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Ocean Shores, Westport, or Friday Harbor / San Juan???

Greenacres, WA
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704 posts
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Ocean Shores, Westport, or Friday Harbor / San Juan???

I'm planning a 3 or 4 night getaway for 4th of July weekend. I'm torn between the coast and possible Orca Whale watching in the San Juan Islands.

Trying to stay on a small budget but still take the family some place beautiful. We'll be driving over from the Spokane area and can't visit both places. I'd like to hear what others recommend. . .the Ocean or Whales?

And any vacation recommendation under $150. . .just need a small little cabin or hotel for 2 adults and two 7 yr old boys. Thanks for any suggestions and ideas.

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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1. Re: Ocean Shores, Westport, or Friday Harbor / San Juan???

That weekend, well, any summer weekend, can be tougher than weekdays in getting to/from the SJIs. You should arrive at Anacortes at least two hours ahead of scheduled departure. Read the Inside Page, below, about your return to Anacortes.

This Inside Page might help you make decisions, not only about the ferry but also whether you want to go on a charter or try to see the whales from Lime Kiln Point State Park or the southern end of the island, off Cattle Point and South Beach.

If you see whales on a charter, great. If not, the "guarantee" might be good only if you see no mammals at all (unlikely) and it's for a return trip, not a refund.

There is plenty to do (on San Juan, my choice) for you all. If you wish to see Orcas Island, definitely take the car and drive up Mt. Constitution.

San Juan Islands (Information on the several major islands, with key websites.)



Whale Watching Information



On the other hand, the kids might like playing on the beach at Ocean Shores (or any coastal area).

In any case, you want to do your lodging searches as early as possible.

Greenacres, WA
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704 posts
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2. Re: Ocean Shores, Westport, or Friday Harbor / San Juan???

Thank you for the quick reply. My husband & I were just in Dana Point, CA last weekend for our anniversary and went on Captain Daves dolphin & whale safari. . .we came upon a couple pods of a few hundred common dolphins. It was an amazing sight and we were fortunate enough to be in Maui last year on a whale watch but we've never seen "killer whales" and i really think the entire family would enjoy it.

I also love the ocean but we'll be going back to maui in 2011 so i'm starting to lean towards the San Juan Islands. . .both destinations are about 7.5 hr drive & might stop in Bellevue on the way to split up the drive and make sure we arn't rushing for a ferry. We'll have July 1st to the 5th off for a short trip.

Is July pretty busy time for wildlife and whales?

Bellevue, WA
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529 posts
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3. Re: Ocean Shores, Westport, or Friday Harbor / San Juan???

There are whales to see out of Westport - Pacific Grey Whales, but that migration ends in May or June. $150 might be a little light for the holiday weekend. You might be limited to something back in the town without a view.

I'm partial to the Pacific Beach / Moclips area over Ocean Shores. The terrain is more varied and the cliff top views extend over a wider area. You'd be closer to the top two sights of the county: Lake Quinault and the Quinault Indian Nation beaches (Taholah and Point Grenville).

We've seen lots of other wildlife in the area: eagles, seals, deer, big starfish at low tide.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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4. Re: Ocean Shores, Westport, or Friday Harbor / San Juan???

I would be tough to get a car on the SJ ferry over a long weekend. But you could walk on; better yet walk on with bikes for do a day trip to the Lime Kiln Point. You might find cheaper accomodations in the Anacortes area. Watching for orcas from the shore at Lime Kiln is hit and miss for sure. There's a whale watching boat out of Anacortes now.

Ocean Shores would certainly be the easiest for accessability. it's only 2 hr from Seattle.

Another option is Long Beach. A little further to drive tho. I think we stayed at the Boardwalk at Long Beach; it was reasonable and some units had kitchens. Or bring a tent and camp at any of the above.

Destination Expert
for Seattle, Family Travel
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5. Re: Ocean Shores, Westport, or Friday Harbor / San Juan???

A budget friendly option are the cabins at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island - if the 4th isn't already booked!


6. Re: Ocean Shores, Westport, or Friday Harbor / San Juan???

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