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travelingteam Apr 21st, 2010 07:42 AM

Portland to Vancouver to San Juan Islands
In August we plan to fly from Denver to Portland and then get to Vancouver, Victoria and SJ Islands. Has anyone ever taken the train from Portland to Vancouver? Once we leave Vancouver we are thinking we'll travel by ferry. Would 2-3 days/nights in Vancouver and Victoria and then 5 days in Friday Harbor as a base for day trips to other islands be ample? Suggestions for reasonable/nice places to stay and any other info would be appreciated.

happytrailstoyou Apr 21st, 2010 07:57 AM

Five days in Friday Harbor vs. two/three in Vancouver and Victoria sounds a little lopsided to me. Without a car, ferry travel can be completed and with a car it can be a problem boarding during the ultra-busy month of August. Here are some links that may interest you:

travelingteam Apr 21st, 2010 08:36 AM

We would use Friday Harbor as a base but plan to visit other islands. Would four/five days in Vancouver/Victoria be a better fit? If we want a car we were planning to rent it just for the day. Thanks for the suggestions.

happytrailstoyou Apr 21st, 2010 08:41 AM

I'm not a San Juan expert, but the one time we went to Friday Harbor without a car we found getting around by public transport to be unsatisfactory.

I can't imagine visiting Orcas Island without a car, but there are others who frequent this forum (including "Orcas") who may show up with helpful advice on that score.


christy1 Apr 21st, 2010 08:59 AM

You need a car for the islands. It is possible, though not necessarily convenient, to get around San Juan Island (where Friday Harbor is) without a car--there are shuttles to certain places around the island. It is not possible to see anything on the others--Orcas, Lopez and Shaw--without wheels.

In terms of dividing your time, that's up to you. Vancouver is a big city, Victoria a cutesy touristy town, and the San Juans are for scenery/relaxing/outdoor activities/whale watching/etc. It just depends on what you want out of your vacation.

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