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Clipper Vacations

Your ticket to the Northwest

Get on the water this fall with a ride on the Clipper. Photo courtesy Clipper Vacations

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Based in Seattle, Clipper Vacations is perhaps most well-known for its ferry service to Victoria, British Columbia, but the company goes so many more places than Victoria.

"Clipper Vacations was originally known for the Victoria Clipper, which is the high-speed catamaran service between downtown Seattle and downtown Victoria, British Columbia," said Margot Windenburg, director of sales for Victoria Clipper. "We've been around for thirty years, and we've grown into a full vacations brand. We can serve any kind of vacation need throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria, San Juans, and we even have some Leavenworth excursions for the holidays."

Clipper Vacations operates catamaran ferries that are smaller than other area ferries and passenger-only vessels. Those two things combined mean Clipper Vacations will get you where you want to go faster than anyone else.

The company can do it all - including take care of hotel arrangements - and it offers military discounts.

While Clipper Vacations goes to many Northwest destinations, Victoria is still one of the most popular spots - especially in the fall. Rates to take the ferry to Victoria are cheaper if you buy online in advance and vary based on season. Until Oct. 31, round-trip fares are $131 with a seven-day advance purchase, or $175 the day of.

"You have all the changing colors at Butchart Gardens in the fall," Windenburg said, "and then also they do a lot of haunted tours around Victoria because it's the most haunted city on the West Coast. So there's a lot of neat things and activities that go on around Victoria. We have some really great pricing on the Empress Hotel right now, too."

If you really want to get a good overview of the Northwest, expand your trip to include Vancouver and then ride back to Seattle on the train. Clipper Vacations partners with Amtrak to offer this awesome multi-city getaway. Customize the trip to have a night or two in each city, or even add in a night in Seattle as there are plenty of hotels there. (Clipper Vacations can help you book those as well.)

Other overnight packages include both single-destination trips and multiple-destination getaways that go beyond Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver and also include Whistler, Okanagan and Portland.

Alternately, Clipper Vacations is also perfect for day trips. One especially great day trip option is to combine a 2.5-hour whale watching excursion with a day in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Prices for this trip start at $99 per person. These trips are seasonal and are not offered year-round.

The company also offers car rentals, so you can book package deals with a car rental and a hotel or resort - and Clipper Vacations offers deals with some truly spectacular properties.

"Another destination that I would point out and that a lot of people don't know about is a place called Parksville on Vancouver Island," Windenburg said. "There's a really neat resort there called Tigh Na Mara that's perfect for either couples looking for a romantic getaway or a family. They have cabins with full kitchens, they have suites that overlook the ocean, (and) they also have the most famous spa in Canada."

In fact, the Grotto Spa at Tigh Na Mara is famous for its tapas restaurant, which is located right in the spa. Get a spa treatment and relax in your robe and slippers, and then go upstairs to enjoy a multiple-course tapas meal. The favorable exchange rate makes this (and other Canadian destinations) an extra appealing deal, Windenburg pointed out.

If you're leaving out of Seattle, Clipper Vacations departs from Pier 69. Park nearby at any number of garages, but the Bell Street Pier Garage offers a rate of $10 per day with validation from Clipper Vacations.

For more information or to book a vacation, visit or call 206.448.5000. Clipper Vacations is located at 2701 Alaskan Way, Pier 69 in Seattle.

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