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Seattle and Victoria in December

Honolulu, Hawaii
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Seattle and Victoria in December

I am bringing my family of four along with two extended family members to visit in the middle of December for about 12 days. Our purpose is to experience winter since Hawaii doesn't have snow, and doesn't get truly cold. Why choose to experience unpleasant weather? We are intending to leave Hawaii in a few years and move to the Kitsap penninsula and wanted to experience the best and the worst weather. We visited last year in June for about 8 days, spending the first three in Vancouver and then the remainder in Seattle. We had a great time then, and got to see most of the recommended sights in both places.

For this upcoming trip, my main concern is driving a rented minivan in the winter. I know that chains are not allowed on rentals, and having not driven in snow before I wouldn't want do it anyway. Driving on wet roads isn't a big concern to me (it rained for a month straight in 2006 here in Honolulu - the year my older son was born) provided it isn't icy. However, we do want to see and play in some snow. Our itinerary is as follows: we are once again flying into Sea-Tac, renting a minivan and then driving to Port Angeles via Tacoma/Bremerton/Hood Canal way to catch the Coho Ferry to Victoria where we will stay for two nights. Then we plan catch the BC Ferry to Tsawwassen and drive back to Seattle that way with the intention of stopping at some outlets for shopping. We'll be staying in the Lake Union area again while in Seattle. Our intentions are to visit Craigdarroch Castle during the day and Butchart Gardens in the evening while in Victoria, and then in Seattle visiting the Space Needle again, maybe Woodland Park Zoo again, the Flying Heritage Collection again, doing a lot of shopping in various places such as Bellevue (and seeing the Christmas decorations), and visiting Silverdale to scope out the area as far as houses, schools, etc. So far, it seems like Snoqualmie is our best bet for snow as far as our limitations go (no chains = no icy roads), unless there is another place more easily accessed with snow (we're not going to ski or snowboard, just play in the snow).

I'm looking for any tips or advice primarily on carrying out our plans in the winter. We are hoping that the weather will be like it was earlier this year as opposed to January of 2012 when it snowed.

Green Valley...
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1. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

" (it rained for a month straight in 2006 here in Honolulu..." Big smile, you certainly won't be disappointing here!

Agree re: Snoqualmie Pass.

Couple of things to see in that season, ZooLights at the Tacoma Zoo and Leavenworth, weather/snow on Stevens Pass, Route 2, willing.

Edited: 21 June 2013, 23:08
Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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2. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

Nooooo! You are going to miss a wonderful, unforgettable chance to enjoy the most beautiful snowy scenery in Western Washington, Hurricane Ridge. And you will be right there. Spend several nights in Port Angeles after coming back on the Coho from Victoria. Either rent a house for your extended family or stay in a local motel. Frolic on Hurricane Ridge. You can snowshoe or just trudge around and have snowball flights. It is gorgeous up there. Then you can drive out to Lake Crescent, the Dungeness Spit, Sol Duc Falls, or even the Hoh Rain Forest. Don't give up the chance to see Olympic National Park. Port Angeles is wonderful at Christmas time.

Honolulu, Hawaii
6 posts
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3. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

kaleberg, I actually had Olympic National Park in mind for snow, but we're going to save that for another trip later on. Or when we relocate.

Port Angeles, WA
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4. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

Ah, well, another time. You will be right at the foot of Hurricane Ridge when you come off the Victoria ferry, however.

Des Moines, Iowa
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5. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

I'm not a Seattle expert but I recently returned from my first trip there, a 6 day visit. You could get by without renting a car, based on the way you describe your plans. If you take a cab ($40) or train (much less) to the downtown area, you'll be within easy walking distance of the port (and Pike Place Market, which you don't want to miss). I stayed at Red Lion Hotel downtown btw, about $100/night, which was good if that fits your budget.

Don't miss Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) and Chihuly Gardens unless you absolutely don't have the time. I'd see those two sites (plus Pike Place Market) before anything else.

As for the boat ride to Victoria, again, it seemed to me like renting a car was unnecessary and probably unwise. A tour bus went to Buchart Gardens and seemed to be the simplest way to get there.

Alberta
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6. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

LOL, I truly wish all my years of winter experience were in the Seattle and Victoria areas. You haven't experienced winter until its 40 below, you have to fight the snow bank that's blocking your front door, and you are scraping ice off the windshield once you've shovelled a path to the vehicle. Just remember to put your hood up if you are making snow angels and don't put your tongue against metal or pretty icicles.

Newberg, Oregon
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7. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

You're absolutely right, cdar. Growing up in NW Illinois, Even 50-plus years later I remember REAL winter (in my high school years, we had 10 straight days when the temperature was on the minus side of zero around the clock.) We chewed on ice cubes to warm up! :-D

Nowadays, I have to chuckle when Portland or Seattle seem to grind to a halt when they get 2 inches of snow.

Edited: 23 June 2013, 04:27
Honolulu, Hawaii
6 posts
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8. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

Seattle's mild climate is one of the reasons why we are considering relocating to there. When you grow up somewhere the temperatures never get below the upper 50's in January, it's a significant shock to attempt to relocate to a place like say, Nebraska.

Poulsbo, Washington
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9. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

Sammodile they are moving here and want to experience what it is like to live here! So rent a car. Tel I live on the Kitsap Penninsula and commute to Seattle if you need any guidance.

Honolulu, Hawaii
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10. Re: Seattle and Victoria in December

Thanks glaciermeadows, I appreciate your offer. You commute daily to work in Seattle? That's a long drive to us - about an hour via the Tacoma Narrows right?