First trip to Pacific Northwest---need help

Old May 12th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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First trip to Pacific Northwest---need help

Well, our family vacation to Yellowstone has turned into the Pacific Northwest. Our son expressed an interest in going to the Washington/ Oregon area because he liked the scenery in the "Twilight" movies. We all like the outdoors and we prefer smaller towns rather than cities, but would not mind seeing some sights in Seattle if we have time. We are in the timber industry, so we would like to also squeeze in a visit to see Redwoods.
We fly from Ga. to Seattle on a Thursday in late June, arriving about 10:30 a.m.. Will pick up rental car at airport and start our adventure. We must return our car early Sat. morning of the following week and fly back to Ga. We do not have a lot of time, but we are going to do the best we can with the time we have. Here are the sites we would like to see. Let me know what you think.
Forks, Wa and Timber Museum
Mt. St. Helens
Columbia River Gorge
Mt. Hood
Oregon coastline areas
Crater Lake

We would love to see sea lions and other wildlife if we could. We are not crazy about long tours. Short raft trip would be fun.
I am wondering if we should choose 2 or 3 places to stay and do day trips.
Any help would be appreciated.
I forgot to mention that we are a family of four---dad,mom, and two boys(18 and 21).
littlelamb is offline  
Old May 12th, 2011, 07:50 PM
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Are you planning to return the car at Seattle or are you planning a one-way route? If planning to get back to Seattle, then with 8 1/2 days (basically Thurs - Fri PM) I think you'd find it pretty hectic trying to squeeze in all those places and still get back. If possible, I'd plan an open-jaw itinerary, GA to Seattle, then returning from San Francisco. Even so, I'd have to recommend paring your trip a little, in particular I'd drop Crater Lake.

Something like this would work:

Thu: Seattle
Fri: Seattle to Port Angeles; Hurricane Ridge
Sat: PA to Quinault via Forks, La Push, Hoh Valley Rainforest
Sun: Quinault to Portland
Mon: Mt. Hood/Gorge loop (return to Portland)
Tue: Portland - central Oregon coast
Wed: Central to southern Oregon coast
Thu: Southern coast to Eureka/Ferndale via Redwoods
Fri: Eureka/Ferndale to San Francisco
Sat: Home

If you have to return to Seattle, then this might work:

Thu: Seattle to PA (Hurricane Ridge)
Fri: PA to Quinault as above
Sat: Quinault to central Oregon coast via US 101
Sun: Central coast to south coast
Mon: South coast to Eureka via Redwoods
Tue: Eureka to Medford via US 199
Wed: Medford to Crater Lake to Bend
Thu: Bend to Hood River (Gorge)
Fri: Hood River to Mt. Hood to Seattle (long day)
Sat: Home

As you can see, the second itinerary is doable, but it's very hectic and you won't have much time to enjoy the scenery or do much else besides drive. With two young men in the vehicle, it sounds rather claustrophobic, truth be told.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 07:53 PM
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Meant to add, if the Redwoods and Oregon coast could be deferred to another trip, you could certainly get your big-trees-forest fix in the Olympic NP rainforests, and your rugged coastline fix on the Olympic NP coastal strip. Plus you'd probably have some time to do things like rafting or other activities, rather than doing drive-by tourism from the car.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 07:58 PM
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to clarify Gardyloo's post just a bit . . . "but it's very VERY hectic and you won't have much any time to enjoy the scenery or do much else besides drive"

Not trying to scare you off but what you want to see/do are hundreds of miles apart and very time intensive. If you are locked into R-T into Seattle and renting/returning the car there, IMO you need to cut back on your wish list.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 08:00 PM
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Mt Rainier and a whale watching expedition should be on your list, if whales are in residence when you are here.

Crater Lake is off the beaten path and may be one thing too many for a trip of 10-11 days.

I suggest these highlights: Seattle, San Jun Islands (Friday Harbor), Olympic NP (Forks), Mt. Rainier, Columbia River Gorge (Hood River), Mt. Hood, Oregon Coast (Cannon Beach, Newport, or Yachats), Portland, and flight home.

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Old May 12th, 2011, 08:01 PM
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Didn't see Gardyloo's 2nd post (was too busy dazzling w/ formatting ) - that makes a LOT of sense. If you limit yourselves to Washington and maybe just a bit of northern Oregon, everyone will enjoy everything more.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 04:49 AM
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I think you need to choose between Olympic and The Redwoods. Then build the rest of your trip around that. It's pretty hard to do both and include much of anything else. We spent 12 days in Oregon in 09 and didn't realize just how much there is to do there. One of our favorite trips ever. You might consider weather. Crater Lake is probably still going to be partially closed in June, and I don't know when everything opens in Olympic, North Cascades, etc. If you decide on Oregon, Portland has a ton of things to do. I think either place would be outstanding, but I would just go with one of them.

If your boys like adventure try
Totally amazing experience and very safe. Best thing my daughter and I have ever done.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 07:41 PM
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Thanks for the good suggestions. We do have to return car and depart from Seattle. We will have to strike some things from our list and go from there. Which part of the Oregon coastline would be most enjoyable to visit and are there any old sawmills located in the coastal area?
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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:41 PM
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When I think of lumber mills, I think of Aberdeen, Washington, which is 100 miles south of Forks. However, I'm not sure how active they are now.


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Old May 13th, 2011, 08:45 PM
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Sorry, I missed, "Which part of the Oregon coastline would be most enjoyable to visit."

The answer is the whole coast--from Brookings to Astoria. However, since your time is limited you can't go wrong with Cannon Beach to Cape Perpetua, which is a few miles south of Yachats.

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Old May 13th, 2011, 10:55 PM
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You know Forks looks nothing like Twilight. I have been to Forks and Beaver (a suburb of Forks) pre-Twilight and although it is sleepy, it is not as mysterious as the movie would lead you to believe. If you are coming all the way from Georgia, you might be disappointed.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 06:00 AM
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So where would you go to find the Twilight scenery?
Thanks again for all the help!
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Old May 14th, 2011, 06:44 AM
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Some of the exterior scenes were filmed in St. Helens Oregon on US 30 between Portland and Astoria.
Since you have to return to Seattle your Oregon loop should be limited to I-84 east to Hood River-route 35 up the east side of Mt. Hood-US 26 west to I5/99W south to McMinnville. In McMinnville visit the Evergreen Aviation Museum which is home to the Spruce Goose. Take route 18 west to US101-101 north to Tillamook-visit for about an hour the Tillamook Cheese factory.
For a great look at the Pacific Ocean drive out the loop on Cape Meares and see the lighthouse. Continue up 101 and make a short visit to Cannon Beach for your pictures of Haystack Rock. In Astoria make a short visit to the Astoria Column.
See what you can see in St. Helens for your Twilight fix.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 07:58 AM
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After "Twilight" which was largely filmed in various locations in Oregon, the whole series moved to British Columbia, where filming is generally cheaper than in the USA. (Most series/films purportedly set in Seattle are actually shot in Vancouver, e.g. the current "The Killing" series on AMC.)

If interested, you might consider a loop through lower mainland BC/Vancouver Island instead of Oregon; you could, for example, go from Seattle up to Vancouver, then up to Whistler and back to Horseshoe Bay, take the BC ferry over to Vancouver Island, visit Victoria and Pacific Rim NP (where some scenes in "New Moon" were shot. The scenery, especially the part between Vancouver and Whistler, is spectacular and I believe was used for a number of outdoor/aerial shots in a couple of the films. There's also some mill-town/forestry relics (as well as a scenic hillside mine) in the area.

After Victoria and Pacific Rim NP, you could take the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, head over to Forks and out to the beach at La Push (which was used in "Twilight") and maybe hit the Hoh Rain Forest, before returning to Seattle via the Bainbridge ferry.

Not saying the Seattle - Gorge - Portland - St. Helens route wouldn't be enjoyable - it is, but the BC loop would be a very satisfactory alternate.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 10:48 AM
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Thanks again everyone for all of the helpful information. We will use it in making our final plans.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 08:30 PM
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Maybe pin-down the Twilight buff as to which scenery he liked, then cross-reference that with the various locations in Oregon where the movie was often filmed.

Obviously you'll want to go to Forks, mainly for the non-scenic significance to it, and for the many Twilight-related tourist traps.

It isn't too hard to find details online as to where some of the various Twilight scenes were shot. First mark the must-sees on a map, and then fill in the rest based on what you feel you have to see.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 06:09 AM
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He liked the forest scenes the most. I wondered if the rainforest I've been hearing about would be any comparison to the movie scenes. I think that it is south of Forks.
What would be the quickest route to take to Forks from Seattle airport? I am not crazy about going to a tourist trap, but I think that the Timber museum there would be interesting to check out too.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 07:23 AM
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The Hoh rainforest, down the road from Forks, would more than meet his/your expectations - it's a quite wonderful place, well worth the drive. There are other forest valleys on the Olympic Peninsula that are similar, but few are as dramatic (or offer the chance of seeing wildlife) as Hoh.

The "quickest" route depends on how lucky you are with timing a ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, vs. traffic and other delays if you opt for the all-land route via Tacoma. Personally I'd go with the ferry option, as it's more scenic and lets the driver enjoy the trip more than he/she would doing the long drive. Either way it's around 3 1/2 hours, maybe 4 depending on the above.

Basically you have to cross Puget Sound, which you can do either by ferrying across (from Seattle or Edmonds, but the boats on the Seattle route are bigger and more frequent) then driving over the Hood Canal Bridge and through Port Angeles to Forks, or by going around the southern part of the Sound by crossing the Tacoma Narrows by bridge, then taking surface roads (Hwys 16, 3 and 101) up to Port Angeles and then to Forks.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 03:45 PM
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I think that we will probably end up taking the Edmonds ferry and then head on to Forks area.
Was reading about the Sandcastle Day in Cannon Beach on June 18th. We will probably be in that area then. Has anyone ever been and where would it be best to park and see this? There will probably be lots of people in the area then. Would haystack rock be close by?
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