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Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

Simi Valley...
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Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

Hello, and thanks in advance to any who can advise. We will be in Washington Tuesday, Sept. 4 thru Sat., Sept 8. We are driving from Oregon, up I-5 to Anacortes on Tuesday(the day after Labor Day.) We are thinking of making Anacortes our home base for three nights so we can take the ferry to San Juan Island one day and go whale watching one day. On Friday, Sept. 7, we will drive back down to Seattle to stay at the Mayflower Park Hotel. We are flying out of Seatac late Saturday afternoon, Sept 8. Now, the questions please...What time should we reach Seattle area Tuesday afternoon to drive through and beat the afternoon rush hour traffic? What is the BEST place to stay in Anacortes? As far as visiting the island, we plan to take our rental car on the ferry so we can explore. It being after Labor Day, can we expect a shorter wait time to get on the ferry? We want to enjoy the island all day, so we will do an all day whale watching trip the following day out of Anacortes area. Which whale watching company is better? Lastly, for our afternoon and last night in Seattle, we know we want to visit the space needle, but what else would you advise? Any recommendations are sincerely appreciated, and thanks again for taking the time to read my post!

Seattle
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1. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

--Get to Seattle as close to noon as possible to beat rush hour traffic. That's when the express lanes on I-5 reverse and starts heading north so you don't want to be passing through before noon as traffic tends to back up on I-5 north just south of downtown Seattle before the lanes reverse.

--SInce you are planning to take your car to the islands anyway, I'd stay in the San Juans rather than in Anacortes in order to really have the San Juans experience. Plus there are better accommodations and restaurants on the islands IMO.

--Generally 60-90 minutes is going to be enough wait time to catch the ferry but check the WA State Ferries website for updates.

--Pike Place Market is a must-see in Seattle.

Simi Valley...
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2. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

Thanks for your quick response Northwestwanderer! I will look into staying on the island. I was only thinking of Anacortes to have a "home base", but this may be a better option. I appreciate the traffic advise and Seattle suggestion too!

Seattle
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3. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

You're welcome--and I'd consider both Orcas and San Juan when you're looking at accommodations. If you like B&Bs my favorite in the San Juans is the Inn at Spring Bay on Orcas.

Seattle
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4. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

I agree with the time to start heading north to Anacortes. Orcas is a much better island than San Juan for things to do places to stay and dining. They also run numerous whale watching boats from Orcas Island. Anacortes is a great little town though with good restaurants and lodging. The ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island is in my opinion the best of the Washington State Ferry rides.

You chose a great Seattle hotel the Mayflower Park, has one of the best Martini Bars in Seattle. and very close to all the attractions including the Pike Place Market. Two blocks north from the Mayflower Park you will find several restaurants owned by our local celebrity chef Tom Douglas along with my favorite the Icon Restaurant, and if you like Italian, Assaggios.

Below, I have sent you the links to to the Washington State ferry system. you are still arriving in the late summer I would double the amount of wait time for a ferry to the San Juan's that time of year.

…wa.gov/ferries/schedules/current/index.cfm…

Have a great time in Washington

Ron

World Class Travel Inc. Seattle WA.

Simi Valley...
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5. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

Thank you for your input NorthwestLocal, Ron! A couple more questions if I may please...what time does afternoon rush hour occur thru Seattle? What I am looking to do is pass thru in the afternoon, before rush hour. Also, as far as possible lodging in Anacortes, I think I have narrowed it down to two. The Ship Harbor Inn looks nice, especially for it's location and views. Though more expensive, the Majestic Inn looks good as well. Which of the two is a better property in your opinion? I really appreciate the ferry info, and will be researching all of the islands. My gratitude again for all of your help!

Washington
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6. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

Ship Harbor Inn is rustic and funky, great location for quiet and catching the ferry next morning. Majestic is upscale and posh, but still in a great older building for some aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.

Simi Valley...
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7. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

Thank you Ipz12! I appreciate your reply.

Anacortes...
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8. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

I would go with the Majestic....it is right downtown with all the food and entertainment...Ship Harbor's only advantage is being close to the ferry terminal...not much else close...Leave some time to explore Anacortes too....it is a great town with lots of galleries and parks to play in

Longview, Washington
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9. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

Rush hour in Seattle is 24/7--the truck drivers hate it! Afternoons between 3 and 7 are the worst, but since there are at least 2 of you, just get in the HOV lane and stay there until it runs out.

Simi Valley...
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10. Re: Can't wait to visit Washington!!! Need some advice please.

Thanks for your input Kitters and jet72(and again, to all of you who have replied.) I really appreciate your help!