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Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

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Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

Hello,

My family is starting to plan our trip to WA for late July 2014. There will be five of us, including three children ages 8-11. My husband and I did live in Seattle for a couple of years but it has been almost 15 years since we've been back.

We are just starting to plan out our route and I'd love to get feedback on our first thoughts. We want to concentrate on the National Parks, with a few days in Seattle as well. We are hoping to do a lot of hiking, but probably will keep most of the the hikes to about 3 miles or less. We are most unfamiliar with ONP, as we never made it past Hurricane Ridge. I know that there is a lot of driving and I'm not sure how much time to plan for other parts of that park. (You can see that I'm fuzzy about what to do when there!)

Here are our first thoughts:

Day 1: Arrive late in the day (7 pm??) from the east coast, stay in hotel near airport?

Day 2: Drive to Mt. Rainier, spend day exploring, overnight at hotel near Rainier

Day 3: Second day at Mt. Rainier, overnight at hotel near Rainier.

Day 4: Leave Mt. Rainier area early and drive to Mt St Helens. Overnight either near Mt. St. Helens or drive part of the way towards next destination

Day 5: Olympic National Park, overnight Lake Quinault area??

Day 6: Olympic National Park, overnight Lake Crescent area?

Day 7: Hurricane Ridge, overnight Port Angeles

Day 8: Dungeness Spit, ferry, Boeing tour (too much?), overnight in Seattle

Day 9: Seattle

Day 10: Seattle

Day 11: depart airport early afternoon

Do you think this plan is reasonable? Too aggressive? We'd love to add in the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island, North Cascades, etc. but I don't think we have nearly enough time to do so. We want to ensure we have enough time to really enjoy the days we have planned.

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

Renton, WA
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1. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

Lower your expectations. There are lodgings near Rainier but none that rise to the level of "hotel."

Google Ashford + lodgings.

Poulsbo, Washington
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2. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

I will tell you right now you have not allowed enough time for Olympic. You will spend time driving and have no time for hiking. On top of that you are allowing no time for the Olympic Coast. Your plan is more of a drive by. With such a short visit to Wa. and what you have on your itinerary, I would skip Olympic. It deserves four nights to really experience all it has to offer.

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3. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

I shouldn't have said hotel, I understand (for the most part) what is available.

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback!

western WA
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4. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

You could easily get to Lake Quinault on Day 4 after Mt. St.H.

Dungeness Spit makes that day a long one, depending on how far you walk. It is not as interesting as some walks are for kids.

Might want to spend the prior night in Port Townsend. Explore Fort Worden in the evening, then get up for breakfast and the ferry. I don't think getting the Boeing tour in that day is too much -- you'll be right there!

I think you could also move a day from Mt Rainier to ONP, but I think what you have is decent for a short family trip. You'll just have to prioritize what you are going to do. Rialto Beach for four hours around low tide should be planned around.

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5. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

Trying again at an itinerary, after more research. I know that realistically we could spend the whole trip in any of these locations and not run out of things to do.

Glaciermeadows, you recommended skipping ONP but we really would love to see it. Does this schedule make any more sense?

Thanks again for any feedback.

Friday, July 11th - Fly in to SeaTac, Overnight near SeaTac or Renton

Saturday, July 12th- day in Seattle, Overnight in Seattle or Renton (would like Seattle but thinking about minimizing jumping from hotel to hotel whenever possible)

Sunday July 13th - Drive to Mt Rainier (1.5-2 hours), Rainier: Grove of the Patriarchs, Sunrise + hike, maybe Paradise, Overnight: Paradise or Ashford, <Note: Would love to avoid Rainier on a weekend>

Monday July 14th - Rainier – Paradise + hike, all of the stops along the road to Paradise, Overnight: Paradise or Ashford

Tuesday, July 15th - Drive to Mt. St. Helens (2 hours?), Mt. St. Helens (visitor centers open 10-6), Drive to Lake Quinault (3 hours?), Overnight at Lake Quinault <Too much for this day?>

Wednesday, July 16th - Drive from LQ to Hoh Rainforest (~2 hours), Spend day exploring Hoh (Hall of Mosses Trail, Hoh River Trail), Drive to LaPush (~1.5 hour), Overnight Quilleute River Resort or Oceanside Resort

Thursday, July 17th- Low tide: 11:02 am, -0.54 ft, Explore Second Beach & Rialto Beach, Overnight Quilleute River Resort or Oceanside Resort

Friday, July 18th- Low tide: 11:52 am, 0.28 ft, Drive to Lake Crescent (1.5 hours), (skip Sol Duc), Drive to Port Angeles (0.5 hours), Hurricane Ridge (~ 1 hour drive), Hike Hurricane Hill, Overnight Port Angeles or Lake Crescent

Saturday, July 19th - Morning around Lake Crescent or Port Angeles, Drive back to Seattle (3 hours), Evening in Seattle

Sunday, July 20th - Seattle

Monday, July 21st - Fly to next location of trip

Edited: 21 October 2013, 15:13
Poulsbo, Washington
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6. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

That is better, but I would make some changes. I personally would skip that first day in Seattle and save it for the National Parks. You are not going to be able to see that much in one day. Why not just save it for your last day. Or considering you are getting to Rainier early as far as snow levels go, maybe cut a day at Rainier. If you get clear weather the drive around the Park will be spectacular, but due to snow on the higher trails your hiking will be limited. I would only be guessing, but it will take you more than two hours to get to Quinault from St. Helens. It will be a long day, but is doable. I would try and spend a full day at Quinault. Most people only think of the Lodge and the Lake when thinking about Quinault. This is rainforest every bit as beautiful as the Hoh. Also more trails to access in a relatively small area. I did a trail last week, where I saw the largest number of giant Douglas Firs (my favorite tree) on one trail. and I have been hiking the Olympics since the 70's.

Another suggestion would be to catch low tide at Ruby Beach on your way to the Hoh. It stays light very late in July. That way you could get an earlier start on Friday. A whole day for Rialto and Second Beach on Thursday will give you plenty of time for the beaches. I personally would rather get an early start and include Sol Duc Falls. You can always change your plans at the last minute. There is no guarantee that it will be clear on the Ocean.

Also keep in mind that there is no way of predicting if you can get to Hurricane Hill that early. I hope you can!

western WA
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7. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

I think it is a very good plan.

On your way back to Seattle you could fit in the Boeing factory if you went by way of PT and Clinton / Mukilteo. No need to make that day so bare unless you want to hurry to the city to start touring there.

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8. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

Thanks again for the feedback.

Ainwa, we would love to do the Boeing tour, but I think one of my children will be about 1" below the height requirement! So we'll have to see how much she grows this year I guess.

We were thinking of spending the first day in Seattle to cut down on the travel time that day, since we'd have spent many hours on an airplane the day before. Also, we wanted to avoid Rainier on a weekend if possible. (The way I posted above does include a weekend day though.)

Glaciarmeadows, when you say get an early start and include Sol Duc Falls, do you mean do that on the same day as the beaches, or Hurricane Ridge? I'm assuming you mean on that Friday.

Thanks for the tips about Lake Quinault. It sounds amazing! It is so hard to try to balance the time. I'm hesitant to cut down on Mt. Rainier because we spent so much time there when we lived in WA, but I am forgetting about the snow that will still be around for the hikes (there and at Hurricane Ridge).

Poulsbo, Washington
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9. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

Yes I am talking about Friday. Remember even if you can get to Hurricane Hill, you still have time to stop at Sol Duc Falls.

Port Angeles, WA
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10. Re: Early itinerary planning - July 2014 for 10 days

I think that this is a good itinerary with the exception of Tuesday, July 15. You have underestimated driving times for all of your destinations on this day. It takes hours to reach the Johnston Ridge Observatory, and it will take more than 3 hours (possibly a lot more) to reach Lake Q from the observatory. I think GoogleMaps is too optimistic with their time estimates for the region. I was thrilled by MSH during my visit, and I regret suggesting you skip it, but I think you would have a better trip if you did.

Make sure you book your lodgings at LaPush and Lake Crescent early. Your choices are good, but these place fill up far n advance. This year Hurricane Hill opened up in early June. By mid-July you should be able to hike the trail; at worst there may be a drift in the one long shady stretch. Look for avalanche lilies there.