiring a car elsewhere, so ill definitely look into that now! I think if we can hire closer to the city, we might do the Bainbridge ferry on the way to Port Angeles.

For the way back i think we might like to go through Forks since we're out that way [silly Twilight fans, i know ] If we do that, is it better to come back to Seattle the way we came through Port Angeles, or to go down through Olympia? I think by then we'll be tired and just want to get back, so whichever way would be quickest.
omitycassie is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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I vote that you go through Forks and then AROUND... for the worst thing is not exactly "distance" itself... as much as "SURPRISES".

The ferry journey... esp. during a one-day? (would it be?) trip to the Olympic Peninsula... wouldn't do TOO much for you on the way back. And late at night, chances are there wouldn't be too many surprises, but you just never know.

With Forks-Aberdeen-and-around... you'd KNOW how long it was going to take, and be more free to 'improvise' depending upon your impulses.

Oh, and indeed if you hire a car at a downtown location, vs. the airport location, you might be able to save enough money to put a dent in the cost of your gas! Also, IF at some point you both need to come to and from downtown Seattle to the airport... rest assured that it is now EASY... with a train that starts at the airport and ends in downtown Seattle... for what is right now $2.75 each.

PS - Forks is so remote to Seattle, that it probably doesn't matter too much time and distance-wise which alternative you choose, in terms of "quickest".
NorthwestMale is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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thank you for the advice! i actually just went and changed my car reservation to a pickup just around the corner from our hotel so that was really convenient, although the cost was the same - but you're right we'll probably make it up in fuel. Ive nominated to drop it back at the airport the day we leave. We'll be staying in Port Angeles overnight so it wont be same day return, i think we'll just do the drive back from Forks - Aberdeen etc.
omitycassie is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 07:39 PM
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You didn't say why you are going to Port Angeles. I ask because we did a trip to the area a couple of years ago & I might havsome suggestions for you.

AGREE you should stay in Port Townsend. Love that town. It was a very pleasant surprise.
Dayle is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2012, 08:08 PM
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The drives I outlined for you are more scenic and pleasant than the drive that goes through Aberdeen, Olympia, and Tacoma (or vice versa).

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Old Mar 29th, 2012, 05:00 AM
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At the very least, find out the cost difference IF picking-up the car IN Downtown Seattle, AND returning it at the same place.

If the "costs were the same" based on what you did, it is likely ALL because of that one option of wanting to bring it BACK to the airport. You could potentially save a LOT by bringing the car back to downtown Seattle, and it is an EASY 35-ish-minute ride on ONE train, from a tunnel beneath 3rd avenue downtown, to the airport, where the train line ENDS (so you can't get lost when mildly thinking about time).

But IF indeed you are flying out the next day, then it is much more reliable to drive around, through Aberdeen, all the while "knowing" how long it is going to take. (and worst case, you look into altering your reservation again, to pick-up AND drop-off IN downtown Seattle... AND IF you find you're pressed for time on the way back, you just bring it right to the airport and incur what might be the considerable difference)
NorthwestMale is offline  
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