PNW Trip

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,836
North Carolina
This fall, Mrs. Bull and I are going to meet my brother & sister and their spouses in Seattle. I think we'll be in the area for 2 weeks. My main desires are to take in a day of the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival (Sept. 9-11), and visit the San Juan Islands. I've never been to the PNW, and would appreciate advice and recommendations on things to do, places to see, places to stay, places to avoid, tours by boat, etc. Most of us are healthy 66 - 75. We are not golfers or casino goers. Calm water kayaking is fine.

I think we'll all meet in Seattle and stay there for a day or two, and then go to Port Townsend. Aside from the WB festival, I think it would make sense to spend a few days touring the Olympic Peninsula. The idea of staying put for 3 to 4 nights is appealing. Suggestions welcome as to itinerary, when to go to the WB festival, B&Bs, etc.

The next stop would probably be the San Juans. I don't know too much about about them, but I understand they are lovely. I would love to do a sail charter/tour, with a skipper, either for a day or perhaps a couple of nights. We'll have a rental car; do you take a car ferry from the mainland?

I imagine we'll have several days left so ideas are welcome.

Thanks,

B.C.

 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,710
1,240
With a rental car you can ferry to Port Townsend and the San Juans. On weekends in season you may need a reservation, weekdays you can usually line up and wait. The ferries run frequently.

You will not lack for things to do. In the San Juans, the tourist center is Friday Harbor, but it is a little - touristy. More laid back are Lopez and Orcas while still having sufficient facilities to accommodate tourists. 

 
If you're interested in a bit more travel adventure, drive from Port Townsend to Port Angeles and take the Black Ball Ferry to Victoria BC.  Stay at the legendary Fairmont Empress Hotel (the signature Gin and Tonic is great!) overlooking the downtown marina.  Give yourself two full days there: one to walk around town and see the fabulous Royal BC Museum and the other to visit Butchart Gardens (have lunch there).  Then you can either take the Black Ball back to Port Angeles or over to Anacortes.

 
A

Amati

Guest
This fall, Mrs. Bull and I are going to meet my brother & sister and their spouses in Seattle. I think we'll be in the area for 2 weeks. My main desires are to take in a day of the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival (Sept. 9-11), and visit the San Juan Islands. I've never been to the PNW, and would appreciate advice and recommendations on things to do, places to see, places to stay, places to avoid, tours by boat, etc. Most of us are healthy 66 - 75. We are not golfers or casino goers. Calm water kayaking is fine.

I think we'll all meet in Seattle and stay there for a day or two, and then go to Port Townsend. Aside from the WB festival, I think it would make sense to spend a few days touring the Olympic Peninsula. The idea of staying put for 3 to 4 nights is appealing. Suggestions welcome as to itinerary, when to go to the WB festival, B&Bs, etc.

The next stop would probably be the San Juans. I don't know too much about about them, but I understand they are lovely. I would love to do a sail charter/tour, with a skipper, either for a day or perhaps a couple of nights. We'll have a rental car; do you take a car ferry from the mainland?

I imagine we'll have several days left so ideas are welcome.

Thanks,

B.C.
The ferry system for the San Juan’s is pretty screwed up, and you’ll need RESERVATIONS to have some confidence you’ll have a spot.  Even then the schedule can get, um, flexible…..

Its possible to park on the mainland side and walk on, which doesn’t require a reservation, but then with walking, Friday Harbor is your best bet, since the downtown is right at the ferry terminal.  A bit of COVID warning, don’t go upstairs in the ferries and stay inside- stay outside or in your car.

https://secureapps.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/reservations/Vehicle/Error.aspx?errorType=cookie&cookieCheck=true

 
Last edited:
A

Amati

Guest
This fall, Mrs. Bull and I are going to meet my brother & sister and their spouses in Seattle. I think we'll be in the area for 2 weeks. My main desires are to take in a day of the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival (Sept. 9-11), and visit the San Juan Islands. I've never been to the PNW, and would appreciate advice and recommendations on things to do, places to see, places to stay, places to avoid, tours by boat, etc. Most of us are healthy 66 - 75. We are not golfers or casino goers. Calm water kayaking is fine.

I think we'll all meet in Seattle and stay there for a day or two, and then go to Port Townsend. Aside from the WB festival, I think it would make sense to spend a few days touring the Olympic Peninsula. The idea of staying put for 3 to 4 nights is appealing. Suggestions welcome as to itinerary, when to go to the WB festival, B&Bs, etc.

The next stop would probably be the San Juans. I don't know too much about about them, but I understand they are lovely. I would love to do a sail charter/tour, with a skipper, either for a day or perhaps a couple of nights. We'll have a rental car; do you take a car ferry from the mainland?

I imagine we'll have several days left so ideas are welcome.

Thanks,

B.C.
During high season (even in Sept). You may need to get reservations a month ahead.

 
A great way to get to the San Jaun's or Victoria is the Clipper, link below.  It's a walk on fast ferry that leaves from Seattle waterfront, so no need to mess with the WSDOT island ferry's, which as Amati said, aren't ideal right now.  You'll most likely go through Deception pass on the way up or back, which is epic. 

If you do Victoria, there are easy car rentals or taxis if you want to explore more than the town.  Take a ride on the Water Taxis there.  If you do San Juan's, rent some of the Scoot-Coops from a place like Susies and do a loop of the island.  Lime Kiln is a good spot to look for Orcas.

Port Townsend is great.  Once you're out there, it's worth driving out to Port Angeles and going up to Hurricane Ridge in Oly National Park.  

If you want to sail, Sailing Seattle takes people out on a couple of older Maxi's for short cruises daily.  Not sure about who offers overnight charters.

https://www.clippervacations.com/

https://susiesmopeds.com/

 

PNW-LSJ

New member
18
9
PNW
I’d skip Seattle, it’s disgusting these days. We went to the boat show last week and saw enough bums, garbage, human shit etc we won’t be staying there again, which sucks we used to stay multiple times a year and just cruise around the city. We like poulsbo, port Townsend is cool, San Juan’s I don’t have much experience with but we can’t wait to head there this year. We spend a bit of time in gig harbor, it’s a neat little town as well. 

 

See Level

Working to overcome my inner peace
If you're interested in a bit more travel adventure, drive from Port Townsend to Port Angeles and take the Black Ball Ferry to Victoria BC.  Stay at the legendary Fairmont Empress Hotel (the signature Gin and Tonic is great!) overlooking the downtown marina.  Give yourself two full days there: one to walk around town and see the fabulous Royal BC Museum and the other to visit Butchart Gardens (have lunch there).  Then you can either take the Black Ball back to Port Angeles or over to Anacortes.
Black ball ferry doesn't run to Anacortes, and the Sydney BC / San Juan island ferry isn't currently running and may or may not be by Sept. 

Option is to take Sydney/ Tsawwassen ferry to Vancouver.

Chuckanut drive south out of Bellingham is nice with a good seafood oyster bar restaurant.

Then you're back near Anacortes and can do the islands if you want.

2nd the skip Seattle part.

 
Last edited by a moderator:

See Level

Working to overcome my inner peace
Dungeness spit, east of port Angeles and Pillar point and Twin Beach west of P.A. on hiway 112 are excellent Kayaking spots. Edit, (Weather permitting  :D )

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,836
North Carolina
I’d skip Seattle, it’s disgusting these days. We went to the boat show last week and saw enough bums, garbage, human shit etc we won’t be staying there again, which sucks we used to stay multiple times a year and just cruise around the city. We like poulsbo, port Townsend is cool, San Juan’s I don’t have much experience with but we can’t wait to head there this year. We spend a bit of time in gig harbor, it’s a neat little town as well. 
With all of the water and natural beauty around, I can't see spending time in a city (even if it does have a Space Needle), but I have to co-exist with the others. Thanks for relating your experience.

 

IStream

Super Anarchist
10,932
3,108
I guess I'll be the contrarian and recommend that you make the most of your time in Seattle. Yes, there's an acute homelessness problem, the waterfront is a massive construction zone, and the pandemic has knocked downtown back on its heels due to people working from home. However, there are still world class arts institutions, restaurants, festivals, views, and lots of local culture in its various neighborhoods. A few suggestions: 

The Center for Wooden Boats in the South Lake Union neighborhood close to downtown

The Museum of History and Industry (colocated with the CWB)

A picnic at Gasworks Park with stunning views of the lake and downtown

Rent an electric boat and toodle around bustling Lake Union

Visit the Ballard Locks and grab a beer and a bite at the locally famous Sloop Tavern nearby (I live in Ballard, hit me up!)

Do a brewery crawl through Ballard, including a stop at Mike's Chili Parlor for a step back in time to when Ballard was mostly blue collar

There are a million other things you can do and enjoy in Seattle's downtown and various neighborhoods. Don't listen to the gloom and doom, it's still a great city. I would also suggest you not try to cross into Canada this year. The border restrictions are still in place and even if they're lifted by September (a good bet), they're still subject to change on short notice, which isn't conducive to planning. There's plenty to do on the US side to soak up a couple of weeks.

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,836
North Carolina
The Center for Wooden Boats in the South Lake Union neighborhood close to downtown

The Museum of History and Industry (colocated with the CWB)

A picnic at Gasworks Park with stunning views of the lake and downtown

Rent an electric boat and toodle around bustling Lake Union

Visit the Ballard Locks and grab a beer and a bite at the locally famous Sloop Tavern nearby (I live in Ballard, hit me up!)

Do a brewery crawl through Ballard, including a stop at Mike's Chili Parlor for a step back in time to when Ballard was mostly blue collar
These sound good. I think @PNW-LSJ was kind of cautioning against aimlessly wandering around to soak in the urban flavor. I'm glad to have some specific ideas. I have seen a a bit about the CWB, and I feel I would enjoy it very much. Is is in the construction zone?

 

Ishmael

54,194
13,445
Fuctifino
If you're going to be hanging around Seattle I would also recommend the Chihuly glass exhibit. https://www.chihulygardenandglass.com/

There are some phenomenal pieces there.

chihuly seafloor.jpg

And of course, if you make it to Victoria we will happily show you some hospitality.

 

DDW

Super Anarchist
6,710
1,240
Port Angeles to Victoria is the Blackball, and yes it is running. Everyone will need proof of vaccination and a neegative Covid PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival in Canada, not sure about the other way (or that is the rules today anyway). Victoria is a beautiful city but you'll need to work to get there. The Victoria (really Sidney) ferry to Anacortes is a Washington state ferry, hasn't run since Covid, no up schedule that I'm aware of. Yes the Wa State ferries are kind of screwed up but with patience you can make them work. Don't mean to dis iStream's home town, but if you have a choice of spending time in Seattle or Victoria I'm gonna go with the latter. If you just want to spend some time in downtown Victoria, even for a couple of days, it is quite feasible to walk on to the Blackball since the Vic ferry terminal is literally 2 blocks from the center of town and numerous hotels, restaurants, all the attractions, etc. If needed there is a rental car agency right there as well. The other ferries serving Victory are 15 - 20 miles out of town. 

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,836
North Carolina
@Ishmael & @DDW we were thinking of going to the San Juans from Victoria. Can it be done or do you have to go back to Port Angeles??

I really want to see Ish, so we can compare knee scars.

 

Autonomous

Turgid Member
4,365
1,538
PNW
Whisper in your companions' ears 'There are plenty of cities but only one Salish Sea.'

Port Townsend is a must, the Victorian architecture is wonderful. From open checkbook restorations to low dollar broken dreams. Wooden boats, work boats and tourists. It's all good. Friday Harbor is somehow a favorite of mine in spite of the tourism. Eat upstairs at the Cask & Schooner and check out the very cool fireplace. Do try to get some ferry rides in. 

 

Bull City

A fine fellow
7,199
2,836
North Carolina
Several years ago, Mrs. Bull and I fulfilled a long held dream of a Windjammer cruise in Maine. It was a wonderful 5 days in Penobscot Bay. I think the San Juans are similar in many ways. We're interested in a 3 or 4 day crewed charter. I see some on the web, but would be interested in recommendations. Thanks.

 




Top