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Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-02-2007, 07:37 AM   #1
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Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

My husband and I will be traveling to the Seattle/Vancouver area in late July. Specifically, we will be kayaking with whales and hiking around the San Juan Islands with a group. We would like to spend another week in the area and we are not sure whether to travel north to Vancouver or south to the Olympic Peninsula, Mt. Rainier or Mt St Helens. We would like to see wildlife and, maybe, do a little salmon fishing. Do any of you have recommendations or suggestions for things to do or places to see in this beautiful area? Thank you
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-02-2007, 07:43 AM   #2
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

The Olympic Peninsula is awesome! Great hiking at the National Park. Lots of fishing around the area too.

It's all good really - tough choices!

Audrey
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-02-2007, 08:43 AM   #3
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Take the ferry from the San Juans to Vancouver Island (Sydney), then drive south and spend a day in Victoria. The anthropological museum is very good, and Butchart Gardens should be great that time of year. Then take the ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles (Olympic peninsula). Hurricane Ridge near there has some great views -- you can see back to the San Juans on a clear day, 40 miles north. There's some nice hikes from Hurricane Ridge, and you can drive around the outside of the Peninsula and see/do more -- both in the national park and on the beaches.

In the town of Forks, I had the "logger's omelette" for breakfast at a local coffee shop. I can see why there was so much clear cutting in the area -- this thing was about 8 eggs and half a pound of ham. After eating that, a logger would have to go cut down a few acres of woods just to work off the calories. My wife ordered a bowl of cereal -- it was about the size of a large kitchen mixing bowl, and had about 1/3 of a full size box of cereal in it.
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-02-2007, 09:09 AM   #4
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

The Columbia River Gorge is beautiful. I don't know what it is like in the winter (I was there in the summer windsurfing season). You can always stop by Mt. Hood for skiing.
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-03-2007, 01:44 AM   #5
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

The Columbia Gorge is a bit cold in winter, but they will be visiting in July when it will be absolutely glorious. The Gorge has amazing waterfalls and hiking trails just east of Portland. Further east is Hood River, home to the best windsurfing and kiteboarding. Just a little further east is Maryhill Museum, the Stonehenge replica, and several wineries.

If you decide to go to Mt. St. Helens, there are lots of different visitors centers -- be sure to go to the Johnson Ridge visitors center -- its the best of the lot and very well done.

I can second the suggestion to visit the San Juans. Rent a bicycle and explore. Travel by ferry. Stay at a B&B. Plenty of stuff to do.

Its a hard call whether to go north or south of Seattle. I've been to Victoria & Vancouver B.C. and also to Portland area / Columbia Gorge. Both are great options.

Best wishes on your decision! Either way you should have a great trip.
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-03-2007, 11:18 AM   #6
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

On a good day, take a tourist flight over the San Juan Islands. It will knock your socks off!

Possibilities:


http://www.island-air.com/

http://www.beautifulseattle.com/tours.htm

Kenmore Air used to be in this business, but I can't verify their existence today.

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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-04-2007, 10:32 AM   #7
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

You will love the San Juans. We spent a lot of time there when we had a boat (and it was only a 20' w/cuddy). Great kayaking, hiking and cycling. All the suggestions are good ones....E. Washington is also nice with lots of recreational opportunities and budding wineries. The peninsula is beautiful with the rain forest and the ocean beaches. A tough call, there is so much to do and see.
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-04-2007, 07:25 PM   #8
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Jane
That time of year it will be hard to go wrong. For me it is a function if you are more of a mountain or water person.
The combine of Vancouver Island with the Olympic pennisula will be hard to beat. Given you are a kayaker, there are some great places off Vancouver Island--real easy to spend the week just on Vancouver Island.
If you go to the Olympic Pennisula be sure to include at least a day hike into the Rainforest--near Forks. That side of the pennisula gets more rain than anywhere in lower 48 US--something over 200 inches.
Going into the Cascades and Mt Rainer, will give you totally different experience if you have never been to high elevation mountains. I personally prefer the Sunrise side of the mountain. You should check road conditions when you are close as they had many washouts from last December rain.
Have a great trip.
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-04-2007, 07:43 PM   #9
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Kenmore Air is still going strong and you can fly right off of Lake Union after a sight seeing trip in Seattle pretty easily. Not sure of the expense though.

For flights into the San Juan Islands you could also consider San Juan Airlines. Formerly West Ilse Air, they've been around a long time and also fly into BC:

http://www.sanjuanairlines.com/

Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor are both fun little towns on either end of San Jaun Island, although both can be very busy during peak Summer season. I know the docks at Roche are an easy walk from the GA airport but I can't remember about Friday (its close, but not sure about walking distance)...it's been a long time since I was there. Friday Harbor also has the advantage of being a WA state ferry stop.

I'd also second the Victoria trip recommendation with the locations previously mentioned. In any event, enjoy the NW...I don't get back there enough.

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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-04-2007, 09:00 PM   #10
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Oh, yeah:

Have brunch at Ivar's Salmon House. Get a window seat or eat on the barge if the weather is OK (unlikely). Watch the Kenmore Air seaplanes take off from their moorage (?) across Lake Union. Watch the kayakers and the sailors and the power boaters go by. One of my favourite places to loaf.

Take a harbour tour and hear the story of the houseboat used in Sleepless in Seattle. See Bill Gates' house from the water side.

Cheers!
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-04-2007, 09:45 PM   #11
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

I concur with most of what people have said. In late July the weather will most likely be wonderful. A variation on what Robert the Red suggested would be to head in the other direction from Port Angeles and go through Port Townsend. Visit Fort Worden and climb Artillery Hill and look at the gun emplacements. Thousands of feet of concrete bunkers and tunnels. From there head towards Gig Harbor, cross Galloping Gertie (or maybe the new bridge by then) and you can either visit Mt Rainier or St Helens. St Helens is still interesting, but it has lost much of the visual impact it had immediately after the eruption. The devastation when I first saw it the year following the blast is impossible to put into words.
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-05-2007, 08:52 AM   #12
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

If you go to Butchart Gardens, try to plan your visit so that you will be there after dark. The gardens are beautifully lit at night. We spent the early part of the day there, drove into Victoria in the late afternoon. Had dinner in a nice restaurant there and returned to the gardens. We took the last ferry back to Vancouver that night. A wonderful day.

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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-05-2007, 12:59 PM   #13
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

If you go to Butchart, check out their fireworks schedule. It's a great show.

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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-05-2007, 01:47 PM   #14
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Thank you all so much for your many suggestions. I think our itinerary will definitely include most of the recommendations-- like:

After our planned trip exploring San Juan Islands (over 5 days) and harbor cruise , we will

3 days - Vancouver/Victoria --Butchart Gardens (fireworks PM), Empress Hotel, Stanley, biking, then
3 days - ferry to Port Angeles Olympic Peninsula, Hurricane Ridge, Forks (rainforest)
3 days - Colombia Gorge area, Mt Ranier, Mt. St Helens
Then back to Seattle for our flight home.

Where is Ivar's Salmon House so that we can eat there?

Does this itinerary sound doable or is it too ambitious? I want to enjoy a slow pace not feel rushed.

Thanks again for your kindness.

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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-05-2007, 01:55 PM   #15
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Hey, plan to spend a day seeing the sites of Seattle. It may not be as awe-inspiring as Hurricane Ridge, but it is a great town. Plus, kayaking in Lake Union is fun as long as you aren't here over the 4th of July. We've got lots of great restaurants too!
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-05-2007, 07:10 PM   #16
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

if you stay in seattle a day . night. check out the triple door that evening
if you like live music. they've got great stuff there typically.

http://www.thetripledoor.net/
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-05-2007, 08:14 PM   #17
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

http://www.ivars.net/Locations/locations.html
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-05-2007, 09:31 PM   #18
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Nothing against Ivars and it is clearly a Seattle classic. But...
If you want exceptional seafood try Rays Boathouse, Cutters at Pike Place or for a bit more electic, Wild Ginger--unusual asian fusion combinations--all great
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-05-2007, 09:34 PM   #19
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Or Sunday brunch at Salty's.
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area
Old 02-11-2007, 12:10 PM   #20
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Re: Suggestions for things to do --Seattle/Vancouver area

Definitely spend a day or two in Seattle - beautiful in the summer with Lake Union and the sound. I agree that Ray's Boathouse and Cutters are better options for a nice lunch or dinner. And there are plenty of nice restaurants on the Seattle waterfront and in Belltown. Definitely want to see Seattle at night! Otherwise, your itinerary sounds reasonable.
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