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Seattle - Victoria - Vancouver - Advise on itinerary

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Family of four (Mom, dad and two teenage daughters) traveling to Seattle fron Southern California mid July. In addition to Seattle must see/visit is Vancouver as well.

1) Arriving at SEA-TAC Saturday late evening - Depart from SEA-TAC Next Friday Mid aftternoon. Will pick up rental car and overnight by airport first night.

2) Will be based at Edmonds and drive to downtown Seatlle for sightseeing Sunday and Monday.

3) Family is not very outdoorsy nor into museums. Just hanging out and enjoying the scenery.

My thoughts about the route to Vancouver are as follows:
On our way to Vancouver......I am really keen on crossing into Victoria and driving up north towards Nanaimo and ferrying into Vancouver at HorseShoe Bay.
We don not intend on spending a lot of time in Vancouver isalnd, just drive and stop for a ocassional snacks somewhere.
My idea is to depart Tuesday mid morning from our hotel in Edmonds and arrive Tuesday night in Vancouver and sightsee Wednesday all day and Thursday as well.

On Thursday night drive south towards Seattle (late night to avoid the bad traffic at the border crossing) and overnight at Bellingham WA.
Then on our last day Friday....stop in downtown Seattle for breakfast and lasy minute shopping before heading to SEAT-TAC airport.

Does this sound manageable?
Any suggestions on alternate routes/ferry crossings.
If you can offer other ideas please we are open.

The only booked items are the Flights
(I tried departing from Vancouver instead of Seattle on Friday but since I am using award miles, there was no availability).

In advance we appreciate your advise.

  • Report Abuse

    It would be a rush but doable if you have ferry reservations. I didn't work out if you can do what you hope to do on the days you hope to do it. However:

    Take the ferry from Edmonds to Clinton and then drive to Port Angeles. You can reserve a place on the ferry between Port Angeles and Victoria: https://www.cohoferry.com/Schedule

    You can also reserve a place on the ferry from Nanaimo to Horse Shoe Bay: http://www.bcferries.com/schedules/mainland/hbna-current.php

    I would arrange my schedule to spend the night in Port Angeles the day before I want to sail to Victoria.

    I would not assume that I will avoid problems at the border by crossing late at night or that the traffic will be lighter then than earlier in the day.


  • Report Abuse

    I have been to Seattle and Victoria/Vancouver many times and am wondering why you are basing yourself in Edmonds. If you just like hanging out and enjoying the views stay in downtown Seattle. Inn at the market or Hotel Andra are my family faves as they are right in the middle of all the action and easy to walk to lots of things. I would highly recommend spending more time in Victoria which is lovely and lots of things to do. Vancouver is really just another big city. Hope this helps.

  • Report Abuse

    Hi HTtY. Thanks for the tips.
    Nwgirl..Thank you also. Chose Edmonds based solely on budget available for accommodation. Most reasonably priced hotels downtown Seattle are full and those that have rooms available price per night is out of our budget.

    We need to be at PA by 11:45 am at the latest to be able to sail the 12:45 PM ferry to Victoria. So if we start at Edmonds early on and take the 40 minute ferry to Kinsgton,
    Question #1: how long will it take us to arrive at Port Angeles from the Kinston ferry terminal?.

    Assuming we arrive at 2:30 Pm at Victoria, we would sight see the rest of the afternoon and evening and spend the night at a local hotel. The following day we then get an early start and continue the drive north up to Nanaimo.

    Question 32: How long would it take us to drive from Victoria to Nanaimo?

  • Report Abuse

    I love Edmonds. It is a cute town- lots of shops and restaurants and a nice beach. I think the girls will enjoy.

    In Victoria my favorite place to stay is the Surf Motel- right on the water, small kitchen, you can lay in bed in the morning, drinking your coffee and see the water., sometimes cruise ships. There is a great walking path along the water.

    It is walking distance to the harbor ( but I am a walker) or a short drive. There is no charge for parking your car at the motel.

  • Report Abuse

    (deep breath)

    I think this whole deck of cards should be reshuffled and dealt differently:

    As Edmonds is remote anyway, you might do yourself wonders by merely staying instead near to SeaTac airport for the first couple of nights, perhaps without a rental vehicle (until you need it to leave to the north).

    The Link Light Rail is so handy to deliver you from SeaTac to central Seattle, that you could conveniently get to and from the city, without needing (or paying for) a vehicle.

    (MIGHT even try to reduce costs further by picking-up (and potentially dropping-off too??) the car in central Seattle, to avoid airport taxes and fees - *** that would require strategizing to drop your car in central Seattle, Friday morning, and then again taking the Link Light Rail to the airport for your flight home)

    (if you stay in Edmonds, you still have to battle absurd traffic at various times during the day - and for what gain???)

    Central Seattle should create plenty of entertainment for two parents and two teen girls, without needing a car. You can get up and get to the city as early as you might want to, and stay there, conveniently, until as late as you're likely to want to, all while still getting back to the airport quite easily on the Link Light Rail (for about $3 each, one way).

    Next, I wish somehow that I could educate your daughters, alone, on the likely travel aggravation that will be caused by the impulse that is ferrying to Vancouver Island in order to Not spend a lot of time there.

    IF your daughters have never been to Vancouver, Canada, then take them there and don't utilize important time on the whim that is Vancouver Island. (I've been there once in the past 40 years, and it's 80 miles from where I've lived all the while) (even that was 28 years ago).

    SO... (rearranging)... an unimportant hotel/motel near SeaTac airport... on Saturday night and Sunday night, and maaaaaybe Monday night too???

    Tuesday morning you get up, let rush hour end, and only then set sail toward the north in your rental car.

    If you want some scenery... (in addition to the green, and wide-open spaces along I-5)... (er, the five)... then perhaps take the detour that is Chuckanut Drive (hwy #11 just north of Burlington, WA)

    Otherwise, you can't really go wrong if just assuring yourselves a direct path from Seattle to Vancouver. Central Vancouver is so cool, with so much scenery and so much to do, that there just won't be enough time there anyway.

    SO it's Tuesday evening... and you're arriving in central Vancouver... the town stays open and active very late, with normal people walking around town at all hours of the night.

    Lots of shopping, restaurants, scenery, and adjacent to what was very recently named "The best park in the world". Stanley Park (even the Vancouver Aquarium there is a fun thing to see)

    SO... even my way, you'd have just all of Wednesday and much/most of Thursday to see Vancouver.

    Somebody optimizing such a trip, would have you staying in the Vancouver area until late on Thursday evening and only then heading toward the border and to a straight shot down the Five toward airport digs.

    Nothing says you even need to reach the airport on that Thursday night, instead perhaps opting to stay, oh, I dunno, in maybe the Burlington/Mount Vernon area (the girls will like the outlet malls which are options in the range between mile marker #200 and #235 along I-Five) (central Seattle sits at mile marker #166-167 or so))

    In decent traffic, you have 80 miles to cover and should allow 90 minutes to reach the airport, from Burlington, WA... but if you attempt this anywhere near to rush hour - you will not succeed.

    So if, say, I were flying out of Sea Tac @ 3:30pm... I'd want to be driving up to the airport car return at about 2pm... and I'd leave Burlington at perhaps 11:00am in order to feel confident.

    At any rate, dawdling via Vancouver Island to get to Vancouver is just depriving the troops of added time for one of the major highlights of the northwest.

    With the money you save by delaying the rental car, and by avoiding the ferry costs... you might use Priceline.com for central Vancouver while trying to get TWO rooms... and hoping to land someplace very convenient and central for your visit there. (but it should be said, that the overnight costs for hotel parking up there can add a staggering amount to your bill - perhaps $45 per night)

    (*** Note: Priceline is perhaps too daring for people needing to sleep 4 in one room, but IF you can score good value, two rooms would solve that)

    Even so, the convenience of a central Vancouver location, at most any decent hotel class, is really useful once you're there and exploring.

    Hope this makes you reconsider your visions.

    (what I just described didn't have that much time to explore Vancouver, and to reduce it further just isn't fair to your daughters, or yourselves)

    *** FYI - sunset in Bellingham, WA is at 9:05pm on July 18... just to remind you that there is more daylight to work with up here during the summer.

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