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Seattle Needing some help please

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Jun 12th, 2014, 11:34 AM
  #1
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Seattle Needing some help please

Good afternoon:
Will be visiting Seattle in Sept. for 5 full days, I know it’s not enough unfortunately the friends that are coming with me can’t leave their business for more time.
I Would really appreciate some help since I am finding it difficult to organize myself with the distances and places I want to visit, I don’t know if an overnight would work better if it does we are willing to do it that way.
Here is what I want to do:
Either Olympic National Park OR San Juan Islands= which offers more things to do.
If I go to Olympic National Park I read somewhere there is a loop drive, I would like to do that, as it sound amazing. What would be a good breaking point if I need to spend the night… Anything you can tell me will be valuable information.
I would also like to visit and I am not sure all these are possible:
Mount Rainier
Bainbridge Island
Smith Tower
Pikes Market and of course Space needle
We are interested in sightseeing, just nature some hiking and again enjoying what Mother Nature has given Washington.
Again thank you for your expertise and help
Gina
colombiana is offline  
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Jun 12th, 2014, 12:33 PM
  #2
 
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Here is the Olympic NP map. http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/maps.htm
There are no through roads or loops. You will need to rent a car for any trips out of Seattle. Renting downtown should be cheaper than renting at the airport.
Check out the arboretum of the University of Washington.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 12:52 PM
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I love San Juan Islands, Olympic, and Rainier. In my opinion, Mount Rainier is the most spectacular of the three. Olympic is the most diverse and really needs 2-3 days to see/do the highlights. San Juans are really cool--but I especially like seeing the whales-and that isn't always a guarantee.
I don't think it's absolutely necessary to spend the night in San Juan Islands or Rainier(certainly nice though). I do think a night or even 2 nights is needed for Olympic.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 01:36 PM
  #4
mms
 
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With only 5 days, I would not try to squeeze in ONP or the San Juans. Those really require at least 2 days, minimum, and with the travel time, I think your time can be better spent. One place that is beautiful and close enough to do as a day trip or overnight is Whidbey Island. You can do a loop there as well, just drive up I-5 to hwy 20 and head west towards Deception Pass and then on down through Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Langely and then down to the ferry and take the ferry back over to Mukilteo. We do that trip a lot and never tire of it.

Mt Rainier can be done as a day trip as well, but you would want to leave early and plan to get back late. I would definitely not have this set in stone, but rather keep an eye on the forecast and then see how the weather looks that day.

Bainbridge is an easy day trip from downtown. You can just walk on the ferry and head over there, and you won't need a full day for this.

I enjoy Pike Place Market first thing in the morning, when the vendors are setting up. It is quieter and fewer people, so easier to see everything.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 01:45 PM
  #5
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Thank you all for your assistance.

I will then concentrate on those that are closer.
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Jun 12th, 2014, 02:18 PM
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In elapsed time, here are some very rough guidelines -

Seattle (downtown/north end) to Mt. Rainier (Paradise), allow 3 hours each way.

Seattle to San Juan Islands, 3-5 hours depending on ferry waits.

Seattle to Port Angeles (Olympic NP/north) - 3 hours depending on ferry waits.

Seattle to Kalaloch (Olympic NP coastal strip) - 3 1/2 hours.

Seattle - Whidbey loop as described above - allow 4-5 hours plus stops.

So as you can see, pretty much everything is 3+ hours away from Seattle, but no one destination is farther than 4 (or worst case, 5). So with five full days, I wouldn't be too dismissive of visiting either the San Juans or Olympic NP, provided you're prepared to spend at least one night there, maybe two.

For example,

Day 1 - Seattle - various sights.
Day 2 - Seattle to Port Angeles, visit Hurricane Ridge
Day 3 - Port Angeles to Quinault, visiting Rialto Beach and Hoh Valley rainforest
Day 4 - Quinault to Seattle
Day 5 - Seattle - possible day trip to Mt. Rainier or Whidbey Loop.

Not super relaxing, but not all that arduous either, and LOTS of diversity.
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Jun 13th, 2014, 07:42 AM
  #7
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Gardyloo:
Thank you so very much, really appreciate the break down. this is what I was looking for.
I have another question please, if we go to San Juan Islands, how or where do we get the ferry and do we need to rent a car while there or are there other ways to explore the island?
Again thank you. Have a blessed day!
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Jun 13th, 2014, 08:47 AM
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The ferry to the San Juans departs from the town of Anacortes, on Fidalgo Island (accessed by bridge) around 90 min. north of Seattle. There are ferries that go to different islands - Orcas, Lopez, San Juan, Shaw... and one or two a day that continue on to Vancouver Island in Canada.

The biggest town on the islands is Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. I find San Juan to be the most interesting of the islands in that it has several historic sites and plenty of things to do; however Orcas is the biggest and hilliest of the islands, with a strong counter-cultural vibe, and Lopez is renowned for its cycling and peaceful countryside.

In my view you really need a car to explore the islands, but the car adds to the logistic problems - having to queue for ferries, the added expense, etc. Ideally you'd rent a car in Seattle, drive to Anacortes, ferry to an island, then reverse the process when you're done. In my view you need several days if your intent is to visit more than one island, due to those logistics.

There's limited bus service from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, but getting to Friday Harbor from Seattle using public transportation is quite a trek, unless you simply fly there on Kenmore Air from Seattle - www.kenmoreair.com .
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Jun 13th, 2014, 09:50 AM
  #9
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Gardyloo:
thank you for your time. I just found some ideas you gave to someone else and I think I may steal some of those

Will also check to see about fees for the ferry going with 3 friends and splitting cost so should not be too bad.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 11:36 AM
  #10
 
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It is MUCH, MUCH cheaper to rent a car downtown and even cheaper yet to rent a car at University District. I will not normally worry about a small difference in cost if the more expensive is more convenient. But the difference from renting the same car at the airport and downtown was over $400.00 for two weeks and between downtown and the University District, the difference was almost $700 for the same car, same company, same dates.
Since we are renting an apt in Seattle at the end of our two week trip, we are getting a shuttle to the University District which will drop us off 3 blocks from the car rental.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 02:55 PM
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www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries

The route map that is a part of the ferry schedule shows you those routes that go to the islands and Olympic National Park.
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Jul 17th, 2014, 04:25 PM
  #12
 
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Bainbridge Island (I assume you mean riding a ferry over and back from downtown?), Smith Tower, Pike Place Market and Space Needle can all very easily be done in just one day.
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Jul 20th, 2014, 09:39 PM
  #13
 
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Someone mentioned doing Whidbey Island/Langely which I think is a great idea. Or take the Clinton ferry to Whidbey and then another ferry to Port Townsend, which is a great little town near Ft. Worden State Park. The crossings are short so you can make the most of your day. I have done this in one long day, spending the day at the beach. It can be done. ONP is a haul in my opinion. It's a pretty drive but it really is long. Mt. Rainier is lovely but you'd need to get a place to stay in the park which usually sell out well in advance. You might check out Crystal Mountain too. Have fun!
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Jul 21st, 2014, 02:44 PM
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Mt. Rainier is lovely but you'd need to get a place to stay in the park which usually sell out well in advance.

Mill Village Motel is a surprisingly pleasant motel with breakfast in Eatonville--25 miles from the park. We stayed there a few weeks ago and had a pretty good Chinese dinner at a little restaurant across the street. The same people operate Nisqually Lodge which is only 5 miles from the park entrance, but I gather it isn't as pleasing as the place in Eatonville.

HTtY
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