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Old 07-21-2015, 03:08 PM   #21
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I do recommend spending some time in Port Townsend, it is a really pretty town.

I don't have much experience with Bellingham proper, but the Fairhaven area, where Western Washington University is located is quite nice.
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:51 PM   #22
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Thanks bld, and yes, meant to write Elma. Great suggestion, we do love a gravel road!
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:40 PM   #23
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Some other's might have better input on La Push, but I drove out there this weekend and was underwhelmed. Girlfriend wanted to see Forks and I'd never been out to that part of WA so we headed out there then out to La Push. As with most of the reservations, they're kind of trashy and I didn't see anywhere to eat nearby. The Quileute Day parade was going on so we didn't really get to drive around town, but the point is that I think your time would be better spent in Victoria.
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Old 07-21-2015, 11:59 PM   #24
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Thank you, thank you.

I should have laid out the whole trip instead of just focusing on the Olympic peninsula.

Our trip will include a 1 or 2 days on San Juan Island. We don't kayak, so we'll probably bicycle/hike about the island and take a boat out to see the whales.

I need to do research on the rest of the trip, but at a high level....

Next up is Vancouver probably with day in Bellingham (anyone recommending skipping this?). We'll drive up via the Chuckanut Drive.

We'll then make our way over the cascades to Spokane before heading back to Seatac to fly home. On that last leg, we'd like to spend a day wine tasting. Recommendations?

I am now thinking that it may be better to do the Olympic Peninsula trip in a clockwise direction starting with one night in Olympia, 2 in Quinault, 1 in La Push, 2 or 3 in Port Angeles and then take the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidby Island & see Deception Pass on the way to Anacortes.

Does it make more sense to see Victoria from Port Angeles or from Vancouver. On the map, it looks much closer to Port Angeles.

Clockwise is how I've done it. Olympia is a hour away depending on traffic. Others have said there's not much there, so you might want to push on to the coast and stay at Ocean Shores, Ocean City, Copalis Beach areas. If you do take the ferry from Port Townsend, you should look into reservations for the ferry. There are signs on the highway to Anacortes recommending them. They're also recommended for the San Juan Islands ferries. I think you can also go to Victoria from there as an option. For wine tasting, if you can go further south than Spokane, there are over 100 wineries surrounding Walla Walla. Just search Walla Walla wineries and you'll find several links.


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Old 07-22-2015, 12:01 AM   #25
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"Does it make more sense to see Victoria from Port Angeles or from Vancouver. On the map, it looks much closer to Port Angeles."

You could do a circle route. If you've seen everything on the peninsula, drive onto the Coho in Port Angeles, see Victoria and drive half an hour to the ferry to Vancouver. Buchart Gardens are about 10 minutes out of the way but would require a couple of hours.

Just a warning - BC Ferries are hideously expensive for vehicles so check into that first. Although our Canadian Peso should mitigate that a bit.

Cheers.
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Old 07-22-2015, 07:12 AM   #26
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I agree with the suggestions to spend time in Pt. Townsend.

As far as Bellingham - I'm biased, I lived there 3 years and my BFF still lives there. I love that town. Great micro brewpubs, a young/outdoorsy vibe, and a historic feel in Fairhaven and downtown on the bay. Personally, I think it's worth seeing. Plus the best tap water I've tasted ANYWHERE. Lake Whatcom does a great job as a filtration system.
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Old 07-22-2015, 09:29 AM   #27
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Some other's might have better input on La Push, but I drove out there this weekend and was underwhelmed. Girlfriend wanted to see Forks and I'd never been out to that part of WA so we headed out there then out to La Push. As with most of the reservations, they're kind of trashy and I didn't see anywhere to eat nearby. The Quileute Day parade was going on so we didn't really get to drive around town, but the point is that I think your time would be better spent in Victoria.
La Push is notable for it's ocean coast surroundings and natural beauty. The hike to third beach and the walks north and south to be had on the beach are hard to match for power and force-of-nature feel.
Some people surf there in kayaks at the river mouth, and the accommodations and cuisine [save the salmon at public events] are not the big draw. The tribe there were canoe whalers in past times, and it takes some imagination to picture that while standing on the beach.

The town itself is not much to get excited about, the setting and story is the reason to go. I you were out on the north coast, a day there could be well spent.
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Old 07-22-2015, 09:47 PM   #28
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Thank you all for your comments & ideas. They changed my plans quite drastically. Here's what we've decided (which always changes based on our mood and the weather).

Day 1: Drive from Seatac to Quinault
Stop in Olympia for lunch & maybe see the capitol complex, maybe get to Quinault early enough for a short walk in the woods.

Day 2: Morning hike in Quinault, Ruby beach, the Hoh rainforest. Night in Forks

Day 3: Rialto beach hike, Sol duc hotsprings drive, Crescent Lake. Night in Port Angeles

Day 4: Hurricane ridge, Dungeness Spit. Stay in Port Angeles

Day 5 : Victoria. Stay the night there. Leave car in PA.

Day 6 : Victoria & back to Port Angeles by last ferry.

Day 7: Port Townsend, Leave the olympia peninsula probably by the Port Townsend ferry

I'll be sure to update the forum on the trip. Thanks again.
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Old 07-23-2015, 08:14 AM   #29
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Thank you all for your comments & ideas. They changed my plans quite drastically. Here's what we've decided (which always changes based on our mood and the weather).

Day 1: Drive from Seatac to Quinault
Stop in Olympia for lunch & maybe see the capitol complex, maybe get to Quinault early enough for a short walk in the woods.

Day 2: Morning hike in Quinault, Ruby beach, the Hoh rainforest. Night in Forks

Day 3: Rialto beach hike, Sol duc hotsprings drive, Crescent Lake. Night in Port Angeles

Day 4: Hurricane ridge, Dungeness Spit. Stay in Port Angeles

Day 5 : Victoria. Stay the night there. Leave car in PA.

Day 6 : Victoria & back to Port Angeles by last ferry.

Day 7: Port Townsend, Leave the olympia peninsula probably by the Port Townsend ferry

I'll be sure to update the forum on the trip. Thanks again.
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Old 07-23-2015, 09:45 AM   #30
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:39 PM   #31
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If you are into such things, I really enjoyed the "underground tour" in Port Angeles. See how they raised the road and left all the buildings in place leaving a level of storefronts under the streets. It is a tour held daily by a local historian. I did a similar tour in Seattle but enjoyed the PA one better.
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Old 07-24-2015, 10:46 AM   #32
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A restaurant recommendation in Port Angeles - Cafe Garden restaurant: features local seafood, and I found their seafood "pot pie" to die for! Seafood in a creamy lobster sherry sauce. Unforgettable! I just peeled off the puff pastry top. Also - it's a popular breakfast spot. Been around for a long time. Port Angeles Casual Dining - Port Angeles Restaurant
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Old 09-15-2015, 11:28 AM   #33
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Thank you all for your suggestions on this trip.

Here's what we did:

We landed in SEATAC, drove to Olympia and stayed just long enough to see the Capitol and take the tour (worth it!). Then we drove on to Quinault, where we stayed at the Quinault River Inn. Next night in Forks at the Huckleberry Cabins. From there, 2 nights at Port Angeles at the Olympic Inn. We then took the ferry to Victoria (leaving the car behind) and stayed there for 2 nights at the Helms Inn. Then a long day - back to Port Angeles on the ferry, picked up the car, drove to Port Townsend, took the ferry with car, to Whidby Island, drove to Anacortes and stayed 2 nights at the Marina Inn. We did a day trip to San Juan Island. Anacortes was our last stop on the peninsula.

All the hotes were reasonably good given the available options and prices. We were there just before and on labor day weekend. We loved the Salmon House restaurant in Quinault. The Cafe Garden must have been having a bad night - it was just okay. The A'Town bistro in Anacortes was great.

We loved the rain forests (Quinault, Hoh, Sol Duc), the Olympic mountains (which we never got to see because of the clouds ) the pacific beaches (esp Rialto), the Butchart Gardens (Victoria) and Victoria itself. Deception Pass State Park and the Dungeness Spit were disappointments - too crowded and not that interesting to us.

A tip if you plan to visit state parks in Washington. Get the Discover pass. It is just $30 and the state parks all charged $10 for the day. And of course, don't forget your National Park pass and your passport.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-15-2015, 12:25 PM   #34
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Now you need to visit Oregon...
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Old 09-15-2015, 03:07 PM   #35
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Nice update.

Coincidentally I'm readying this as I landed at SEATAC.
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Old 09-15-2015, 03:21 PM   #36
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Now you need to visit Oregon...
Visit is the operative word - being an old UW grad. We're headed that way probably though eastern Oregon and Portland on the way to the Olympic Peninsula to visit my Sister and then later to Glacier in Montana.

Although I still rooted for Oregon against Michigan State.

heh heh heh - The trip itinerary sounded good to me - given I was 26 yrs old before I realized Spokane wasn't in the suburbs of New York City.
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Old 09-15-2015, 03:57 PM   #37
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Glad you had a great time. You did and saw a lot!!! Sorry the Garden Cafe didn't work out for you.
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Old 09-16-2015, 10:10 AM   #38
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Sorry the Garden Cafe didn't work out for you.
Oh, no need for that!

We're still traveling. From the Olympic Peninsula we drove through Leavenworth (a faux alpine village) to Walla Walla (great wine tasting), and on to Spokane through the Palouse (beautiful even after the harvest). We were pleasantly surprised by Spokane - beautiful city.

Now, we're in Vancouver and will be here till we head back in about a week. One day in, and I already love V.

DW is advocating for shorter trips in the future
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Old 09-16-2015, 11:44 AM   #39
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Oh, no need for that!

We're still traveling. From the Olympic Peninsula we drove through Leavenworth (a faux alpine village) to Walla Walla (great wine tasting), and on to Spokane through the Palouse (beautiful even after the harvest). We were pleasantly surprised by Spokane - beautiful city.

Now, we're in Vancouver and will be here till we head back in about a week. One day in, and I already love V.

DW is advocating for shorter trips in the future
That is quite a trip, and it could have easily been split in too. It's a beautiful part of North America and you are visiting at a really good time of year.

Glad you caught some wine tasting at Walla Walla. The Columbia River Valley wines are our favorites!
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Old 09-17-2015, 03:03 PM   #40
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Victoria is a real gem but you won't be able to go for one day. There's only one ferry each way daily.

Here's the schedule
Ferry Travel.com - Book all major Alaska, BC & Washington Ferries plus most major European Ferry Crossings online.

I like to stay at the Union Club. It is a club with 22 rooms they open to the public. Prices are good and it's around the corner (or so) from the expensive Empress.
https://www.unionclub.com/

Last time I was there they didn't allow runners / sneakers so check on that.
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