Seattle to Vancouver

Mar 2nd, 2009, 05:59 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,240
Triptime - Once you've decided on a basic itinerary, you will have great fun planning the details of this trip. Last July, we took our first trip to this area and plan to return. It was wonderful.
Check out Clipper Vacations at www.clippervacations.com to get some ideas about your trip. We ended up booking transportaion and hotel with them and were pleased with the convenience. We took the Victoria Clipper (passenger ferry) to San Juan Island then Victoria then Vancouver, spending a few nights in each place. You can organize your trip any way you wish and select any type of lodging. (You can skip San Juan Island and go directly to Victoria if you want). Or you can book transportation only and book the lodging yourself.
We used Clipper Vacations for the whole package and the price was reasonable. It even included taxis between hotel and ferry, and we chose to return to Seattle by train. It was easy easy easy and did not use a car for the entire 12 days.
Your boys might enjoy all the different types of boats: the Clipper passenger ferry, the Inter-Island ferries of the San Juans, the bus and the huge BC Ferry, and the little water taxis in Victoria and Vancouver.
We spent only 2 nights in Victoria and it was barely enough since 1 day was spent at Butchart Gardens. I agree that you would probably like 3 nights in Vancouver - there is so much to do there. In Seattle, check out The Underground Tour - very interesting!
elnap29 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2009, 08:35 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,059
Triptime - I think Orcas just needs a nap.
BarbaraS is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 03:44 AM
  #23  
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Join Date: May 2007
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Wow, thank you everyone. I am going to check out the maps to get the big picture and look at it that way. I will try to set up an itinerary and post it for some fine tuning. Thanks for all the great help. You guys really know the area and are really helpful. AS for how long we will be away for, we do not have a timeframe, so whatever we decide is not an issue. We are not really outdoorsy people. We like walking around different cities and sightseeing. We thought whale watching would be fun for the day. I saw something about Eagle Wing Tours and it had glowing reviews. Orca's mentioned skipping Mt. Hood but definitely visit Mt. Rainier. Is Mt. Hood way off the path we will be taking, because like I said there are no time constraints, so if it is doable, we would like to check it out. Also, you suggested staying near Mt. Rainier. Any hotels to suggest in that area.
triptime is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 03:51 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 792
Orcas,
Your efforts are not wasted. I much appreciate them since in one months time I will be in that area for the first time with an Italian friend who is coming to the USA for the first time so we are going to be consulting and using your recs. It is alot of information to digest when one has no idea of the lay of the land. Keep posting!
ahotpoet
ahotpoet is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 07:09 AM
  #25  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 109
I've come up with a preliminary itinerary for our trip. The amount of time is flexible, we do not have any time constraints. We are planning on leaving the second week in August so we can catch Giants and A's game, so it will be two nights in San Fran (already have been there, so we will not be sightseeing, just the games). Then we are planning our next stop to be Portland. It was suggested to take the coastal route from San Fran to Newport, OR and then head inland? Do you think this is too long of a distance to drive straight through and will we miss things along the way? We would like to see the Redwoods, should we stop there for the night, or maybe for a couple of hours and stop somewhere else for the night and then on to Portland? Someone suggesed spending the night in Crescent City and visiting the redwoods between there and Eureka. We do not want to spend a ton of time seeing the Redwoods but just to walk around and take pictures. We will drive the Oregon Coast and once we are in Portland, we can take a day trip to Mt. Hood, so we will probably stay in Portland two nights to also sightsee. Where should we fit in the Columbia River George, on our way to Seattle, or can we do that the same day as Mount Hood? I've also read about Crater Lake and the Cascades, are these doable in my itinerary. Then we plan on heading to Seattle. What would be the best route to take considering that we would like to see Mt. Rainier and Mount St. Helen's (we will not be big into hiking or anything, just really want to get a feel for each place, find out some history and take pictures). Will we pass either on the way and should we possibly stay a night and then once in seattle do a day trip to the other? Also, what about fitting Olympic National Park into the plans? I'm trying to figure out how many nights in Seattle. We are now thinking of dropping off the car in Seattle and taking the ferry to Victoria and spending some time there on Vancouver Island and then over to Vancouver. If we wanted to take a day trip to Whistler without a car, what are our options. I remember reading something about a train that goes there. Would that be worth the trip? Then we would fly home from Vancouver to Newark. We would like to do whale watching in Victoria, so we will need a day for that and then the Buchart Gardens and other sightseeing. Do you think 2 nights or 3 in Victoria/Vancouver Island. In Vancouver we would like to sightsee in the different neighborhoods i have red about, granville island, stanley park and trip to Whistler - do you think 2 nights would be enough? Please let me know what looks right or wrong with everything and what i have missed. I just wanted to get the thoughts in my head written down to at least get a start on this itinerary. Thanks again for any and all help!
triptime is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:09 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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The number of nights in Victoria and Vancouver might depend on what time of day your ferry will arrive. Our ferry arrived in Victoria around 6PM, so that is why we needed a minimum of 2 nights there. We wish we had spent 3.

We had 4 full days in Vancouver based on arrival and departure times, and this worked well for us. You will want at least 1 day for Stanley Park.
elnap29 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 10:24 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,431
I've broken up your post into chunks to make answering easier. You really should use paragraph breaks more

I've come up with a preliminary itinerary for our trip. The amount of time is flexible, we do not have any time constraints. We are planning on leaving the second week in August so we can catch Giants and A's game, so it will be two nights in San Fran (already have been there, so we will not be sightseeing, just the games). Then we are planning our next stop to be Portland. It was suggested to take the coastal route from San Fran to Newport, OR and then head inland? Do you think this is too long of a distance to drive straight through and will we miss things along the way?

SF to Newport is much too long for one day. You will need to spend at least one night en route, but two would be preferable as that would allow you to take Calif. Highway 1 north from SF along the coast through Mendocino - a beautiful drive. Highway 1 re-connects to US 101 around the beginning (southern edge) of the major Redwood grove areas.

We would like to see the Redwoods, should we stop there for the night, or maybe for a couple of hours and stop somewhere else for the night and then on to Portland? Someone suggesed spending the night in Crescent City and visiting the redwoods between there and Eureka. We do not want to spend a ton of time seeing the Redwoods but just to walk around and take pictures.

If you don't want to take the Highway 1 option, you can get from SF to Eureka in around 5 hours. With stops for short walks in the groves, Crescent City makes for an okay overnight point. The town itself is not especially attractive, but it's well located.

Cutting over from the coast to I-5 for Portland can be done at any number of places. If your intent is to get from Crescent City to Portland in one day, my recommendation is to take your time visiting some of the many scenic areas along the coast between the Oregon state line and Reedsport, then take Oregon Hwy 38 over to I-5. SR 38 is very scenic, following the Umpqua River, and you'll also have a good chance of seeing some wildlife (elk) in the wildlife reserves next to the road.

Otherwise if you're starting at Crescent City and can add another night, I'd take US 101 all the way, spending the night around Yachats. Then the next day continue up to Astoria, take the amazing bridge across the Columbia, and then take the north shore road (in WA) all the way into Portland.

We will drive the Oregon Coast and once we are in Portland, we can take a day trip to Mt. Hood, so we will probably stay in Portland two nights to also sightsee. Where should we fit in the Columbia River George, on our way to Seattle, or can we do that the same day as Mount Hood?

You can do it the same day as Mt. Hood, although with stops, visits to Timberline Lodge, etc., it may be a longish day.

I've also read about Crater Lake and the Cascades, are these doable in my itinerary.

Geography lesson time. Crater Lake is in southern Oregon, and is not convenient for trips focusing on the coast. I'd skip it. "Seeing the Cascades" is like "Seeing New England;" - not something you can do in a day or a month. Mts. Hood, St. Helens, and Rainier are IN the Cascades, so you're already "seeing" them.

Then we plan on heading to Seattle. What would be the best route to take considering that we would like to see Mt. Rainier and Mount St. Helen's (we will not be big into hiking or anything, just really want to get a feel for each place, find out some history and take pictures). Will we pass either on the way and should we possibly stay a night and then once in seattle do a day trip to the other?

Mt. St. Helens is a 2-hour side trip off the freeway an hour north of Portland. Seeing both St. Helens and Rainier in one day is a tough undertaking, as the access routes into and out of Rainier are pretty long. I always recommend to visitors that Rainier is better as a day trip from Seattle, owing to a lack of affordable/decent accommodation near Mt. Rainier.

Also, what about fitting Olympic National Park into the plans? I'm trying to figure out how many nights in Seattle.

Olympic NP is also very big. You can visit Hurricane Ridge in ONP as a 2-hour side trip from Port Angeles if you're traveling to the Olympic Peninsula. You could include a day visit to ONP en route to Victoria if you took your car and used the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, otherwise a day visit from Seattle to Olympic NP is doable but long.

We are now thinking of dropping off the car in Seattle and taking the ferry to Victoria and spending some time there on Vancouver Island and then over to Vancouver. If we wanted to take a day trip to Whistler without a car, what are our options. I remember reading something about a train that goes there. Would that be worth the trip?

I would strongly suggest doing the numbers on the costs involved. IMO you'll be better off taking the car and various ferries, and the car will also give you flexibility once on Vancouver Island. The ferries to/from Victoria (except the one from Port Angeles) do not dock in Victoria proper, but at towns some distance from the city, so using public transportation between Victoria and Vancouver is lengthy because of bus connections at either end of the ferry runs. Plus, I think schlepping luggage onto and off of boats, taxis, buses… is not my idea of a good time.

Then we would fly home from Vancouver to Newark. We would like to do whale watching in Victoria, so we will need a day for that and then the Buchart Gardens and other sightseeing. Do you think 2 nights or 3 in Victoria/Vancouver Island.

Whale chases take half a day or a full day; Butchart also needs a half day, so you do the math. Note that there are fabulous gardens in Vancouver city (on the mainland) - the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens and Queen Elizabeth II Park - that IMO are almost as nice as Butchart, but way cheaper, less touristy, and more accessible.

In Vancouver we would like to sightsee in the different neighborhoods i have red about, granville island, stanley park and trip to Whistler - do you think 2 nights would be enough?

Two nights will be enough for those things - the day trip to Whistler (you really should have a car for it) will consume several hours. I'd personally allocate 3 nights with Whistler, 2 without.

Please let me know what looks right or wrong with everything and what i have missed. I just wanted to get the thoughts in my head written down to at least get a start on this itinerary. Thanks again for any and all help!

It's a big area and you're trying to see an awful lot. Of course there are hundreds - thousands of things you won't have time for. It boils down to what's important for you.
Gardyloo is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2009, 05:28 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,240
Note: The Victoria Clipper passenger ferry docks right in the city of Victoria, a short walk from many hotels or a short taxi ride.
elnap29 is offline  
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