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Is 5 days long enough for a West Coast Seattle- San Francisco trip

Is 5 days long enough for a West Coast Seattle- San Francisco trip

Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 04:56 AM
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Is 5 days long enough for a West Coast Seattle- San Francisco trip

Hi all,

I am researching a variety of options for a summer anniversary/30th bday trip this july.
We have been kicking around driving to Maine (we live in CT) or taking a quick flight to Bermuda. But then Hubbie mentioned he would love to take a road trip (he LOVES the long, scenic drives)....so I thought of the West Coast!

If we had 5 full days, (arrive morning 7/8 and depart afternoon 7/13) do you think that would be enough to go from Seattle to San Francisco with stops at the redwoods, wine country and having maybe 1 1/2 days in San Francisco? (Should we start in Portland instead?) Anyone have some quick suggestions for itinerary?

I am in the VERY preliminary stages of looking into this trip - so sorry if I sound a bit vague. But I want to get an idea of what we're in for, or if its even possible.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 06:33 AM
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Portland would be a better place to start so you could shorten your driving time and have more time to see the sights.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 06:42 AM
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Five days in not that much time. I'd think more of a single area for that time period, rather than a coastal drive. Hey, five days is just scratching the surface in either the San Francisco or Portland area. And either is an excellent destnation.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 06:49 AM
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But you *could* definitely do it. I'm pretty sure actual drive time straight down the freeway Seattle to San Francisco is only 14-18 hours?
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 06:54 AM
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With only 5 days I would start in Portland. Even with that, you will wish you had more time. Portland to SF is 10 hours driving straight through on I-5. From Seattle add 3-4 hours. If you take the coastal route, the drive times change dramatically as the route is much slower paced, and of course more time for scenic stops.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 06:59 AM
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If hubby loves the driving part, then that could be a good trip. According to Mapquest, Seattle to Portland is roughly 3 hours, 200 miles; Portland to SF is 10 hours, 650 miles. Total 850 miles, 13 hours of driving if you don't take the scenic route. So that would be about 4 hours per day. A leisurely trip if you split the driving, do part in the AM and some in the PM.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 07:15 AM
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Too much driving and you are also going to have some jet lag coming from the East Coast. If you do a road trip consider one area (Seattle or Portland or SF). You might even think about Santa Barbara and its wineries.I'd probably choose either Seattle or SF and go from there. Seattle has lots of great places to explore ~the San Juan Islands, Olympic National Park and more. With only five days why not spend the time relaxing a bit while still taking in the sights albeit from a vantage point other than the car. The beauty of Seattle is you can also take the car ferries which is a great way to travel.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 02:16 PM
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I have no idea why folks are telling you about the "non scenic" route. Of course 5 days is enough time to drive straight down I-5 (heck, you could do that in 2+ days) but why would you want to? The Redwoods, wine areas, beautiful scenery are not on I-5.

5 days Starting from Portland is long enough to see a bit of the Oregon and California coasts, some redwoods, and Alexander Valley and/or Sonoma and a bit of time in SF. I don't think you could squeeze 1.5 days in SF though unless the driving was more important than the seeing things enroute.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 02:48 PM
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If your goal is the scenic drive rather than exploring any one place, that should be enough time IF you start in Portland. (You won't miss much between Seattle and Portland if you go the direct route (I-5), and the coast is a whole trip in itself.)

The Oregon coast offers lots of scenic beauty.

Day 1: If you are arriving in the morning of the first day, you could pick up your car and drive partway down the Oregon coast.

Day 2: continue down the coast and into California. Explore the redwoods and stop along the North Coast. Maybe Trinidad?

Day 3: down the coast and cross over to Highway 1. Overnight in Mendocino? Or stay on 101 and overnight around Sonoma for a wine country visit.

Day 4: on to San Francisco and spend the night there.

Day 5: time in San Francisco, and fly home in the afternoon.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 02:53 PM
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We would want to do the scenic route -- I was thinking the coast road.

It sounds like Im being too ambitious according to most opinions.
I guess I need to do a bit more research.
If I add one day I was thinking....

Day One 7/8- we will have arrived in Portland late night before - explore portland & overnight
Day Two - spend most of day driving coast road to Redwood National Forest (about 6 hours) - overnight
Day three - Drive to Mendocino (about 4 hours) - overnight
Day Four - Drive to and explore Napa (about 4 hours)- overnight
Day Five - Drive to San Francisco (about 2 hours)- overnight
Day Six - Morning in S.F. depart in afternoon

Does this still sound crazy? I think it kind of does, but Im trying to figure out a possible roadtrip for my man!
Or if we did do something close to this does anyone have suggestions on tweaking the itinerary to make it more enjoyable.
Should I abandon the roadtrip idea and just do an extended day trip from San Francisco?
Maybe....

Day One - Arrive San Francisco 11 am - explore & overnight
Day Two - San Francicso - explore & overnight
Day three - Drive to & Explore Napa valley (about 2 hours) - overnight
Day Four - Explore Napa in am - drive to Mendocino with stops? in Sonoma and Petaluma ( 4 hours) overnight in Mendocino
Day Five - Explore Mendocino area - and drive back to San Francisco along coast road (is there somewhere we can see redwoods along the way?) - overnight outside of S.F convenient to airport... any suggestions?
Day Six - 9am morning flight out of S.F

Does this sound better?
Day Six - Morning in S.F. depart in afternoon
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 03:18 PM
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Yes, spending the entire vacation in and around San Francisco is definitely the way to go!
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 03:41 PM
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I still like the coastal trip (and think you have time for it as your option 1) but then I like road trips.

If you choose the second option (based in San Francisco and vicinity) you could visit redwoods at Armstrong State Park---I think it's a bit south of Mendocino.

Whatever you choose, I suggest you turn in your car in downtown SF and spend the last night there. You can use BART to get to the airpport the next morning. Don't waste a night staying near the airport when you could be in San Francisco!
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 05:05 PM
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I agree w/ enzian. That road trip itinerary would work - but drop Napa. Sonoma is closer to your route and is better/prettier anyway. (Alexander Valley is even closer to your route).
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 05:14 PM
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I was TRYYYYYYYYYYYING to make it work in my thoughts for you to drive from SEATTLE to San Fran on such a trip, BUT even I have to admit that it is stretching too thin.

My concern is your place of origin (CT) and that you might never get back out here to take full stock of the west coast.

Although I live in Seattle, and suggest that Seattle is a touch more worth seeing that Portland (I'm not totally biased, for I'd recommend Vancouver, Canada a million times to Seattle)... I STILL have to admit that Portland works best for you.

I strongly recommend PRICING the airfares, THEN pricing the ONE-WAY CAR RENTALS and ONLY THEN committing yourself to the airfare!!!!

(might even save considerably to pick-up your car OFF-airport)

*****************************
weird, unrelated thought:

IF your husband likes road trips, and you live in CT, why not drive to Nova Scotia with your five days, and then not have to battle the airlines and such???

It's less than 800 miles from Hartford to Halifax, and you could spend all day on the 8th and the 13th traveling, just like you intended, only staying on the ground.

1st day = 450 miles to Houlton, Maine area... make it to NS the next day... probably go north to Cape Breton rather than Halifax... etc etc...

LOL - sorry
*************************

Anyway, (sigh) yes, now that I read some of the rest of this thread, it does seem like quite a stretch to get the full effect of the northern west coast with your 5 days.

IF I hit the ground running on July 8th... in Portland... I'd drive very quickly to the Oregon coast, and then take the long, SLOW-ish drive down what is a very beautiful coastline.

Night one = somewhere on the Oregon coast depending upon arrival time

Night two on the coast near to the Oregon/California border...

Night three in the Ukiah/Santa Rosa/wine country area...

Nights four and five IN SAN FRAN... downtown area somewhere...


Darn, I soooooooooooo WANTED you to have a chance to see much more, being so far from home.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 05:36 PM
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Here's my suggestion for an itinerary.

Start in Portland.

Day one: Mt Hood (the lodge built under the WPA is interesting). Go south on US 26 turn off on NFD42rd to NFD57rd to NFD46Rd to state rd. 22 which you can take to Bend. Overnight in Bend.

Day two: From Bend go to Crater Lake, admire Crater Lake, and go on to Ashland. Overnight in Ashland

Day three: drive from Ashland on US5 to CA 96 which you will take to US 299 to Arcata. From Arcata, drive south on 101, taking the detour of the Avenue of the Giants, until Leggett. Turn off on CA 1 to go to Mendocino.

Day four: From Mendocino, drive on 101 south to CA 120. Take 120 to 101, stopping in the Anderson Valley to sample wine (Novarro winery wold be a good choice). Take 101 to SF.
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