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Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

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Franklin, Tn.
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Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

My husband and I are planning what is probably our last trip. We are passionate about travel, and are very active travelers, we like hiking, food, wine, scenary, art, interesting small towns. Due to my husband's health, we have decided that we need to take a trip in March/April 2014 and we are thinking about driving the Pacific Northwest. We have spent significant time in San Francisco, and points south, so we thought we would fly into San Francisco/or Oakland, start our trip in Napa/Sonoma and then head north to Seattle. Places /things we are interested in include Olympic Peninsula, San Juan Islands, Oregon coast, Crater Lake, Mt. Hood/Ranier, and Napa/Sonoma. We will drive and would prefer to spend at 2 days in each location. We are in our early 60's, and unable to do any hiking due to his current health. Money will not be an overriding concern with this trip, so my questions is: What places/towns do you recommend as bases to stay. We will allow 2-3 weeks for this trip. As this is late March/early April, some of these places I'm assuming may still have significant snow and will not be options, so ... Thank you all for your advice.

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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1. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

I can help with the Olympic Peninsula portion of your trip. Because you will not be hiking, and because of the sprawling layout of Olympic National Park, you might consider basing yourself at Lake Quinault Lodge. There you have access to one of the two great rain forests of ONP. The lodge has good food, which is not easy to come by in much of the Olympic Peninsula. You can take some beautiful drives and short walks through the forest. Try to get to lovely Ruby Beach, a gem, as its name implies.

It may well rain the entire time, but it will not be a downpour, just steady rain or drizzle. The great, mossy trees can be extra beautiful in the rain. Lake Quinault is in the southern half of the Olympic Peninsula, and you will not be able to see the attractions of the northern half. You will miss the lovely beaches like Rialto Beach, but between the Oregon Coast and Ruby Beach, you will get to see spectacular coastal scenery.

I fear that Crater Lake may be a problem. Winter access is limited there, and it can be hard to find places to stay. The good folks of the Oregon Forum will advise you there.

I hope you enjoy every minute of your trip.

Uden, The...
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for Road Trips
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2. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

With the snow in the moutains the coastaldrive prob will be best. Mendocini coast already is lovely but slow. Don't miss Avenue of the Giants and lost coast and spend time for Redwood NP on the way to Crescent City. Head over to the Oregon forum for best places to stay along the coast. We liked the little town of Yachats.

Franklin, Tn.
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3. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

Thank you so much, I will look at these suggestions closer and they really help narrow things!

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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4. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

Sorry to hear about your husband's health problems! Let us help you make this trip memorable. April is a better month for doing this than March. march is wetter and the end of our Winter. April is early Spring. Of course you MUST see the Redwoods. I like the Bandon area of the Oregon Coast. Try and stay on the Ocean while in Oregon. There is a good chance it could be wet and cloudy in April. If the weather is like that you may want to spend your time just staying inside and looking out at the water. Crater Lake will take you way out of your way, it may be too early to get there with snow. Post on the Oregon Forums. Have a look at Ocean Haven near Yachats. I love this place. You are a little ways from restaurants, but have the option of cooking if you do not want to leave and just take in the expansive view. The old part of Florence is worth a stop.

I like Kaleberg's suggestion of Lake Quinault Lodge. I stay there often and spend a lot of time in the Valley. I prefer the Lakeside Rooms as they are more modern, larger and quieter. You make like the convenience of staying in the Lodge proper. If it is raining it is a joy to just sit in front of the Lodge's wonderful fireplace. I also know a great rental up the road if you want more privacy. The Lodge may be the better option depending on your husband's mobility. When it gets closer to your visit I can give you advise on some gorgeous easy walks in the rainforest.

Franklin, Tn.
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5. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

Thank you so much! We have finetuned the trip some, so I would love some more advice. We are taking the train from Chicago to San Francisco where we will pick up a rental car and head north. After some time in Napa, and Oregon we would like to spend 3 nights in the Olympic Peninsula and 2 nights in Victoria and then fly home from Seattle. The dates are April 3 to April 8 for this portion of the trip. I will check out Lake Quinolt Lodge, but without looking at a map, or knowing anything at all about ferries. Is this doable? Do we want to take our car to Victoria? If we take the car, or if we don't what would be the best way to get from Victoria to the Seattle airport? and what would be the best way to get to Victoria?

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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6. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

Have you dropped the trip to the San Juan's? That makes a difference. If you are going to Seattle after Victoria, then there is no need to have a car in Victoria. Pay for parking near the ferry dock in Port Angeles and walk on. Then walk off the ferry pick up your car. You then have a couple of options for getting to the airport. You can drive from Port Angeles and pick up a ferry in either Kingston or Bainbridge Island. The Kingston ferry will drop you off in Edmonds North of Seattle. The Bainbridge Ferry will end up on the Seattle waterfront. It is pretty easy to get on either the Interstate or Hwy. 99 to SeaTac. The other option is to drive from Port Angeles to Tacoma via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge then South to the airport. A lot depends on what time of day. You would not want to drive into Tacoma via the Bridge around commute time.

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

You know, it might be worth just returning the car to Seattle and then taking the Clipper both ways to Victoria from there. That way you are not paying rental charges on a car that is not being used. Just a thought....

Otherwise, perhaps you do take your car to Victoria, not because you need it, but just because it works to go from Port Angeles over to Victoria, then use the WSDOT ferry from Sidney back to Anacortes for the return to Seattle.

Poulsbo, Washington
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for Olympic National Park
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8. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

Taking the car to Anacortes or the Clipper from Seatte is going to be more expensive than leaving the car in PA and having the car sit for two days. Parking in Victoria is a lot more expensive than in PA and you are paying for a car on two ferries, unless they have added the SJI's back on their itinerary.

Franklin, Tn.
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9. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

We decided to drop SJI, and will be staying 3 nights in Port Angeles, then heading to Victoria for 3 nights and then back to a hotel near the Seattle airport. In Port Angeles we are trying to decide between Sea Cliff Inn or Colettes - thoughts? they both seem very nice. As I've never been in the area, and I have no knowlege of the ferry system do's and don'ts and the fact that we need to return our car to the Seattle airport (I think), do I leave the car in PA and just passenger ferry to Victoria, or do I take one ferry with car from PA and then a different ferry to Seattle?

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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10. Re: Bucket list trip, Driving trip from Napa to Seattle

Colette's, hands down. It is a lovely B&B, one of the area's best, if not the best. I think three days in Victoria are too much. It is a very small city with some very popular attractions, but it is limited. One or two days will exhaust its attractions, unless, perhaps, you are planning to spend a day whale watching. Vancouver Island is a fabulous destination overall, but you would need time and a car to see its wineries, its lovely seascapes, and its charming towns.

As to the ferry question, your choice is limited. The ferry from PA to Victoria is a car ferry. The clipper, which is the ferry from Victoria to Seattle, is foot passenger only. If you want to get the car back to Seattle you will either have to drive back from Port Angeles or come back from Canada via the Anacortes car ferry and then drive from Anacortes to Seattle.

I know that you will not be hiking because of your husband's health. How do you plan to fill the time in Port Angeles?