Hi - we are thinking of landing in San Francisco late June for a three week trip to Canada - maybe drive up and fly back or vice versa? Is there lots to see on the way? Does anyone do one way rentals better (i.e. the Canadians or the Americans?) Any ideas appreciated!
Vancouver has cheap car rentals, but it depends how much is the flight to YVR or SFO. Im gonna assume its alot cheaper to fly to SFO. As for one way rentals, you need to check out all the car websites but I dont think they want you to leave the car in a foreign country, especially so far away. Maybe its better to fly to SFO and leave the car in Seattle, then take AMTRAK to Vancouver and rent a car in Vancouver. But most things to see in Vancouver can easily be done by transit and they have one of the best transits in the world, if they are not on strike (in 2001, they were on strike the entire summer). Things to see, drive up the pacific coast. True, I-5 is alot faster, but highway 1 is more beautiful. If you end up taking the car into canada, drive to Port Angeles, take ferry to Victoria (Vancouver Island) and drive up to Nanaimo. Then take ferry to West Vancouver. As for places to stop, take your pick. The coast has so many little towns and each has their own special feeling. As for Vancouver, Theres so much to do if you like to walk long distances especially downhill. ANd there is so much to do that is FREE instead of paying for what most tourists do (Capilano Suspension Bridge vs Lynn Canyon). Cypress point is also a great place to go at sunset for vista. Catching a ferry from West Van to Bowen Island and walking around Crippen Park is cheap $8 round trip. If you have some cash, eat dinner at the cloud 9 (60 dollars each). Get a table at the window. Its a revolving restaurant and goes around once an hour and the views are better than the food! Im from Vancouver so I know so much about it to do things for free. Again, if you drive up and into Canada, get gas before u cross the border as gas prices in Canada are about 30%+ more. A trip up to WHistler is also needed (1,5hrs from Vancouver). ANy questions, let me know.
also, most companies wont let u drive into canada...im sure budget and alamo do
In Tacoma, Washington, highly recommend the Museum of Glass.
Easy access from major roads.
Some other things to see:
Olympia National Forest--the only rainforest in the 50 states of the United states (there is also a rainforest in Puerto Rico, which is part of the United States, but Puerto Rico is not a state)
Space Needle in Seattle
Experience Music Project and Alien Museum--both of these are at the base of the space needle
Snoqualmie Falls--east of Seattle, this falls is actually higher than the famous Niagara Falls
Mount St. Helens monument--tells all about and has a film on the volcano that blew up back in 1982 and left the entire west coast blacked out for about 2 weeks
Portland--the Rose City
The Snake River Gap--about 80 miles east of Portland--very scenic
Crater Lake--a giant lake created when a meteor hit the state millions of years ago and created this giant crater
Ashland--very scenic city and home of a giant Shakespeare festival each summer
Redwoods National Park--extends from the Oregon border down about 30 miles south. Be sure to visit the famous "Trees of Mystery"
Napa and Sonoma Valleys--recognized the world over for making (along with France) the best red wines in the world. They also have pretty good reds, and there is also a brandy maker close by. The city of Sonoma is great, has some really good music festivals, a cheese factory in town, and is just a wonderful place to be.
Muir Woods--just north of San Francisco--has some great redwoods and 'foggy vistas".
Sausalito--just across the bay from San Francisco. Another quaint, beautiful town to visit--good restaurants and great shopping, too.
The Columbia River Gorge is a land of waterfalls, and Oregon has many whitewater rafting opportunities, see:
Thank you all for all the great advice! Having worked out the dates we have now decided to fly in and out of Vancouver (unfortunatley not enough time on this trip to drive up and/or back). So now we are just going to be in BC, exploring all there is to see there! Thanks anyway to all those with great ideas for NW USA - another trip! (and anyone with good tips for BC - love to hear from you!!!)
Hello! If you like botanical gardens, you should definitely try and see the Buchart Gardens in Victoria. They are amazing. Vancouver is a very nice city. Usually very clean and quiet. There is also a suspension bridge (450 feet long, 200 feet off the ground) and park outside of Vancouver - the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The park is very nice to walk around on and the bridge is .. very long!
Also, Seattle is only a 2 and a half hour drive from Vancouver. It has some wonderful restaurants and night life and what I found to be very nice people.
Seattle is 4 hours away, or more with border controls, 2 is impossible but you should still go there. Capilano Suspension Bridge is good but it costs 10 dollars each.. Go to Lynn Canyon Bridge and its free. Near the capilano bridge, go to the fish hatchery. its free but not postive there are salmon there yet, but its good to walk around anyway. Go to CYpress Bowl vista point at dusk for the lookout over Vancouver- is free with car ( Grouse mtn costs 30+ dollars and is a rip off). Go to Bowen Island and walk around. take 20 ferry from horseshoe bay (no need for car). Stanley park is obvious and rent a bike and bike around the seawall. Lighthouse park in West Van is great too (near horseshoe bay). or whytecliff park right near the ferry terminal and u can watch the ferries go by.