Live in UK & need advice on roadtrip in Washington & Seattle are
Leaving UK on 26 December & arrive in Seattle same afternoon. From there we pick up our rental vehicle & we don't have to be in Vancouver B.C. until 30 December where we'll spend New Year then back to Seattle approx 02 January to fly out on the 4th of January.
We want to get going as soon as we land & see as much as possible. Just need some advice on how to fit as much in as possible. We only want to spend one night in Seattle to do the city and be on the road the rest of the time. I figure it will be snowing perhaps & don't know where we should stay or what we should do.
I want to go to Snoqualmie Falls for lunch one day at Salish Lodge, islands/ferry trips would love to do but where/which island is best to see. Only spending 1 night in each place & keep going all the time.
There are so many places to suggest that it's hard to know where to begin. Personally, I think anyone coming to Washington is really missing out if they don't go to Mt. St. Helens that erupted in 1980. The devestation is still very evident and is awesome to view the power the blast had. Also awesome to see Mother Nature's healing in progress. Anyway, that is my #1 suggestion.
Other great places to explore are:
Olympic National Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula, the only temperate rainforest in the continental US, with amazing trails into moss-covered forests that are very enchanting. Also, lots of very cool beaches along the route that are quite rugged with great tide-pools to explore. Especially Ruby Beach, just a bit north of Kalaloch. Kalaloch is a very neat spot as well.
Mt. Rainier has some great trails and views although access will be quite limitd at that time of year.
I always have a good time on the Long Beach Peninsula in SW Washington. There's a lot of ourdoor activities and historical things to investigate. If you go a bit farther south, there is a great Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and, if you cross the 5+ mile long bridge on the Columbia River to go into Astoria, you can enjoy Fort Clatsop which is a recreated fort in the area where Lewis & Clark wintered before heading back East. We are entering the bi-centennial celebration of their journey so you might find all that interesting.
All of the San Juan Islands are interesting to explore. They all have different things to offer so it would be depend on just what you're looking for. I doubt you would be disappointed in any of them. And the ferry rides are always a lot of fun.
Hope that gives you some ideas!
I would suggest taking a ferry from Anacortes to Vancouver (or vice versa). It takes you through the San Juan Islands. It's a beautiful ferry ride and cost around $40 one way. That was the price about five years ago. Vancouver is great. There's Gastown, the Lookout Tower and Granville Island. You could drive through Stanley Park and go to Victoria. In Victoria, you can go to Butchart Gardens and/or have High Tea at The Empress Hotel. We stayed at that hotel for ~$100/night.
In Seattle, take a drive up Queen Anne hill to see the views - they're the best. Don't eat at the Space Needle. Do eat at the Wild Ginger Asian Bistro. There is wonderful asian food all over in the northwest.
This would be fun:
Bellingham - take the scenic route along Chuckanut Drive to see the blue San Juan islands.
Victoria (there is a ferry from Bellingham)
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (In the rainforest)
Ocean Shores - on the coast of Washington
Seaside - on the coast of oregon
Mount Rainier - Check out a short hike called Christina Falls.
Vancouver - Check out Robson Street.
Okay, as much as big cities are cool, you SO will not see Washington unless you visit forest, mountains, and ocean.
I suggest the Olympic National Forest for, well, the forest; Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens for mountains; and Ocean Shores or Anacortes for ocean.
Also, don't eat at chain restaurants. Locally-owned places are usually better than chains.
And never eat at the Space Needle. Just don't.