15 days in CA, OR, WA realistic itinerary

Sep 16th, 2018, 05:23 AM
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15 days in CA, OR, WA realistic itinerary

We are planning 15 days on the west coast the last week of June and first week of July 2019. My husband and I will be traveling with our 4 kids ages 13-20. None of us have ever been out west before.

we havenít booked anything yet, so starting and stopping points are open. Here are the things we would like to see.

San Francisco 2 days
Redwoods 1day
Crater Lake 1 day
Hood River/Columbia Gorge 1 day
Florence OR 1 day
Cannon Beach/Astoria 1 day
ONP 2 days
Seattle 2 days
lewis6225 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2018, 05:53 AM
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A couple of things that jump out at me. Two days in ONP is not enough, you need 3 at least just to scratch the surface. Cannon Beach is wonderful, but during high season most places require 2-3 night minimum stays. The road to Crater Lake is open year round from the south, but the north entrance usually does not open until very late June or so, so I would do this near the end of your trip. If you spend more time in WA and the OR coast, then start there and do Crater Lake on your way to SF as chances for that road to be open are much better the later you go.
mms is offline  
Sep 16th, 2018, 09:57 AM
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>>15 days in CA, OR, WA realistic itinerary<< Sorry but that is a totally UN-realistic itinerary.

It would be tough for a single on a road trip but a family of 6 almost impossible. The drive from SF to say Redwoods National Park is a 7+ hour drive without a single stop. If you drive the Avenue of the Giants and even just stop once for food -- it will be a 9 hour drive. So your one day will be a few evening hours.

Redwoods National Park to Crater Lake takes more than 4 hours (and there is no guarantee that in late June the rim road will be open)

And that is just the beginning of your troubles. You have enough there for a 3 week trip. Is it set that you are flying in to SF and home from Seattle . . . OR is this just your first shot at a plan? With two-ish weeks consider EITHER northern California and some of Oregon (and Crater Lake if you must). Possibly flying in to SF and home from Portland . . . OR - Just Washington and Oregon Flying in to Portland and home from Seatac (and maybe skipping Crater Lake)
janisj is online now  
Sep 16th, 2018, 11:37 AM
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Nothing is booked yet. Trying to find a balance between seeing as much as possible while not rushing.

heres my rough draft so far.
june 22-fly into SF, explore the piers
june 23- Alcatraz and Exploratorium
june 24-drive to Trinidad (6 hours)
june 25-drive through Redwoods, overnight
in Medford
june 26-Medford to Crater lake & back
June 27-Medford , Coos Bay, Florence
June 28-Florence, Newport, Cannon Beach
june 29-Cannon to Hood River/Gorge
Overnight Hood River or Portland
june 30-drive to Quinault or Queets
july 1-all day ONP
july 2- ONP, drive from Sequim to Seattle
late afternoon
july 3-Seattle all day

this plan still leaves 2 days to spread things out as we donít need to be back home until late on July 6th.
lewis6225 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2018, 12:26 PM
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My recommendation is to drop Crater Lake. In late June the odds are unacceptably high that everything will be socked in IN ADDITION to a good chance the rim road won't be fully open. And the downside is that by using US 199 from Crescent City to Grants Pass and Medford, you miss the Oregon coast between the state line and Bandon, which is, in my view (and that of many) the most beautiful part of the whole coast, way more scenic than the Cannon Beach area farther north.

Also it looks like you might be using something like Google Maps for your timing; it's important to note that Google is notoriously optimistic.

I'm going to offer an alternative route like this: https://goo.gl/maps/p9vuEc4r6VM2

Calendar, overnight locations indicated:

22-Jun San Francisco
23-Jun San Francisco
24-Jun Ferndale/Eureka/Arcata/Trinidad
25-Jun Bandon
26-Jun Hood River
27-Jun Hood River
28-Jun Cannon Beach/Astoria/Ilwaco
29-Jun Lake Quinault
30-Jun Forks
1-Jul Port Angeles
2-Jul Coupeville/Langley/Mukilteo
3-Jul Seattle
4-Jul Seattle
5-Jul Seattle
6-Jul Home

Why: By ditching Crater Lake you have an additional night to stay in the Columbia Gorge and Hood River area, allowing visits to the Gorge waterfalls and vista points, Timberline Lodge, maybe Maryhill Museum and the Stonehenge replica. In late June this area is worthy of as much time as you can give it - truly an amazing area. Instead of the Medford/Crater Lake route, you'd stay on US 101 north to Bandon, the nicest town on the southern Oregon coast, and then take OR Hwy 38 throught the coast range to I-5; this is the fastest and prettiest route between the coast and the Willamette Valley.

From the Columbia Gorge head back out to the coast, with visits to Ecola State Park near Cannon Beach and Cape Disappointment, on the north side of the (awesome) mouth of the Columbia River. Head north and do a clockwise loop of the Olympic Peninsula, staying one night near Lake Quinault, another near Forks (to allow visits to the Hoh rainforest and one or more of the La Push beaches) and the last in Port Angeles to allow a visit to Hurricane Ridge.

From Port Angeles drive to historic and picturesque Port Townsend (possible whale watching if interested) then take the WA ferry across to Whidbey Island. Spend that night in Coupeville or Langley, both very picturesque waterfront villages, or in Mukilteo back on the mainland. If interested, you could visit the Boeing Everett plant 5 minutes from Mukilteo; it's the home of the big jets and the biggest building in the world. Then into Seattle for the balance of your trip.

Accommodations around Olympic National Park are very scarce, so try to pin down your dates as soon as possible; remember they can be cancelled if plans change. Also, hotel prices in central Seattle during the summer are competitive with London or New York (or worse) so decide whether you want to stay downtown or keep the vehicle and commute in.

Google the places mentioned or on the map, and come back with questions.

Last edited by Gardyloo; Sep 16th, 2018 at 12:29 PM.
Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 16th, 2018, 05:29 PM
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I can't get Gardyloo's map to open but from the description that route would work. Pretty quick for the Redwoods/southern Oregon Coast so I might consider squeezing in another day in that area - maybe by cutting one day from Seattle. That way you could fit in some hikes and/or a jet boat trip out of Gold Beach.
janisj is online now  
Sep 16th, 2018, 10:06 PM
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Four kids ages 13-20? I think you should add a day in the Gorge and head to Maupin for white water rafting on the Deschutes with one of the companies there. Teenagers love this run.

But in general, I feel like there's too much driving and not enough doing.

I would add hikes on the Washington side of the Gorge, or Mount Rainier or Mount Hood. Or Mt. St. Helens.
I would add at least one more day at Cannon Beach.
Consider one of the other water sports at Hood River if your kids love the water. Lessons are available.
Gardyloo had to remove any time in Portland to make your itinerary fit, but I would add one full day there (aka two nights).

The way I would add all of these would probably be to cut Olympic National Park. But if you add more time at Cannon Beach you could sitll go up to Astoria/Cape Disappointment as part of your time on the North Coast. You would also have the option to just go straight up the Oregon Coast, which is a slower but pretty drive.
5alive is offline  
Sep 16th, 2018, 11:08 PM
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>>But in general, I feel like there's too much driving and not enough doing<<

That's it exactly. Lots and LOTS of driving through some glorious areas . . . with essentially no time to do anything in most places. Do you mostly want a 'road trip'? Nothing wrong with that. But to fit in hikes, boat trips, kayaking -- or other activities you need either to add more time or hit fewer destinations. Just the packing checking out/in every day will eat into your available time.
janisj is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 07:22 AM
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I'd agree with Janis that (using my imaginary plan) one night in the Seattle area could be eliminated and reallocated to someplace earlier in the itinerary, such as the Oregon coast or the Portland area.

I think priorities need to be set, and, hard as it might be to contemplate, I think that some tough choices along the lines of "is it good enough?" have to be made.

Take amazing coastal scenery. How much is enough? The route as planned offers three distinct areas with terrific rocky-coastline scenery - southern Oregon, northern Oregon/Cape Disappointment, and the Olympic National Park coastal strip. Now I won't argue that these are the same; they're not. The southern Oregon beaches tend to have smaller offshore rocks but more of them, the northern beaches bigger offshore rocks but fewer, and the Olympic NP beaches have some of each, but in a wilderness setting without towns (full of motels and cafes) close by, which the others DO have. But with limited time, would visiting one or two (at most) of these areas suffice as a representation of the coast?

Or coast plus redwoods. What if - just sayin' - the OP split the trip into two sections and spent MORE time in northern California, but instead of heading north to the redwoods on US 101, went south from San Francisco to the Monterey Bay area instead, and spent a day or two visiting the redwood groves in the mountains above Santa Cruz, and got a lifetime supply of gorgeous coast around Big Sur? Imagine this for the first part of the trip - https://goo.gl/maps/UhrNi3w1kWr . South from SF to the Henry Cowell (or Big Basin) redwoods, then to Santa Cruz with its old-school beachfront amusement park, then around Monterey Bay to Monterey and Carmel. Visit the Monterey aquarium, the old Spanish mission in Carmel, maybe go whale watching from Monterey, then head just south of Carmel to incredible Point Lobos with its amazing coastal scenery, hiking options and plentiful wildlife. Continue south a few miles to Big Sur, with its incomparable scenery, and then return to SFO, maybe via the Steinbeck Center in Salinas.

Then fly to Portland - around $100 - and continue on with the second half of the trip. This imaginary route, for example - https://goo.gl/maps/ZbNLWiJX1iL2 - would bypass Seattle altogether in favor of a big "figure 8" trip that includes Mt. St. Helens, a loop of the Olympic Peninsula including Ruby Beach and the Hoh rain forest, then passes through Mt. Rainier National Park on the way back, then Hood River and the Columbia Gorge to end. (This could be done in either direction.) Yes, there would be some airfare required, but it's likely the savings on car rental alone - no huge one-way drop fee as they'd encounter in the original plan - would go to offset the airfare, and skipping Seattle would save megabucks in accommodations cost.

With four or five days allocated to the SF/Monterey Bay itinerary and the rest allocated to the northern trip, there would be fewer long road days, and more time available to "do" things rather than driving to them.
Southern Oregon coast (near Gold Beach) -

Big Sur coast, 10 minutes south of Point Lobos -

Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I think priorities need to be set, and, hard as it might be to contemplate, I think that some tough choices along the lines of "is it good enough?" have to be made.
Exactly. All of what Gardyloo has suggested to you are good options.

One more thing: If some or all of you are really hoping to do Crater Lake, you could consider it with this understanding:
--the odds of one entrance being open are pretty good for late June (just not both entrances)
--if somehow both entrances are closed, there are lots of good things to do and see in Southern Oregon.
--it would take a day away from somewhere else that might also be wonderful.
5alive is offline  
Sep 17th, 2018, 12:38 PM
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I'm no expert but do live in Seattle. Please take any and all of the excellent suggestions being given. Your original plan is truly not workable or enjoyable imo.
suze is offline  
Sep 18th, 2018, 09:38 PM
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My advice is to fly to Portland and rent the car. Drive the entire Oregon coast on US 101. Drive as far south as Crescent City CA and see the Jedadiah Smith Redwoods off US 199.
I always prefer to drive the coastal route southbound if I am stopping at roadside views. If you take US 199 to I-5 south of Grants Pass, you can skip Medford by taking 234 from Gold Hill to Rt. 62 to get to Crater Lake.
The south entrance to Crater Lake NP is open more than 350 days per year. The north entrance is usually open by the last week of June (not always).
If you truly must see San Francisco on this trip, either fly there from Portland after returning the car or possibly take the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Portland to Emeryville with a bus over to San Francisco.
tomfuller is online now  
Oct 18th, 2018, 09:58 AM
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There are lodgings available near Lake Quinault....Queets is on an Indian reservation, and I do not believe that there is any lodging available to non-tribal members.

Bobmrg is offline  
Oct 18th, 2018, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by lewis6225 View Post
We are planning 15 days on the west coast the last week of June and first week of July 2019. My husband and I will be traveling with our 4 kids ages 13-20. None of us have ever been out west before.

we havenít booked anything yet, so starting and stopping points are open. Here are the things we would like to see.

San Francisco 2 days
Redwoods 1day
Crater Lake 1 day
Hood River/Columbia Gorge 1 day
Florence OR 1 day
Cannon Beach/Astoria 1 day
ONP 2 days
Seattle 2 days

Inasmuch as you would like to cover some vast territory during your first trip "west" (you don't exactly say from where, which would help us suggest better areas to cut or de-emphasize, based on from what sort of area is familiar to you), it seems more sensible to hit some of the SoCal highlights (which kids have seen on TV a million times) and then MAYbe fly up to Portland, perhaps, and make an entirely different "leg 2" of the journey. San Fran is fine, but it will never match LA's familiarity to the average mind which has never been there.

With 15 days you could take a week centered in L.A. (and even get up to San Fran during that, if you absolutely HAVE to )... and then travel on day 8, before knowing another week centered on Portland.

Even when affording yourself THAT relative convenience it will still be somewhat rushed... (instead of the barely-doable visions you have posted here so far)

A Portland week might entail exploring Portland on day 1... the Columbia Gorge/Mt. Hood on day 2...

Potentially Mount St. Helens and/or Mt. Rainier on day 3... 2 days in Seattle, and 2 driving through Olympic National Park on an indirect path back to Portland.

Sure there is some coastal territory you'd miss, by not taking the time to drive all of the way up, but you can avail yourselves of much more significant priorities if you fly in between two separate legs of your vacation.

Who knows if the OP will ever return here?
NorthwestMale is offline  
Oct 19th, 2018, 02:24 PM
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This post is from a month ago with no word from the OP.
suze is offline  
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