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Whale Watching

Which San Juan Islands hotels are on sale?
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Durango, Colorado
posts: 25
Whale Watching

We're going to be in Washington for 10 days in September. Flying into Seattle and then driving to the San Juans for 2 days. My husband is a Colorado mountain boy and has never seen the ocean, so we're both excited about the trip. We definitely want to go whale watching, but there are so many charters. Does anyone have a recommendation for a quality company? How about a charter to avoid? We're staying at the Old Trout Inn on Orcas. If anyone has an experience there, I'd love to hear it. Thanks!

San Francisco...
posts: 28
reviews: 2
1. Re: Whale Watching

Hmm, I only found one charter that departs from Orcas Island, but they only operate Feb, Mar, and Apr. How long will you be in Seattle? Because the Victoria Clipper offers service from Seattle until Oct. 2.

There San Juan Island Whale Watchers Tour Site is:

victoriaclipper.com/san_juan_island_daytrip

I hope you enjoy your trip to the beautiful Pacific NorthWest.

Seattle
posts: 386
reviews: 3
2. Re: Whale Watching

Be sure to check with your innkeeper and the Orcas Chamber of Commerce -- they'll know all the local scoop.

Durango, Colorado
posts: 25
3. Re: Whale Watching

Thanks for you help. We're only going to be in Seattle for a day. Our flight arrives around 10 in the morning. We were thinking of doing some sight seeing and then catching an early ferry to Orcas. I have no objection to taking a ferry from Orcas and going whale watching from there.

Texas
posts: 30
reviews: 7
4. Re: Whale Watching

Try Eclipse Charters on Orcas Island. We took one of their whale watching tours a couple of years ago and it was the highlight of our vacation. Nice boat and very friendly owners. You can watch from the comfort of inside the boat or go topside for a better view. They even provided slickers when you were outside to help with the cold and wet. We were there in May and saw Orcas, which as I understand it, are primarily the type of whales you will see around the San Juans. According to their website they operate tours in September as well.

http://www.orcasislandwhales.com/

Seattle
posts: 2
5. Re: Whale Watching

Um, just so you know, the San Juan Islands are not the "Ocean". Salt water, yes. But to really experience the ocean, you need to get out to the coast. There is where you will experience the power of the sea, be able to look out to the horizon and see nothing but waves, the constant pounding of the wave, the sound. You won't get any of that in the inland waters.

Durango, Colorado
posts: 25
6. Re: Whale Watching

Thanks for the info. We're actually spending 12 days in Washington. Our complete plan is to fly into Seattle, rent a car and drive to the San Juans and spend 2 days. After we leave the San Juans, we're taking the ferry to Port Townsend. We wanted to spend a couple of days hiking and exploring Olympic NP. We're definitely hiking Hurricane Ridge. Any suggestions on good beach hikes? We were then going to drive down the coast to Columbia Gorge with a stop in the Hoh Rain Forest. After the Columbia Gorge, we were planning a visit to Mt St Helens and then back to Seattle. I know where we're staying in the San Juans and in Olympic, but I'm not sure about our other stops. Any suggestions about somewhere along the coast before we get to the CG? Thanks!

San Francisco...
posts: 28
reviews: 2
7. Re: Whale Watching

You will really enjoy Hurricane Ridge, I went last August, it was beautiful!

There are several good beach hikes I the Olympic National Park on the coast. Point of the Arches is one, about 7 miles RT, this can be a day trip or backpacked. Another one were you can hike on and see more of the beach is the Cape Alava-San Point Loop which is about 9 �� miles looped and 6 hours, this too can be a day trip or backpacked.

The Hoh Rain Forest is another amazing place. There are 3 small hikes in the area of the Visitor Centre area. A 10 minute nature walk, a 3/4 of a mile ���Hall Of Mosses���, and the 1 and a 1/2 mile Hoh River Trail. There is also an 18 mile long trail to Mount Olympus in that sector of the park.

As for lodging on the coast, I recommend, since you are headed to the Columbia River Gorge, Astoria, Oregon. It is right across from Washington, across the Astoria Megler Bridge which is US 101, the route you will be following on the coast. Astoria is a picturesque little town on the Columbia River. There are several hotel to choose from there.

As for Mount St. Helens, the closest hotel to the erupting Stratovolcano is the Eco Park Resort, within the 1980 blast zone. There website is here:

http://www.ecoparkresort.com/

Other hotels near Mount St. Helens would be in Castle Rock.

I hope this helps and I hope you enjoy your trip to the beautiful Pacific NorthWest!

Durango, Colorado
posts: 25
8. Re: Whale Watching

Thanks for all your great advice. I've checked out Eclipse Chartes on the web and decided to make reservations. The hiking and lodging information was helpful too. I'm going to look at lodging options in Astoria now.

Thanks Agian!

Texas
posts: 30
reviews: 7
9. Re: Whale Watching

Rae125,

I second the advise on the stop in Astoria, we visited there on that same trip when we did the Eclipse Charter thing I mentioned in my previous post. We stayed one night at the Red Lion Inn in Astoria right on the small marina and it was fine, but, I understand there is a fantastic historical hotel in Astoria, The Hotel Elliot, you might give it a look. We also took a Columbia River Eco-tour while there, I think it was around $40.00 per person and was about a two or three hour tour, really enjoyed it. If you do visit Astoria, go up to the Astoria Column, the view is fantastic, checkout the Maritime Museum and visit the Shallon Winery for a taste of Chocolate wine. All this is easily done in less than a day.

posts: 26,219
reviews: 708
10. Re: Whale Watching

Astoria is our second home, it's a gorgeous little place. When we first purchased our home there about fifteen years ago, it was a true sleeper. Many knew that one day it would be a major tourist destination and they were right. The changes this little place has undergone over the years is truly amazing.

The Hotel Elliott is beautiful. I take a tour each time we're there to check on the progress of things. My husband and son were there yesterday and they said the rooftop garden is now complete. There is an outdoor fireplace, adirondack chairs and a flower garden. The Vintner's Room in the basement is also a must for the flights of wine tasting.

There is also a new hotel opening in August called the Cannery Pier Hotel, I'm sure it will be listed on Tripadvisor when it opens for reviews and feedback. The website is www.cannerypierhotel.com It will be right over the water which will be very nice.

We haven't stayed at the Old Trout Inn, but my husband's aunt is the Innkeeper at the Kangaroo House that is #1 on Tripadvisor. We hope to stay there this summer ourselves and see Orcas Island for the first time. I hope you have a great trip and let me know if you any further questions about Astoria. Cheers! :)