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Where to start in the Pacific Northwest?

Old Feb 19th, 2010, 10:15 PM
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Where to start in the Pacific Northwest?

After living in Southern California our entire lives, my husband and our two daughters (ages 3 and 6 mos.) have just moved to the Pacific Northwest (about an hour and 15 minutes outside of Seattle). We're eager to start exploring all the new places around us, but are a little lost/overwhelmed on where to start? Any suggestions on where to begin? Day trips, overnight stops, or weekend getaway suggestions are all welcome! We're VERY comfortable traveling with our daughters, and love doing just about everything! Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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Old Feb 20th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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Welcome! I posted below about my friend's website Northwest Cheap Sleeps www.nwcheapsleeps.org which is full of great recommendations on weekend getaways & affordable lodgings (she has a young boy so almost everything is kid-friendly). She just posted a great piece about the wonderful waterfront cabins for rent at a state park on Camano Island.

Do you like outdoor activities? There is a book by an author named Joan Burton called Best Hikes with Kids in Western Washington. That will be a terrific resource for you for day hikes. Also, there is a ton of family-friendly hiking info at the website for the Washington Trails Association (www.wta.org).

Some of our favorite family getaways were Mount Rainier (we camped a lot, but there are lots of good lodgings outside of the Nisqually entrance to the park, on the southwest side) and the San Juan Islands (go to either Orcas Island or San Juan Island on your first trip).

I'd say in your first year here you would also want to check out Leavenworth (May or June before it gets too hot and touristy) and La Conner / Skagit County in the early spring for the tulip festival. There are fantastic wineries to tour in Woodinville, vineyards to visit around Yakima, a volcano to hike on at Mt St Helens, whales to look for off the coast of Whidbey Island, ancient forests to hike through on the Olympic Peninsula, and tidepools to explore on the coast. And that's just Washington!

Wow, I can see how this is a little overwhelming, but how exciting to take it all in for the first time, and with your young family.
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Old Feb 20th, 2010, 07:56 AM
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At one hour and fifteen minutes outside of Seattle you could be living south of Olympia, in Kitsap county, La Conner, Index, or many other places. It would help to tell you where to start if we knew where you live.

Some basic destinations are: Olympic National Park, Mt. Rainier, the North Cascade Loop, and the San Juan Islands. Beyond that are the Mt. Saint Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, Vancouver and Victoria, and the Oregon Coast. A little farther on would be Vancouver Island, Crater Lake, the Redwoods, and the Canadian Rockies.
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Old Feb 20th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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Rielle, thank you so much for your detailed advice and great recommends! Especially with your suggestions of the best time to visit! It helps to be able to assign the vacations with the months when I begin to organize and prioritize! I'll be googling it away in further research of your suggestions! Happytrailstoyou, thank you also for your top picks; we live in the North Kitsap county area.
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Old Feb 20th, 2010, 07:18 PM
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Well, you're already on the Olympic Peninsula so I'd start there: check out Port Townsend, Dungeness Spit and Hurricane Ridge/Lake Crescent to start with. And if you've not spent much time in Seattle, it's just a ferry ride away...leave the car on Bainbridge.
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Old Feb 21st, 2010, 07:32 AM
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Coryandcarissa, three of my favorite Washington State drives are on the Olympic Peninsula: Highway 101 along the west side of Hood Canal from Seal Rock to Skokomish and continuing on 106 to Rose Point; Highway 101 along the south shore of Lake Crescent; and Highway 112 from Clallam Bay to Neah Bay.

On Whidbey Island we enjoy the town of Coupeville, the drive along Penn Cove (home to wonderful mussels), and the Weerkerk Rhododendron Garden (rhododendron being the state flower).

HTTY
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