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Help us plan our week trip to Washington!

Old Feb 20th, 2015, 05:45 AM
  #1  
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Help us plan our week trip to Washington!

My family and I are planning a trip to Washington this August, our first visit to the Pacific NW (we live in Buffalo). We will have one week and are overwhelmed with narrowing down an itinerary. Here are some of our ideas:
2-3 nights in Seattle
1-2 nights in San Juan Islands
2-3 nights in Olympic National Park

We are also considering taking the ferry to Vancouver Island in lieu of the San Juan Islands but I realize that might be overkill.

Here are our interests:
Seeing orcas (the whole reason for the trip!)
Seeing other types of wildlife (seals, eagles, etc.)
Seeing beautiful vistas like beaches and forests
Ziplining

I would also love to do some shopping in a quaint town but my family (husband, 7 yr old son and 11 yr old daughter) could care less about that.

All suggestions are welcome on specific towns to stay in overnight, sights not to miss, etc.
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Old Feb 20th, 2015, 07:08 AM
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Port Townsend is a short detour on your way to Port Angeles (gateway to ONP) and is suitably quaint. Whale watching trips depart from PT as well as other cities/towns in the area.

A week is a really short time for the activities you have mentioned. The San Juan's definitely require a ferry ride and the ONP might require one depending on the route you choose. Go to www.takeaferry.com for a map of the system, timetables, and info on reservations.
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Old Feb 20th, 2015, 07:27 AM
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In the interests of time and convenience, frankly I'd drop the San Juans and focus on the Olympic peninsula instead. The logistics in late summer of getting to and from the islands, the high cost of accommodations on the islands... meh.

There are well established whale watching operations out of Port Townsend, e.g. http://www.pugetsoundexpress.com/ which you can access without the time consuming (and expensive) ferry rides. Aside from the whale watching tours out of Friday Harbor (same whales as you'll see from PT) the San Juan Islands experience is, in my mind, much more an adult thing than one for kids. The islands are pleasant and pastoral, but pleasant and pastoral are seldom high priorities for 7- and 11-yo kids.

Staying in PT gives you access to the cute "old town" shopping and great Victorian architecture on view, but then you're only an hour or so from Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park (near Port Angeles) and from there all the activities of ONP are accessible - the ocean beaches in vampire country, the (amazing, not to be missed) Hoh Valley rain forest... plenty to occupy as many days as you can afford to spend.
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Old Feb 20th, 2015, 08:47 AM
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Thanks so much for your advice.

Thoughts on a visit to Whidbey Island instead of the San Juans? I feel like we need to include a visit to an island if we are in the Seattle area! Plus it looks like we can pick up a ferry to Port Townsend from Coupeville.
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Old Feb 20th, 2015, 09:04 AM
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Thoughts on a visit to Whidbey Island instead of the San Juans? I feel like we need to include a visit to an island if we are in the Seattle area! Plus it looks like we can pick up a ferry to Port Townsend from Coupeville.

Yes, and it's an incredibly kid-friendly alternative.

For a VERY full and VERY fun day, consider the following...

Book an early tour of the Boeing Everett factory - http://www.futureofflight.org/ - where you can see the big planes being assembled in the world's largest building.

Then drive (10 min.) to Mukilteo, a very cute town from which you can take the ferry (20 min.) to Whidbey Island.

Stop for lunch in the very cute waterfront village of Langley, then continue up the island to Fort Casey State Park, very near the ferry terminal. Fort Casey has cool gun emplacements, a lighthouse, lots of paths to explore, and is very enjoyable for the kids.

Then take the ferry over to Port Townsend and you're good.

You could even save some money by spending the night before all this in Mukilteo. The Silver Cloud Inn (excellent local chain) is right on the water in Mukilteo, next door to a branch of the very popular (and traditional) Ivar's restaurant chain, which itself is next door to the ferry terminal, which itself is next door to Mukilteo's cute little lighthouse and fun beach. Mukilteo is around 30 min. from downtown Seattle, you wouldn't have to pay high prices for a Seattle hotel (much less the extortionate price for car parking) and you could watch the sunset from your hotel room, or from the beach 3 min. walk away.

Hotel - http://www.silvercloud.com/mukilteo/
Ivar's - http://www.ivars.com/locations/mukilteo-landing
Mukilteo lighthouse - http://gardyloo.us/20140531_3Ha.jpg
Fort Casey - http://www.parks.wa.gov/505/Fort-Casey
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Old Feb 20th, 2015, 12:12 PM
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I love Whidbey Island, but it doesn't really *feel* like an island in the way the San Juans do. I do like the Captain Whidbey Inn in Coupeville.
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Old Feb 20th, 2015, 05:13 PM
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Gardyloo - This itinerary is fabulous!

Suze - I'll be sure to look into the Captain Whidbey Inn.
kcapuani is offline  
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