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road trip around seattle area

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May 23rd, 2009, 12:06 PM
  #1
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road trip around seattle area

Hi Everyone-
I'm attempting to plan a vacation for my friend and I (late 20's) to Seattle and the vicinity. I have a list of places we want to see and I am confused about how to work it all in. I'm hoping that you might all have some suggestions for us. we will be going from August 13-21. We are meeting other friends in Seattle for two days and then we are on our own. This is what I have come up with so far, but I really can use suggestions on how to make it make some sense!

we will be arriving late thursday night
friday, saturday-seattle
sunday-bus tour to mt rainier?
monday-i would like to get us to vancouver
tuesday-to victoria and then port angeles?
wednesday- friday- rent a car and road trip on rt 101, olympic state park and back to seattle airport?

as you can see...I'm confused. should we rent a car from seattle to drive to vancouver, or take a bus or train to vancouver, a ferry back to pt angeles and then rent a car? I've also read good things about port townsend and would kind of like to see that as well.

just so you know a little about us, we like nature (seeing it, not camping in it dont really like bars, clubs, enjoy walking around towns and cities and seeing the sites. i would really like to see some of the culture of the northeast as well as some art. We aren't on a horribly tight budget, but do need to watch what we are spending. If anyone can give suggestions on transportation, or where would be best to stay for the night during the roadtrip or what to do or really anything you can think of, that would be great!

Thanks so so much,
Joanna
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May 23rd, 2009, 01:07 PM
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I think you are trying to cram a lot into a week. Seattle is a fairly big city and there's a lot to see just there.

Vancouver is a neat city too, but I'd probably skip it on this trip if I were you, just because it's hard to see it in that short of a time. I'd probably want two nights there when I'd be driving or busing 3 hours up/leaving on a ferry back to Victoria.

You might consider instead heading to the northern Oregon Coast - more scenery and easier to see in a short time. I'd probably ferry from Seattle to Victoria, spend a night there, back to Port Angeles, then drive 101 down the Olympic Peninsula maybe down to the northern Oregon on the coast, perhaps stopping at Cannon Beach. Then back to Seattle, about a four hour drive.

Perhaps you could rent a car in Seattle after you are done visiting friends and just drive it the rest of the way, ferry up to Victoria and back to Port Angeles. I haven't had a bus tour of Mt. Rainier but it would probably be much more convenient if you had a car. Weekly car rental rates tend to be cheaper than renting for a few days - and I'd guess renting one in Port Angeles returning at Seatac airport would be pricey. Not sure about the cost of a car ferry up to Victoria/back to Port Angeles though; I'd price that and compare to the one-way car rental, because you really wouldn't need a car in Victoria.
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May 23rd, 2009, 01:16 PM
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I think I would drop Vancouver from this itinerary. You're only giving it half a day anyway, and that's not enough. I would just rent a car Sunday morning and drive it to Mt. Rainier, then to Port Townsend on Monday. Tuesday morning drive to Port Angeles, park the car there, and walk-on the ferry to Victoria. You don't need a car in Victoria (but you do need a passport.) Come back to PA the same way on Wednesday, get your car and go to Hurricane Ridge...great hikes there. Spend Thursday and Friday doing other ONP hikes, the beaches, the rainforests, etc. before heading to Seatac and dropping the car there. You would need to have hotel reservations near Mt. Rainier on Sunday (Ashford is good), Port Townsend on Monday, Victoria on Tuesday, Port Angeles or Lake Crescent area on Wednesday, Forks or Lake Quinault on Thursday. I'm a local so don't have specific hotel recommendations, though others will. Sounds like fun!
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May 23rd, 2009, 02:33 PM
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I agree, if you're going to go to Vancouver, you need to give it more time so either you need to cut something else out to give Vancouver more time, or cut Vancouver out.

I would also recommend renting a car for Mt Rainier rather than taking a bus tour.

The idea to drive out to the Peninsula and ferry to and from Port Angeles to Victoria is a good one, I think.

What's your budget for accommodations and what type of places do you prefer? Also, do you need a room with one or two beds (some of the best accommodations out on the Peninsula, for example, really cater to couples)? I can make suggestions once you know your itinerary.
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May 23rd, 2009, 07:57 PM
  #5
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Thank you so much so far for all of the advice!!! The reason I was trying to get Vancouver in is because it came highly recommended by my aunt and uncle, but it sounds like maybe we should save it for another trip. As for our hotel budget...it looks like Seattle itself is very expensive, so everywhere else it would be nice to keep it under $100 per night. and we would need two beds.
no one mentioned san juan or bainbridge island which i've read alot about...should we try to squeeze them in anywhere?
thanks again! its all really helpful.
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May 23rd, 2009, 08:45 PM
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Bainbridge is a half-hour ferry ride from Seattle and can easily be done as a day trip. Given your schedule, I'd save the San Juans for another trip.
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May 24th, 2009, 09:35 AM
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Vancouver and San Juan Islands are both fantastic. Everything you've mentioned is good, really! You just don't have enough time to do everything.

Bainbridge Island you can simply walk on a ferry at the waterfront in downtown Seattle ($6.95 round-trip) and ride over and back. It's 1/2 hour each way and gives spectacular views of the Seattle skyline. On the Bainbridge side you can walk up to the little main street (10 mins from the ferry terminal) and there are some cafes and shops. This is a fun activity and takes only takes a few hours total.
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May 24th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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Bainbridge Island is connected by bridge to the mainland on the west side. It might seem island-like if you just walked on to the ferry, but it is really more of a suburb of Seattle.

West Seattle (which is part of the city of Seattle) has a great beach, Alki, with magnificent views. It's a wonderful place to ride bikes and you can rent kayaks there, too. Alki has really good bakeries and great restaurants (Cactus for NW Mexican; Phoenicia for Middle Eastern). You can get to West Seattle by car or from downtown Seattle by water taxi (you land near Salty's, a good seafood place if you come by water taxi). You can rent bikes really close to Salty's and ride up to Alki.

From W. Seattle, you can catch a ferry to Vashon Island, which is more isolated than Bainbridge Island since it is only accessible by ferry. The ferry terminal is at Fauntleroy, near Lincoln Park, which is beautiful - a driftwood strewn beach, lots of madrones trees.

At Vashon, there is a tiny town, some nice art shops, and you can drive to the lighthouse park which is really pretty, and another driftwood strewn beach, with views of Mt. Rainier and Seattle.

You really don't have time for the San Juan Islands with your itinerary. You have to go to Anacortes WA or Sydney BC to get the ferry to the San Juans, so you just can't do it.
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Jun 3rd, 2009, 12:29 PM
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Thanks so much for all of your help! Here is how the itinerary looks now...still working on the end :0)
we will be in seattle for 3 days and hopefully take the ferry to bainbridge island during that time
from seattle we will drive to mt. rainier and stay 1 night at the paradise inn
we will drive from there to port townsend (stopping in Tacoma along the way to see the Chihuly bridge, I'm a fan)I think we are going to stay at the palace hotel in pt townsend
Then we go to port angeles (maybe take the ferry to victoria?) and go to hurricaine ridge. staying at the downtown hotel?
after port angeles i would like to drive to neah bay and go to the hoh rainforest, and see a few of the beaches along the coast.

I actually need 2 more hotels, one near Forks and then one between Forks and the seattle airport...I was thinking Ocean Shores?
Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Jun 4th, 2009, 07:52 AM
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In the Seattle area, When the weather is good, I love to cruise Alki, take a ferry ride, and go to the fountain at the Seattle Center. You can even go up in SpaceNeedle if you wish.

At each location there are places to eat and drink, and the scenery is lovely. You cant go wrong.
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Jun 4th, 2009, 08:51 AM
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Unless the popularity of "Twilight" has resulted in new construction, you're not going to find any hotels in or near Forks. Motels, yes....but I would look at LaPush instead of Forks. Ocean Shores has many choices available.
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Jun 4th, 2009, 04:28 PM
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Bob is right, your options in the Forks area are pretty much either motels or B&Bs.

I'm not sure I'd recommend the less expensive rooms at La Push however (the newer cabins are nice, but over your budget)...probably a good idea to read any recent reviews you can find.
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