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Quaint small pac NW/Vancouver area seaside trip ideas

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Jul 13th, 2018, 10:11 AM
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Quaint small pac NW/Vancouver area seaside trip ideas

hi! My husband and I are planning to fly up to the pacific NW in late August for 7 days or so. Iím pregnant so we wonít want to do a ton of walking, of course some walking is good.
looking to spend some time in a cute seaside village or island (maybe two or three places depending if we will have a car)that is walkable and has GREAT restaurants. Basically just want to relax by the sea and get out of Arizona heat! Went last year to Montreal/Quebec and Vermont and loved all the villages on that side of Canada. Open to anywhere along Oregon, Washington and up to Canada options. Would probably fly Alaska air to Seattle. For reference on what kind of experience we are after, we spend a lot of time in Cayucos, Morro Bay and Encinitas in California. These towns suit our personalities well. But we want to see a new area rather than return to places we know and love.
will we need to rent a car? Or is it best to just take public transit and ferries? Can you take car on ferries?

thank you for any and all suggestions!!
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Jul 13th, 2018, 10:41 AM
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Well, a couple of items for clarification.

The word "seaside" means different things up here, depending on where you are. The reason is that most "seaside" destinations in Washington and British Columbia are on inland waters, called Puget Sound, the Gulf of Georgia, or, generally, the Salish Sea. For the Morro Bay sort of experience, i.e. on the Pacific with waves and all that, there are few places in WA or BC where that applies, and none of them are especially quaint or picturesque. On the Oregon Pacific coast there are a couple, with Cannon Beach on the northern part of the coast, and Bandon on the southern part, coming closest to that sort of model, with Yachats ("ya-hots") between them, but much smaller and less developed. All are a fairly lengthy drive from major airports, with Cannon Beach being the closest at around two hours' drive from Portland.

In the Washington/BC area, however, counting the various parts of the Salish Sea, there are numerous places that would probably fit your description, although none of them will have big waves crashing on rocks - those waves are broken up by intervening islands or peninsulas.

Here are some places I would google, just for a start:

Near Seattle: Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island, Gig Harbor, the towns of Coupeville and Langley on Whidbey Island, Port Townsend and La Conner. All are reachable on land or on land/car ferry routes, and are all within around three hours from Seattle.

San Juan Islands: Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, Orcas and Lopez Islands. These are reached by car ferry from Anacortes, accessed by road from Seattle in around 90 minutes. Figure 4-5 hours travel time from Seattle airport.

Northern Puget Sound: Fairhaven (Bellingham) and Lummi Island - both a couple of hours from Seattle.

Vancouver Island: Victoria, Sooke. These are within 30 - 60 minutes from Victoria's airport, or accessible by ferry from the lower BC mainland, from the Anacortes (extension of the Friday Harbor ferry) or from Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. Allow 4-6 hours travel time minimum from Seattle airport, an hour less from Vancouver airport. There's also a passenger ferry from Seattle (Victoria Clipper) and float planes from both Seattle and Vancouver downtown areas.

Canadian Gulf Islands: These are the Canadian version of the San Juans, except somewhat larger and somewhat more diverse. Look at Salt Spring and Pender Islands. These are reached by ferry from the lower BC mainland or from Vancouver Island. Figure 3 - 4 hours from Vancouver airport.

Lower BC mainland: Vancouver is certainly not a small village, but it has some splendid coastal areas, and a couple of the suburbs might do the trick.

BC Sunshine Coast: This is an area not well known to Americans (and surprisingly not to many non-BC resident Canadians) but it's a real gem. This is an area on the BC coast that's not accessible by road from Vancouver. Instead, one takes a scenic ferry from Horseshoe Bay (30 min. north of downtown Vancouver) to Langdale on the Sunshine coast; from there the road extends north through a series of very pleasant towns, superb landscape, and with a surprising number of beaches - a couple of which are actually swimmable - until it ends at the edge of the BC coastal wilderness. Look at Gibsons and Sechelt among other locations. https://sunshinecoastcanada.com/

Long list, start googling.

Edited to add: I'm also going to throw out a curve ball, just because you'll be quite late in booking space in many accommodations in these communities - it's the peak season and the choices are limited in the first place.

What if you looked for a last-minute fare on an Alaska cruise out of Vancouver? They're all for seven nights, you unpack once, the scenery comes to you, there's no fussing with cooking or with logistics, you can be as active or as casual as you want, there's room service, shore excursions that you can join or skip, and you'll see plenty of picturesque places, like Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, and of course, you'll also see glaciers, whales, snow-topped mountains, and rain forests. Quite often the cruises can be cheaper on a per-person-per-day basis than a land vacation, when you count car rental, hotel and restaurant charges, etc. Look for "Inside Passage" round-trip cruises out of Vancouver in the first place (more scenic route) and out of Seattle in the second place. Just a thought, anyway.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Jul 13th, 2018 at 10:48 AM.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 12:58 PM
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You will definitely need a rental car to do what you describe in the PNW.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 02:59 PM
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Thank you so much for your detailed reply!! Yea I wasnít hoping for big waves or swimming, more just pretty coastal. Whatever type of coastal exists up there is fine with me! I just want more quaint picturesque relaxing atmosphere that we can fly to within a few hours from Tucson. Something cooler than here and with, well, water to look at! And good seafood to eat

i will google all these places you mentioned and see if we can get a little trip together. The cruise isnít a bad idea either but Iím such a foodie Iíd love to check out local restaurants in these towns. Vancouver isnít a bad idea but VERY expensive lodging Iíve noticed!

Wr could always just keep it easy go to California like we always do but I thought it would be nice to see something new, especially before the baby comes
thanks again!

of for
Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
Well, a couple of items for clarification.

The word "seaside" means different things up here, depending on where you are. The reason is that most "seaside" destinations in Washington and British Columbia are on inland waters, called Puget Sound, the Gulf of Georgia, or, generally, the Salish Sea. For the Morro Bay sort of experience, i.e. on the Pacific with waves and all that, there are few places in WA or BC where that applies, and none of them are especially quaint or picturesque. On the Oregon Pacific coast there are a couple, with Cannon Beach on the northern part of the coast, and Bandon on the southern part, coming closest to that sort of model, with Yachats ("ya-hots") between them, but much smaller and less developed. All are a fairly lengthy drive from major airports, with Cannon Beach being the closest at around two hours' drive from Portland.

In the Washington/BC area, however, counting the various parts of the Salish Sea, there are numerous places that would probably fit your description, although none of them will have big waves crashing on rocks - those waves are broken up by intervening islands or peninsulas.

Here are some places I would google, just for a start:

Near Seattle: Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island, Gig Harbor, the towns of Coupeville and Langley on Whidbey Island, Port Townsend and La Conner. All are reachable on land or on land/car ferry routes, and are all within around three hours from Seattle.

San Juan Islands: Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, Orcas and Lopez Islands. These are reached by car ferry from Anacortes, accessed by road from Seattle in around 90 minutes. Figure 4-5 hours travel time from Seattle airport.

Northern Puget Sound: Fairhaven (Bellingham) and Lummi Island - both a couple of hours from Seattle.

Vancouver Island: Victoria, Sooke. These are within 30 - 60 minutes from Victoria's airport, or accessible by ferry from the lower BC mainland, from the Anacortes (extension of the Friday Harbor ferry) or from Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula. Allow 4-6 hours travel time minimum from Seattle airport, an hour less from Vancouver airport. There's also a passenger ferry from Seattle (Victoria Clipper) and float planes from both Seattle and Vancouver downtown areas.

Canadian Gulf Islands: These are the Canadian version of the San Juans, except somewhat larger and somewhat more diverse. Look at Salt Spring and Pender Islands. These are reached by ferry from the lower BC mainland or from Vancouver Island. Figure 3 - 4 hours from Vancouver airport.

Lower BC mainland: Vancouver is certainly not a small village, but it has some splendid coastal areas, and a couple of the suburbs might do the trick.

BC Sunshine Coast: This is an area not well known to Americans (and surprisingly not to many non-BC resident Canadians) but it's a real gem. This is an area on the BC coast that's not accessible by road from Vancouver. Instead, one takes a scenic ferry from Horseshoe Bay (30 min. north of downtown Vancouver) to Langdale on the Sunshine coast; from there the road extends north through a series of very pleasant towns, superb landscape, and with a surprising number of beaches - a couple of which are actually swimmable - until it ends at the edge of the BC coastal wilderness. Look at Gibsons and Sechelt among other locations. https://sunshinecoastcanada.com/

Long list, start googling.

Edited to add: I'm also going to throw out a curve ball, just because you'll be quite late in booking space in many accommodations in these communities - it's the peak season and the choices are limited in the first place.

What if you looked for a last-minute fare on an Alaska cruise out of Vancouver? They're all for seven nights, you unpack once, the scenery comes to you, there's no fussing with cooking or with logistics, you can be as active or as casual as you want, there's room service, shore excursions that you can join or skip, and you'll see plenty of picturesque places, like Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway, and of course, you'll also see glaciers, whales, snow-topped mountains, and rain forests. Quite often the cruises can be cheaper on a per-person-per-day basis than a land vacation, when you count car rental, hotel and restaurant charges, etc. Look for "Inside Passage" round-trip cruises out of Vancouver in the first place (more scenic route) and out of Seattle in the second place. Just a thought, anyway.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 03:51 PM
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I don't want to oversell the cruise idea, but I'll just say that you're not going to have all that many dining options in the small towns either. They're just not big enough.

The big ships have a surprisingly wide range of choices, including "specialty" restaurants which offer pretty decent food. You could also supplement the choices for various meals at ports of call. There are some excellent places in Juneau for example.

If you could get to Seattle or Vancouver a day or two before sailing, or stay a day or two after getting back, you could also go nuts locally.

I know that many people don't like the image of a cruise, but one night standing on a balcony looking out at the dark forest while the water hisses by, well, they change their minds.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Jul 13th, 2018 at 03:57 PM.
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Jul 13th, 2018, 09:31 PM
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Lauren
See my reply on the BC forum. Info you will need before finishing planning IMO.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 09:14 AM
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Yes you can take a car on (most) ferries.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 10:18 AM
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Port Townsend, Washington on rhe Olympic Peninsula would be a good place considering your criteria.
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Jul 15th, 2018, 06:05 PM
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Thanks Gardyloo! Cruise looks amazing and we will certainly do it once we have the baby/kid in tow. As for the googling all the places you mentioned, Whidbey island looks cute. Orcas Island looks awesome and has some lovely lodging options! Would it be doable to fly to Seattle and spend a couple nights there, then see Victoria and Orcas? Or is that too much in a week? Would it also be a shame to miss seeing Vancouver? We donít want to be doing too much running about since Iíll be about 24 weeks pregnant by then but also so many things look so lovely I donít want to skip too much! Seems like quite a trek to get around the area, having to get on and off ferries and such. On a side note, our other contender for this trip was New England- Portland, Maine and other small towns, all which we could simply do by car. Weíve never been to either region. Another option is Quebec region which I went to last fall and fell in love with that area of Canada, but husband didnít go. Have you been to these areas? Would you say Pacific Northwest would be our best option for this type of trip considering our interests, time of year, etc? Thank you!





QUOTE=Gardyloo;16761667]I don't want to oversell the cruise idea, but I'll just say that you're not going to have all that many dining options in the small towns either. They're just not big enough.

The big ships have a surprisingly wide range of choices, including "specialty" restaurants which offer pretty decent food. You could also supplement the choices for various meals at ports of call. There are some excellent places in Juneau for example.

Thanks Gardo


If you could get to Seattle or Vancouver a day or two before sailing, or stay a day or two after getting back, you could also go nuts locally.

I know that many people don't like the image of a cruise, but one night standing on a balcony looking out at the dark forest while the water hisses by, well, they change their minds.[/QUOTE]
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Jul 15th, 2018, 11:42 PM
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You got some great advice already.

In Oregon, I would throw in the idea of Astoria, which faces the mouth of the Columbia. We had a great meal there last fall and there were several other restaurants that looked excellent. I've eaten lunch by here, a really great hotel. You can watch the ships go by from your window: https://www.cannerypierhotel.com/
Cannon Beach and Astoria are quite near each other, so really you could stay in either. Consider a trip over the bridge into SW Washington (Long Beach Peninsula). If you are an oyster fan, Willapa Bay is in that area and is known for its oysters.

Oregon would be a simpler trip than the ferry to Victoria, or Portland, Maine. Fly to PDX, which is about a 2.5 hour flight direct from Phoenix (as opposed to 5 hours direct to Boston, or with connections, a full day of travel). Also, the drive from Portland OR to Cannon Beach is more like 1.5 hours unless you get really unlucky on traffic. Allow for a day or two in Portland before you fly home, if you like great restaurants.

On the other hand, you could make the island trip simpler. You could fly to Vancouver, and go to Victoria and potentially another island directly, without ever going to Washington State. The ferry ride over to Swartz Bay is really nice. Similarly, a round trip flight to Seattle and visit the San Juans for 4 days, ending in Seattle (also a great food town).
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Jul 16th, 2018, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Lauren1979 View Post
Thanks Gardyloo! Cruise looks amazing and we will certainly do it once we have the baby/kid in tow. As for the googling all the places you mentioned, Whidbey island looks cute. Orcas Island looks awesome and has some lovely lodging options! Would it be doable to fly to Seattle and spend a couple nights there, then see Victoria and Orcas? Or is that too much in a week? Would it also be a shame to miss seeing Vancouver? We don’t want to be doing too much running about since I’ll be about 24 weeks pregnant by then but also so many things look so lovely I don’t want to skip too much! Seems like quite a trek to get around the area, having to get on and off ferries and such. On a side note, our other contender for this trip was New England- Portland, Maine and other small towns, all which we could simply do by car. We’ve never been to either region. Another option is Quebec region which I went to last fall and fell in love with that area of Canada, but husband didn’t go. Have you been to these areas? Would you say Pacific Northwest would be our best option for this type of trip considering our interests, time of year, etc? Thank you!
Sure, the San Juans - Victoria option would be doable, in fact, pretty easy. You're going to have to understand the ferry systems, in particular the Washington State system - WSDOT - Ferries - and if you want to include Vancouver, the BC one - https://www.bcferries.com/ .

Here's a possible route map that just includes the San Juans and Victoria - https://goo.gl/maps/nB6nRdkxywS2 In this instance you'd drive to the Anacortes ferry terminal (around 2 hours) and take a ferry to Orcas Island. When it's time to go to Victoria, you'd take an inter-island ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, then connect to the one daily ferry that goes from there to Sidney BC, around a 40 min. drive from downtown Victoria. You'd return the same way. The biggest hassle here is getting from Orcas to Friday Harbor in time to pick up the Sidney ferry; this would involve an early departure from Orcas, which might be inconvenient. In order to make this trip easier, you might look for accommodations on San Juan Island instead of Orcas; there are lots of options there too, and in my opinion San Juan has more to see and do. (Google whale watching from Lime Kiln State Park.) There are also whale watching excursions that depart from Friday Harbor (as well as some from downtown Victoria.)

If you wanted to include Whidbey Island in this plan, it's easy. Instead of driving to Anacortes you'd drive to Mukilteo, a cute waterfront town around 30 minutes north of Seattle, and take the ferry over to Whidbey from there. In fact, if you want to save money over pricey Seattle hotels and spend the first night in Mukilteo, the very nice Silver Cloud hotel in Mukilteo sits right over the water and is walkable from a good seafood restaurant, a VERY good brewpub, Mukilteo's very charming lighthouse, and a big beach covered in driftwood where you can watch the sun set behind the Olympics. The next morning, the ferry is right there. Here's a picture of the Mukilteo lighthouse.



Here's a map showing the "Whidbey option." https://goo.gl/maps/aoiq7GhDcS12

You could return via Vancouver by taking the BC ferry from Swartz Bay (very close to the Sidney terminal for WA ferries) to Tsawwassen (pronounce at your own risk) on the lower BC mainland, roughly a 45 minute drive from downtown Vancouver. This ferry trip, like the one through the San Juans, is very beautiful. You'd visit Vancouver then return to Seattle via I-5, around a 3 - 4 hour trip depending on traffic and border delays. Map (using the non-Whidbey option as you'd probably want to expedite your time if you want to spend any time in Vancouver.) https://goo.gl/maps/jHyrfXRyovj

Olympic National Park option: A final option would be to skip Vancouver but spend a day visiting part of Olympic National Park, particularly the Hurricane Ridge area near the town of Port Angeles. You could use the Coho ferry (private) - https://www.cohoferry.com/ - which runs between downtown Victoria and Port Angeles, then you could return to Seattle via a couple of very cute towns en route, Port Gamble, and Poulsbo, then finally on the ferry from Bainbridge Island to downtown Seattle. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/FWcXPY7d9wA2

Google these places.

In a week I'd probably be inclined to pass on both the Vancouver and Olympic NP options, and spend more time enjoying Whidbey, the San Juans and Victoria. Something like one night in Mukilteo, two or three in the San Juans (I'd pick San Juan over Orcas), two in Victoria, and a last night near Seattle, but you can scramble that as you see fit. I can't emphasize strongly enough that ferry reservations are a must for travel to and from Canada, and that accommodation needs to be booked TODAY.

Meant to add, the New England option is also a good one; I'm particularly fond of Portsmouth NH and coastal Maine, and yes, you could do an easy all-driving loop from Boston. However in late August you're still going to be in pretty crowded conditions as both US and Canadian families try to squeeze in some last days of vacation before school starts. (Of course this applies in the PNW too but there's more area to spread out the population.) I'd be inclined to postpone that trip (and the one to Quebec) until the autumn, when the fall color can be terrific at the same time it's still pretty warm/hot in the desert SW. Just my view.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Jul 16th, 2018 at 07:06 AM.
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Jul 17th, 2018, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
Sure, the San Juans - Victoria option would be doable, in fact, pretty easy. You're going to have to understand the ferry systems, in particular the Washington State system - WSDOT - Ferries - and if you want to include Vancouver, the BC one - https://www.bcferries.com/ .

Meant to add, the New England option is also a good one; I'm particularly fond of Portsmouth NH and coastal Maine, and yes, you could do an easy all-driving loop from Boston. However in late August you're still going to be in pretty crowded conditions as both US and Canadian families try to squeeze in some last days of vacation before school starts. (Of course this applies in the PNW too but there's more area to spread out the population.) I'd be inclined to postpone that trip (and the one to Quebec) until the autumn, when the fall color can be terrific at the same time it's still pretty warm/hot in the desert SW. Just my view.
Gardyloo knows these island trips well and can advise you. I guess the question to ask yourself is how many nights do you want to change hotels during your trip? Once you decide that, it will help you set your route.

I did love Portland Maine, too, it's a charmer. But the crowded conditions don't sound fun. I am not sure how far along you are in your pregnancy but don't underestimate the number of times you may need to visit the bathroom. For sure, get an aisle seat.Maybe you are fortunate to have a lot of airline miles--this would be a good time to splurge on an upgrade. Or, you may prefer not getting a non-stop flight and having a layover so you can get up and move before getting on the next leg.
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Jul 17th, 2018, 09:20 PM
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Seems complicated with all the driving and ferry changes plus renting a car and having to navigate through the big cities. Would it be better to just for example: fly directly to Victoria, spend 3 nights at a waterfront B&B (found a beautiful one), then clipper to Seattle, spend a couple nights in Seattle then either fly home from there or take Amtrak to spend a night or two in Portland. This way we wouldnít need a car. I did like the idea of whale watching you wrote about on San Juan island. It just seems to complicated to get from place to place especially without a car!

Maybe we rent a car in Victoria for a day or two and drive that island for a bit of nature.
I gave up on the idea of orcas because my husband likes the idea of having more restaurants and things to do so once we looked at Victoria we liked the idea of that


What do you think of that itinerary? Vancouver also seemed too complicated getting to Victoria because theferries leave and arrive far from the towns, so again would need a car. Are we missing out on too much of the beauty and scenery if we do not rent a car? I just want simple and stress free and less cost
Well as much as possible!!

Thank you for all your input thus far!!


QUOTE=Gardyloo;16762845]Sure, the San Juans - Victoria option would be doable, in fact, pretty easy. You're going to have to understand the ferry systems, in particular the Washington State system - WSDOT - Ferries - and if you want to include Vancouver, the BC one - https://www.bcferries.com/ .

Here's a possible route map that just includes the San Juans and Victoria - https://goo.gl/maps/nB6nRdkxywS2 In this instance you'd drive to the Anacortes ferry terminal (around 2 hours) and take a ferry to Orcas Island. When it's time to go to Victoria, you'd take an inter-island ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, then connect to the one daily ferry that goes from there to Sidney BC, around a 40 min. drive from downtown Victoria. You'd return the same way. The biggest hassle here is getting from Orcas to Friday Harbor in time to pick up the Sidney ferry; this would involve an early departure from Orcas, which might be inconvenient. In order to make this trip easier, you might look for accommodations on San Juan Island instead of Orcas; there are lots of options there too, and in my opinion San Juan has more to see and do. (Google whale watching from Lime Kiln State Park.) There are also whale watching excursions that depart from Friday Harbor (as well as some from downtown Victoria.)

If you wanted to include Whidbey Island in this plan, it's easy. Instead of driving to Anacortes you'd drive to Mukilteo, a cute waterfront town around 30 minutes north of Seattle, and take the ferry over to Whidbey from there. In fact, if you want to save money over pricey Seattle hotels and spend the first night in Mukilteo, the very nice Silver Cloud hotel in Mukilteo sits right over the water and is walkable from a good seafood restaurant, a VERY good brewpub, Mukilteo's very charming lighthouse, and a big beach covered in driftwood where you can watch the sun set behind the Olympics. The next morning, the ferry is right there. Here's a picture of the Mukilteo lighthouse.



Here's a map showing the "Whidbey option." https://goo.gl/maps/aoiq7GhDcS12

You could return via Vancouver by taking the BC ferry from Swartz Bay (very close to the Sidney terminal for WA ferries) to Tsawwassen (pronounce at your own risk) on the lower BC mainland, roughly a 45 minute drive from downtown Vancouver. This ferry trip, like the one through the San Juans, is very beautiful. You'd visit Vancouver then return to Seattle via I-5, around a 3 - 4 hour trip depending on traffic and border delays. Map (using the non-Whidbey option as you'd probably want to expedite your time if you want to spend any time in Vancouver.) https://goo.gl/maps/jHyrfXRyovj

Olympic National Park option: A final option would be to skip Vancouver but spend a day visiting part of Olympic National Park, particularly the Hurricane Ridge area near the town of Port Angeles. You could use the Coho ferry (private) - https://www.cohoferry.com/ - which runs between downtown Victoria and Port Angeles, then you could return to Seattle via a couple of very cute towns en route, Port Gamble, and Poulsbo, then finally on the ferry from Bainbridge Island to downtown Seattle. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/FWcXPY7d9wA2

Google these places.

In a week I'd probably be inclined to pass on both the Vancouver and Olympic NP options, and spend more time enjoying Whidbey, the San Juans and Victoria. Something like one night in Mukilteo, two or three in the San Juans (I'd pick San Juan over Orcas), two in Victoria, and a last night near Seattle, but you can scramble that as you see fit. I can't emphasize strongly enough that ferry reservations are a must for travel to and from Canada, and that accommodation needs to be booked TODAY.

Meant to add, the New England option is also a good one; I'm particularly fond of Portsmouth NH and coastal Maine, and yes, you could do an easy all-driving loop from Boston. However in late August you're still going to be in pretty crowded conditions as both US and Canadian families try to squeeze in some last days of vacation before school starts. (Of course this applies in the PNW too but there's more area to spread out the population.) I'd be inclined to postpone that trip (and the one to Quebec) until the autumn, when the fall color can be terrific at the same time it's still pretty warm/hot in the desert SW. Just my view.[/QUOTE]
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Jul 18th, 2018, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Lauren1979 View Post
Seems complicated with all the driving and ferry changes plus renting a car and having to navigate through the big cities. Would it be better to just for example: fly directly to Victoria, spend 3 nights at a waterfront B&B (found a beautiful one), then clipper to Seattle, spend a couple nights in Seattle then either fly home from there or take Amtrak to spend a night or two in Portland. This way we wouldn’t need a car. I did like the idea of whale watching you wrote about on San Juan island. It just seems to complicated to get from place to place especially without a car!

Maybe we rent a car in Victoria for a day or two and drive that island for a bit of nature.
I gave up on the idea of orcas because my husband likes the idea of having more restaurants and things to do so once we looked at Victoria we liked the idea of that

What do you think of that itinerary? Vancouver also seemed too complicated getting to Victoria because theferries leave and arrive far from the towns, so again would need a car. Are we missing out on too much of the beauty and scenery if we do not rent a car? I just want simple and stress free and less cost Well as much as possible!!

Thank you for all your input thus far!!
Absolutely doable and might be a good solution for you. However, you should definitely get a (local) car for Victoria; there are some terrific drives and destinations on Vancouver Island, and traffic will never be an issue. Head up the west coast for hidden beaches, terrific view points... all done easily in a day from your base. Also in addition to the usual touristy things (like Butchart Garden$$) be sure to visit the Royal BC provincial museum downtown, with its terrific collection of Northwest coastal Native American arts. Note there are excellent whale watching operators right at Victoria's Inner Harbour. https://princeofwhales.com/

The Clipper is fine; however if your budget can handle it, a VERY cool way to get from Victoria to Seattle (faster and way more scenic than the noisy, crowded and sometimes bumpy Clipper) is to fly on a float plane from/to Lake Union right in downtown Seattle. https://www.kenmoreair.com/

Sounds like a good plan.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Jul 18th, 2018 at 08:19 AM.
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Jul 18th, 2018, 08:57 AM
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Wow the seaplane looks amazing but out of budget, unfortunately. Iím curious about the noisy crowded bumpy clipper? Iím not at all into a bumpy ride due to being pregnant! Also my friend said taking the ferries all around is the most fun part of being up there. Did he mean the Washington state car ferries then?

i guess weíre just trying to ultimately decide between flying into Seattle, renting a car for the whole time, going on the car ferries via Anacortes, passing through San Juan island (no Orcas), then spend a few days in Victoria (as you said weíd want a car anyway), then back to Seattle to spend a couple nights before flying home. OR, fly direct to Victoria, rent a car there for a couple days, maybe donanday trip to SJI like you said to see the whales and then return car and clipper back to Seattle to stay a few days before flying home. Is there an easy day trip ferry from Victoria to SJI? Easy over and back??

thanks !!






The Clipper is fine; however if your budget can handle it, a VERY cool way to get from Victoria to Seattle (faster and way more scenic than the noisy, crowded and sometimes bumpy Clipper) is to fly on a float plane from/to Lake Union right in downtown Seattle. https://www.kenmoreair.com/

Sounds like a good plan.[/QUOTE]
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Jul 18th, 2018, 10:03 AM
  #16
 
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Most of the time the Clipper is fine, and you should be traveling when choppy seas (mainly encountered crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca) shouldn't be an issue.

Why not just fly into Victoria, get a car, drive around and enjoy that beautiful island, then fly home from there? No ferries, no choppy water, and you'll save money and time by skipping Seattle altogether (unless it's just a plane change at Seatac.)
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Jul 18th, 2018, 10:10 AM
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I can't tell from what you said what your friend was referring to exactly about which ferries. I think they are fun and unusual, but I'd hardly say they are the highlight or a trip imo.

I think any of the plans you've outlined would work just fine. Maybe check airfare price, days, times, connections to see about flying into Seattle or into Victoria from your location? That might help you decide.

Suze, here in Seattle
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Jul 18th, 2018, 12:05 PM
  #18
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Great idea about flying in and out of Victoria but I hate to go all the way there and only see one place....

here is a potential itinerary (researched times and availability): itís just too bad the ferry times essentially force is to stay overnight in a couple places that weíd rather do just as a day trip...
8/22: fly to Seattle nonstop arrive 2:35 pm
Rent car and drive to some small town to stay night
8/23 early morning Anacortes ferry to Friday harbor
Spend day whale watching etc and sleep one night on Friday harbor
8/24 morning ferry to Victoria
8/24-26 on Victoria site seeing etc
(Fancy B&B or cheap Airbnb room)
8/26 ferry back from Victoria to Anacortes (3 hrs) and two hour drive to Seattle
8/26-28 stay two nights in Seattle cheap Airbnb room (really would only have one full day to sight see etc)
8/28 fly home Alaska air nonstop 7:30am

We could make the trip 8 nights and get an extra night in Seattle
OR do only two nights in Victoria (which wouldnít leave much time for exploring the island)
OR skip Friday harbor entirely and just head straight to Victoria (but then we wouldnít get to see the whales from Lime Kiln state park. Could always do a whale excursion from Victoria though if we can find a non-bumpy option.
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Jul 18th, 2018, 12:10 PM
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so more than likely-unless there is a direct flight from somewhere in Arizona i don't know about-you will have to transit through Seattle or Vancouver to access Victoria, BC which will involve a ferry ride either way(but not the Clipper due to your pregnancy IMO). prices to Seattle or Vancouver may determine your choice but I believe best option if dead set on Victoria is:
a Seattle arrival with a couple of nights in Seattle,
drive north to Anacortes with a stop in LaConner
one night in Anacortes with the potential of a whale watch before catching the ferry from Anacortes,
a possible stop/overnight on SJI
then on to Victoria for a couple of nights.
your return would be WA ferry back from Victoria through the San Juan islands to Anacortes and out through SeaTac. probably a good idea to break up return by staying somewhere near the airport before departure. making this work will require some ferry schedule research and reservations, which may be problematic at this late date. also, be aware the ferry does not arrive directly into Victoria but Sidney BC which is approx. 30 mins from Victoria. the ferry logistics out of Vancouver i am not real familiar with so won't attempt to detail. all that being said, for our timeframe, I really suggest that from whatever city you fly into, just skip anything having to do with ferries and create a coastal town trip using your rental car. possibly skipping WA and BC but flying into Portland and driving the Oregon Coast.
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Jul 18th, 2018, 12:12 PM
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i wrote my response while you were writing yours!
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