Your Guide to a Pacific Northwest Roadtrip
Seattle, Washington —> Vancouver, Canada
4 hours, 1 day, 12 alpaca viewings, one heart-stopping walk and the best seafood in the West
Capilano Suspension Bridge, North Vancouver
Leaving From Seattle:
First, recommendation in Seattle: stay at the Four Seasons. This new hotel is stunning. Our favorite part in the infinity pool overlooking the water and the snow capped Olympic Mountains.
Some Stats About the Drive:
The drive to Vancouver is about 3 hours. That includes about 15-20 minutes at the Canadian border. This requires a passport so do remember to bring one. How to do it?
First, drive straight up for about an hour on I-5. You will then hit Burlington. There are two things to do there.
1) Lulu Lemon outlet. It is rare to be able to find those pants on sale, so take advantage!
2) Burlington, specifically exit 231, begins the Chackanut Drive, a scenic alternate route. This adds about 30 minutes to your drive- but is incredible! Farm land, beaches, mountain side cliffs, the state’s best shellfish and incredible little stores and places to eat lie here. There is also an alpaca farm about 5 minutes into the drive!
Things to do along Chuckanut Drive
1) Bat Caves Trail Head: Mile 10. This is also known as Oyster dome trail. Round trip hike is about 5 miles. It’s steep and rugged but offers incredible views of the San Juan Islands from the top. The bat caves are a bunch of boulders set against a 300 foot rock face and home to big eared bats.
2) The Oyster Bar: Mile 10. This is an adorable wooden restaurant lit on the outside by quaint strings of white light bulbs. They have a back porch that looks out over the giant trees and water. Don’t worry, the have blankets on the chairs at night if you’re chilly. It’s pretty old school, there were many a gentleman in a tweed blazer. But, you also feel relaxed in pants and a t-shirt. The oysters and crab are fantastic. The baked oysters—amazing.
3) Taylor Shellfish Farms: Mile 10. Just drive down to this. It’s quite fun. They have been there for over 100 years. If you want, buy a dozen oysters or two and a knife and make your way down to the beach. Bring a bottle of champagne and some crème de casis for Kir Royales while you’re at it and you can have a real party!
4) Clayton Beach: Mile 14. Park your car in the parking lot or on the side of the road. The hike down to the water is a quick 1 mile round trip. It’s a great way to stretch your legs mid journey and the beach is real sand.
5) Town of Fairhaven: End of Route 11 or, Chuckanut Drive. Cute brick town with quaint boutiques and restaurants.
From Chuckanut, it’s another hour on i-5 until the border. There are antiques stores and plenty of spots for fuel and refreshments along the way.
Off the Beaten Track
There is a remote restaurant, accessible only by ferry, that is known to be one of the best in the country. Where is this gem?
It is on Lummi Island in the San Juan Islands. The restaurant has it’s own farm and fishing boats. Hence, all food is foraged and gathered locally, made that day and the tasting menu changes daily. Just to set the mood, the tasting menu begins when you receive a small wooden box. You open it to unveil a poof of smoke and a piece of North Pacific fresh caught salmon roasting on small fire below.
Don’t fret, after a long dinner you can spend the night at the adorable Willows Inn where the restaurant is located.
We sped through the city of Vancouver, over Lion’s Bridge to North Vancouver to see Capilano Suspension Bridge. This was a very cool way to pass a few hours. Beware- if you’re afraid of heights this is a bit scary! The Cliff walk may even be scarier than the bridge. But it is definitely worth the experience and the scenery is stunning!
They have a general store where you can purchase full Raccoon Hats.
The Bridge House Restaurant across the street has great food, you can sit outside and is extremely pleasant after your day.
We have heard Vij’s in Vancouver is legendary Indian too!
For more rustic travel guides check out: Guide to Jackson Hole, Wyoming