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travel advice, please

Westfield, New...
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travel advice, please

We are thinking of traveling from the east coast to Seattle sometime this summer. Neither of us has ever been to the area. So many questions.....

We would of course like to see the major sites of Seattle, and the websites and tour books provide all the info necessary for that. But, would also like to see sites further away, such as Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. I assume we need a renntal car to get there, and to plan at least one night near St. Rainier so we can do some hiking, rather than just a drive around the park? Also would like to see Olympic National Park. And perhaps the San Juan Island area. Is a car needed to get around there as well? Should we plan to stay one night there?

I am estimating visiting for about 7 days (not including the travel days) - is this doable? Or too crazy and exhausting. I was orignially thinking of adding Portland as well since it does not look far from the parks, but I think that would be too much to see and experience everything we would like to see.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Renton, WA
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1. Re: travel advice, please

Welcome! July and August are our best months, closely followed by September. You will need a car in order to visit Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Olympic National Park; you will not need a car in Seattle.

ONP deserves a minimum of two days, first because it is HUGE and second because it is several hours away from Seattle. ONP is a park that is accessible only from its exterior...IOW, highway 101 takes you around the park but to penetrate it you have to leave 101 and drive in. You should at least see Hurricane Ridge, which is just outside of Port Angeles, and the ocean beaches. That's the reason for the two-day suggestion. Going to the San Juans involves ferry travel, and I'm not sure that you have sufficient time to visit the islands if you are going to hit the other sites. Go to www. kaleberg.com for lots of good information about ONP.

Rainier is a day trip from Seattle. St. Helens is a LONG day trip from Seattle, but you have the late sunsets on your side. Portland would be impossible if you intend to do anything more than just drive past things.

Do some googling, read some guide books, and come back with more specific questions.

You're gonna love it!

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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2. Re: travel advice, please

7 days are nowhere near enough for all the destinations you mention. Pick 2. It's really too late to plan a trip to the San Juans, unless you could delay your trip until after Labor Day. You can do Mt. St. Helens as a day trip from Seattle, albeit a long one with no time for hiking. You can do Mt. Rainier as an overnight; this will allow a little time for hiking. ONP requires at least 3 nights if you really would like to hike, and more would be better.

Let's talk about the San Juans. Truly, I think you are a little late to be planning a trip there. They are understandably limited in terms of lodging, and it takes a long time to reach them in the summer. If you do go, find lodging now, and plan to stay at least two nights.

Two things leaped out at me from your post. One, you really would like to hike. This is great. The PNW is one of the premier hiking destinations in the world. Two, you have absolutely no clue as to the size of this enormous region and the long, long time it can take to get around here. Not only do you have to contend with vast distances, you also have to deal with crossing bodies of water. Bridges, ferries, and two lane highways of the kind that access ONP can become real bottlenecks.

Eliminate the San Juans and choose Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens and Seattle, or choose Seattle and ONP, or choose the San Juans and Seattle. Don't try for more.

Green Valley...
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3. Re: travel advice, please

Yes, you really have to pare back for the reasons noted.

If you decide to go to Olympic National Park, you have several routes - one of which is the ferry (reservations urged) from Coupeville on Whidbey Island. You can sight-see and drive the length of WI, return to Coupeville, ferry to Port Townsend, go from there.

Whidbey Island WI is a great day or more getaway with many features of the Pacific NW; this TA article includes key websites, tours, maps. tripadvisor.com/Travel-g58824-s2/Whidbey-Isl…

On Whidbey Island, an easy hike, Ebey’s Landing State Park Dramatic, easy, trail, farmland to the east, Puget Sound and the Olympics to the west. http://tinyurl.com/3c8zrnc

Edited: 27 May 2013, 02:42
Seattle
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4. Re: travel advice, please

Yes you need a rental car to do any of what you are thinking about. In one week you could go to Mt. Rainer, Mt. St. Helen, and thru the Olympic Peninsula (with quite a bit of driving). OR you could go to the San Juan islands. That's way too much ground to try to cover in only 7 days. And the San Juans required both rental car and taking ferries, so while it's not a great distance (~3 hours drive0 it can take a bit of extra time to get from here to there.

suze

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: travel advice, please

I am also interested in traveling to San Juan this summer. Why do you think it is too late to travel here? Are all of the hotels booked?

western WA
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6. Re: travel advice, please

Yes, jas.

Green Valley...
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7. Re: travel advice, please

jas, do us all a favor, including you, and begin your own thread. Post your plans and ideas so we won't confuse your needs with another poster. You might find lodging on one of the 3 major islands, but you'll need to start calling now. Tell us how much time you have for this area.

Edited: 04 June 2013, 04:52
San Juan Island...
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8. Re: travel advice, please

Jas, it's not too late to book lodgings most days even in the summer here in the San Juans as there are so many small hotels, B&Bs and other lodging choices. Here on Tripadvisor you can see most of them at tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g58727-San_Juan_Islan… where you can enter the dates you wish to come and see which lodgings have vacancies and the prices.

Minneapolis...
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9. Re: travel advice, please

Wow..I didn't realize that posting a small relevant follow-up question to another post under this thread would be so offensive to some! Cold reception from people who I had assumed would want to portray their home city and its people in a positive light.

In any event, I do appreciate your assistance, Drifting Clouds! This does seem like a good resource. Thanks for your help!

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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10. Re: travel advice, please

It is not offensive, but it is bad form to hijack another thread. It is also counterproductive. Posters get confused, and threads can become so complicated that no one knows who is answering what question.