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Day trips From Seattle

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Hi--We are doing a round trip from Seattle on the Oosterdam and have a return flight the day we get back at 11PM, We need something to do in or around Seattle. We will be in Seattle two days before the cruise so we will have done the normal tourist things in Seattle during those days. Is it possible to go to Vancouver and back in a day? Or what about Mt. Ranier? All suggestions are welcome. Thanks. Kathy

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The Boeing Factory is excellent and then ride the Ferry to Whibey Island and do a loop via Deception Pass, and back via I5. Or Mt St. Helen's is a great day trip.

 

Vancouver is iffy, You need to allow 4 hours due to border delays and if a weekend, can count on delays.

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BQ- I have always traveled to Whidbey Island by car and would like to take the ferry that you mentioned for our next trip. Where would I find information on which ferry to take? Your help is always greatly appreciated. We will be renting a car from the airport...

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Great suggestions from Budget Queen, especially the Whidbey Island loop. (if you take that drive be sure to stop at Fort Casey, interesting old military sight).

Yes, you would need a car for any of those trips.

Another nice day trip would be to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula; lovely old Victorian homes.

 

 

DASEY, here's the link to the ferry system. The summer schedule isn't up yet.

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/info_desk/route-maps/

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Close to Seattle--our family enjoyed the Museum of Flight, Boeing Factory Tour, Space Needle, Science Fiction Museum, the Experience Music Project, and the Pike Place Market. Farther out we went to Mt. Ranier, the Mt. St. Helen's Visitors Center, and the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park. Note: If you are traveling in June, it is still basically winter at Mt. Ranier. There were feet of snow and people cross country skiing on June 15th!! We really enjoyed our time(day before and two days after our cruise) around Seattle.

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BQ- I have always traveled to Whidbey Island by car and would like to take the ferry that you mentioned for our next trip. Where would I find information on which ferry to take? Your help is always greatly appreciated. We will be renting a car from the airport...

 

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/info_desk/route-maps/

 

You would take the Mukilteo ferry. This is right past the Boeing factory.

Edited by Budget Queen

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Thank you for the information on the ferry system!! We are going to do this route...

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Port Townsend is a great place. My wife and I visit frequently. Cute shops, good food, great scenery and an awesome fort.

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Mt. St. Helens will take you 2 hours to get to the turn off on I-5.

 

And then it is quite a drive to the visitor's center/observatory - maybe 30-45 minutes. You could encounter some snow at the visitor center, but it has been a relatively mild winter and the ski slopes in Oregon (just across the Columbia from St. Helens) are beginning to hurt for snow even now, so you never know.

 

Driving a circuit around St. Helens is not doable in the time you have. Some of the roads are very remote and could well be impassable, so you are likely to be able to do only an out and back to the Johnson Ridge observatory (at least one visitor center has closed - Coldwater Ridge, I think, fallen to the budget woes).

 

Here is a summary of visitors' options:

 

Three Places to Visit Mount St. Helens, operated by the United States Forest Service, has 3 main visitor areas:



Northwest Corner

Highway 504 takes you to Coldwater Ridge



Visitor Center (now closed) and Johnston Ridge Observatory.

Here you can see the blast zone and how life is

reclaiming this once barren area.

East

Forest Road 99 leads you through old growth



and lush vegetation up to Windy Ridge, with

hiking and camping options along the way.

South

Forest Roads 83 and 90 bring you to ancient lava

tubes, caves, canyons, hiking, and camping.

 

I don't think either of the latter two are feasible for you. The sight of the crater is pretty amazing and worth the drive.

 

Here's the Forest Service link for Mt. St. Helens: http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm/

 

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I would tend to discourage trips into the mountains in May - the drive will be long, and May can be very iffy - if it's raining or gray in the lowlands (as is often the case) then that usually means foggy, rainy and/or snowy in the mountains, depending on elevation. Combined with a long drive (and a boring one to Mt. St. Helens) I don't think the mountains are that good a bet.

 

You might consider Snoqualmie Falls in May - they will be extremely impressive with all the water coming off the mountains as the snow melts. The falls are about 45 min. by car from central Seattle. http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/

 

I'd also strongly second the idea of doing the Mukilteo - Whidbey Island loop. Even if you don't want to tour the Boeing plant - http://www.futureofflight.org - you'll drive by it - biggest building in the world. Plan to stop at the very cute waterfront town of Langley on Whidbey Island, also Coupeville. If you want, you could take the Coupeville - Port Townsend ferry, visit PT, then return to Seattle via the Bainbridge Island ferry.

 

Or else you could keep going all the way up Whidbey to Deception Pass - a very impressive narrow channel between Whidbey and Fidalgo islands. You return to the "mainland" via a bridge, near which is the town of La Conner, another very attractive little settlement. This is the area where all the tulips are grown; there might be some stragglers visible when you're there, depending on when in May. It's about an hour to return to Seattle via I-5 from the Skagit Valley.

 

Another island option is to head to West Seattle (exit from I-5 south of downtown) and take the ferry from Fauntleroy to Vashon Island. Vashon is a lovely rural island, with a very picturesque little town at Quartermaster Harbor halfway down. From the south end of the island you can take the ferry over to Tacoma, then return to the freeway (and airport) perhaps with a stop at the Museum of Glass - a great little facility for those interested in art glass. Dale Chihuly's Bridge of Glass is right above it - well worth a stroll. http://www.museumofglass.org/

 

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/index.cfm

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I would tend to discourage trips into the mountains in May - the drive will be long, and May can be very iffy - if it's raining or gray in the lowlands (as is often the case) then that usually means foggy, rainy and/or snowy in the mountains, depending on elevation. Combined with a long drive (and a boring one to Mt. St. Helens) I don't think the mountains are that good a bet.

 

You might consider Snoqualmie Falls in May - they will be extremely impressive with all the water coming off the mountains as the snow melts. The falls are about 45 min. by car from central Seattle. http://www.snoqualmiefalls.com/

 

I'd also strongly second the idea of doing the Mukilteo - Whidbey Island loop. Even if you don't want to tour the Boeing plant - www.futureofflight.org - you'll drive by it - biggest building in the world. Plan to stop at the very cute waterfront town of Langley on Whidbey Island, also Coupeville. If you want, you could take the Coupeville - Port Townsend ferry, visit PT, then return to Seattle via the Bainbridge Island ferry.

 

Or else you could keep going all the way up Whidbey to Deception Pass - a very impressive narrow channel between Whidbey and Fidalgo islands. You return to the "mainland" via a bridge, near which is the town of La Conner, another very attractive little settlement. This is the area where all the tulips are grown; there might be some stragglers visible when you're there, depending on when in May. It's about an hour to return to Seattle via I-5 from the Skagit Valley.

 

Another island option is to head to West Seattle (exit from I-5 south of downtown) and take the ferry from Fauntleroy to Vashon Island. Vashon is a lovely rural island, with a very picturesque little town at Quartermaster Harbor halfway down. From the south end of the island you can take the ferry over to Tacoma, then return to the freeway (and airport) perhaps with a stop at the Museum of Glass - a great little facility for those interested in art glass. Dale Chihuly's Bridge of Glass is right above it - well worth a stroll. http://www.museumofglass.org/

 

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/index.cfm

 

I tend to agree with your advice on St. Helens. We have only gone in good weather when we have gone in the spring, and there's no counting on that in this neck of the woods.

 

The other options are great choices. Enjoy your day, whichever you choose.

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I too am reading this with interest. We will in in Seattle from 10am to 11pm on May 12th for our Coastal Cruise. Do you think we can make one of these "loops" safely without missing the ship?

 

TIA! Katherine

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I too am reading this with interest. We will in in Seattle from 10am to 11pm on May 12th for our Coastal Cruise. Do you think we can make one of these "loops" safely without missing the ship?

 

TIA! Katherine

I think you could easily make the Mukilteo > Whidbey > Deception Pass > Seattle loop. I'd presume you'd want to make it back to the ship comfortably, i.e. by 8 PM or so - shouldn't be a problem, and it will be daylight all the way by then.

 

There are also closer-in drives that could be very rewarding then, too. Seattle has some lovely waterfront drives - out to West Seattle/Alki, or along the Lake Washington shore via the Washington Park Arboretum (which ought to be spectacular in early May). Or, if your folks can walk/wheel maybe 100 yards, you could go visit Snoqualmie Falls (about an hour from the pier) which in early May ought to be pretty awesome with all the water coming off the melting snow in the mountains.

 

If your folks have a handicapped placard for their own car(s) by all means bring it along - it will help enormously with the rental car. The placards are generally acceptable in all 50 states as well as Canada.

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