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Old 07-11-2012, 07:56 PM   #1
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Washington & the San Juan Islands

Here’s the deal:
My wife & I of 15+ years are heading up to the NW, sans kids for 10 days. We are lusting after our pre-kid days when we used to road trip with a complete open agenda; figure it out as we went. Anyway, we’re mid 40’s now & saved the “complete open agenda” for the last 6 days. We are doing 2 nights in Seattle & 2 in Friday Harbor, other than that, it’s open. We’re looking to check-out the out of way spots & cool local things to hit (other than my wife, that’s covered). Dates are July 26 - Aug. 6.
Any suggestions in terms of British Columbia, Bellingham WA etc.
Thanks a ton!
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Old 07-11-2012, 08:13 PM   #2
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The Canadian tour. Ferry to Sydney. Rent moterbikes in Victoria if you did not bring them. Google sunshine coast tour. Side trip to north end of the island. Back on the mainland ride as for north for lunch or whatever in lund, ask there about a boat ride to the islands for the day , then continue tour to Vancover and of to Victoria to drop of bikes. Think it is five ferry rides.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:01 AM   #3
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Awesome, researching it now. Thanks!
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:30 AM   #4
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No expert by any means, but here's some highlights from that Area for me:
- San Juan Island - Be sure to check out the Sculpture Garden near Roche Harbor
- Lopez Island - I stayed once at Lopez Farm Cottages and they were very nice and cute little cottages. Not much to do on the island but relax and enjoy the scenery. Personally I'd do one night at Friday Harbor and one on Lopez or Orcas. Riding the Inter Islands ferry is part of the fun.
- Victoria, Vancouver Island BC - Love that town. Lots of city stuff to see and do. At least check out the waterfront. Also Buchardt Gardens is a must see if you are into that kind of thing.
- Torfino, Vancouver Island, BC - Nice cute litte town. Beautiful drive along the way, bluest rivers, mighty sea, nice beaches. Town looks to be a surfers paradise and a little more upscale.
- Might also consider a night on Victoria then take the ferry to BC and drive the sea to sky hwy up to Whistler. MIght be a time crunch though.
- Also liked the town of Port Townsend and the view at Hurricane Ridge out of Port Angeles if you have the desire to go see the Olmpic Mountains. There is a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria also (Get reservations though).
- Whidby Island is also very nice. A drive from Anacortes down to the ferry to cross to Port Townsend is fun.

I only mention these areas as I've seen them. I'm sure there is much more cool in that area that locals can help with.

Have fun and spend some money up here in the PNW, we need it ;)

Good luck.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:53 PM   #5
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You've got large snow covered mountains at home so I'd skip the Cascades.
I"d say get out on the water (kayak tour/rental, salmon fishing, or the previous motorcycle/ferry tour idea).
The Pacific coast is another possibility.
As for Bellingham......................."a nice place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit."
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:21 PM   #6
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Just got back from a ride up there last week. It was great. Hwy 112 is fun to ride, I was told Hurricane ridge is great but thats my next trip. As others said Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, and the San Juans are great fun.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:05 PM   #7
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Assuming youre departing from Anacortes to go to San Juan, I recomend making time to side trip to Deception Pass and just walk out onto the bridge and look down; not a whole lot like it anywhere and not too far from Anacortes.

Once on San Juan, go to Lime Kiln Lighthouse. Nice short hike out to the light and very picturesque. May see Orca whales from there..

THere is a round trip passenger ferry from bellingham to Victoria, BC. Personally I like the double decker bus tour once in town. The ferry serves dinner on the return voyage and every time i've taken we've had to slow down so folks could take pictures of the Orca whales. There may be one from San Juan to Victoria, or Anacortes to Victoria. Either way, Victoria is a very old world Eurpean city with a pretty cool harbour area and history.

If you make it as far north as Bellingham side trip 15 minutes or so off the freeway just south of town to Blanchard Overlook.

Stop short before the parking lot; the best views are here on the big shoulder. You'll know when you're there.

Once in Bellingham, Boundary Bay Brewery on Railroad Ave has great beer, good food, great atmosphere and great outdoor music scene.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:10 PM   #8
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Ferry Fees

Sounds like a great trip for you and your wife, sans kids.

Watch out for the cost of the ferries - they can be very high.
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Old 07-14-2012, 11:57 PM   #9
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You on bikes or in a cage?
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by crackhead View Post
You on bikes or in a cage?
Cage, wife isn't so comfortable on the back of a bike. Especially in the heavy traffic we'll see in the bigger cities.

This is what I worked up, thanks to all the advise:
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:06 PM   #11
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As T-Low said, hit Lime Kiln St park, people travel from around the world to view the Orcas from Lime Kiln. If you can make it for the sunset the Orcas tend to travel around that area the most at sunset. If you make it there travel down to the Light house and ask for Bob Ottis, he is the head of research there. He may have time to show you a slide show presentation that is really great.

Hit the Washington State Ferry web site, you can purchase ferry tickets in advance and save a few bucks, IIRC standard size car up to 20' and 8' tall is approx 60.00 It's a fantastic place and if you want to do some camping see if you can get a site at the San Juan county park, make reservations in advance they are usually full and you can watch the Orcas from the bluff there. Roche harbor is great, stop and check out English camp and the story behind it.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:39 PM   #12
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It is a great view

Mt Baker is worth the visit.

Just enjoy as much of the area as you can.
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Old 07-16-2012, 04:58 PM   #13
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Not to hijack, but this seemed like a good place to post my question without starting a new thread; We're heading to Bellingham on Saturday and want to side trip onto Whidbey. What will the Ferry wait/traffic be like on a Saturday morning at Mukilteo going to Clinton. Planning on going north and coming out at Deception Pass. My uncle used to live in Oak Harbor, so I used to know the area, but since he moved I haven't been back in several years so need a refresher. Cheers
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Old 08-05-2012, 01:47 AM   #14
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If you haven't left Bellingham yet, leave town via Chuckanut Drive, then swing through Edison for breakfast or lunch. You'll get a great drive with views of the San Juans then down into the Skagit flatlands for farms and the small stop at Edison.
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Old 08-05-2012, 07:50 AM   #15
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Humpy - expect to spend some time at the border crossings. Sometimes it takes an hour or more to get through the main ones.

Not sure of your areas of interest but I would recommend walking around the inner harbor area of Victoria. Has a bit of England feel to it and a couple of nice old buildings to explore - like the Empress and the Parliment building and the Provicial Museum. Just outside of the city are the Buchart Gardens. A bit expensive but awesome gardens created out of an old rock quarry.

On the mainland side - Vancouver's Stanley Park is a great park in the city. From Vancouver south - White Rock is a nice little shoreside community for lunch or a picnic.

Also - if you zoom in on the map - west of White Rock is the little community of Point Roberts - its mostly a residential community but the draw is that it belongs to Washington State but is only accessible through Canada. Just kind of a unique geographical anomoly when they drew the line.

Leaving Bellingham - you might consider scenic Chuckanut drive south out of there.
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