Tips for driving the West Coast.
I will be taking about 4-5 days to drive to Seattle along the Coast from San Fran at the end of May - anyone done this or got any tips on what to see and where to stay. ?
I've done it in reverse. Five days pushes the pace but is makeable. San Francisco to Seattle is ~900 miles along the coast (this assumes skipping the Olympic Peninsula) which is 180 miles/day. The roads are curvy and slow, and parts are traffic choked, so plan on 4.5-6 hours driving per day. The scenery is fantastic.
As for what to see, the west coast road features lots of natural beauty and outdoor activities. Cultural sights are much harder to find. Oregon in particular has lots of campgrounds, which should be reserved in advance.
Things I particularly enjoyed:
Humboldt Redwood State Park: The largest intact collection of old growth redwoods in the world. Founders Grove is the easiest to access but Rockefeller Grove is the better hike.
Redwood National Park: Has less redwoods than Humboldt and more crowds, but is easier to get to.
Newport, Oregon: Great old port town with a large sea lion colony.
Cape Foulweather State Park: Hard to find state park on a bluff with an unbeatable view of the Pacific.
Also, have a look at this topic: http://www.travelblog.org/Topics/32016-1.html
We've done it! What a great drive. Not to be lazy at retyping our thoughts, but our blog entries of the route start here: Bay Breeze, Bread and Bears
Couple great hostels in that area: in San Francisco the one in Marin Headlandss is like a hidden gem.
Roosta has already given you some great advice. The Redwood forests are impressive. Avenue of the Giants makes for a convenient detour if you're wanting to get a somewhat informative look at the trees without taking the time to fully stop and explore on foot (which is ideal).
If you've a wine-lover, we would recommend a quick turn inland in Oregon's Willamette Valley (the coast is nice, but a change of pace to less windy roads after a days also feels good). Best pinot noir country in the world, in our opinion (other varietals hit/miss).
Hwy 101 through the Olympic Peninsula is actually a rather long and dull drive. You're inland on logging routes most of the way. Better cut over to I-5 at Astoria and wind through Portland, or Aberdeen if you want to see the Washington coastline. At Olympia you can meet back up with 101, and then take a ferry into Seattle from Kingston or Bainbridge after winding through the east side of the Olympics. From the water, in fact, the most impressive way to view the Puget Sound and surrounding mountain ranges.
[Edited: 2013 Jan 07 14:38 - Stephanie and Andras:35953 ]
[Edited: 2013 Jan 07 14:39 - Stephanie and Andras:35953 ]
In response to: Msg #164929
Thanks Roosta - that a great help to know other bloggers have "done" it. I am always a bit wary as I will be travelling alone.
In response to: Msg #164947
Thanks for the kind words. I also did my drive alone. Make sure your car is in good shape, and get gas where you find it. Major towns on the coast are few and far between. Some of the dirt roads lead to amazing areas (such as Howland Hill Road in Redwood National Park), but they can be quite rough. Always ask locally before driving one to avoid car damage.
San Francisco is indeed the beautiful city to travel and every tourist loves this place. Here are few places you can see and things you can do when in San Francisco:
Places to see:
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Bridge
Things to do:
Drive F Line Street Car
Paddle across the hidden corners of San Francisco
Here is more: http://www.weareholidays.co.in/travel-guide/places-to-see-in-san-francisco
You can drive Redwood N.P. and stay there for one day, and then drive NE for Grants Pass and I5 and then after get to Seattle.
[Edited: 2013 Feb 08 11:30 - Stephanie and Andras:35953 - Promotional link removed. See TravelBlog TOS]
This is a fantastic drive! You've already been given many great suggestions.
I'll send you a private message. I hope you will stop near us in Santa Rosa, California. For the next few months we will be living in the Sonoma Valley wine area. We'd be happy to show you around and take you out for dinner if you have the time.
In Kelso, Washington there is a quirky little restaurant called Stuffy's II. This is not in any way healthy food. As a matter of fact it may be the perfect example of what is wrong with the way Americans eat. Large portions, plenty of carbs and fats. But, they have a really great breakfast. They have oldies music playing. It is a fun place to stop for breakfast if you have the time.
I don't know how long you will be in the Seattle area but we have several suggestions we can make if you are interested. We lived there for 7 years. Stephanie and Andras have lived in Seattle also and would be able to help with a list of must do's.
If you had more time--Ashland, Oregon is a great little town. It is a mecca for Shakespeare lovers. I've attached a link to see if it interest you. If you can't stop this time it is well worth another trip.
A couple of Oregon coastal towns worth stopping in are Cannon Beach and Depoe Bay.
The Northern California coast offers an amazing drive. The drive from Mendocino to SF is unforgettable! breath taking! It is like driving in a post card.
Mendocino is a small northern California village offering quaint shops, restaurants and Bed & Breakfast.
Below we will mention two places to stay south of Mendocino along the coast that offer amazing water views. Hopefully, you will have the time and finances to stay in at least one of them.
It could take days to explore the towns and villages in wine country. Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley have so much to offer. We'd be happy to show you around a little bit. Calistoga is one of our favorite towns and has a place called the Roman Spa where you can get massages, soak in the hot mineral pools and has a comfortable room.
Please stop at the Point Reyes Lighthouse as you head south.
Utterly Fantastic Point Reyes National Seashore
If you have the time take a hike in Muir Woods. A lovely way to spend a day. Some hikes are strenuous but many are not.
A day trip to Angel Island is fun. Hiking, great views of the city and good music.
Day trips to Tiburon and Salsalito from SF are worth a bit of time.
The first few photos in this blog will show you the amazing rocks and beaches in Cannon Beach. Of a Pup.........and Travel
In this blog you can see a photo of the tree in Chandlier, Ca that everyone liked to drive through. The Great American Road Trip- East Bound
Other California blogs
Pacific Coast Highway
Not just "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay"
Naked Napa and other Gems of Northern California
Places to stay
Rooms in California are pricey. We recommend America's Best Value Inn's for clean, reasonable rooms. There are a couple of them in downtown SF.
We stayed in a fantastic B & B in Depoe Bay. It is pricey but we loved it.
We've stayed in a couple of places in Cannon Beach but this one was very comfortable.
One of our favorites in Northern California. They offer a great happy hour where you will meet some great people.
Another place with great views and a very good restaurant.
I don't know if you are visiting friends in San Francisco or how much time you have for that city-- but there are several travel bloggers in the area. Maybe we can organize a gathering while you are in town. Please send a message and let us know your dates.
Happy travels and hope this is helpful.
[Edited: 2013 Mar 17 17:48 - D MJ Binkley:42569 ]
[Edited: 2013 Mar 17 18:51 - D MJ Binkley:42569 ]
Thanks Dave and Merry Jo, for taking time to give me all those tips. I will send a private message to you about my dates - and I would love to meet up.
In response to: Msg #164924
Hi I am new to blogging and this site, myself and husband are also interested in planning a trip from San Francisco toward Seattle the end of May. How was your trip and do you have suggestions of where to stay. My husband is unable to hike so it would be mostly sight seeing with little walking. Thanking everyone in advance for their suggestions.
Welcome to the Travel Blog - I had a wonderful drive from SF to Seattle - stopping off at Portland a few days on the way. I didn't do hiking- although there are a few short walks always that you can take. It was sightseeing all the way and it sounds like you are going at a similar time of year as I did so lots of widlflowers.
You could read my blog MumTraveller - Condors, Pelicans, Elk, Redwoods and Wildflowers! Which was part of a longer trip in the NorthWest.
Good luck with your travels. And I hope the weather is good for you.
Well if anyone planning for traveling from San Fransisco to Seattle, then just think about that maybe an unforgettable journey of 13-14 hours is waiting for you. But driving a vehicle for such a long time can be tired-some and it may ruins your trip.
So a simple and cost effective way to make your road trip a remember able journey is to <snip"> rent a car </a> from a global car rental provider company. This will be a comfortable and cost effective way for your road trip.
[Edited: 2015 Jun 04 14:39 - traveltalesofawoollymammoth:258356 - No URL addresses please]