View Full Version : Driving from Seattle to Vancouver! - Need Advice!
07-10-2003, 11:35 PM
We are heading to Vancouver for a family reunion in August and are thinking of flying to Seattle and driving up to Vancouver. Any advice you fellow BB'ers who live in the are can give me would be much appreciated!
(The reason we're considering this is to save on airfare - huge difference - and also the novelty and fun of it, to see a part of the country I have never seen before, interesting for the kids, etc.)
So - my questions are: how long is the drive, is it an easy drive, any good sightseeing on the way, what is the border crossing like, does it get backed up (don't want to risk missing our return flight), will our 3 kids enjoy it or hate it, are rental cars permitted across the border, what will the weather be like, plus anything else I am likely not to think of but need to know!
We actually wouldn't mind having a car in Vancouver as we will use it to visit some of DH's family that lives there. We are staying at the Westin Bayshore and our kids are 9, 5, and 3. Any suggestions for what to do with the kids for the day & 1/2 we have free would be appreciated too. We also just heard from DH's uncle that it took several hours to get through customs in Vancouver airport so avoiding that would be a plus.
BE HONEST - is this a bad idea or sounds like fun?
TIA - Laurie who is looking forward to some cool weather up north.
07-11-2003, 06:13 AM
Laurie - last September I flew into Seattle with my family and we drove to Vancouver. It's not a long drive - 4 hours, depending on traffic. It's not necessarily and easy one. The airport on on the south side of the city, so you need to drive through the city to get north. Traffic can be a bear. I'm not sure how the border crossing is there lately. I know yesterday in Detroit I waited about a half hour to cross, in the middle of the morning (10:30). Rental cars are definitely permitted across the border.
Let me know if I can help further.
07-11-2003, 09:57 AM
I haven't actually done it but was just visiting friends in Seattle and talked about it (in reference to going to Canucks games) and that the border is a real pill now. It sounds like your whole family is going but just in case your DH is not - make sure you have a letter from him saying you're allowed to take the kids across the border (or have his phone number). A co-worker awhile back was asked if his wife knew he was taking the kids to Canada. The wife actually didn't know (she was at a conference for the week and he just decided spur of the moment to take a day trip with the kids). He honestly replied that his wife didn't know and they prevented him from crossing until they were able to get ahold of his wife!
It's beautiful country so I don't think its crazy to do you plan - just leave enough time.
07-11-2003, 10:00 AM
And make sure you bring correct documentation for everyone in the vehicle. Birth certificates definitely if anyone doesn't have a passport. Detroit is the busiest border crossing between the US and Canada, and it can be bad. Not as bad as it used to be, though. :rolleyes:
07-11-2003, 10:53 AM
Originally posted by badunnin
And make sure you bring correct documentation for everyone in the vehicle. Birth certificates definitely if anyone doesn't have a passport. ...
This is very good advice, without them be prepared for possible problems either going or coming back across the border.
07-11-2003, 10:59 AM
Hey there I have a few suggestions. I am a Canadian that works in Seattle right now. Your best bet about crossing the border with a rental car is to ask first as I just had some friends get told that they would have to pay the taxes on a rental car that they were using to go from Seattle to Vancouver, it was $$ in the thousands. I would highly suggest calling the border first to find out if it's okay to do that as you don't want that added expense along with spoiling your vacation. I have crossed the border with rental cars before maybe they just got a picky border guard. There are cheap flights out of Seattle daily and hourly into Vancouver airport if that is an option,I can't remember what airline flies hourly. As to the border crossing I cross at least once a month to go visit some friends and I usually cross at the truck crossing, not the Peace Bridge crossing as that one is usually super busy. The truck crossing seems to be fairly good. Make sure that you have passports and or birth certificates and that should be good for crossing.
Depending how far you are away from downtown Vancouver, there is a great place to visit that your kids would love. It is Granville Island and there is a fantastic toy store there as well a lot of novelty stores and a market. You could also take them to Stanley Park which is huge and there is an aquarium there too. Um there are some other tourist attractions like Grouse Mountain, Capallano Suspension Bridge, Gas Town (more for shopping, trendy stores, etc). Hope this gives you some ideas.
i definatley think it is worth driving up from Seattle. I was just at the border and the lines were fine. I know nothing about the car rental thing but documentaion is vital. definately a letter from your husband if he is not travelling with you.
The Bayshore is lovely. Stanley park is at your doorstep and it is wonderful for kids! We use to take our kids there every time we were in Vancouver. The petting zoo is alot of fun and they have a little train you can take around the zoo area which is so fun with little ones. The aquarium is also a must see. Stanley Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the world.
Science World is also a huge hit with kids and another must see. Just ask at the hotel. The Bayshore has a great pool and is family friendly.
As far as the border goes if you can aoid Friday and Sunday evenings you should not find it too bad.
let us know hpw it goes.
One last thing-the weather is perfect up here right now-not too hot and not too cool. Heaven!:)
07-11-2003, 12:35 PM
Thank you all so much for your assistance and suggestions!
Thanks too for the heads up on documentation - yes we are all travelling together so that is not a problem, and I have a passport, DH has a U.S. green card, and the kids have birth certificates. I'll let you all know how our trip turns out!
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