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Our Pacific Northwest Van-Life Adventure

I’ve never been what you would describe as outdoorsy. Even though I live in the south, I don't hunt or fish. The only two times I went camping as a kid, we ended up in a hotel due to the weather. But despite my failed woodsy past, over the last few years, I've grown very fond of hiking and being outside. Though when Charise wanted to spend five days living in a van, I was hesitant. My other camping experiences hadn't gone well, and a van is a pretty small space to spend a week. But after being talked into it, we hooked up with Pacwesty and the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle to book their "Van-to-Glam" package. We had an amazing time. What was it like living in a van? What's a "Van-to-Glam" package? Keep reading to find out.

Van-To-Glam

What's the van-to-glam package? Well, Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle has partnered with Pacwesty to bookend van trips on the Olympic Pennisiala with hotel stays in Seattle. For us, we did a night before and after our van trip at the hotel. It was the perfect way to begin and end the trip. Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle is centrally located downtown, steps away from the train that takes you into the city from the airport. We love the style of the hotel, and our room was bright and spacious. They even have a great Italian restaurant, Tulio Ristorante.

Our trip started with a relaxing stay at the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle.

Much more space than the van.

We had great views of downtown from our room.

Picking Up The Van

After a good nights sleep and a quick breakfast in Seattle, we set off for Pacwesty. Pacwesty is a short ferry ride across the water on Bainbridge Island. Be sure to check the ferry times before you go, because both times we rode, we missed the boat by 5 minutes and had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. It costs 8.50 per person for a round trip ticket, and the ride takes about 40 minutes. Being on the ferry is fun, and the views of the city and the surrounding mountains are fantastic. It would be cool even if you weren't picking up a van, so consider doing it if you're in Seattle. Greg from Pacwesty kindly picked us up from the ferry station and drove us to their shop.

The view of Seattle from the ferry.

Once we got to the shop, Greg introduced us to our van, Ernie. I can't tell you how excited I was to take the van out. After Greg went over the ins and outs of the van, we hit the road. There is something so charming about these old VW vans. Even though we could barely get it over 60 mph, Ernie was a blast to drive!

Some of Pacwesty’s vans. Our van, Ernie, is the blue one in the front.

There is something so charming about these old VW vans. Even though we could barely get it over 60 mph, Ernie was a blast to drive!

Life In The Van

So, let's get this out of the way first off. Driving around and camping in a vintage VW van is awesome! We had the best time, but it didn't get off to the greatest start. About 30 minutes after we hit the road, it started raining, and it didn't stop until the next day. If there's one thing that really makes you regret living in a van, it's rain. Ernie felt incredibly small when we were trapped inside trying to stay dry.

It poured the first night, making for a rough intro to van-life. But the weather was perfect the rest of the way.

Even though our first night was a little rough, the rest of the trip was the best. The weather was perfect, and Ernie performed like a champ. Pacwesty provides everything you need for an Olympic Pennisial adventure. The van is outfitted with tons of gear. From cooktops to blankets, it had everything we needed. The guys at the shop are also always only a phone call away. When we had a fuse problem with Ernie, Greg walked us through getting it fixed quickly.

Ernie was so much fun to drive, even though we could barely get it over 55 mph.

One huge benefit to sleeping in the van is the proximity you can camp to some beautiful sites. Below are the places we visited and some of the pictures we captured.

Second Beach

Our first stop on the road trip.

The Pacific Coast drive was gorgeous.

Lake Crescent

One of our favorite spots was Lake Crescent.

Rialto Beach And Hole-In-The-Wall

Hole-in-the-wall is only accessible during low-tide.

We wanted to adopt Ernie.

Charise likes to burn her marshmallows.

Mount Storm King

To me, this was our hardest hike. That’s Lake Crescent below.

4.7 miles roundtrip and 2000 feet straight up!

Golden hour!

Deer Park

One of the amazing places we could have only gotten to in our van.

Our last night camping with Ernie.

Back To The Hotel

As much fun as we had roughing it in the woods with Ernie, it was nice to be back at the hotel. Access to a shower and a bathroom, whenever we wanted, was a welcome change. As sad as we were to turn in the keys to our van, Hotel Vintage was a pleasant end to the trip. We slept so well back at the hotel. Since we had a late flight home, we ordered breakfast from Tulio and took the morning slow. We can't wait to head back to Seattle for a more extended stay at Hotel Vintage. You can read more about our stay and what to do in Seattle here.

Finished up the trip with a great in-room breakfast.

It’s possible that we over-ordered.

Heading home.

Conclusion

If you want to dip your toe in the world of #vanlife, you can't do better than Pacwesty and Hotel Vintage’s van-to-glam package. Their service was perfect, and the package is so unique. We had a fantastic time traveling around the Olympic Peninsula. What about you? Do you think camping in a van looks fun? What do you think of the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle? Let us know below in the comments.

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