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July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

massachusetts
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July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

I'm totally overwhelmed trying to figure this out. We are arriving at Seatac noon on 7/29/14, attending a wedding in the evening 8/2 in Seattle, flying out early am on 8/7. Plan to rent a car. Wish list includes Olympic Ntl Park, San Juan Island and day trip to Mt St Helens. We're really more nature people than city people. What order should we do this in? How much time in each place? I hear horror stories about taking cars to San Juan Island so am willing to ditch the car for that segment if advised. Any advice would be most appreciated.

seattle
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1. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

Hi, don't get overwhelmed. Its a wonderful area to explore. First I might suggest you only need post once as most people answer questions in Washington besides each specific area. I think your emphasis should be on ONP and San Juan since they are in the same area and easier to do. You honestly need a car to explore these islands. You can do a day trip to San Juan Island from Seattle

clippervacations.com

but driving you can explore various area. I think you would need a two day minimum to explore ONP and I may suggest saving MTH for another time. Your heading 50 miles north of Seattle to get the ferry and MSH is 100 miles south of downtown to the exit plus another 45 miles driving up the mountain. You'd be going in two opposite directions and for 'nature' you can't beat the SJI and ONP. There are a few ONP experts who will offer you some advice, but I think sticking to one area will make your logistics a whole lot easier. Perhaps add Mt. Baker if there is time

Washington
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2. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

Do you have pre-wedding functions you need to attend on 7/30, 7/31, & 8/1 or are those days yours to explore? Where is the wedding - downtown Seattle or elsewhere in the area? A car is most

Know that those dates are usually ideal for summer in Seattle, so tourist and summer vacation areas will be busy, busy. But that's ok, just do what you are doing and plan in advance. A rental car is most helpful, even in the San Juan Islands, but you can make that choice as you narrow your plans. Seafair weekend is Aug 1-3, and the Blue Angels are once again scheduled to fly in the airshow over Lake Washington yeah!). The Parade of Ships is July 30.

Port Angeles, WA
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3. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

Before we get into the gritty details let me echo a point that Davidgmg made: don't try to do too much. If you are nature people, you will not enjoy spending most of your vacation in a car. You don't have enough time to do ONP, which is an enormous park with a somewhat ungainly layout, Mt. St. Helen's, and the San Juans. Many, perhaps most, visitors to the PNW underestimate the enormous scale of this region and the time it takes to cross all those bodies of water. Bridges, ferries, and two lane highways can all become time consuming bottlenecks. Cut out at least one destination and concentrate on enjoying the others.

If you want to visit ONP, plan on at least two nights. Three or more would be better. Do not try a lightening visit; the park does not reward drive-bys. ONP, has few scenic drives and is a hiker's park in every way. It is a magnificent wilderness and a sublime destination, well worth spending as much time as you can, but you do need to plan carefully.

Could you write back with a little more information about what you would like to see and do? How much hiking are you looking to do? Do you want to kayak?

massachusetts
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4. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

Thank you all for responding. Davidgmg & Kaleberg, I appreciate your candor about trying to fit too much in. One of my main goals in going to the San Juans is to see Orcas so maybe a day trip or one overnight on Clipper is my best option? My husband really wants to go to Mt St Helens......Thats a long day trip from Seattle, right?

If we were to do a day trip to San Juan from Seattle with a whale watch, thus avoiding Anacortes, and a day trip to Mount St Helens, does that still make it too rushed? Honest opinion...... We're only interested in a day to day and a half in Seattle around the time of the wedding.

Kaleberg - we do like to kayak on flat water. My husband wants to do an afternoon of fly fishing. We love to hike but probably need to limit it to 5-6 miles a day.

IslandGirl - As far as we know, we're just attending the wedding. Thanks for the heads up about Seafair weekend. I would assume it will impact our weekend in Seattle even if we don't go to any of the festivities?

Again, thanks to you all for your valuable input.

Washington
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5. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

Hi darma's mom,

I do agree with kaleberg and davidgmg, that you need to narrow your focus which I why I asked about your actual commitments for the wedding. If Mt. St. Helens is a "must" then build a portion of your trip around that. If seeing Orcas, and/or kayaking in the San Juan Islands are a priority then start there.

There are several day kayak tour options in the San Juan Islands, and even for experienced kayakers, that's what I would recommend for visitors to the area.

http://www.sanjuankayak.com

http://www.sanjuansafaris.com

sea-quest-kayak.com/kayaking-san-juan-island…

To get to the San Juan Islands, you can take the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes (car & passenger ferry) with stops at Lopez, Shaw, Orcas & Friday harbor, the Clipper (passenger only) from downtown to Friday Harbor only, or a seaplane.

Regarding fly-fishing, I am most familiar with locations/companies that are east and north of Seattle. Looking at all you want to do, that seems the most difficult to fit in, but again, if it's a priority...Take a look at some of the Kayak Fly Fishing trips offered by Gig Harbor Fly Fishing Company. They have a kayak fly fishing trip! Gig Harbor is the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, so that may help define your trip. http://gigharborflyshop.com

kaleberg may have other recommendations for OP fishing.

Seafair is important for travelers to note because depending on where and when you are traveling that weekend you may have traffic impacts, as there are mid-day I-90 bridge closures from Thursday to Sunday. If you are just in downtown Seattle for that weekend, then it's unlikely that Seafair will have an impact on your travel and your visit. If you are lucky you will catch a glimpse and the roar of the Blue Angels overhead!

Edited: 04 January 2014, 01:25
Poulsbo, Washington
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6. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

If your main reason in going to the San Juans is for whale watching here is a better plan. Go from Seattle to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and go whale watching from there. They go to the same area as the boats do from the Islands. All the skippers are in radio contact and know where the pods are if they are in the area. Also Port Townsend is a lovely small town to visit. I have friends from Mass. coincidently who had success with Puget Sound Express and endorse them.

St. Helens is a long daytrip from Seattle, but it certainly can be done. I have done it as a daytrip from Seattle. Worth a visit since your husband wants the experience. I would consider adding a visit to Mt. Rainier. It is a gorgeous National Park and easy to visit. You want to avoid both mountains on a weekend.

Try this itinerary. The 30th get an early start and head for Mt. Rainier. After a day in the Park spend the night in the town of Packwood. Then visit St. Helens before heading back to Seattle. Enjoy Seattle on the 1st. On the 3rd head for Port Angeles. Spend 3 nights in Olympic National Park. Spend your last night at Lake Quinault and the Quinault Rainforest. That sets you up for an easy drive in the afternoon to a motel near the airport for the next morning. We can advise further on what to see in Olympic and what to see if you like this plan. There are of course other options but this would be mine given your timing.

massachusetts
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7. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

Wow! Lots of food for thought. Let us sort it all out and then I'll be back with more specific questions. Thanks to all who weighed in.

ps glaciermeadows - I like the Port Townsend suggestion.. and the proposed itinerary is an interesting option.

massachusetts
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8. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

I'm back with a more specific itinerary. We deleted San Juan Island, took glaciermeadows' suggestion about itinerary to head to Ranier/St Helens before the wedding in Seattle 8/2 and will be going to Olympic Ntl Park afterwards.

On 8/3 we will leave Seattle in the am, head to Port Townsend and take a whale watch trip with Puget Sound Express. What time do we need to leave in order to make the 10am half day trip? The whale watch should finish by 2:30. After that, we plan to make a counterclockwise loop through Olympic National Park ending at a hotel near Seatac in the evening of 8/6 for our flight out the next morning. So I'm looking for itinerary suggestions. We will have 3 nights where we need lodging.

We're looking for a combination of activity during the day with relaxation in a beautiful setting in the late afternoon (ie after checking in). We enjoy moderate hikes of 5-6 miles max, would love to to go waterfalls, scenic vistas and see wildlife. We also enjoy flat water kayaking and biking but would need to rent. We want to have a coastal experience, a rainforest experience and a mountain experience. We were thinking of staying in the national park hotels (Lake Crescent, Quinault, Kalaloch) because they seem to be located in gorgeous spots. I had previously mentioned fly fishing but my husband will be doing that in the first part of the trip.

Any further suggestions about accomodations, itinerary, things not to miss, things we don't know we should know, etc would be very much appreciated. You've all been so helpful this far. Thanks in advance.

9. Re: July/Aug 9 day itinerary Seattle area

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