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please advise on my Seattle-Vancouver itinerary

please advise on my Seattle-Vancouver itinerary

Old May 7th, 2014, 12:45 PM
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please advise on my Seattle-Vancouver itinerary

Please advise if this is a good and doable itinerary. Any input will be appreciated!

2 adults+ 1 teenager
We are planning to rent a car, also contemplating a combination of Amtrak and a car.

July 22 - flying to Seattle in the afternoon
July 23 - sightseeing Seattle: the Waterfront with Olympic Sculpture Park,
Pioneer Square , Pike Place Market, boat tour on Lake Union.
July 24 -July 25 - day trip to Mt. Rainier National Park with staying overnight (any good hotels or B&B's up to $200/night ?)
July 25 - heading back to Seattle and taking Victoria Clipper to a day trip to San Juan Island (Friday Harbor and Lime Kiln Park), then staying overnight in Seattle
July 26 - riding Amtrak to Vancouver or driving to Vancouver, spending the night in Vancouver
July 27 - sightseeing in Vancouver: downtown, Stanley Park Seawall, Granville Island, Kitsilano
July 28 - Capilano Suspension Bridge (North Vancouver) and Skyride gondola to Grouse Mountain, possibly staying overnight in that area (any good hotels or B&B's, up to $200/night ?)
July 29 - day trip to Whistler (should we stay overnight there, if so any good hotels or B&B's up to $200/night ?)
July 30 - day trip to Victoria, Butchart Gardens, etc
July 31 - Amtrak or driving back to Seattle, staying overnight in some airport hotel
August 1 - flying home

What are most conveniently located areas to stay overnight in Seattle and Vancouver?
Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old May 7th, 2014, 01:28 PM
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I recently stayed at a hotel in N Vancouver- the Pinnacle at the Pier- it was very nice, a block to the waterfront and close to the Lonnsdale Quay market ( which is mostly restaurants and a few tourist shops.) It is directly across the water from downtown Vancouver. From Lonnsdale Quay you can take a water bus over to the downtown area. There is also a hotel at Lonnsdale Quay- prices lower than the Pinnacle but have no idea what rooms are like.

It is easy access to Hwy 1 which takes you to Whistler and close to the Capilano Bridge and Grouse Mountain. Its in an area that used to be ship yards but now transforming into restaurants, apts and condo's.

It also is not far from a ferry that would take you over to Vancouver island- it would go to Nanaimo.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 02:30 PM
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Border crossing may be more efficient if you travel between Seattle and Vancouver on the train.

I would want to have a car for the activities you plan for July 28 and 29.

If you stay overnight in Whistler on the 29th, a day trip to Victoria on the 30th wouldn't give you much time in that city. For that reason, and to avoid possible long waits for ferries, I would investigate organized tours from Vancouver to Victoria.

HTtY
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Old May 7th, 2014, 03:02 PM
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No real need to change hotels between Vancouver and N. Vancouver. Grouse Mountain and Capilano Bridge are very accessible from downtown with a car or tour and easily done as a half day trip.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 07:16 PM
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Thanks for your valuable input, everybody!
Will we have enough time at Whistler for sightseeing and some light hiking without staying overnight there?
Also, if we take a train from Seattle to Canada and back it looks like we only need a car for 2 days in Seattle area for a trip to Mt Rainier and for 2 days in Vancouver for a trip to Whistler?
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Old May 7th, 2014, 07:33 PM
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All of the times I have gone to and left Vancouver have been by train or Amtrak bus. I did drive my own car across into Canada (White Rock) a couple times last year but I would not like to drive a rental into Canada. I never saw the point of going to Whistler in the summer (maybe I'm missing something?).
As for Mt. Rainier, You should be able to get something suitable in Packwood for less than $200.
Packwood has one grocery store (IGA), a good bar/restaurant, 2 gas stations and an occasional problem with elk wandering on the highway.
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Old May 7th, 2014, 07:44 PM
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As I was driving Vancouver to Seattle a week ago I noticed a bus ahead of me - called
Quick Shuttle- transportation between Vancouver and Seattle

Don't know if that interests you but you can check it out as another option

http://www.quickcoach.com/schedule.htm
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Old May 7th, 2014, 07:59 PM
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Back to back days going to Whistler and Victoria are pretty grueling. Whistler is 2-3 hour drive from Vancouver, and while nice enough, is a planned resort area so lacks some character IMHO. Victoria and Butchart Gardens would involve a long day by ferry as well, I know as I've done this.

So perhaps you might cut Whistler, unless that is a must do and spend two nights on Vancouver Island before heading back to Seattle. That way you could enjoy Butchart Gardens, explore Victoria a bit and perhaps some of Vancouver Island without feeling too rushed.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 03:08 AM
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If you are already in the San Juan islands, is there a way to just keep going to Victoria or Vancouver so you don't back track? Agree with Tomfuller, unless you hike, rock climb or zip line, Whistler is just another mountain range in the summer ( and expensive).You will see have plenty by the time you do Ranier. Another option is to go to Port Angeles, drive up to Hurricane Ridge and then cross to Victoria by ferry.https://www.google.ca/search?q=olymp...w=1290&bih=541
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Old May 8th, 2014, 04:12 AM
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Overall itinerary OK, A couple of notes:

-The trip to Friday Harbor & Lime Kiln with return to Seattle will be a long day - be prepared for a long day. I think you are doing that to return your rental car in Seattle.

-There are a few guest houses near the Longmire Entrance into Rainier Park in Ashford and a couple hotels in Packwood near the eastern entrance at Ohanepecosh.

-Be prepared for large crowds at Butchart Gardens in July.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 06:24 AM
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I agree with you, tomfuller, curiosgeo and snowgirls. We are neither rock climbers nor zipliners, so I am dropping Whistler from our itinerary. We will stay overnight in Victoria and spend more time there.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 06:25 AM
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You don't mention your budget aside from hotel costs, but let me make a couple of observations -

Between the day trip to the San Juans and the later day trip to Victoria, you're spending a lot of money that could be reduced significantly by doing a Seattle - San Juan - Victoria - Vancouver - Seattle loop in the car. The per-person costs for the Clipper and Vancouver - Victoria transportation will probably be a bigger number than the cost of the car on ferries, and the car will be way more convenient.

I would actually modify the route to go Seattle - San Juans - Victoria - Nanaimo - Whistler - Vancouver - Seattle. That would allow you to use the Nanaimo - Horseshoe Bay ferry, which would put you right on the road to Whistler, removing the need to commute in and out of Vancouver a couple of times. And yes, I do think an overnight in Whistler is a good idea. In the summer lodging costs are generally quite reasonable at Whistler, as its accommodation inventory is geared for the much bigger ski season.

One or two other comments - it would seem to me that you could ride a chairlift or gondola in Whistler that would be less expensive and more impressive than Grouse Mountain, but that's your call. And IMO Capilano Bridge is (whispers) something of a ripoff, especially when the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is close by and free. http://lynncanyon.ca/

Butchart Gardens is beautiful but at C$77 for the three of you that's... $77 more than you'd pay for the Queen Elizabeth II Park gardens in Vancouver, which are maybe not the equal to Butchart Gardens but certainly in the same league.

Combined with the C$95 you'd save by visiting Lynn Canyon over Capilano, that could add $170 to your wallet that could be used for hotel upgrades, say.

To save some time I probably would do Mt. Rainier as a day trip from Seattle rather than an overnight. Maybe move it to your last day, then overnight at the airport, more convenient and cheaper than as a stand-alone overnight destination.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 06:41 AM
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Replying to snowgirls and CascadeBob regarding the reason we are backtracking from San Juan to Seattle instead of proceeding to Victoria and Vancouver. By the time we are going to Friday Harbor we will be without a car. That's why I'm planning to get to San Juan by Victoria Clipper. So, returning a rented car is not the reason why are returning to Seattle. First of all, I couldn't find any accommodations with AC at Friday Harbor. Not sure if it's a real necessity (some people complained for the lack of AC in their reviews) but I guess it's always better to have than not. Also, the hotels' prices on the island are not that much accommodating.
Finally, I'd rather go to Vancouver by Amtrak but if it needs to be we can drive too.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 06:46 AM
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Considering that Victoria Clipper will get us to Friday Harbor by 11:15 am and the return trip to Seattle is scheduled at 4:30 pm, will we have enough time for a stroll around the harbor and walk in Lime Kiln Park? How far is Lime Kiln from the ferry station? Should we walk, ride the bus or get a cab?
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Old May 8th, 2014, 07:11 AM
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Lime Kiln Park is on the opposite side of the island from Friday Harbor. Frankly I think a car is extremely useful on San Juan Island - you can visit English Camp and Roche Harbor as well as Lime Kiln - all very worthy of some time.

AFAIK there's no public bus that serves Lime Kiln, so you'd probably have to pay a cab to take you there and either wait or come back for you.

I would not use the absence of air conditioning as a reason to avoid staying anywhere in western Washington. It's just not that common that it's needed. We have one in our bedroom that we use maybe 5 nights a year, almost never in July.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 12:19 PM
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A followup...

Not trying to hijack your plans, but just as a thought experiment have a look at this...

22-Jul Seattle

23-Jul Seattle to Mukilteo – Do the rest of your Seattle touring, then head up to Mukilteo, a pretty little town on Puget Sound (around 30 min. from downtown.) You'll pass the Boeing Everett factory on the way - biggest building in the world. Look at the Silver Cloud Mukilteo - a great little property right on the water next to the ferry dock, and with several decent restaurants, pizza, pubs close by, as well as the cute little lighthouse. http://www.silvercloud.com/mukilteo/

24-Jul Mukilteo to San Juan Island via Whidbey Island and Deception Pass. Take the Whidbey ferry (next to the Silver Cloud), stop in Langley for a coffee (very cute waterfront town) then continue up Whidbey to Deception Pass. Deception Pass is this amazing narrow channel between Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands where the water really zips through at tide change. There are wonderful views both from the bridges over the pass, and also from the beaches below. It’s a fabulous stop on the way to Anacortes and the San Juan Islands ferry. Anyway, take an afternoon ferry to Friday Harbor and spend the night.

25-Jul Full day on San Juan Island – Lime Kiln, English Bay, Roche Harbor, maybe some whale watching (use the money you saved by not taking the Clipper from Seattle.)

26-Jul Morning ferry to Victoria

27-Jul Full day in/around Victoria

28-Jul Morning ferry to Tsawwassen for Vancouver, rest of the day in Vancouver

29-Jul Full day in/around Vancouver

30-Jul Early departure east on the Trans-Canada Hwy, cross the border at Sumas (shorter waits than on the main highway.) If you have time, visit Artist Point at the end of SR 542 with incredible views of Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan (wonderful picnic location) before continuing south on WA SR 9 back to the Seattle area. Probably spend the night near the airport to save money and make the next day easier.

31-Jul Visit Mount Rainier as a day trip, returning to the airport area the night before your flight home

1-Aug Depart for home.

Map - http://goo.gl/maps/5Ph5l

This drops Whistler as you mentioned; however by using the car and making more of a loop out of your itinerary, it decreases the amount of time you’d spend in transit to various places, allowing more time actually at the places. By spending the night in Mukilteo you’ll have an easy and wonderful time the next day going to Anacortes (for the San Juan Island ferry) via Whidbey, and having two nights on San Juan Island will let you feel something of the “vibe” there, as well as allowing time to visit a couple of interesting and beautiful places on the island. (You’ll know all about the “Pig War” if you do.) There’s also whale watching from Friday Harbor (as well as several operators out of Victoria) if that’s of interest.

If you have time on the way back, you could do a detour up to the Mt. Baker area – overlooked by most tourists but a stunning bit of mountain scenery, comparable to the views of Rainier from the visitor centers. And by spending two nights at the airport you’ll also save money and have an easier time accessing Rainier for a day trip than if you stayed in the city.

Just some thoughts…
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Old May 8th, 2014, 04:34 PM
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Wow! That's a very interesting and thoughtful alternative that certainly gets my full attention. I will thoroughly research it and possibly follow it. Thanks a lot, Gardyloo!
The only question that I have at this point is if a day in each city would be enough for visiting Seattle and Vancouver?
Also, would you recommend any specific places to stay in Friday Harbor and Victoria?
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Old May 8th, 2014, 06:07 PM
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You might find some interesting info on this website

http://www.hellobc.com
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Old May 8th, 2014, 08:02 PM
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Thanks for your help, sunburn1944.
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Old May 9th, 2014, 07:22 AM
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http://www.edgewaterhotel.com/ My favourite place in Seattle. One of a kind experience with a shuttle to take you in downtown core. Have a great trip.
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