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Another travel question road trip Washington state

mom60mom60 7839 replies504 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
My H and I have finally decided on the location for our road trip.
When- likely August
Place- Washington State- most likely flying to Seattle and renting a car.
Length of trip 10-14 days
Washington went to the head of our list as H has been invited to visit a friend at his place on Lopez Island. I also have a friend in Gig Harbor that we will see if she is in Washington during our visit.
We have been to Washington several times so this won’t be our first visit, but it will be our first trip to the state minus kids since we were in our young 20’s. I’m thinking a couple of nights in Seattle. We have been to Olympic National Park so this trip I’m thinking the Cascades. We also haven’t been to Mr Rainier. I am still struggling with knee issues so we would just be looking at easy hiking.
Give me some ideas for a loop that includes the Cascades and Lopez Island. We have considered going to Vancouver island but we have been several times. Places to stay and things not to miss.
Some remote possibility that we will drive from California and make it a true road trip. In that case we would also do some camping and also spend a few days in Oregon.
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Replies to: Another travel question road trip Washington state

  • cameo43cameo43 1644 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I love Lake Quinault! It's surrounded by the Olympic National Forest. we always stayed at the Lake Quinault Lodge. The big beautiful lodge is rustic style from the 1920s I think.. .like Adirondack grand lodges They served the world's best pie there. :)
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  • PacNWparentPacNWparent 233 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I liked Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, although that was over 10 years ago. North Cascades location.
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  • swimmermom2swimmermom2 62 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    From Gig Harbor head over to Mt. Rainier. If you can spend the night there all the better since it’s a long day trip. Paradise Lodge in the Park has been renovated and would be ideal but may be sold out for August. There are a few smaller hotels in Ashford near the Park entrance.

    For a Cascades loop head over to Leavenworth via Route 2. It’s a Bavarian themed town and kind of kitschy but if you explore the Icicle Creek area you will see some of the natural beauty. Then head over to Wenatchee where you can walk along the Columbia River and visit Ohme Gardens, which is an unusual hillside garden. Then head north to Chelan where you can visit some wineries or take the boat to Stehekin. If anyone is into electricity, stop at the Dam between Wenatchee and Chelan (forget the name) where they have an extensive electricity museum (really). From Chelan head NE to Twisp, Winthrop and Mazama. You can tube down the Methow River which is fairly gentle on August. There are some relatively easy and short hikes west of Mazama with the trailheads on Route 20. Cutthroat Lake Trail is around 4 miles RT and very gradual. Then continue on the North Cascades Highway for some spectacular scenery.

    When you hit I-5 head south to Anacortes where you get the ferry to Lopez Island. You can make reservations for the ferry through WA State Ferry website if you know in advance when you will arrive. Try to avoid the San Juan Islands over the weekend as the wait times for the ferry are crazy.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38746 replies467 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 31
    Great itinerary @swimmermom2 !

    Speaking of Leavenworth... Our Bavarian-born and raised exchange student said Leavenworth had a pretty authentic Bavarian look. The content of those Bavarian houses is another story. :) She even approved of the German food we had at Andreas Keller cellar (said the potato salad was meh but the rest tasted pretty authentic and yummy):

    https://www.andreaskellerrestaurant.com
    edited May 31
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38746 replies467 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hiking around Mount Rainier can be as strenuous or as leisurely as you want. There are plenty of options for both. Paradise area has great paved trails that go up a gentle slope. In August, you will be able to see alpine meadows in bloom and touch some snow if you go a little further up.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 31
    I always enjoy the Methow Valley Cider House in Winthrop. Food is basic, but they have some nice ciders on tap. You can get a flight and try several.
    edited May 31
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  • mom60mom60 7839 replies504 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks for the recommendations. Our dates are flexible so I think the first step will be to see what kind of reservations I can get.
    We explored driving routes today but I think that we fly. Driving adds 2 1/2 days on each end minimum if we just drive straight through.
    What are some must sees in Seattle aside from the basics of Pikes Market, waterfront and Space needle?
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  • zeebamomzeebamom 1366 replies3 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited May 31
    The view from the Columbia Tower is almost better than the needle. There are often groupons for 2 for 1 admission.
    Kayak on Lake Union or canoes at the UW
    Walk through the Arboretum
    Wine tasting in Woodinville
    Brewery hopping in Ballard
    edited May 31
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38746 replies467 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Fremont aka The Center of the Universe with its quirky art. Theo's Chocolates is located there. Free samples! :) Lots of great eateries in that area.

    Ballard Locks and fish ladder. Impressive marvel of engineering!

    SAM. A couple of blocks from the Market.

    Olympic Sculpture Park and the waterfront.
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  • oregon101oregon101 5500 replies136 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Raining? The Public Library.
    The Norwegian Museum.
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  • cameo43cameo43 1644 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We really enjoyed the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square when we were there in October. Different, interesting and a lot of fun.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 1
    The Boeing factory tour up in Everett is really interesting. I also like the Seattle Asian Art Museum (“small but mighty” is how D2 describes it) - but it is closed for renovation at the moment. It is supposed to reopen this fall, but I haven’t seen a specific date. The Chihuly Garden & Glass museum
    Is interesting. If you are down in Tacoma, there is also a good glass museum there (Museum of Glass). There is a pretty good Nordic Museum in Ballard, too.
    edited June 1
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  • wis75wis75 14031 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 1
    You will not run out of things to do. We have been making trips there to see son and love the area- in summer. Don't forget Snoqualmie Falls. Do wear athletic shoes, not sandals (this is a note to self based on too many stones underfoot... my last time). Since we have been there a number of times in recent years we often play it by ear and decide what to do day to day. We haven't been to the Olympic peninsula since son was a kid- on our radar. One year we went to Portland. We have also spent time in Tacoma. But- the roses won't be at their peak in August. One year we vacationed In Seattle in fall and then a relative chose a March wedding in Seattle. We spent time in Portland and day tripped along the Columbia River. Have fun.
    edited June 1
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  • cameo43cameo43 1644 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We really liked the aquarium... fell in love with a large octopus there. There were a number of knowledgeable staff around to have conversations with about whatever interesting sea creatures were in the tanks nearby. Really enjoyed our afternoon there.
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  • mom60mom60 7839 replies504 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thank you for all the great suggestions. Struggling with fitting it all in. I think we will have 9 or 10 nights in addition to the time we will spend with our friends.
    The only nonstop flight from our airport gets to SeaTac at 445 pm.
    Do we head to Seattle or out towards mt Rainer or straight up to cascades? I also am struggling with how many nights in each location and where to stay on the cascade loop. I don’t want to be moving every night. Also is Whidbey island worth a few nights? Should we skip Mt Rainer and concentrate on Cascade loop?

    Another thought is to fly to Lopez island on Kenmore Air and pick up rental car in Anacortes after our stay on the island.
    Appreciate any thoughts on my ramblings.
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  • busdriver11busdriver11 15212 replies28 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some great suggestions here, it makes me want to do these things all over again!!!

    Some thoughts....totally agree with staying away from the San Juans on the weekend, insanely long ferry lines. Also stay away from driving in downtown or on freeways during rush hour, yuck!

    I don't think I would land at 4:45pm, rent a car and then start driving longer distances. You might be starting your trip in rush hour traffic, and take hours to get to your destination. I think I'd start out with the Seattle area first. I wouldn't bother with Whitney Island, it's nice but unless you have a good reason to go there, don't know if it's worth it.

    Mt Rainier is exceptional, I don't think I would miss it unless it was a huge hassle.
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  • oregon101oregon101 5500 replies136 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 5
    I would head into Seattle and get settled. Have a good meal and walk around a bit.
    You are going to hit bad traffic at that time of day so make sure you are not starving when you leave the airport.
    Also, maybe someone here can explain how the express lanes work (unless you already know).
    edited June 5
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  • zipyourlipszipyourlips 1404 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Though you've been to Vancouver Island, have you been to Vancouver (the city) B.C.? I don't love cities, but I do love Vancouver. There are wonderful dedicated walking and biking paths along the water all around the city. You can take an early morning Amtrak train from Seattle, get to Vancouver around lunchtime. The route follows the coastline for part of the trip and is lovely. Stay one night, explore the city for an afternoon and most of the next day, take the train back to Seattle around dinnertime the next day and get back to Seattle before midnight.
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  • mom60mom60 7839 replies504 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @zipyourlips we have been to Vancouver the city several times. I agree it’s a great city.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38746 replies467 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would skip renting a car that night when you arrive and just make a home base downtown Seattle by taking the light rail there. Plenty of nice lodging options from economy to posh. Stroll around the city, have dinner, retreat for the night. Spend the next day exploring the city. Then fetch your car somewhere next morning after breakfast if you decide to explore the area (there should be rental locations downtown or you can take the rail back to the airport if you wish so). Mr Rainier is a day trip for us. We never stayed in the park overnight (other than for purposeful camping). It is spectacular!
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