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  1. #1

    Default Vancouver and surrounds for 6-7 days in January

    Hi Everyone,

    My girlfriend and I are going to be flying into Vancouver (Canada) in mid January and have allowed about 1 week to check out the surrounding areas before we head to Whistler for a week of snowboarding & skiing. We would love to hire a car and check out the area provided there's not too much driving in icy/hazardous conditions.

    We're both Aussies who love sport, music and sightseeing. We're hoping to keep to a reasonable budget, but want to take in as much as possible.. We'd also be keen to head down to Seattle as well.

    Can anyone make any recommendations on what to see, where to go and where to stay?

    Thanks in advance for your help!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default V. Island


    It goes without saying that you could/should ferry to Sydney on Vancouver Island and spend a couple of those days visiting Victoria, Buschart Gardens and exploring the small towns to the north. We found the beaches south of Tofino to be just lovely.

    You could then ferry from Victoria over to the "States" at Port Angeles and spending 3 or 4 days visiting the Olympic National Park and Seattle (lots of music venues) before returning to Vancouver.

    Have a great time!

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

  3. #3

    Default Vancouver Island and Olympic National Park

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for your advice. Vancouver Island sounds great. Is hiring a car the best method to get about? Are both Vancouver Island and Olympic National Park easily accessible at this time of year?

    Thanks again,


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You should be fine

    The coastal areas have a relatively temperate climate. There might be snow and ice in higher elevations but, along the coastal roads, it is fairly rare for there to be any snow. Ice is another matter. You may well come across it. Especially in the morning. If there's any traffic at all, it should disappear as the day goes on. But take care for black ice. This is ice that you can't see and that is really just a slick, thin sheen on the road. It is typically found in areas that get virtually no sun, such as the bottom of dips. Especially if the road on each side of the dip is surrounded by trees.

    I wouldn't let these stop you from driving. Just use common-sense and if the mercury has dipped below freezing, know that you might want to take it a bit slower, especially on corners and in those dips/shaded areas.

    Some highlights to check out on the Olympic Peninsula are Hurricane Ridge if it's opened. It sometimes closes in winter due to snow. But it has terrific views into Olympic National Park if it's open. The Dungeness Spit in Sequim. Port Townsend (amazing Victorian architecture). Makah Indian Reservation with Cape Flattery (farthest NW point in the US) and a quaint fishing village with an amazing museum of Native American artifacts. Hoh Rain Forest with the Hall of Mosses. Lake Ozette and the beach hikes close by.

    If you want more info on what to see on the Olympic Peninsula, give a shout. It's my backyard.

  5. #5

    Default Olympic National Park

    Hi Judy,

    Thanks for your help! Everything looks so interesting and exciting so I think I'll need to talk it over with the girlfriend to decide what we have time to do this time. I think we may end up leaving the peninsula via the Port Townsend-Keystone Ferry to avoid driving through Seattle. What do you think is the best value accommodation for this area? I'm considering hiring an RV because we'd like to spend a bit of time at Vancouver Island as well as the peninsula. Or do you think hiring a car and staying at cheap motels is an easier option?

    Thanks again!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Pt. Townsend-Keystone Ferry....yes!

    Unless you're going to spend some time in Seattle to enjoy what the city has to offer, it's definitely not worth trying to drive through. The traffic can be pretty horrid.

    Even though we have had a truck/camper combo and a truck/trailer combo, I'm not really a fan of these types of rigs for short trips. Oh, they're great if you're just going to stay in the same place for a few days and camp. But the hassle of driving them combined with the higher fuel costs...well, you're just not going to save any money doing it. Especially when you factor in the rental fee. For such a short trip, I'd really recommend renting a regular vehicle and motels. You can always save a few bucks, if needed, by eating out of your cooler.

    There are plenty of inexpensive hotels on The Peninsula, depending on where you decide to spend the night. You shouldn't have any problem getting reasonably priced lodging anywhere along the northern portion of The Peninsula. On the west side, inexpensive lodging is harder to find....heck, any lodging is harder to find, it's pretty sparse on this side.. about the only place you'll find it is in the Forks area. If you go as far south as Lake Quinault, the more inexpensive lodging is just a skip away from the lake in Amanda Park. If you spend anytime on the eastern side, Bremerton is your best bet but there are scattered hotels all over on the side.

    It's hard for me to give specific recommendations because I either do an internet search for the cheapest place in the winter, or camp in the summer. And many of my trips around The Peninsula take me to the homes of friends so lodging isn't an issue anyway.

    It's been awhile since I've spent the night on Vancouver Island. If you're up for a splurge, it's almost impossible to beat the old-time grandeur and elegance of The Empress in Victoria. Enjoy the tea and crumpets during tea time!

  7. #7

    Default Thanks

    Fantastic. I can't wait to leave already! I'll talk it all over with the girlfriend. I'll be sure to post back with a more specific details so you can recommend (please!) the best things to see and do.

    Much appreciated,


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