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Oregon--coast from Portland, ending in Sacramento

Oregon--coast from Portland, ending in Sacramento

Jun 8th, 2019, 11:46 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Oregon--coast from Portland, ending in Sacramento

Flying into Portland, mid-September. Wish to enjoy a road trip south along the coast, taking our time, and then driving to Sacramento for airport, rather than reversing course to Portland. We are 71 and 72 so cannot do strenuous activities, though we are not infirm either. We know nothing about what to make sure to see and do so would welcome all suggestions. No idea yet for time involved but will have to make air reservations sometime. Must fly out of Sacramento on September 23. Hotel, sights, food joints/restaurants, etc. suggestions are needed, wanted, and desired. I am sure you have been asked similar things before so I apologize ahead of time and beg your forgiveness. Thanks, thanks, thanks. Mike
heironymous is offline  
Jun 8th, 2019, 03:09 PM
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>>No idea yet for time involved <<

The good thing is September is the absolute best time of year on the Northern CA coat and in the redwoods. But we kinda sorta need to know how long you have before making really useful advice.

But IMO/IME a semi-rule of thumb for PDX > SMF down the OR/CA coast and including some of the redwood parks you could manage in about 7 days. That would be fairly fast paced -- but would allow about 3 days on the OR coast, 3.5 days for redwoods, Ferndale, Ft Bragg/Mendocino and on to SMF. Anything else (Crater Lake, Ashland, Mt Shasta, Burney Falls, Lassen, whatever) -- would each add about a day to the overall itinerary. And adding time IN Portland or nearby attractions would add yet more time.
janisj is online now  
Jun 8th, 2019, 03:18 PM
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Good question but the answer is simply that we can fly into Portland at any time in September. The 23rd is when we need to fly out of Sacramento--otherwise, we have the first 22 days of September to play with. 6 days? 10 days? 15 days? all work, just so long as we are seeing/doing things. Nothing is more pleasurable for us than to drive/eat/see. If that means 2 weeks on the road, so be it. Thanks for your reply and I'm looking forward to any thing else you might have to recommend.
heironymous is offline  
Jun 8th, 2019, 04:01 PM
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My husband and I are 65 and 68 and since we are based in Seattle and drive to California often, we have explored much of the area you are considering. And we are very much drive/eat/see folks as well. One thing I will say is to give yourselves enough "eat" time in Portland-it is a great foodie city these days. Here are a couple of links to explore:

This guide is for Portland food:

And here is one for eating along the Oregon coast:


Also, if you like cheese, it is fun to visit the Tillamook Creamery


A couple of comments-we almost always stay out by the Portland airport when we are there because you can get good hotel prices, most with free parking as opposed to downtown and the neighborhood (called the "northeast" area) has lots of up and coming restaurants and ethnic restaurants. However, of course it isn't the most scenic of neighborhoods, but since we have a car we just drive to other neighborhoods to explore.

The Portland Chinese Garden is worth a visit-nice way to spend an afternoon.


In terms of how long to give yourselves for the trip, if you are like us we don't like to drive much more than 5 hours max per day (leaving an additional 1 hour for lunch for example) and don't like driving at night. If you design a route that goes almost straight to the coast from Portland stays along the coast all the way to somewhere like Mendecino CA and then cuts over through Napa Valley area to Sacramento, that is about 800 miles and about 16 hours of driving. So I would love to have at least 10-12 nights minimum...which might include 2-3 nights in Portland.

Last edited by jpie; Jun 8th, 2019 at 04:56 PM. Reason: spelling
jpie is online now  
Jun 8th, 2019, 04:06 PM
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Rough time budget, but I may be a bit bold on my timing.

Portland area - 3 - 4 days in order to allow time to visit the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River and Hood River Valley, as well as Mt. Hood.

Portland to coast - I'd follow the Washington side of the Columbia River out to its (awesome) mouth at Cape Disappointment - 1 day

Oregon coast (including Cape Disappointment) - 4 days unless you want to spend a couple in one place. One night in the north (Cannon Beach etc.) one or two in the middle (Newport, Yachats, Florence) and one or two in the south (Bandon, Gold Beach.)

Redwoods/N. California coast - 2 nights; look at Trinidad, Arcata or Ferndale. So call it 10 - 14 nights depending on your pace.

Here's a map. Google the places shown. https://goo.gl/maps/USfnYjEacahdRBC76
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 8th, 2019, 05:13 PM
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Yep I would agree that 12-14 days would be better depending on the pace. There is so much to see in that area!
jpie is online now  
Jun 10th, 2019, 06:57 AM
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Thanks all for your wonderful and thoughtful replies. My wife and I are attempting to get up to speed in our reading and decision making, but we are deliberate, in that we don't want to come home and find out that we missed something great. Any recs on where to stay (moderate pricing) or eat (cheap to gourmet)? We're starting to get our excitement level ramped up.
heironymous is offline  
Jun 10th, 2019, 08:25 AM
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>> we don't want to come home and find out that we missed something great.<<

It is an absolute given that you ARE going to miss something great . . . unless you spend months and months out here. There are countless 'somethings great'. I would not use that as a guiding principle. Plan at least a basic itinerary and THEN we can help you find some of the great attractions/sites along your route.

>>Any recs on where to stay (moderate pricing) or eat (cheap to gourmet)?<<

Way way too broad -- there are thousands of places to stay and even more places to eat. Figure out approx where you want to go and then we can point you to accommodations and restaurants. Also - 'moderate' could mean lots of things - what is your actual budget per night? Or at least a "hope we can stay under $xxx per night" target.

- - - OR - - - are you adopting Gardyloo's itinerary . . . If so we can help you out -- but again need a $ number for your accommodations

Last edited by janisj; Jun 10th, 2019 at 08:28 AM.
janisj is online now  
Jun 10th, 2019, 08:26 AM
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There is a website that you might find helpful - you can also order paper version


I know the Oregon coast best between Newport and Florence. I like to stay in the little town of Yachats. You might look at the Adobe, the Fireside or the Overleaf Motels. They are in a row, walkable path between the 3 of them. The Adobe has a restaurant with ocean views.
In Newport I like to stay at the Elizabeth St Inn. All rooms have ocean views, and you can walk to many restaurants, shops.
My favorite beach stop is at Heceta Head- also called Devils Elbow. Nice little cove with a trail up to the lighthouse and lighthouse keepers home- which is now a B&B.
Florence is a cute little town with lots of shops and restaurants. Drive to the north jetty for views of some of the sand dunes.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 10:18 AM
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If you are flying into Portland, I would not get a car until you are done with the downtown area. They have great public transportation that is very easy to use. You can take the light rail into the downtown area. We stayed at the Embassy Suite at 3rd & Pine. It had great access to all of the public transportation. Here is my list of things not to miss.

The Grotto - accessible by bus
Pittock Mansion - Uber or taxi. The bus will get you to the foot of the driveway. It is then a one mile walk up a very steep hill.
Aerial Tram - accessible by street car or light rail
In Washington Park - accessible by the light rail:
Japanese Garden
Rose Test Garden
Portland Zoo

We also took the Hop on, Hop off Trolley ride from Pioneer Park. I don't usually utilize these types of tours but I found this one to be very useful. It gives you an overview of most of Portland. It is a 2 day pass so I took it the second time to get to Washington Park since the light rain goes directly to the zoo. Once inside Washington Park there is a shuttle service that will shuttle you to the sights in the park.

We are not foodies so we just wondered until we found something that looked good. Never had a bad meal. We did find one place that was out of the ordinary to us. The Spaghetti Factory. Great food, nice atmosphere. It is along the river so there was a nice view. We had dinner and then took the Aerial Tram up to see the city lights.

That should get you started. Have fun.
gardendiva is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 10:51 AM
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Yes I would definitely give this trip at least the two weeks max. that you mention. No way can you do this in 6 days and have the experience you want!!
suze is online now  
Jun 11th, 2019, 08:38 PM
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Start in Portland on Sunday the 1st or the 2nd (Labor day). Plan to be in Eureka CA about the 10th. Take US 199 back into Oregon and then I-5 south to Medford. Spend a night in Medford before heading to Crater Lake NP via the south entrance. Leave Crater Lake by the north entrance and head for Bend. Spend a couple days in the Bend/Sunriver area before heading back to Portland via the Columbia Gorge/ Hood River area.
Return the car where you rented it on the 20th.
Take the Amtrak Coast Starlight south (leaves afternoon). The train arrives in Sacramento about 6:15AM. It is easy to get from downtown Sacramento out to the airport on the Yolo bus (runs hourly).
The coach seats on the Coast Starlight are not very comfortable for sleeping so you might want to choose a Roomette instead.
tomfuller is offline  
Jun 11th, 2019, 09:42 PM
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Random good ideas. Drive highway 30 to Astoria. Cross the Astoria Megler bridge and visit Cape Disappointment State Park in Washington . The visitor center is worth it and the view of the Columbia Bar. Actually the Maritime Museum in Astoria shouldn't be missed. I'd stay in a Victorian house b and b.

If you are adventurous, smart, and rent a decent vehicle you can drive the beach from Ft. Stevens state park to Gearhart. Be tide aware. Gearhart has a great bakery.

Hike the short paved trail from Oswald West to Short Sands beach. Never leave any valuables or bags in your car.

Skip Seaside and Cannon Beach, Manzanita is cute.

Oceanside and the Three Capes Loop Drive. Good cafe in Oceanside .

I'd echo Elizabeth St Inn in Newport, from the cmoment above. I love Local Ocean in Newport for dinner . Walk the docks and get close to the working fleet that sails from that port. There are informative signs along the waterfront.

The hilltop or Hillside cafe in Waldport is great for breakfast or lunch. Seal Rock is a neat wayside

Yachats has been mentioned but visit the USFS visitor center at Cape Perpetua and drive up hill to the short hike to the CCC lookout structure atop the Cape.

Charleston is often overlooked, and I like the history at Shore Acres. There is a great pocket beach there, short hike in.

Bandon has good seafood and you could drop in to see the golf course at Bandon Dunes.

cape Sebastian is one of my favorite places on the coast. A short hike out to the tip takes you to amazing geology.

jas_miner is offline  
Jun 13th, 2019, 07:31 AM
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Again, I'm amazed at how wonderful and thoughtful these replies are--thanks again to all of you. For those who may be interested, we're leaning toward Gardyloo's itinerary, with some modifications. But I have a question I don't know if you can answer--can we do this trip in September without lodging reservations? I'm thinking that making reservations, or too many reservations, will take some of our freedom and spontaneity away from us, But, of course, I don't want to drive too long to just find a vacancy. What do you think? And thanks again. Mike
heironymous is offline  
Jun 13th, 2019, 08:00 AM
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My experience is that you should be able to leave the trip lodging pretty open that time of year as long as you are past the labor day weekend and school start dates, particularly if you aren't wildly fussy about particular room types etc. But I would definitely check booking.com since in Portland at least they have many properties that offer free cancellation up until the day before check in. So you could always book a couple things thinking you might cancel.
jpie is online now  
Jun 13th, 2019, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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One caveat -- even in September some coastal can be heavily booked (that is when the locals try to visit because that's the best weather of the year) so a lot of places will have a 2 night minimum on weekends. Otherwise - you can wing it in many areas.
janisj is online now  
Jun 13th, 2019, 09:16 AM
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I would want reservations for the Oregon Coast in September.
suze is online now  
Jun 13th, 2019, 05:50 PM
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I would say that leaving your lodging options open may depend on your budget. We went the third week of September and our options in Downtown Portland were limited when I made reservations 2 months out. If that is your first stop it might make sense to book that stop.
gardendiva is offline  
Jun 13th, 2019, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by gardendiva View Post
I would say that leaving your lodging options open may depend on your budget. We went the third week of September and our options in Downtown Portland were limited when I made reservations 2 months out. If that is your first stop it might make sense to book that stop.
i think this applies to the coast as well. September is not quite shoulder season. If you donít book anything, Iíd be afraid that most of what youíll find is either on the very high end or very low end. Been there. Done that. Donít recommend it.

if youíre choosy about where you stay, and you donít have an unlimited budget, Iíd prebook everything. Make sure you know their cancellation policy, and you can always change your plans if you have to.
marvelousmouse is offline  
Jun 14th, 2019, 05:08 AM
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September is still high season along the coast and in Portland. I would not travel without reservations during this time.
mms is offline  
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