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Seattle Conference in July - Where else to visit?

Seattle Conference in July - Where else to visit?

May 29th, 2007, 06:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 325
Seattle Conference in July - Where else to visit?

Hello All,

I am attending a conference in Seattle in July. Since I've never been to that area of the country before, my DH has decided to take some time off and join me.

We'll be arriving from Boston Friday evening and the conference doesn't start until Wednesday evening. Since we'll be in Seattle during the conference and through the weekend we'd like to see some other areas of Washington for the first half of the week.

My initial thoughts were Mount Rainier and Olympic Nat'l Park and wasn't sure if we could squeeze in Cascades or if that would be too much - I'm thinking probably too much.

Looking for some ideas on potential itineraries, routes and places to stay. I think between the conference and posts here I've got the Seattle part covered - now looking for ideas on the other days.

Also, for Friday night after arrival would best place to stay be near the airport or should we head someplace else?

All help is appreciated as I am doing my research and planning but since July is rapidly approaching I thought I'd reach out for some assistance.

lindsyb is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 10,966
You have picked a busy weekend for your explorations.

However, it would be possible to visit Mt. Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula.

Friday: Seattle
Saturday: Mt. Rainier
Sun-Mon: Crescent Lake Lodge (book today)
Tue: Seattle in preparation for conference.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 06:35 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17,226
You can't go wrong no matter what you decide to do. But, consider taking the ferry over to Victoria, BC. A little bit of England. And, do Butchart Gardens while you are there (on Vancouver Island). Amazing.
starrsville is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 06:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Yes, that might make a better use of time--two nights at Lake Crescent and one in Victoria (take the fast boat from Port Angeles and leave your car behind).
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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A loop to Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula is certainly do-able in 4 days. I'd suggest driving from Sea-Tac out to the Kitsap Peninsula, via Tacoma, and staying somewhere nearby, such as Gig Harbor, Port Orchard, or Poulsbo. This will get you out of the worst traffic areas and give you a good head start for the next day. If you have more time to drive, you could go further, to Sequim or Port Angeles; then you would be ready to see the Olympic Mtns the next day.

Drive up to Hurricane Ridge - if you are lucky, there will still be wildflowers blooming in the high-altitude meadows, and the view is spectacular. Head back down and take a walk out onto Dungeness Spit. Reserve Saturday night lodging somewhere west of Port Angeles - the Crescent Lake Lodge suggestion is great, although you may already be too late to get a weekend reservation there. You could continue on to Forks, but there is nothing as nice as Crescent Lake there.

Spend Sunday checking out the Hoh Rain Forest and Olympic beaches. You could spend Sunday night on the shore (Kalaloch Lodge - I like the beach bluff cabins), or further inland (Lake Quinalt Lodge is nice too), or continue further along your route to Hoquiam/Aberdeen (again, nothing as nice as the above two places there).

On Monday, drive to Rainier, via Routes 12, "old" 99, 507, 702, 7, & 706. Drive up to Paradise, stopping at various waterfalls, overlooks, and vistas. Normally, the next part would be easy - continuing down from Paradise on the Stevens Canyon Road. However, due to flood damage, this road is closed, and may not reopen by July. Check the Park Web site (http://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/road-status.htm) for the most current road opening status. If possible, go down the Stevens Canyon Road to Route 123, then visit the beautiful Sunrise area for some of the best views of Rainier. You could overnite to the south (Packwood) or on the north edge of the Park (Crystal). From there, it is an easy drive back to Seattle.

I'm not sure what to do if Rte 123 and/or the Stevens Canyon Rd is still closed. To get to Sunrise would require a big detour and backtracking that might not be worth it. If the Stevens Canyon Road is open, and just the portion of 123 between the Stevens Canyon Entrance and Chinook Pass is closed (I heard that this is a likely possibility), you could take a big detour on Routes 12 & 410 to get back to Chinook Pass and then Sunrise. You might like the drive through semi-arid plateau land too. If the Stevens Canyon Road is closed, then you have no choice but to go back down the Nisqually Rd (706) to leave the Park. Then you would head back to Seattle, via Tacoma.

Particularly if you can't get to the east side or Rainier, you could easily take a side trip into the Cascades, via I-90 or Rte 2. Snoqualmie Pass is only an hour east of Seattle, and there are some nice lakes on the other side of the Pass. Stevens Pass (Rte 2) is only another 45 minutes further, and takes you into some great scenery. If Rainier is a bust, due to bad roads, you could take a big Cascades loop instead; I-90 across Snoqualmie Pass to Cle Elum, then Rtes. 970, 97, & 2 to Leavenworth, then Rte 2 over Stevens Pass and back to Seattle. Leavenworth is a quaint ersatz-Bavarian town that has lots of things going on during the summer.

Have a great trip!
ALF is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:17 PM
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Posts: 325
Thank you all for your quick responses.

Looks like much of the recontruction and damage repair for Mount Ranier will start in June and I don't know how much will be open? Thoughts on whether to save this for another trip or if I should still try?

I guess other option would be as ALF mentioned and go East into the Cascades.

Checking into lodging options now as that may impact our plans a bit.
lindsyb is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 12:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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The North Cascade Loop, Columbia River Gorge, and Oregon Coast are other great options, and of the three I would go for the Oregon Coast.

However, considering everything, I think the best use of your short time would be the ferry to Clinton (Bainbridge Island) and time on the Olympic Peninsula (Port Townsend, Hurricane Ridge, Crescent Lake, Marymere Falls, Ruby Beach, etc.) and Victoria, BC.
happytrailstoyou is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 01:40 PM
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I'm with Happy Trails. Four days isn't very long. With limited time, there is plenty to focus on with less driving.

Night 1: B&B in Port Townsend. Next day, go to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park, for the stunning views (a good substitute for Mt. Rainier). Take the hike on the Klahane Trail for an overlook of the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria.

Night 2. Stay at Lake Crescent Lodge. (may be too late for reservations) Next day, go to the Hoh Rain forest and see the coast.

Night 3. Back to Lake Crescent Lodge.
Next day, take the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria. Visit the Museum of BC to learn about the Native Americans of the PNW.

Night 4, Victoria, and return to Seattle stopping to walk on the Dungeness Spit.

Depending on when you are going in July, trails at the higher elevations at Mt. Rainier (Paradise) will probably still be under snow. The road from Paradise Lodge to Ohanapakosh and Sunrise may still be closed, which would be a problem. Ohanapakosh is a great old, old rain forest and it is low, so won't be snowy. Sunrise is facing east and is less snowy and also more likely to be cloud free. If it's cloudy at Paradise, you will not see much. (and it is often cloudy at Paradise and sunny at Sunrise).
Orcas is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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I would definitely not stay at the airport, but start your drive even if it's only 1 hour. You could make it to Salish Lodge, for example.

I LOVE the North Cascades best of any of the places mentioned so far. It is absolutely stunningly gorgeous over that way. I would head over toward Wintrop, Mazama et al. It's about 4 hours drive each way from downtown Seattle.
suze is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 325
Thanks again everyone. From your suggestions, I have a rough itinerary now and some additional questions. My apologies as I started this research late and know that I need to book quickly for this high time.

My first question is about Victoria. Will we need passports to enter Canada? I know land crossings you can still do birth cert and license but I wasn't sure because of the ferry. DH does not have a passport. So for now I am leaving that out but if passport isn't required may add it for the free night.

Day 1 (Fri) - Arrive in the evening - 9pm. Not sure where to overnight and how far of drive is feasible but read that the area around the airport is not great to stay.

Day 2 (Sat) Drive to Port Townsend. Suggestions for lodging would be appreciated.

Days 3 and 4 (Sunday/Monday) Lake Crescent Lodge. I called and they have availability. Will book now.

Day 5 (Tuesday) Could be Victoria but checking on passport issue. If not, this day is free not sure where to overnight

Day 6 - (Wednesday) Return to Seattle for evening reception

Days 7 (Thursday Sunday) Exploring Seattle and attend Conference

Everyone has been so helpful so far and I truly appreciate it.
lindsyb is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17,226

REALLY do Victoria. It is wonderful. The ferry ride is gorgeous. Be sure to go see Butchart Gardens. Consider having afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel (stay there if you can).
starrsville is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 03:56 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Thanks Starrsville - that is exactly the info that I needed. Looks like Victoria is a good choice for my Tues night. Will look into the Empress as well.

You found the info while I was trying to reach Lake Crescent again. Should have made the ressie when I had them on the phone.
lindsyb is offline  

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