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One week August Pacific Northwest or British Columbia


One week August Pacific Northwest or British Columbia

Old May 19th, 2016, 09:19 PM
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One week August Pacific Northwest or British Columbia

I am traveling with an 18 year old for one week in mid August and would like to find a way of covering all the criteria below if possible. Am open to any suggestions re the Canadian west coast and the US Pacific Northwest.

-main point of trip: rest and relaxation as opposed to intensive sight seeing
-temperatures no higher than low 80's
- my son enjoys seeing/ photographing wildlife and water sports and biking
-I enjoy seeing wildlife, swimming, walking on the beach, sunshine

I was imagining an inexpensive, quiet and charming bed and breakfast near the water, not too far from where we will fly into (as we only have a week I did not want to spend it driving), close to wildlife, boat rides, swimming, walks and bike rides on the beach, with evenings in a town or city for dinner. Surrounded by nature sounds and healthy living.

We have never been to Canada, so I thought this might be a good although brief introduction, but I am open to the Pacific Northwest. The main thing is trying to find a place we can fly into which will get us close to a place that is quiet and restful in nature, as described above. My son likes cooler temperatures and I like sun and swimming, hence the idea of going to visit this part of the world. I visited Seattle years ago, but only in winter. We will be flying from Houston and then on to Cedar Rapids, IA. I had looked into a lake vacation in Colorado, but I would not want too high an altitude. I had also looked into Mackinac Island in Michigan but it seemed that the drive there would take many hours from the airport.

I would appreciate any suggestions!

Thanks so much!
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Old May 20th, 2016, 04:36 AM
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By inexpensive, what is your budgetary range? You'll want to update your Canadian post with the same information (although that forum is less active).
sludick is online now  
Old May 20th, 2016, 05:34 AM
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I'm hoping that Cedar Rapids is not part of your week.
My plan for what it's worth: Fly to Portland (PDX). Rent a car and go east on I-84 and then take the old Columbia Gorge Highway to see Multnomah Falls and several other waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge.
Spend a night in Hood River which is a mecca for kite boarders and sailboarders. There are lessons available if he has an interest.
Return the car to PDX and than take the TriMet red line from the airport into downtown Portland. Spend a day in Portland if you like and then take an Amtrak Cascades train to Seattle.
See the sights in Seattle and then rent a car and decide if you want to visit Mt. Rainier or Olympic NP (both beautiful).
Take the train or Amtrak bus from King St. Station to Vancouver. Vancouver should be cool and I hope not too rainy.
Return to Seattle (SEA) for your flight home. I know nothing about flying to Cedar Rapids from the Pacific NW.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 06:29 AM
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Don't want to start off with a negative tone, but you're probably going to have to compromise on a couple of your priorities.

An inexpensive B&B near the water that's commutable to a city for evenings is going to be very hard to find; you're talking about the peak vacation period in this region. Not saying it's impossible, but it's something of a needle in a haystack, and you're starting a bit late.

Low 80s - no guarantees; the last couple of summers have had above-average temperatures throughout the region.

Swimming - Salt water in the Pacific NW and BC is quite cold (the whole north Pacific is much colder than the Atlantic) so you might be looking at lakes or swimming pools for this.

Beaches - we don't really have them. Oh, there are a few, but they're more often cobbles rather than sand.

So all that said, here are a couple of areas for you to research:

Whistler BC. Whistler is 90 min. north of Vancouver up the gorgeous "Sea to Sky" highway. Because it's mainly a ski resort (Winter Olympics a few years ago) there's lots of quite affordable accommodation available in the summer. There are all sorts of activities - mountain bikes, hikes, rafting... and plenty of food/beverage options in the resort villages. http://www.whistler.com/activities/summer/

BC Sunshine Coast. This area isn't well known to visitors from the US, but it's a scenic, peaceful, and quite beautiful area, not far from Vancouver. In fact it's accessed (by ferry) right from the same highway that continues on to Whistler. There are a string of pleasant little waterfront towns, lots of little coves and beaches to explore, a very laid back vibe, not unlike the (US) San Juan Islands or the (Canadian) Gulf Islands. http://www.sunshinecoastcanada.com/

Victoria BC. Downtown Victoria is famously picturesque and accordingly crowded with visitors during the summer. However once you're away from the Inner Harbour it's far less hectic and touristy, and Vancouver Island is so enormous and varied that you can be out in the sticks in no time. There's whale watching, hikes, bike riding, lakes... pretty much everything you're looking for. If you chose Victoria, then I'd book airfare right to Victoria's airport rather than spending several hours getting there from Vancouver or Seattle. http://www.hellobc.com/vancouver-isl...ngs-to-do.aspx

Bainbridge Island, Washington. Bainbridge is a large island reached (40 min.) by frequent ferries from downtown Seattle. It's more suburban than rural, but has some great advantages such as plenty of restaurants and activities, some lovely residential areas, the incomparable Bloedel Reserve gardens, and it's close enough to places like Port Townsend or Port Angeles to allow day trips for whale watching, drives up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, to make those feasible. http://visitbainbridge.com/

Columbia Gorge, Hood River and Mount Hood. As Tom mentions above, this is a tremendously varied area with some huge draws, not the least of which is that it begins 15 min. after leaving Portland airport. There are activities along the Columbia River including windsurfing, rafting, swimming, plus hikes, lakes, Mount Hood itself (ski lift to year-round icefields, alpine meadows,) the waterfalls and vista points of the Columbia Gorge, the Hood River Valley "fruit loop" (past numerous orchards and vineyards) and on and on. You can even do a day trip to the Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge replica, or the Goldendale Observatory in Goldendale WA where you can actually look through the big scope in their evening visitor shows. The one caveat is that it can be well above the low 80s in the summer since you're (for the most part) east of the Cascades. However humidity is generally quite low, so it's not especially uncomfortable even if the thermometer is above 85. http://traveloregon.com/cities-regio...ood-the-gorge/

Alaska cruise. Last but not least, an affordable week (all things considered) can be had cruising to/from Alaska. You unpack once, the scenery comes to you, and staying in the low 80s or below is no problem. I'd recommend a round-trip itinerary out of Vancouver (more scenic route than those out of Seattle). Plenty of port activities (and not necessarily the expensive ship-sponsored excursions) plus glaciers, whales, lots of activities, lots of food choices (the cruise lines are surprisingly sensitive to people's changing tastes) and
you can just sit on a balcony or the deck and watch the world slide by. Not a bad choice, but not for everyone.

Lots to take in, sorry for the length.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 06:59 AM
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Gardyloo, I just love your posts.
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Old May 20th, 2016, 09:37 AM
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We love the Oregon coast for all the things you listed. Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Yachats are towns we've stayed in. It's about a 90 minute drive from the Portland airport.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 07:09 PM
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I agree that an inexpensive bnb is going to be tough. Anything by the water and close to what I'd consider a city with decent food options is not even approaching affordable to me in August. I'd focus on Canada simply because of the exchange rate at least if that remains good for us. No idea if hostels are your cup of tea but with the 18 year old, maybe it'd be a good idea- Hostelling international has several in excellent outdoorsy BC locations.

The tough part of this is honestly the lower 80s. Possibly in the mountains, or on the Oregon/northern California coast. But on the whole, I've been to most of the possibilities in August, and Bainbridge- San Juans- Seattle- Vancouver- all can be quite hot in August. Even the Oregon coast can reach the 90s although that's rarer. The gorge is almost always in the 90s that time of year, so I'd scratch that. I agree that the low humidity makes it bearable but I still prefer to not be in the gorge that late in the summer.

I really like gardyloo's suggestions of Whistler, Sunshine Coast, or the Alaskan cruise- and my vote, because of your interest in lower temperatures and scenery, would definitely be the Alaskan cruise.

No swimming beaches in BC, really, but look into hotsprings, possibly.

Or maybe- if you're feeling more thrifty- seeing a few towns by the Alaskan Marine Highway (ferry system).

Another possibility: northern Idaho, somewhere like Priest Lake, would definitely fit your criteria. Your 18 year old would love biking the Hiawatha or the CDA trail system if you cared to do an overnight trip to either CDA or Missoula. That would be my pick for a relaxing holiday. But that definitely is heavier on the nature side and involves no more beaches than BC.

In terms of biking or walking on the beach- I'd say your only options are Oregon coast or Southern California, and personally, I'd pick Southern California for better biking paths and food options. Not to mention swimming. Oregon and Washington coast is really not swimmable. (I love Oregon coast. I do not, however, particularly enjoy biking there during August.)
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Old May 23rd, 2016, 01:22 PM
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Thanks so much for all the replies! So very helpful! Idaho sounds intriguing and if anyone has any suggestions along those lines, I would be most grateful (i.e. other states, cool temps, lakes, not above 5000 ft). What about Ozark mountains in Arkansas? I am happy to explore... Thanks again!
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