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Outdoorsy Pacific Northwest to San Francisco with Kids

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Jun 25th, 2014, 02:12 PM
  #1
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Outdoorsy Pacific Northwest to San Francisco with Kids

Our family (2 parents and 2 kids, ages 11 and 8) need to be in San Francisco for Labor Day weekend, so we're planning a 12 day trip to get us there. We can fly into Seattle or Portland and road trip down to finish in San Francisco or fly in and out of San Francisco and travel around Northern California, so we're looking for suggestions. About us:

Good for up to 8 hours in a car in a day, but not every day.
Car camping will be the preferred lodging.
Must swim every day - we're ambitious swimmers and don't mind cold (have dunked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Irish Sea), but don't want to die in rough surf.
Love a good day in a city to see museums, history, bookstores, and enjoy good food.

Extra credit if the kids get to dress up in historical costumes somewhere along the way. (I'm thinking Gold Rush or Oregon Trail historic sites?)

Any thoughts on whether Seattle to SF is too ambitious or if Northern CA is more than enough?

Thanks!!
soxfanann is offline  
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Jun 25th, 2014, 03:33 PM
  #2
 
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Twelve days from Seattle to San Francisco is very doable. Some of your options on the way are Mt. Rainier, the Columbia River Gorge, the Oregon Coast from Cannon Beach to Brookings, the redwood forests of Northern California, Highway 1 from Westport to Point Reyes National Seashore (including Mendocino and Fort Ross State Historic Park), Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley.

HTtY

PS Crater Lake is interesting too, but it is big detour--over three hours from Reedsport and the same back to Bandon. You would need at least one full day there. "There is only one place where it is safe and legal to get down to the lake shore. It is the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which usually opens mid to late June. The trail is 1.1 miles long and drops nearly 700 feet down to the lake shore. Visitors are welcome to swim in the lake from the shoreline at the end of this trail."

Are
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Jun 25th, 2014, 05:46 PM
  #3
 
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happytrails gave a great list for a route from Seattle to San Francisco.

Based on your intersts I'll throw in a couple more suggestions:

-Sea Kayaking in the San Juan Islands or Whidbey Island north of Seattle
-Whitewater rafting in Maupin, Oregon about an hour from Hood River.
-Olympic National Park along highway 101 in far western Washington State.
-Big Sur south of Carmel, California
CascadeBob is offline  
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Jun 25th, 2014, 07:20 PM
  #4
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Thanks for the quick replies! It looks like we're leaning towards flying into Portland (we'll save Seattle for a future visit and link it with Vancouver) and then we'll have 2 days there and 9 days to get ourselves to San Francisco.

Sounds like the Gorge is a must-see and will be a great opportunity to hike and/or try kayaking.
The kids would LOVE to see some whales off the Oregon coast, so suggestions for best spots for whales would be much appreciated.
Any must-visit beaches for a day of play?
The Redwoods are definitely on our list too.
Once we're in San Fran, we'll have 3-4 days, so suggestions for city adventures are most welcome.
Thanks!!
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Jun 25th, 2014, 08:17 PM
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Depoe Bay is the best place in Oregon to sight whales- there is a resident pod that stays there year round- it is not really whale watching season but you might spot some if you take a boat out You would leave out of one of the smallest harbors in the US, made famous in the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest"

Also as you are traveling south you might spot whales from the Klamath River Overlook- south of Crescent City, Ca.

My favorite beach is Devils Elbow north of Florence ( also called Heceta Head. There is a nice trail up to a lighthouse and also the innkeepers house. The lighthouse has just been redone and is open for tours. There is another trail starting behind the lighthouse that takes you to a beach only accessible by hiking in- via the Hobbit Trail.

The dune buggy rides are very fun- you will find them south of Florence.
Honeyman State Park- also close to Florence is a great place to climb and play on the sand dunes

In Florence there is a "sand board" park the kids might like.

In Newport you can walk through "old town" and see the sea lions lying on the docks- you will find lots of places to eat in this area- great fish and chips etc.

Hope you will enjoy!
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Jul 1st, 2014, 10:32 AM
  #6
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We're planning to return the rental car as soon as we get to San Francisco. Is there anything in the Bay area that we should see by car before we return it?
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Jul 1st, 2014, 02:51 PM
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The 49-mile drive and Point Reyes National Seashore, perhaps.

HTtY
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