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Traveling Vancouver - Victoria - Olympic NP (Forks, WA) - Seattle this summer

gadadgadad 7471 replies301 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,772 Senior Member
I'm retiring July 1 and planning to take a victory lap with my wife around the Puget Sound. I'm thinking of flying into Vancouver, renting a car, and going counter-clockwise. It we spend around 10 nights, how many nights would you recommend in each place? What's the most scenic route into Victoria - would it be worth it to ferry to Nanaimo and drive down the coast? If we want to see Hoh, WA and Ruby Beach, is Forks a practical place to stay? Any tips on the San Juan Islands? Thanks!
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Replies to: Traveling Vancouver - Victoria - Olympic NP (Forks, WA) - Seattle this summer

  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38240 replies463 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 38,703 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    This is a good base camp for Hoh Rain Forest and some beach combing:

    https://www.thekalalochlodge.com

    edited February 2018
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  • zeebamomzeebamom 1353 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,356 Senior Member
    Port Angeles has more options than Forks. Kalaloch Lodge is a good place to stay closer to where you want to be.

    Look at Washington State Ferries for info on getting to/from the San Juans. Advance reservations are needed.

    BC ferries can get you to Nanaimo - Vancouver Island is beautiful and worth a drive and stay. Summers are busy and the best places fill up quickly. Also look into reserving a spot on the ferry.

    We travel most weekends to our place well south of Port Angeles. Nothing worse than spending 2+ hours waiting for the boat (no reservations on that route)
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  • gadadgadad 7471 replies301 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,772 Senior Member
    Good stuff - thanks!
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  • sherpasherpa 4724 replies93 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,817 Senior Member
    Personally I'd spend a lot more time in Vancouver than Victoria.
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  • mom2andmom2and 2731 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,748 Senior Member
    We had a great night of "glamping" at the Huckleberry Lodge in Forks. It was convenient to the Hoh Rain Forest and to the ocean. We had traveled from Mount Rainier, which is fantastic if you can fit it in, so toured the rain forest on our way and then stayed in Forks. From there we went up to Port Angelese where we stayed and saw the rest of Olympic National Park.

    On a separate trip, we stayed near Anacortes and explored the San Juan Islands. We used the car ferry, since we were three couples and had a minivan. We rented a house on the shore with unbelievable views. We had a great time, but would have done more hiking if the weather had been drier.

    Both trips were great. Happy retirement!
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  • somemomsomemom 10790 replies321 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 11,111 Senior Member
    Vancouver Island is gorgeous, the BC ferries are nicer than the WA state ferries to VI, Nanaimo is just an ordinary town, but the drive from Nanaimo over the Malahat to Victoria is lovely. A ferry ride from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen is gorgeous through the islands.
    If you have the time you might enjoy the drive over to Tofino on the west coast, search Wickanninnish Inn for local details. That would take some time both for travel and then to spend a night or two there. Cheaper options are available for the overnights!
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  • TatinGTatinG 6292 replies109 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,401 Senior Member
    Check out the Lake Quinault Lodge in the Olympics. It's a rustic 1920's era traditional rustic lodge with a fantastic view of the lake. We stayed in the older rooms for the atmosphere. The food in the dining room was gourmet.

    I'd also recommend staying in Port Angeles, Washington. From there you can drive up the mountain into the mountainous region of Olympic National Park - Hurricane Ridge(?). There are beautiful hiking trails from that spot with spectacular views.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20253 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,462 Senior Member
    I highly recommend making it over to the Wild West Coast of Vancouver Island if you can - Tofino and the surrounding area.

    Butchart Gardens north of Victoria is worth a visit and they do a really nice Afternoon Tea.
    http://www.butchartgardens.com/files/3114/9676/7053/2017_Afternoon_Tea_Menu.pdf
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  • gadadgadad 7471 replies301 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,772 Senior Member
    Wow - I'd never heard of Tofino before (I live 3,000 miles away). It's gorgeous!
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20253 replies209 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20,462 Senior Member
    The photos don't lie! It really is.

    When we took our trip some years back as a family, we were planning to do one of those whale watch trips with the kids but we got really lucky on the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria and saw several orcas, dolphins, seals all really close to the ferry. It was great and saved us some $$$. :)
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  • BorgityBorgBorgityBorg 309 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 312 Member
    My general comment -- as someone who's actually dreamed of this kind of tour and who's always tried to do more in his trips to the PNW than his family will allow ;) -- is that the tour you're thinking about may actually take more time than you initially think. That's been the case whenever I've tried scheduling something similar. Between the ferry crossing times and waiting for the ferry and the very long drive around Puget Sound, you may find yourself driving more than you expected.

    I like the suggestions here that I'm familiar with (would love to visit Tofino, but haven't). Last summer we stayed on Whidbey Island just south of the San Juan Islands for a few days and enjoyed the more relaxed, secluded nature of the island compared to some of the other islands closer to Seattle proper.

    I am eager to hear a trip report when it's fully set!
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 38240 replies463 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 38,703 Senior Member
    I recommend including Whitbey Island into your trip. You can get to Anacortes by taking a ferry from Sidney BC (just north of Victoria). Drive down Hwy 20 through Deception Pass (beautiful!) and make a stop at Fort Casey to soak in the sights. You can get to the mainland Olympic Peninsula by taking Port Townsend ferry and continue your exploration from there.
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  • oregon101oregon101 5366 replies133 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,499 Senior Member
    I agree that this trip will take lots longer than expected but a great trip anyway.
    No one ever mentions the Gulf Island just past the San Juan's. SaltSpring Island is
    a famous artisan location and lots of fun. Our family spent a week taking ferries to most of
    the Gulf Islands about 20 years ago. It was relaxing and fun and we found good accommodations.
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  • gadadgadad 7471 replies301 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,772 Senior Member
    OK - I'm sold on Tofino and the San Juan Islands, so my wife and I have decided to save Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula for another trip (she's got family in Oregon). So now the itinerary is looking like Vancouver to Tofino to Victoria to Whidbey I. and back to Vancouver. I'm thinking that Whidbey could be a day trip during our stay in Victoria? If the whole trip includes 7 or 8 nights, how many nights would you spend in each place?
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  • somemomsomemom 10790 replies321 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 11,111 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    Whidbey is US not Canada, I am not aware of any ferry there from VI, but you can drive across the border and about an hour south to hwy 20 toward Anacortes then drive, I think, about an hour and cross at Deception Pass.
    There is really no reason to just grab that one US location, you could certainly add Whidbey to a Seattle trip. There is a parent on this board who lives on Whidbey and takes the ferry to Seattle, so it' easy access. Whidbey is long and narrow, you can access it via the top or the bottom :)
    I think given the Canada based trek you are turning this into, I would skip the border crossing and focus on BC, take a drive out into the country side, inland to Chilliwack to the falls, up to Whistler, inland to the Okanogen, Make best use of your time to further explore BC.
    Be sure to take the ferry from Tsawwassen/Swartz Bay for one of the legs, I think it is prettier than Nanaimo/Horseshoe Bay
    edited February 2018
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