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Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

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Norman, OK
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Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

We are rethinking our loop from Seattle to SJI to Victoria and back via Port Angeles since we have only five days and the more I'm reading, the more the ferry (loading/unloading) time concerns me.

I'm looking for other options. I've read many posts about the amazing scenic tour of the San Juans and it makes us really want to visit SJI, although may be too much in the time we have.

Since we're starting in Seattle for a couple of days (10/21), we could take the clipper (or seaplane) into Victoria.

qs - Anyway to take a one day boat tour from Victoria to SJI in October (for a reasonable fair, I should add)?

We are looking at a whale watching tour (maybe Eagle since it is listed as #2 on TA)...although if we can find a service to whale watch and go to Friday Harbor for a one day tour that might be better.

We want to see Port Townsend, and drive up to Hurricane Ridge. Also, we may opt for Whidbey in lieu of SJI due to our time constraints...?

Need a little more guidance. I appreciate your thoughts...I usually am over zealous on my trip plans, not wanting to miss a thing. But need to be practical in the end.

We plan to return with more time in the near future with kids - this is just a quick get away to get a feel for the area as a couple.

Bellevue, WA
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1. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

You could spend more than 5 days in any one of those spots. Why spend all your time traveling and crossing borders?

If you haven't spent time in Seattle before, stop right there. There is plenty of scenic beauty right in Seattle. We just did the Argosy cruise out to Tillicum Village on Blake Island today. Magnificent weather and great boat trip.

If you've done Seattle, choose one of Port Townsend, the San Juans, or Victoria and spend 5 days in one spot.

seattle
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2. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

as a side note please don't look at attractions based on ratings. A brand new company that gets 4 or 5 good recommendations puts it at the top of the list. Its easily scewed so that some very well known tours or attractions aren't highly rated and ones that no one has ever heard of make it to the top of the list. Prince of Whales in Victoria is a great company.

Seattle
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3. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

I think either = Seattle+San Juan Islands, Seattle+Whidbey, OR Seattle+Olympic peninsula, Seattle+Victoria any ONE of those combos would be OK for a short trip.

I definitely don't think Seattle, San Juan Island, Victoria, Port Angeles, Hurrican Ridge, back to Seattle is do-able in only 5 short days. I guess technically you could manage to drive it, but there wouldn't be much time allowed to DO anything in each place!

Davie, Florida
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4. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

go to www.googlearth.com and look things over to help decide.

Washington
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5. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

As a TA newbie, you have been given good advice to gather infomation, read the rankings as well as any advice with a bit of reserve. It's not that the information isn't good or valuable - TA is an incredible resource - it is just that the standard for a review varies quite a bit, depending on the writers and a whole bunch of factors. Rightly or wrongly, I stopped doing reviews because I felt there were too many inconsistencies and interpretations for how individuals rated properties. That said, I find the narratives give good tidbits and are quite helpful as I make my decision.

I too, think your plan is a bit ambitious, and would also recommend just two key areas. Traveling without kids - what type of accommodations are you looking for? Romance? Price point? Style? If you have the $$, flying on Kenmore Air via float plane to either the San Juans or Victoria is a good time saver, and a nice way to get a bird's eye view of the area. That said, it is also not necessary. A possible loop tour could include Seattle, Whidbey Island, ferry over to the Olympic Peninsula on the Keystone Ferry to Port Townsend, then back to Seattle via Bainbridge ferry.

Berea, Ohio
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6. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

ouscope4, especially given that you've stated that this is a getaway " to get a feel for the area as a couple", I'd affirm the previous postings that you scale back your agenda and allow yourselves time to savor your five days. When you return with your kids, you can focus on filling every moment if you like, but why not let this trip be about experiencing a new place a bite at a time rather than stuffing down as much as you can possibly hold. My series of day-by-day trip reports offer some idea of how we chose to do that. Even with nine days, we accepted that we wouldn't be doing everything we might like and focused on being fully present to take in what we comfortably could.

Norman, OK
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7. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

Thanks to all for your input! I do agree that our original agenda is quite ambitious and probably create a little too much stress with the travel time, ferries, etc.

I have used TA for several years, but only in reading reviews and forums - first trip to post to the forum. There is just so much in the Seattle area that make it challenging to see - and with such little time there - we want to make the most of it.

I understand the skewing of the ratings - David, we'll definitely take a look at the Prince of Whales tour in Victoria, thanks for the info. I read some of the postings under the Eagle Whale tours and liked their guarantee of whale sightings and 95-98% success rate. If I had to pick one thing it would have to be a whale tour...that is such an inspiration to me.

Katzgar - google earth is a great tool and a key factor in me coming to my senses, no doubt.

Suze/Pat- I like your suggestions and am going to work on a new itinerary - that will allow us time to enjoy the area and not simply just move from place to place.

I cannot imagine traveling without a GPS or the valuable information available on TA. Getting involved with the forum has added an even greater depth to our travels. Only problem is, well.... it is quite addictive! Back to planning...

Washington
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8. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

ouscope4,

Keep us posted as you plan. Because whale watching is an important activity for you, know that that the sighting percentage can drop you roll into October.

For another option look at Island Adventures out of Anacortes

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

For additional information on whales in the northwest, look at Orca Network, http://www.orcanetwork.org/

Seattle area
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9. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

ourscope4, you are wise to rethink your itinerary. Also, ONP at the end of Oct. may not be feasible to go to H.R. October can be quite blustery. Now you may want to take a day trip to Victoria on the clipper. That would be fun. You'll have fun what ever you do.

Norman, OK
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10. Re: Five days...rethinking Seattle, Victoria, ONP...SJI?

Would it be better to spend one night in Victoria to have two days there (using the Clipper) or just do the trip in one day?

We could stay two nights in Seattle, take the Clipper on Friday morning, return Saturday pm, staying one night in Victoria. Then have three more nights in Seattle giving us one full day Sunday and Monday to make day trips. Like Port Townsend one day, taking the Bainbridge ferry back to Seattle at night. Depending on the weather we could decide on what to do with the other day based on some of your suggestions.

I appreciate all your input! I am beginning to think the planning part of traveling is almost as fun as the actual travel :). Thanks!