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Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

Miami Beach, Florida
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Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

My husband and I are traveling to the Seattle / Portland area for two weeks in June. (we are healthy seniors in our 60's) Our priority is to see wildlife both on land and at sea. (in particular Orca's). In the cities we like to take walking tours and bus tours. We like history, architeture, and local sites. We are not night people. Our budget is around $200 /day. Our tentitive itinerary is to arrive via plane & rent a car in Seattle stay for two night. Then Mt Rainer, stay over night then to Portland for two nights. Next up the coast to the Quinoitt area for a night, then Olympic national park for two nights, either staying on the grounds or near the north entrance. After that we thought we'd go to Victoria for a day or two, then San Juan Islands (Orca Island and Friday Harbor - one night each). Finally back to Seattle for a night and then fly out. Does this sound reasonable? If so, any suggestions on where to stay? ( we like B&Bs or small inns or lodges that have breakfast included -avg around $100-125). We like to try local food. (We often stop at the Road Food book sites). If it sounds like too much in too short a time, what should we change or not do? 2 weeks is the Maximum. Thanks for any help we can get. :)

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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1. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

It's too much. There have been a lot of threads recently about multi-site trips in the PNW, and the experts always give the same advice: cut back. Frankly, I'm exhausted just thinking of all the driving in this trip. Go to Googlemaps and punch in some of your destinations, then add 20% to their estimate. Then read up on the ferry crossings you would need to do in order to get to Victoria and the San Juans. ONP is huge and very spread out, so it takes a lot of driving to get from site to site.

How much are you prepared to hike? Would you enjoy a kayaking trip? Are you looking for scenic drives?

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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2. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

Doable, but it is a lot of moving around. One suggestion would be skip Portland. That would save some time and driving. Also if you want to see Orcas (never a sure thing) you could do that from Port Townsend, which is on the Olympic Penninsula and a nice small town. Most lodges here do not include breakfast. I would spend two nites at Quinault. Thereare several nice nature walks in rainforest, and 30 minutes north is lovely Ruby Beach for tidepools or a sunset. The San Juans are great,but it does take some time and effort to get there. If you skip Portland you would have more time. Seeing wildlife in Olympic National Park is harder then in other Parks. This is an area of dense forests. Animals are easily camouflaged in the woods. Best time to see them is at dusk and especially early in the morning. June is early for the mountains as there will still be plenty of snow. Especially at Rainier. The weather is a mixed bag here in June. The good news is the forests are at their best although potentially damp. Seattle is great for food, but I can not say that for Rainier or the Olympic Penninsula. I do like the food at lake Quinault Lodge and in Port Townsend. Lookup lodging for Mt. Rainier National Park Ashford. There are some nice places to stay there. Kaleberg csn recommend some nice B and B's in Port Angeles. Again keep in mind June is not yet our Summer!

Oregon
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3. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

Hate to say this, but agree skip Portland. You seem to be interested in Wash sites. You did not mention Columbia Gorge or Oregon coast which could be good reasons to go to Portland.

Oregon
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4. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

Both San Juans and Olympic NP take a lot of time. With ferries to SJ and ONP is really not a drive by place.

seattle
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for Seattle
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5. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

if youur going to go to Pdx then you need more time. Major attraction would be Columbia Gorge trip--one day, a drive up to Timberline lodge might be done in the same day. A drive to Cannon Beach is wonderful but you need a day. If your interested int he coast then oregon's is much more interesting than Washingtons.

Miami Beach, Florida
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6. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

So, if I do want to see the Columbia Gorge and the Oragon coast, and Orca's does it make sense to skip the San Juan Islands but still do Victoria (which I hear is lovely) see the Orca's on a whale watching tour and possibly from Olympic peninsula? To see the Oregon sites I thought I could drive from Mt Rainer via the gorge to Portland and then from Portland via the coast to Quinault. My husband and I often take driving trips of about 6 hours between destinations and did so last year in Nova Scotia for 8 days. If doing all that in the Seattle/Portland area still seems like too much, what do you suggest I skip. Keep in mind this will probably be our only trip to this area.

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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7. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

There is another way of doing this. You are going to get all kinds of suggestions on visiting Oregon and or Washington. Do not try and do too much! Concentrate on one state or the other! Realize parts of these drives are not scenic! Is flying into Seattle and out of Portland an option? One scenario.

Seattle for 2 nites ferry to Port Angeles -visit Hurricane Ridge spend the nite

Bainbridge Ferry to Port Angeles -visit Hurricane Ridge spend the nite PA

Ferry from PA to Victoria -do not really need the car could park it in Port Angeles

Victoria 3 nites including Whale watching for Orcas

Returnt to Port Angeles and head west visiting Lake Crescent and SolDuc Falls

Spend the nite in Forks

Next day visit Rialto Beach and the Hoh Rainforest

Spend the nite at lake Quinault 2nites

Explore Quinault Valley and Rainforest

Head for Mt. Rainier spend the nite

Spend day in Mt. Rainier Nat. Park (there will still be snow at higher elevations)

Drive to Portand via Interstate 5 south 3 nites including day at Columbia Gorge

One scenario if you really want to include Victoria and Whale whatching. Again I do not know your priorities! The Olympic National Park Beaches are wild and stunning! This is way more driving than I would want to do, but this is the way some people like to travel. Also keep in mind in June the Oregon and Wa. beaches can be cloudy and cool and possibly wet!

Edited: 08 March 2012, 16:53
Miami Beach, Florida
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8. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

Can I arrive airport at 1:30 and get to Friday Harbor that same day. If so, how? then spend two nights in Friday Harbor and two nights on Orca Island (in Orcas)? then ferry to ONP (Port Townsand) stay there one night and then Fork one night and then quinault two nights. next Protland two nights, then do the Columbia gorge and then to timberline lodge and Mount Rainer. Then back to Seattle for two nights and fly out in the afternoon.

Does this make sense or does it make more sense to head to Mt Rainier and the timberline lo/dge the first night and do a clockwise rather than counter clockwise circle.

Thanks for your help. The trip sounds exciting. By the way, we don't mind driving about 6 hours on drive days.

Danville, California
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9. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

Hi,

Our trip list from last September covers the same route in 16 days with a few exceptions (Willamette Valley instead of Portland). There are maps and suggestions that should help with your planning.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i27766-Seattle_…

No, arriving at 1:30 and trying to reach Friday Harbor would not be advised. Too hectic and besides there are other attractions to enjoy! For instance, I would take the Boeing Plant tour, ferry to Whidbey Island, early evening dinner in Langley (walk the nice town), plenty of daylight to stop and explore Deception Pass and spend the night in Anacortes. Take early ferry to Orca Island for 1 or 2 nights....etc

Happy Planning!

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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10. Re: Road trip Seattle, Portland and back to Seattle

You are still trying to do way way to much. This would be an exhausting trip with little reward. Something has to give big time! Those of us that live here have done these drives countless times. Parts of your drive are long and not even scenic! You are trying to cover too large an area in too little time!