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Old 07-06-2014, 03:34 PM   #1
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PNW Vacation Ideas

Thought I'd poll my PNW TF friends here for some 2015 vacation ideas for an out of towner. I've been to Seattle on business a dozen times or so, but would like to bring my wife and two kids (the girls will be 1 and 4 next year) up to see all the area has to offer next summer. We'll want to see the standard Seattle sites (museum @ Boeing Field, Everett factory tour, Pike's Market, downtown, etc, etc, but I'd also like to mix in seeing some of the Trawler culture in places like Anacortes and PT Townsend - many of the places I read about researching the cruising culture.

So... any suggestions on a "where to stay" and "how to get around" from an itinerary perspective? Is there a single place one can rent a cabin at and get around via ferrys? or is it better to hop around a bit with a rental car? Is there a chartered Ranger 25 or something of the ilk that could serve as both transportation and billeting?

Any and all suggestions on what to see and how to see it would be most appreciated!
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:55 PM   #2
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Check with Anacortes Yacht Charters, ABC yacht Charters about Ranger Tugs for charter. So many places to see and go. You might check out the State Parks for cabins to rent. I think Camano Island State Park has some Cabins. Reservations | Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission

I think you might get a number of other recommendations from others as well. The Ferries are a great way to travel.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:24 PM   #3
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If you are going to see the sights by car, consider this. Drive up to Anacortes (about 2 1/2 hours north of Seattle), park your car at the ferry landing, and walk onto the ferry heading to Friday Harbor. You will be right in the middle of the San Juan islands, and the docks are not gated so you can walk the docks and see all the boats up close. Take the kids to visit the whale museum, or maybe go out on a whale watching tour, or rent a kayak for a hour. All within a very short walk of the ferry landing.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:51 PM   #4
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That Anacortes idea is a good one. You and the family will love Friday Harbor. There's a lot to see and do and you can easily spend an entire day there.

When you get back to Seattle catch the Hiram Chittenden Locks (AKA Ballard Locks) to watch the boats go through.

At the south end of Lake Union there's a Center for Wood Boats that would be a good place to tour.

If time allows, take a drive east on I-90 and head to Snoqualmie Falls. They're pretty spectacular and while you're in that area you can stop by the casino and donate some $$$ to the Indians that run it.
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Old 07-07-2014, 02:55 PM   #5
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I cant recommend San Juan Sailing enough. They are a great operation and their boats are 100% and have a lot of trawlers to charter. Via boat is BY FAR the the BEST way to see the PNW.
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:17 PM   #6
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Second the charter opportunities out of Anacortes-Russell's suggestion of walking on the San Juan ferry is great-can take it to Friday Harbor, stay overnight and come back the next day. Much cheaper than taking the car and no waiting (the SJI ferry is really loaded in the summer!). You can rent a car in Friday Harbor to see the island.

AS long as I have lived in Seattle, the Locks are my favorite spot. My daughter and I used to go on many weekends just to walk around. If your visit is in July, the salmon will be coming through the fish ladder.

Port Townsend is great for an overnight from Seattle (or a long day trip).

The Museum of Flight is pretty cool, but I would skip the plant tour in Everett.

To me, the best option would be 3-4 days in Seattle, followed by 4-7 day charter out of Anacortes.
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolive View Post
Check with Anacortes Yacht Charters, ABC yacht Charters about Ranger Tugs for charter.
I chartered the 29 Ranger Tug "Cherry K" from AYC just a couple weeks ago. I loved the boat, and their operation was excellent to work with. The boat is essentially brand new, and has fantastic electronics and gear. I had never cruised in the area, and I was overwhelmed by how beautiful and relaxing the whole thing was. Much thanks to those TF members who gave us advice on destinations BTW. We will be back to the area just as soon as we possibly can.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:16 AM   #8
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PNW Vacation Ideas

Thanks for the many responses! How would one of those charter places handle a first-timer who was a bow rider/runabout owner a decade ago or so down in NW FL? Any pre-requisites? Certifications required? Just an afternoon of instruction?
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:46 AM   #9
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Go to the web site for Anacortes Yacht Charters and click on instruction and training. You will see that they are not going to let anyone endanger themselves or their boats.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:06 AM   #10
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Get you one of these and start planning:
Home | Waggoner Cruising Guide


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Old 07-08-2014, 11:07 AM   #11
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Same for San Juan Sailing. Their training staff is excellent. And you should get 1 day training for free depending on the boat you charter.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:31 AM   #12
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I own a 30' cabin cruiser but have essentially no experience with rudders, and certainly not tides and currents like they have up there. My wife and I each took the three day course from AYC before we chartered, and that not only qualified us - it gave us the skills that we needed to really relax and enjoy our vacation. There is a lot that you have to "unlearn" when moving from I/O's to rudders, and the on water training was essential.
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:58 PM   #13
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If you take a ferry to San Juan Island, I would use the bus service on the island to get around. A one day pass is 15.00 and you can go anywhere. We motor over to Friday Harbor and use it when we want to go somewhere.
If you head our way, and if you decide to charter, PM me and I would be happy to suggest areas that fit your desires. Some like to stay in marinas, some like to anchor out. We have been boating here for 8 years and there are lots of great places to go.
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:53 PM   #14
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We are currently in the San Juans and are in Friday Harbor tonight. Spent the last 2 days at Rosario Resort and enjoyed every minute. If you want a different perspective of the islands hop on Kenmore Air in Seattle and fly to Rosario, your kids and wife will love it. Then catch Island Air from Rosario to Bellingham and get on one of the whale watching boats. You can also catch an excursion from Bellingham to Sucia Island and Fossil Bay go exploring, have some lunch then explore Bellingham and Fairhaven both of which will entertain everyone.

Tomorrow we are heading to Stuart Island after that who knows!
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Old 07-14-2014, 02:16 AM   #15
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We only do our excursions from the water so highly endorse the charter idea. Perhaps with a captain your first time there even. Now, we don't have kids so what we've seen and enjoyed wouldn't be ideal for you and your family, but here are our highlights the last few months. Will not be too many restaurants as we eat on board mostly.

Neah Bay-Makah Marina
-Makah Cultural and Research Center-Very interesting. Nice people. Crafts
-Makah Indian Museum
-Cape Flattery-Most NW point of the contiguous 48

Port Angeles-Port Angeles Boat Haven
-Olympic National Park. You could spend days exploring it
---Elhwa
---Lake Crescent
---Sol Duc Valley
---Rialto Beach
---Hoh Rain Forest
---Kalaloch
---Queets
---Lake Quinault
-Port Angeles Fine Art Museum. Ok,we like art but it also shows so much about an area
-Arthur D. Fiero Marine Life Center
-Madison Creek Falls
-Lanza's Ristorante

Port Townsend Boat Haven
-Port Townsend Marine Science Center
-Kelly Art Deco Light Museum
-Northwest Maritime Center

Brinnon/Pleasant Harbor Marina
-Loved exploring from there in our tender

Tacoma-Dock Street Marina
-Port Defiance Park, Zoo and Aquarium
-Washington State History Museum
-Museum of Glass
-Tacoma Art Museum
-Tender over to Gig Harbor
-Pacific Grill

Seattle-Elliott Bay
-Museum of Flight. Nothing else to compare
-Chihuly Garden and Glass
-Kerry Park
-Columbia Center Sky View Observatory
-Art Restaurant
-Six Seven Restaurant
-Lake Union
-Lake Washington

Friday Harbor-Port of Friday Harbor
-Lime Kiln Point State Park
-San Juan Historical Museum
-San Juan Islands Museum of Art

Whidbey Island, WA-Oak Harbor Marina
-Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve
-Fraser's Gourmet Hideaway

Anacortes-Cap Sane Marin
-Washington Park
-Mt. Erie Park
-Swinomish Casino
-13 Moons Restaurant

Bellingham-Squalicom Harbor
-Fairhaven Historic District
-Whatcom Falls Park
-Anthony's at Squalicom Harbor
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:40 PM   #16
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Wow, great inputs!! Thanks!
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:45 PM   #17
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Port Townsend is a true West coast boating mecca. It is worth a visit if you have ever picked up an issue of WoodenBoat and found it mildly interesting.
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Old 07-14-2014, 11:52 PM   #18
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PNW cruising

My wife and I just got back from 3 weeks up there. This will be the fourth time we've toured the area by boat. We have a Ranger 29 tug. We were up in the Canadian Gulf Islands part of the time but I agree with the other posters that there is a lot to see and do in the San Juans and Puget Sound.

I second the suggestion about getting the Waggoner's Guide. Personally I would rather have a print copy. We use it all the time. Has a map for every marina you would go to and really helps with understanding the currents and tide rips.

On the other side of San Juan Island from Friday Harbor is Roche Harbor. Like Rosario its a very family-friendly place with lots to do, see, and eat.

We went through the Ballard locks on the Fourth of July. First time through a lock. This was the big lock and it was full. The lock master heard that we were newbies and announced on his P. A. that we were supposed to turn around and back in. My wife's eyes about popped out. We made a few boo boos but it was actually fun. Glad that we could provide entertainment for the onlookers.

Have a great time.

Jeff
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