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TRIP ADVICE: Seattle - Olympic National Park - Victoria - Vancouver - North Cascades

TRIP ADVICE: Seattle - Olympic National Park - Victoria - Vancouver - North Cascades

Old Aug 30th, 2008, 08:44 AM
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TRIP ADVICE: Seattle - Olympic National Park - Victoria - Vancouver - North Cascades

DH & I will arrive in Seattle on Sept. 2 & fly home Sept 16. Have reserved a B&B on north side of Seattle for first night before travelling to ONP via the Edmonds/Kingston ferry the next day. Also have reservations at the Lake Crescent Lodge on Sept 3 & at airport hotel Sept. 15 but no others. Tentative plans are:

3 nights in ONP area
3 nights in or near Victoria
3 nights in Vancouver
2 nights in North Cascades (taking loop road Rt. 20 to 97 to 2)Remaining 2 nights in Seattle

Will we run into trouble with only the first 2 nights & last night lodging booked? Do you have recommendations for other locations to stay in while at ONP? Is the Northern Cascades loop road doable in 2 days with a short day hike each day?

Would like lists of top gardens to visit along the way (Buchart is a no-brainer are there others?), farmers markets, art museums, artisinal breweries, off-the beaten path hikes, bike rides or sights. Our preference for lodging is usually B&B's. We are outdoorsy people who will have hiking boots with us. We've never been to this part of the country (except a short trip to Seattle many years ago) so any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 11:19 AM
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I would stay at Crescent Lake Lodge all three nights in ONP--I love the place. If I couldn't do that, I would stay at the Best Western Olympic Lodge in Port Angeles, which has all the comforts and a good breakfast.

I have no suggestions for Victoria or Vancouver.

In the North Cascades, I would stay in Winthrop at Sun Mountain Lodge, if I wanted to blow a bank roll, or at Wolf Ridge Resort, if I didn't.

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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 12:21 PM
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There are lots of nice lavender farms in Sequim on your way to ONP you might want to check some of them out. purple haze farm even has a little stand that sells lavender ice cream. If you already have one night at crescent lodge why not stay the rest there?? We had lunch there on July 4 and it's a really peaceful setting. we stayed in a B&B just before Port Angeles (although it has a Port Angeles address). there is bluff over the straits that is one B&B after another. we stayed in Domaine Madeline. We really loved the ONP and i was sorry we didn't have longer to visit, being outdoors people you will love it. make sure you take the drive to hurricane ridge.
Sorry can't help you with Vancouver or North Cascades.

joyce
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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The gardens at the Arboretum in Seattle (near the UW) are lovely, although not at their peak in September. Southwest of downtown at the South Seattle Comm. College is a really fantastic Asian garden.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 12:54 PM
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As with others I'm not certain why you simply don't stay at Lake Crescent Lodge for all of your ONP touring, as it is well-located for seeing a lot of the park. You could, if you wanted, spend a night somewhere like Forks or Qunault to take in the rain forests and the ocean beaches, but you would want to be back in the Port Angeles area for the third night to get an early ferry to Victoria.

In Victoria, there are many hotels/motels in the inner harbor. I would go to TripAdvisor first, then take your pick. In Vancouver, I would look for something in the West End/Stanley Park/Robson Street neighborhood. I would think it would be advantageous to have Vancouver reservations because it's a very popular destination, and you are still in tourist season in early-mid September.

If you are coming from Vancouver, you will want to get an extremely early start to get back to Highway 20 to begin your N. Cascades loop. I might even suggest spending your 3rd "Vancouver" night on the US side in Bellingham. Highway 20 through the North Cascades is a spectacular but time-consuming drive, particularly if you plan to do any hiking. Also, there's really nowhere to stay until you have crossed to the east side...Winthrop is the first place you will come to with plenty of lodging options. For your second North Cascades night, you might consider Leavenworth -- lots of accommodations, and an easy drive from there back to the Seattle area on Highway 2.

Your two final nights in Seattle ought to be spent in the downtown area, but again, I would consider reservations.

Good luck and enjoy the Northwest.


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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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The QE2 gardens and the Van Dusen gardens in Vancouver are quite wonderful and in some ways as nice as Butchart (IMO) and definitely cheaper and less touristy.

If the weather's okay, you also might enjoy a day's drive north from Vancouver to the Sunshine Coast (via ferry from Horseshoe Bay) - lovely area.

I would actually recommend a different loop itinerary. Head east out of Vancouver on the TC Hwy, then connect to BC Hwy 3 at Hope, and follow BC 3 to Osoyoos, from which you can take US 97 down to Wenatchee, then back across Stevens Pass (US 2.)

BC 3 is a gorgeous drive, with excellent mountain scenery, orchards and roadside fruit stands, and a real glimpse of part of BC missed by many travelers from the US. Then from the border down US 97, you're in some wonderful "old west" country.

If time permits, you might try to spend the second night at Lake Chelan, and take the Lady of the Lake boat up to Stehekin - http://www.ladyofthelake.com/
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 05:28 PM
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I haven't been to the northwest but I've been researching for a future trip.

Victoria is very small. A day is more than enough.

An idea might be to visit Victoria from the 1 hour ferry from Port Angeles instead of the bus-ferry-bus from Vancouver.

My idea is to fly into Vancouver, train to Seattle and then after a few days in Seattle rent a car to tour the Peninsula and go to Victoria from PA.
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Old Aug 30th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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The answer to the question everyone is asking ... we are not staying at Lake Crescent Lodge more than one night because the only rooms available after the first night are all over $200 per night. That's more than we would like to pay. We should be able to see Hurricane Ridge on our first day in the park then spend the night at the Lodge. That should put us a bit closer to the Hoh Rainforest for the next day. If we decide to stay in the Forks/La Push area for the 2nd night, does anyone have any lodging recommendations? Are there other "must sees" in ONP that we shouldn't miss?

Azzure, we will look into making reservations in Vancouver & Seattle asap. I have come to see the value in having that worry taken care of.

Thanks everyone for the Cascades info & lodging. Gardyloo, loved your idea about taking the TC out of Vancouver then crossing the border at Osoyoos. Will check this out.

Lennyba & Gardyloo, your garden suggestions are now on the must see list.

Will also post this question on the Canadian forum but wonder if anyone has any experience travelling to Salt Spring Island off Vancouver Island. A co-worker recommended it but didn't give much detail. I see that there's a market there on Saturday. Would we be able to leave on the 8:30am boat from Port Angeles then catch the Victoria-Salt Spring boat and still make it to the market before it closes or is that pushing it?
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 07:14 AM
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Since you are hikers, IMO the Lake Ozette 9 mile triangle trail is a must do out on the Peninsula. It's going to take the better part of the day so that means you'll need 3 nights out there. In Forks, it's nothing fancy but I like the Brightwater House B&B--nice hosts and a quiet location on the Sol Duc River.

While you're out there, it's worth seeing the Makah Museum and hiking the short Cape Flattery trail, both in Neah Bay.

Isn't the Sat market on Saltspring a morning/early afternoon thing? You'll want to check the hours but that's my recollection (although it's been a while since I've been there). If so, there's no way you'd make it taking the 8:30 ferry from Port Angeles.
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Old Aug 31st, 2008, 09:15 AM
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debl

If you're still checking your post, I have a few comments.

We also liked the Forks location because it allowed us to explore several areas of ONP, without real long drives. We stayed at Manitou Lodge, which was quite comfortable. After returning from a day of hiking/exploring, it was just a short distance to Rialto Beach, where we could relax, wander or watch the sunset.
http://www.manitoulodge.com/index.html

Especially loved Second Beach.

Don't know how it will be in September, but we enjoyed Beacon Park gardens in Victoria. It's a free park and great for wandering around.

Being hikers ourselves, this is just my suggestion for Victoria. On one visit there, we stayed about 25 minutes west of Victoria at "Atop Triangle Mt B&B" It was okay, and sitting in the hot tub at night we had a great view over the city with Mt Baker behind it. The nice part was that we closer to beaches/hikes west of the city. You could search for other B&B's in that area.

Last time we stayed in Oak Bay, a residential neighborhood on the east side of the island. We enjoyed walking along the paved paths along the coast and by beautiful large houses. You can either do a long walk into the center of Victoria or take a bus. Some good neighborhood restaurants, too.

As I said, we prefer not to stay in the downtown sections of a city, so we loved our choices. However, as was mentioned, there are many downtown hotels in Victoria near the ferry.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 07:31 AM
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NWWanderer & Clousie, thanks for your advice regarding lodging in ONP. We usually like to stay in the same place for more than 1 night but will have to make an exception for ONP. Think now we will stay at Lake Crescent Lodge first night, near Forks second night & Port Angeles to be near the boat the last night. Am trying to convince DH to take our small tent & 2 sleeping bags to give us another option for "lodging." Would tenting be feasible in early Sept or too cold? How were the breakfasts at the Brightwater & Manitou? Does anyone have restaurant suggestions in the Forks area?

Have now added the Lake Ozette trail to the list of possibilities in ONP -- Hurricane Ridge, Hoh Rainforest, Neah Bay area including Cape Flattery Trail & Makah Museum, Rialto Beach, Second Beach. Are there others that should be added?

We have decided it will be too much to try to make it to the Salt Spring Island market on the same day we are arriving by boat into Victoria. Will either try to go another day or find a comparable town on the main island. Are there any other farmer's/artists markets on the island of Vancouver that anyone is aware of?

Point well taken with regard to B&B's outside or on the outskirts of the main cities, Clousie. That would be our choice as well.

I'm thinking of not visiting Whistler because we will be going through the North Cascades of Washington. DH says he may want to go. Does anyone have an opinion about this?

We'll have our computer with us for the trip so will look for replies even after our plane leaves tomorrow morning.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 08:40 AM
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I'm thinking of not visiting Whistler because we will be going through the North Cascades of Washington. DH says he may want to go. Does anyone have an opinion about this?

There is ongoing construction on BC 99 (aka Sea to Sky Hwy) in order to get ready for the winter Olympics. The BC Hwy department is advising 30-45 min. delays are frequently possible.

Given the rest of your route, I'd say (personally) the drive to Whistler would be low on the priority list.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 09:50 AM
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I found a recent (August 2008) list of farmers' markets on Vancouver Island:

http://www.vancouverislandreviews.co...s-markets.html

There is a great hiking trail along the coast starting a bit west of Sooke:

http://www.sookeoutdoors.com/juandefucatrail/

You can hike sections of it as day hikes. Botanical Beach, at the far western end, is spectacular, but a long drive. We liked the China Beach end hike a lot too.

If you have decided on your loop route over the mountains and back (TCH vs. Highway 20 and/or Highway 2), I might be able to suggest a few nice hikes. Several hours in length? Or a half-day?
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 11:52 AM
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Don't let anyone talk you out of 3 nights in Victoria area. We are hikers also and did reduce our nights to 2 as suggested - which we regret. For the type of exploring/walking we like to do, we did not have enough time!
Have a great trip!
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 12:29 PM
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debl

The breakfast at Manitou was different from most B&B's because it was placed in an in room refrig the night before. There was a mw to heat up a casserole type dish. Also included fresh fruit, juice, pastry, yogurt. You could make own coffee or it was available with more juice in the main area.

Some folks may not like a "do it yourself" breakfast, but the owners logic is that to enjoy the beaches to the fullest, you must take the tides into consideration and not be waiting for breakfast. We really appreciated this, and could eat on our schedule and timeframe rather than on everyone elses.
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Old Sep 1st, 2008, 07:38 PM
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Enzian, many thanks for the link to the farmer's markets & hiking trail links. We may be able to visit some farmer's markets closer to Victoria on Saturday after arriving on the 8:30 boat from Port Angeles. We are tentatively leaning towards taking the TCH route (crossing at Osoyoos)to get to the Northern Cascades. Any suggestions you might have for a few spectacular 3-4 hour moderate hikes would be greatly appreciated. We will probably only be able to do 1 or 2 but would like some good options.

Enlap, I agree with you. There is too much to do in & around Victoria to cut it shorter than 3 nights -- Butchart Gardens, hikes/walks, possibly Salt Spring Island, farmers markets, museums, etc. I read with pleasure the reviews of Seattle restaurants you did. Do you have a trip report of your time in Victoria or have any restaurant suggestions there? Where did you stay while there?

For other garden lovers, I've just read about Hatley Park National Historic Site 25 minutes west of Victoria. The list of possible things to do is growing every minute.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 05:30 PM
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Debl - I'm glad you enjoyed the Seattle restaurant report; I'm never sure if that info is useful to anyone else! And, no, I haven't had a chance to write any other trip report.
BUT, we loved, loved, LOVED where we stayed in Victoria. It was a wonderful accident...and the most enjoyable place we have ever stayed. We stayed at Abigail's, a small hotel that is more like a B&B, but with perfect privacy. It is in a residential area (which we prefer) and, at first, I thought we would feel out of place with our hiking gear, but, no. We were treated so graciously and the service was first-rate. I selected it at random from a list, only knowing it was in the residential area within walking distance of downtown. We paid for the cheapest, smallest room (which would have been fine) but they gave us a luxury room in the carriage house. The full breakfasts were amazing and skillfully prepared by a single chef in the open kitchen, everything made to order and artistically plated;truly gourmet. And this place was not pretentious in the least! Such a wonderful treat! I cannot recommend this place highly enough!

We were trying to keep our expenses a bit tight on this trip, so we had one dinner at BARB'S, an outdoor fish and chips place at Fisherman's Wharf. Inexpensive. Fresh HALIBUT fish and chips. Very good and very messy, extremely casual. We enjoyed our long walk along the path that follows the seawall. Took a water taxi to the other side of the bay to try an Irish Pub (turned out to be too noisy for my comfort).
The other dinner place (recommended by other Fodorites) was Pagliacci downtown. No reservations. There was a long line to get in, but we met a lot of fun people in line, the restaurant gave us free glasses of delicious wine while we waited outside. Food was good, I think - we enjoyed visiting with the cheery people near us and sharing wine, and then we walked the scenic route back to Abigail's.

Butchart Gardens was amazing. We took someone'd advice to have high tea there instead of at The Empress. It was really wonderful, and the 2 of us had high tea for less than 1 person would pay at The Empress Hotel.

We ran out of time, but wanted to hike around Beacon Hill Park, Sooke area, and explore more residential neighborhoods.

Would love to hear about your trip when you return. I'm dying to visit ONP and visit Hoh Rainforest and Cape Flattery. Have fun!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 06:21 PM
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elnap--Your trip to Victoria sounds a lot like ours was! We too stayed at Abigails and just loved it. And Barbs, Pagliaci's, Butchart Gardens, tea t the Empress...all enjoyable things. We spent a lot of time at Beacon Hill Park, so if you return add that to your list along with doing a float plane ride.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2008, 08:25 PM
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Will definitely look into a float plane trip and all the other hiking opportunities mentioned on this thread! Thanks mms.Can't wait to explore more of BC.
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