Driving from San Francisco to Seattle

Jul 8th, 2019, 06:21 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2019
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Driving from San Francisco to Seattle

Hi there,

I will be driving from SF to Seattle from about the 1st - 7th August and would like any suggestions of really cool places to visit. By cool I mean nice towns, great nature locations and good food and lodging. Nightlife options are great but we are not looking for partying. I will be with my wife and self driving.

Any suggestions of places or accommodations would be appreciated.

StephenKellaway is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Jul 2019
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My family and I will be making this trip in a couple weeks. My husband's coworker lives in Seattle and this is what he said:

Coming up from San Francisco you may want to go to the
1 - Redwood forest in California
2 - Crater lake in Oregon
3 – Ashland Oregon is nice and has theater (indoor and outdoor)
4 – The seashore towns worthwhile seeing are Newport, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Astoria
After Astoria you will be in Washington but driving up US 1 will be really nice and you can take a ferry over to Seattle from Puget Sound and or San Juan Islands are supposed to be really nice.

I'll post again after our trip.
hcalappi is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 08:44 AM
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I recommend Mt. St. Helens as a stop, and from there Mt. Rainier National Park.

Michael is online now  
Jul 8th, 2019, 10:01 AM
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How are you traveling? On the coast or highways/freeways? There are options for both, of course but knowing your preference might impact responses. TBH, would love to suggest some coastal areas in NorCal (for quick stops) but not sure if that's your preference.

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Jul 8th, 2019 at 10:56 AM.
Travel_Nerd is online now  
Jul 8th, 2019, 10:03 AM
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Moderator3 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 12:39 PM
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Do you have a preference for coastal or mountain scenery or a little of both?
Patty is online now  
Jul 8th, 2019, 12:58 PM
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Doing this in one week definitely has its challenges. Especially if you want to squeeze in SF, the redwoods, the Oregon coast, Ashland, Crater Lake and Seattle. The straight, no sightseeing, butts in seats drive takes the best part of two full days. Redwoods + coast is another three days minimum. Crater lake another full day.
janisj is online now  
Jul 8th, 2019, 04:03 PM
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Google the places on this map. https://goo.gl/maps/YvaVeQb6HFh5sDdt5 You don't have enough time for both the Oregon coast and areas like Ashland or Crater Lake; if you want to include these then you're going to need to eliminate the southern and central Oregon coast because the zigzag over the Cascades to Crater Lake will take up too much time.

Day 1 - SF to Ferndale/Eureka/Arcata/Trinidad via the Avenue of the Giants
Day 2 - Eureka area to Bandon via the Del Norte redwoods (possible short detour to the Jedediah Smith redwoods along US 199) and the spectacular southern Oregon coast.
Day 3 - Bandon to McMinnville in the Willamette Valley wine district
Day 4 - McMinnville to Hood River via Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and the Hood River Valley.
Day 5 - Hood River to the Portland area via the old Columbia River Gorge Hwy - waterfalls, etc.
Day 6 - Portland area to Seattle

This gives you a day to play with at one of the stops above.
Gardyloo is offline  
Jul 11th, 2019, 12:20 AM
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StephenKellaway is offline  
Jul 11th, 2019, 12:21 AM
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We have about 7 days to get to Seattle so keen to do Coastal type trip but not fixed, just keen to see and experience nature and cool towns etc
StephenKellaway is offline  
Jul 11th, 2019, 12:47 AM
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Well - you are going to have to decide/flip a coin/whatever because August is a very busy travel time and you need to book accommodations ASAP. Plus many places will have a two night minimum especially on weekends.
janisj is online now  
Jul 13th, 2019, 05:04 AM
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I have a few coastal suggestions.

You'd probably enjoy the historic village of Mendocino, California, home to Mendocino Headlands State Park, art galleries, good restaurants, cute shops, and many b&bs.

Of course, it's busiest in summer and weekends are much busier than weekdays. There's accommodation in Mendocino village and in nearby Little River. In Little River, I like Heritage House.

There are at least three routes from San Francisco to Mendocino. My favorite takes the longest time, about 5.5 hours without stops, and is the most winding, but exceptionally scenic, with photo ops such as the Muir Beach Overlook and Bolinas Lagoon. To take it, from San Francisco, cross the GGB on Highway 101, then in Mill Valley take the exit for Highway One. My second favorite route is to drive up Highway 101 though Marin and Sonoma counties, then take the exit for California State Route 128 toward the coast, where it meets Highway One at Albion. SR128 will take you through the breweries and wineries of Anderson Valley, and second-growth redwood forest. The third route would take you up Highway 101 to River Road/SH116 in Sonoma County, this travels through the Russian River Valley then meets Highway One on the coast at Jenner. There are wineries along this route as well.

Unfortunately, the California coast can be foggy in summer.

To get from Mendocino to Humboldt County, home to old growth redwood forests, drive north to Fort Bragg, then take State Highway 20 (Fort Bragg-Willits) to Highway 101, where you can continue your drive north. Or you could continue north on Highway One, past Fort Bragg, past Westport and Rockport to rejoin Highway 101 at Leggett. The last portion of this drive is very winding..

It would take you about an hour to drive from Mendocino village to Willits, then about 3 hours to get from Willits to the spectacular Avenue of the Giants (old growth redwoods). You'd probably want to continue north to Ferndale/Eureka/Arcata/Trinidad. These towns are all very different. Ferndale is a historic Victorian village, but not directly on the coast. Eureka is the country seat, a bustling small city, and Highway 101 runs right through it. However, it has some amazing old Victorians and, if you have time, check out its Old Town. Arcata is north of Eureka and home to Humboldt State University, so it's got that college town vibe and it's definitely a bit "counter culture". It's also got some nice Victorian buildings and a pretty plaza. The coastal community of Trinidad is my favorite, but it has little accommodation. It has the great advantage of being closest to Redwood National and State Parks, which includes Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

It would take about two hours to drive from Trinidad to Brookings, Oregon. So if you were to stay in Brookings, you'd have time to stop along the way to see the redwoods. Or you could even continue farther along the Oregon Coast.

I don't know the Oregon Coast well, but loved Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, which is north of Newport. Its fabulous tidepools can be explored at low tide.

My husband and I stayed at the Inn at Otter Crest. The rooms were a bit dated but the location and grounds were fantastic. We could see bald eagles and whales from our room.It was also close to the Devil's Punch Bowl.

We also enjoyed Cape Meares Lighthouse and the big Sitka spruce tree, known as "The Octopus". This is the smallest lighthouse I've been in. Cape Meares is part of a scenic loop drive, but part of the loop was closed when we were there.

Cannon Beach is one of most scenic beaches along the coast, but we found it very busy on our second visit and were happy to have stayed in quiet Manzanita, which is a bit to the south. Oswald West State Park is between the two. The coastline here is stunning.
Diamantina is offline  
Jul 18th, 2019, 12:49 AM
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THANKS to EVERYBODy for the input, we start our trip soon and will make use of all this info in choosing our route and stops!

StephenKellaway is offline  
Jul 18th, 2019, 06:27 AM
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My suggestion would be to spend a long day and drive to Ashland going north on I-5. Check to see if there is anything you ant to see at the Ashland Shakespeare theatres. (not all Shakespeare).
The next day drive through Crater Lake NP for a few hours and end the day in Bend. The High Desert Museum has just opened a new exhibit about the moon. Some of the astronauts spent some time in 1966 and 1968 training in lava beds in central Oregon.
From Bend it is an easy drive to Government Camp to visit Timberline and then down Rt. 35 into Hood River on the Columbia Gorge. Hood River has many wind surfers on the Columbia River if the weather is good.
Between Hood River and Portland, see at least Multnomah Falls and maybe several other waterfalls if you have the time on the way to Seattle.
Make your return trip along the coast on US 101. The Oregon Coast Aquarium just south of Newport is worth a stop. US 1 is on the east coast of the US. California Rt. 1 is the coastal route in California
tomfuller is offline  
Jul 18th, 2019, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by StephenKellaway View Post
THANKS to EVERYBODy for the input, we start our trip soon and will make use of all this info in choosing our route and stops!


That sounds like you haven't set your route or booked accommodations yet. You may run into difficulties finding rooms in some places.
janisj is online now  
Jul 18th, 2019, 11:24 AM
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