Traveling by floatplane adds extra dimensionThe spectacular scenery of the Pacific Northwest makes this part of the country ideal for a unique mode of travel that adds a whole new dimension to your getaway experience: travel by float plane.
Seattle's Kenmore Air does a brisk business of transporting vacationers, anglers and outdoor sportsmen to some of the top destinations in the Northwest. They have a big fleet of small planes -- most are just a half dozen passengers or so. But they're a comfortable ride.
They often cruise as low as 1000 feet which really gives you a birds-eye view of scenery below. And these planes are versatile -- they can land anyplace there's a stretch of water.
San Juan IslandKenmore goes to dozens of different locations and one of the most popular is the trip from Seattle to San Juan Island. It's just a short 45 minute scenic seaplane flight to Friday Harbor Marina or Roche Harbor from Seattle's Lake Union.
Once you get to the island, the countryside is rural and scenic, with farms and vistas that show off the natural wonders of Puget Sound. There is a lot to do, and the island is popular with sea kayakers, boaters and divers -- as well as hikers who find the island terrain and views enchanting. There are also many fine San Juan island accommodations offering a range of amenities that cater to couples and families.
The biggest town is Friday Harbor with a wide selection of lodgings and many shops and restaurants to choose from. And Roche Harbor is a must-see because of the historic hotel and scenic location.
Victoria, B.C.The trip from Seattle to Victoria is like taking a 45-minute flight to England. When you get to Victoria you'll find a very British flavor both in architecture and attitude.
There is a lot to do in Victoria. The Inner Harbour area is perfect for strolling and boasts a large variety of restaurants and accommodations as well as many tourist attractions.. Vancouver Island, by the way, was voted North America's Best Island in Travel and Leisure Magazine's World's Best Awards in 2014.
Be sure to take some time to see some of city's most famous sites, such as the Parliament building and the Fairmont Empress Hotel , both popular subjects for photographers. The world-famous Butchart Gardens display more than a million plants throughout the year. And, on summer evenings, the gardens are illuminated with a variety of softly colored lights.
Big Bay ResortMany yachters regard Desolation Sound as not only the most beautiful and varied cruising ground in British Columbia, but as just about the best place anywhere in the world. And you fly right over it on your way to Big Bay Resort.
If you're an angler this can be the trip of a lifetime. The incredible scenery combines jagged and forested mountains with the rapidly moving water of the Inside Passage. Islands dot the landscape below and civilization in this part of B.C. is really just a few fishing resorts scattered along these remote shores.
Once you arrive at Big Bay Resort, knowledgeable fishing guides take you out on the waterways to catch salmon -- an amazing experience as this is one of the most spectacular places on earth -- and a trip you and I will long remember.
Nanaimo, B.C.You can fly directly from Lake Washington to Nanaimo, the second biggest city on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo delivers a lively and unique urban experience, but it's also known for many outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, kayaking, biking, and world-class scuba diving. A lot of that activity is along the bustling waterfront where your floatplane will take you right to the heart of the action.
Nanaimo is an ideal base of operations to explore the rest of Vancouver Island, including Tofino and Ucluelet on the west coast. Just about 2.5 hours drive west from Nanaimo you'll find waves breaking at incredible heights.
Pacific Rim National Park and a lot of great trails are located in this area as well. The region is speckled with ocean-to-table restaurants and some of the Northwest's most beautiful beaches.
For more information, go to www.kenmoreair.com or phone 866-435-9524.
PHOTOS: Floatplane above Seattle
PHOTO CREDITS: Photo courtesy of Kenmore Air
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