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portland-seattle-vancouver with toddler over 2 weeks-help!

portland-seattle-vancouver with toddler over 2 weeks-help!

Old Apr 19th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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portland-seattle-vancouver with toddler over 2 weeks-help!

Hi all, this summer my husband and I will be taking our 1 year old to the Pacific NW to see some friends and family. We've never been out that way before, so if any particularly knowledgeable folks are out there, I thank you in advance. We are trying to cover 3 different areas as seen in the title posting. We will be likely spreading the trip over 12 days or so before flying back to NYC. In all 3 cities we will probably be staying with family, so that is not a big issue, but I'd like to know which places would be good to visit with a child on the route. I was sort of picturing flying into Portland, staying a few days, then taking a day or two to drive to Seattle, visit the area, take the ferry to Victoria and then end up in Vancouver. We like nature-y things like national parks, but obviously not too strenuous since we'll have a stroller and toddler with us. I'm not sure how pricey it will be to cross over to Canada with a car, and whether we should just rent one over there. Are there any good routes for slow drives between the cities where we can get out and look at nice vistas and take some pictures? Sorry this is pretty vague, but I realized that traveling with kid in tow will require a lot more advance preparation than my formerly fly by the seat of my pants kind of travel. Thanks!
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 11:47 AM
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Well, Portland to Seattle is only 3 hours straight up I-5 freeway, not particularly scenic. I guess you could detour to stop at Mt. Rainier on your way up. Kind of same situation Seattle to Vancouver, about 3 hours straight up that same highway.

Hopefully others can chime in with some loops that you'd enjoy.

From Seattle there are some easy day trips, say out to Whidbey Island or Snoqualmie Falls that might better suit your schedule then stops in between the cities.
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 12:00 PM
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I'm trying to think of a good way to answer this, because I drove all over this area with a 1-year-old and found it very easy. My children liked to fall asleep for 2 hours or so in the carseat, so I would plan drives with stops about that far apart.

From Portland to Seattle is only a 3-hour drive by freeway, and it's hard to take any worthwhile backroads. If you want to extend the trip to several days and enjoy nature, you could either head over to the coast (which would add a lot of distance to your drive), or stop for a night or two at Mt. Rainier. We like to stay at Stone Creek Lodge just outside the park entrance:
The cabins are built around a lovely small meadow where your toddler could play safely. In the evening people gather around a campfire for wine and conversation if they choose. While there you could drive up to Paradise, which is the most incredibly beautiful spot to see the mountain. Paved paths (OK for the stroller) lead from there up into the meadows and wildflowers, but avoid the really steep ones with the stroller. You might even see deer.

From Seattle to Victoria, I would suggest the Black Ball Ferry (M/V Coho)from Port Angeles directly to the Inner Harbor.
To get to Port Angeles, you would take the Bainbridge ferry. Your child could walk around a good bit on the 30-minute ferry ride. From Bainbridge, you could drive an hour or a little more up to Port Townsend to spend the night. Fort Worden is a great place for a child to explore--there's a nice sandy beach, and more paved paths for the stroller. On the way to Port Angeles for the ferry you could detour out to Dungeness Spit if the child really needs some room to run! Or simply stop on the bluffs for the views.

The lines for the Coho can be long in summer. However, they do take a limited number of reservations, so that would be well worthwhile if you go this route. Before the reservation system, I found the best way to get a car on the ferry is to arrive the night before and put the car in line for the first morning ferry, then spend the night at a nearby motel. The ferry ride itself takes 90 minutes. Unfortunately, this boat can get pretty crowded, which will not leave a lot of room for the child to run around. You could also access Victoria from Vancouver by the Canadian ferry system, but I'll let others describe that for you.
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 12:02 PM
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Suze pretty much summed it up. Another stop along the way though that we really enjoy is Mt. St. Helens. Very interesting! Take a trip along the Mountain Loop Highway, or take a day trip to Leavenworth via HWY 2 for some scenery. Or go up Chukanut Drive for more scenery.

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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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thanks for your help guys! I will definitely look into the Stone Creek lodge idea!
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