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  1. Default road trip to/around Seattle in December?

    Hi all!
    Me and my wife are planning a road trip to Seattle around November 29th, We're visiting friends of ours and we're planning on staying for two weeks in the US. I thought about several options but i'm a bit hesitant if i should take either one due to weather conditions this time of year so i was hoping people here might be able to give me some good advice... here are my thoughts:
    - Landing in LAX, renting a car and driving all the way to Seattle through highway 1/101 most of the time
    - Landing in SF instead and doing the 101 mostly all the way to Seattle
    - Landing in Seattle , and doing shorter road trips from Seattle as a base camp
    so which option is best, regarding the weather this time of year, I should mention that we're travelling with a 3 month old infant, so we would need to be able to stop often if necessary...
    - perhaps there are other great road trips leading to Seattle that you can think of and recommend at this time of the year that would take about a week?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,740

    Default No best, just options.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    One common theme you will find here at RTA is there is no generic 'best', it's just a case of working out what's best suited to you as an individual. One important point you don't mention is the amount of time you plan to spend with your friends out of the 2 weeks you have available. There is a big difference in what you can achieve if, as examples, you plan to see them for a day or spend a week with them. What I would suggest is you look at doing a loop trip, starting and ending in the same city to reduce one way car rental costs and perhaps flights. That may be too much from LA but it could be achieved from either Seattle or San Fran. From San Fran you could head towards Portland and the Columbia river Gorge and onto Seattle before returning south down the coast and through the California Redwoods. There are many great inland attractions through the Cascade range but they could see weather disruption during late November. The reason for heading south along the coast is to put the Ocean and many of it's great viewpoints on your side of the road. Your other option would be to fly in and out of Seattle, heading south down the coast as far as you are comfortable and then back through Portland while having plenty of time to enjoy your friends company and the city. With the time of year and a week to hand, this would probably be my preferred choice but at the end of the day, it's your trip.

    I would get a good paper map and check out your options, mark a few things that stand out to you and then look at your timeline and how much travelling you are comfortable with. Once you have settled for a basic outline we can certainly help fill in blanks and answer any questions you may have.

    Enjoy the planning !

  3. Default

    thanks for your reply!
    I would imagine that a week-long road trip is what we're aiming for, but we're super flexible, as our maximum time in the US is 14-15 days, so we could always change our itinerary.
    I guess that the best thing to do would be to use Seattle as a base camp (our friends actually live in Sammamish), and that way we could always change our day-to day plan according to weather conditions...
    could you recommend some 1/2 day-long trips from that area?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,537

    Default

    Three things stand out as being close enough to Seattle for a 1-2 day-long trip:

    * Mt Rainier National Park - parts are open during the winter, but always call ahead to find out the condition of the park roads, to ensure that the road to Longmire and up to Paradise is actually open.

    * Mt St Helens National Volcanic Monument - another place that's open in winter. Call ahead to get road conditions, etc.

    * Olympic National Park - the road to Hurricane Ridge, one of its star attractions, requires that you carry chains during December. Stop at the Visitor Center at the bottom of the hill and check about its status. The roads to Hoh Rain Forest, Ruby Beach and Kalaloch Beach are all open at that time of year. Pack warm clothes as it gets windy in the beach areas. Here's more information to check.

    Bear in mind that it's over 400 miles loop trip to go all the way around Olympic NP from Olympia, WA. Most people don't try to see the park in one day, they'll stay somewhere on the "far side". We stayed in Forks, WA at Olympic Lodge, last summer. We were a bit disgruntled with the place at the time, since it was 95 F outside and they had no AC in the rooms, but I did notice that they had room furnaces. The rooms would have been perfect otherwise -- a full suite including a kitchen, as these had been one bedroom apartments at one time. The bathrooms were a bit small.


    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,740

    Default

    As I mentioned it really depends on your interests as they might differ from mine, but if weather permits, places like Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens and Olympic NP are all lovely locations, although you could head into Canada to Vancouver. The problem with out and back trips to such places won't leave you much time to explore them, hence the reason I think taking a small loop trip out of Seattle for 5-7 days and staying in different places is of benefit.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,349

    Default Excursions from Seattle

    There are several very worthwhile day trips to be made from Seattle, but I think you should also consider a couple of three-to-four-day RoadTrips as well. Let's start with interesting places that can be reached in two to three hours, leaving you a bit of time to explore before you have to make the same, or similar, drive back 'home'.

    Depending on where you're coming from and any visa requirements Canada may have on your home country, taking an early morning ferry to Victoria BC would be near the top of my list. Victoria is a very compact and walkable city (so no need to bring the car) with much to see and do in the harbor area, and the ferry ride itself would be relaxing and scenic. Another great day trip (or two) could be made to one of the many Visitors Centers on the eastern side of Olympic National Park. In the other (southeast) direction, there's Mount Ranier National Park. If you're at all interested in aviation, Seattle is the home to Boeing Aircraft and their Museum of Flight. Besides those locations, any drive along the islands and coast of Puget Sound or the forested mountains of the Cascades would be rewarding.

    Now osome longer RoadTrip possibilities. One of founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, wrote that "Fish and visitors stink after three days". So now that you're thinking about flying into and out of Seattle, you should also give some thought to breaking up your visit so that your friends aren't having to accommodate you for two weeks straight. Since you were originally thinking about having a RoadTrip as part of your visit to the US, this should also help you to still do some of the things you might have been looking forward to before your plans changed.

    High on such possibilities would be a drive down the coast along US-101 enjoying the many state parks on the Washington and Oregon coasts. Look at including Astoria (especially the Lewis and Clark historic sites), Portland, and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area as well. You could then return via a more inland route such as I-5 while checking out the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

    Another three to four day RoadTrip could be taken heading east into the northern Rockies with Glacier National Park as your ultimate goal, but driving through the Palouse and visiting towns such as Coeur d'Alene ID on your way. Northern Idaho in particular has a number of scenic byways. So... Lots of possibilities.

    AZBuck

  7. Default

    WOW guys, GREAT advice, i've taken them all into account and my trip planning would be way better now...

    Thank you all very much!

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