Need flight suggestions Redwoods area/SFO

Old Apr 7th, 2015, 12:38 PM
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Need flight suggestions Redwoods area/SFO

Hi, my mom and I are doing a "bucket list" trip starting in Portland then driving down the coast to the Redwood National Park and vicinity. We thought about continuing our drive on down to SFO but decided to hop a small plane instead. I've briefly looked into McNamara Field in Crescent City and Arcata/Eureka. Does anyone have experience with these airports or a better alternative? Thanks in advance!
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 12:51 PM
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Is Crater Lake NP also on your "bucket list"? It should be!
Drive down the Oregon coast all the way past Brookings to Crescent City area to see the Coast Redwoods.
Drive US 199 to Grants Pass and take I-5 south to the Gold Hill exit and take 234 over to Rt. 62 to get to the south entrance of Crater Lake. Depending on how long you have leaving Crater Lake you can go over to Roseburg and up I-5 or over through Bend and Madras to get back to PDX. Either fly or take the train (Coast Starlight) to get to San Francisco area. If you can, fly to San Jose or Oakland or even Sacramento instead of SFO.
Car rentals are cheaper from downtown Portland than from PDX.
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 01:49 PM
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I've flown into Arcata-Eureka a few times but not for years. AFAIK there are only flights to SFO. I don't think Crescent City has any commercial service.

Where is your ultimate destination?

You could drive farther south and fly out of Santa Rosa to more places on Alaska.
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 02:47 PM
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Is there a particular reason you don't want to drive? The drive from Eureka to SF appears to be 5 hours, and I feel like you would spend an equal amount of time waiting around airports while spending an insane amount of money ( in comparison to gas). Tiny airports are always so expensive, and if the car is a rental, it's unlikely you can drop it off in a small town as a one way. Tom's crater Lake plan would be fun, but a time hog (I suspect you are trying to save time but I could be wrong). And also, once you do the oregon Coast, I think you will either be ready to hop on the gloriously speedy I5 to SF or you are a road trip masochist and you will enjoy that last part of the trip.

If it's that you don't think you need the car in SF, you could always park the car somewhere inexpensive for the duration of your stay.

Of course, that is assuming SF is part of your bucket list. If not, and if SFO is just another airport, do the Oregon loop. If your trip is in July or August, the Oregon coast will probably take longer than you expect with the crowds.

If this is this summer, btw, make your reservations right now. Don't count on stopping randomly for the night, especially for camping or budget motels on the coast.
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 04:38 PM
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Here's the itinerary so far: Fly in to PDX for 2-3 days with family there. Rent car, drive south to Oregon coast/Redwoods. We originally planned to drive to SF but after studying the maps, etc, decided flying would be the best option. Mom is 80 and too much time in the car is not great for her. Plus, I don't want to drive/park in and around SF so ditching the car along the way is very appealing to me! We'll only be in SF for at most 2 full days.

Thanks for the Crater lake suggestion . . . one of these days!
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 04:59 PM
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Then Eureka is really you only option. But really, the drive down 101 isn't that bad.
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 05:53 PM
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How much time are you planning to spend on the coast? All the way down 101 would be too much time in the car for some of my older relatives. 101 is not a fast road. Heck, unless the weather is stellar, I don't enjoy doing that drive in one day. Google maps says 7 hours from Astoria to Brookings but it's definitely longer, especially in the summer with heavy vacation traffic.

I don't know if it is any more doable, but maybe instead of driving the whole coast pick one town to stay in for a few days and explore the region? My favorite part is the part closest to Portland, Ecola state park and cannon beach.

This is what I would do based on the vacations I have planned or taken with grandmothers, great aunts, parents, etc. But if your mother is actually super active and not a tour kind of gal, then maybe that wouldn't be for you.


Then for the redwoods- I don't know if there are tours for the Redwood Nat. forest, most of the day tours from SF seem to go to Muir Woods (has redwood trees). It would definitely be a compromise compared to your first plan.

But you could drive from portland to the coast (about 2 hours) spend a few nights at a beach hotel. Drive back to portland, fly to SF. Spend 3 or 4 nights in SF and on one of those days take a guided tour of Muir Woods, Napa, Monterey wherever. That would be more restful than the road trip and cheaper than flying from Eureka to SF for 2 people.

This is what I would do based on the vacations I have planned or taken with grandmothers, great aunts, parents, etc. But if your mother is actually super active and not a tour kind of gal, then maybe that wouldn't be for you. My relations are more of the wine tasting and scenery admiring type than the hiking sort. To them trees are trees and the beach is the beach.
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Old Apr 7th, 2015, 06:03 PM
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Ah, apologies for the duplication in my last post. No idea how I did that

And in case I have made 101 sound awful, I did not mean to- it's a beautiful drive and well worth the trip. Just not much fun with passengers who complain about the road or who have trouble riding for long periods of time in the car. I have older relatives who have both issues. But if OP's mother enjoys road trips and time allows, then driving is the way to go!
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Old Apr 10th, 2015, 04:36 PM
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Why not fly with Alaska/Horizon air into Santa Rosa from Portland? Its only 1.5 hrs. north of the Golden Gate. You can rent a car and instead of crowded Muir woods, see the old growth redwoods in Armstrong Woods State park in Guerneville. You can stay in Healdsburg, or Santa Rosa, and then drive down to SF when you need to.
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