Ideas for an overnight trip from Seattle

Aug 24th, 2010, 02:18 PM
Original Poster
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Ideas for an overnight trip from Seattle

We are 2 60-ish parents visiting our adult son in Seattle. We all want to take an overnight (Sunday to Monday) trip in mid-September.

Here are the ideas we've come up with:
* Drive up to Canada, ferry over to Vancouver Island on BC Ferry, drive down to Victoria, and come back via Anacortes on WA Ferry
* Go to Olympic Peninsula - one or two places
* Go to San Juans - one or two places
* Boat only to Victoria (no car)

How do these sound? Too much driving? Not enough time? Any ideas would be welcomed.
SoccerFanz is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 02:34 PM
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Victoria! If you have never been before, definitely Victoria.
Stay near the harbor, have afternoon tea at the Empress, be sure to go out to Butchart Garden.

One of my favorite places on earth.

Stay at the Empress if you can swing it -
Afternoon tea -
Butchart Gardens -
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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Whidbey Island, stay at Captain Whidbey Inn
or Victoria on the Victoria Clipper

I think any of the other itineraries you mention are too much for a single overnight. Those are more like 2-3+ day trips.
suze is online now  
Aug 24th, 2010, 02:52 PM
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I suggest you drive to Anacortes (77 miles north of Seattle) and take the ferry to San Juan Island.

You will arrive at the delightful town of Friday Harbor, which has good lodging and dining options.

On San Juan Island you will find the beautiful resort of Roche Harbor, a whale museum, a notable lavender farm, great whale watching, and other attractions.

The ferry ride through the San Juans make this a truly unique experience.

If you wish, you can park your car at the ferry terminal in Anacortes and travel as foot passengers on the ferry. There is public transportation on SJI that comes complete with an informative narration ($10 round-trip).

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 03:13 PM
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I would choose the Olympic Peninsula: Neah Bay (there's good smoked salmon to be had there)and its museum based on a village buried a few hundred years ago in mud, the trail to Cape Flattery, going up on Hurricane Ridge in the National park. That probably would fill your Sunday and Monday.
Michael is online now  
Aug 24th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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My vote would also be for Victoria. And rather than waste precious little time driving and on the ferry, my wife and I have promised ourselves that the next time we visit there, we'll arrive on a float plane:
passerbye is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 04:57 PM
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Starrs is on the right track. Overnight in Victoria is a great experience. If you can't swing the Empress there are a lot of alternatives, but I think a tour of Buchart Gardents is a must. It is lovely.

I do think a Ferry experience in the Puget Sound is pretty amazing, but driving a lot isn't always fun especially if there may be traffic.

Have fun.
SEW is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 06:28 PM
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I'm surprised at the lack of enthusiasm for the San Juan Islands. When I was there a week ago, the festive crowd on the ferry was the most cosmopolitan of any gathering I've encountered in Washington State--languages from around the world.

And, it is a great bargain for those already in Seattle--a pittance for parking and ferry fare.

But, Victoria is tempting. Let's see--a Kenmore Air float plane there and back ($269 each), a night at the Empress Hotel with breakfast ($269), High Tea in the afternoon ($55 each), and a 4-hour tour to Buchart Gardens ($68 each).

Let me at that up. Yikes! I'm up to over $1,000 without eating a proper meal, and $1,000 is about what I would ordinarily spend on a four-day road trip. But heck, I guess it will be worth it.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 07:06 PM
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I'm not against the San Juans. I love the islands. It's that I don't think they work very well for an *overnight* trip from Seattle, which is what was request in this post.

As far as going to Victoria, there is no reason a person has to spend $1000 to go there overnight, unless they want to. The Clipper is cheaper than a float plane and can be done round-trip in a day or as an overnight. There're many other hotels not just the Empress. No reason you have to go to high tea or pay for a formal tour of Buchard, etc. etc.
suze is online now  
Aug 24th, 2010, 07:37 PM
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Let's see -
The Clipper @ $145 each = $290 (although there are going to be transportation costs with the other options given)
Butchart Gardens @ $28 each = $56 - worth it to me. The place is the most amazing garden I've ever seen
Afternoon tea - 2 @ $55 = $110 - one of my favorite travel experiences ever, and they'd spend some $ amount for a meal no matter where they go
A night at the Empress or another hotel in Victoria or another hotel whereever they overnight - not putting a price in here because they'll spend it no matter where they go.

So, 2.5 hours away from Seattle via the Clipper = a quick trip to what feels being a half a world away - a touch of England in North America...
...a great meal and experience... amazing garden like none I've ever seen...
...a night in the Empress* or other...
$290 + $56 + $110 = $456 for two = $228 per person

Seems like a deal to me

And not $228 more than they'd spend if they go with the other option
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 07:47 PM
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Oops! Forgot the * on the Empress

* The first time I stayed at the Empress I got a $99 rate for a 2 bedded room for me and my parents. Yes, it was years ago but it was a great deal.

The next time I stayed there I was a member of the Fairmont President's Club and got a great rate on the Club floor - with free afternoon appetizers, morning breakfast, honor bar for beer/alcohol and free sodas/water in the fridge all of the time. My room was on the second floor, overlooking the harbor. Actually if you look at a picture of the front of the hotel and see the flag flying on the right - that's our window. GREAT room. Big. GREAT view. Afternoon snacks, free beverages and free breakfast. We paid in the mid-$200 range but it was a great deal!

Deals can be had - even at the Empress.
starrs is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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Talk about deals! HTTY quoted a breakfast rate at the Empress for $269.

You can get a king room for as low as $130 a night. That rate requires a full non-refundable deposit. But that's a deal.

For $260 you can get a Fairmont Gold King Bed Harbour View -
Attentive Service, Personal Concierge, Exclusive Check In, 2nd Floor Private Lounge, Comp Breakfast, Canapes, and a 400sf room.

I can promise you, that's a overnight stay you'll remember for a long time

Prices are CAD dollars.
starrs is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 02:50 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks all the ideas and discussion - and also for considering the economics of all the alternatives.
We've narrowed it down to San Juan Island or Victoria. If we go to Victoria, we'll definitely stay at the Empress. Besides Roche Harbor Resort, are there any other ideas for lodging on San Juan Island?
SoccerFanz is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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Having spent summer weeks up there for years, I don't have anything against San Juan Island either. Just think that Victoria makes a better overnight trip from Seattle. And only offered up Kenmore as a quicker, and I think fun way to get there.

As to lodging options on San Juan Island, aside from Roche Harbor Resort and a few "resorts" with cabins, most everything is in/near Friday Harbor. And everything I recall seeing is B&B or small inn kinds of places. Certainly nothing comparable to The Empress or many of the other Victoria hotels. The reason to choose San Juan Island would be if you're looking for a more laid back, outdoorsy kind of experience.
passerbye is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 07:56 AM
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friday harbor house in friday harbor is an upscale inn with views.

i'm not a fan of staying at the empress--in my experience the service is not up to snuff there. i don't recommend it unless you can spring for the gold concierge floor where the service is better. my favorite hotel there is the inn at laurel point, specifically the rooms in the erickson wing.
NWWanderer is offline  

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