San Francisco to Portland and back

Feb 20th, 2012, 06:34 AM
  #1  
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San Francisco to Portland and back

Hi there
We are planning a trip from Ireland to the West coast in late August / early September. We are in our 40s and are bringing our 16 year old son and 15 year old niece. So far, the best bet flight wise is Dublin - San Francisco return. We have relatives in SF to lodge with during our stay there. My sister lives in Portland OR so that's our next port of call. As we will have luggage for weeks, i reckon that internal flights will hammer us with baggage charges. I'm thinking that our best bet will be to hire a car and drive up, keep the car and drive back down at the end of the trip.
The kids are pretty laid back but not into museums etc. We love wine and food. I'm looking for suggestions for the best route that is both time efficient and fun. I'm thinking of a bit of rafting for the kids - Bend maybe??? I hoped that 3 days and 2 nights up would be enough and 2 days 1 night on the way back.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions / comments you may have.

Suzanne
suzdal is offline  
Feb 20th, 2012, 06:49 AM
  #2  
 
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The other way to do this trip is to take the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Emeryville CA to Klamath Falls OR and renting a car there for Oregon. You can also take the train to the little town of Chemult and take an Amtrak bus from there to Bend to rent a car there. Make the time to see Crater Lake. Lots of places to rent kayaks for use on the lakes along the Cascade Lakes Highway SW of Bend and Mt. Bachelor
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 20th, 2012, 07:00 AM
  #3  
 
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Rent a car from Thrifty or Dollar. After you book, keep checking back to see if you can get a better rate.

I suggest that your trip to Portland include a visit to the redwood forests in northern California and to the Oregon Coast.

Our favorite places to stay on the Oregon coast are Brookings, Bandon, Yachats, Newport, and Cannon Beach.

Highway 101 offers great views of the ocean from Eureka to Port Orford and from Florence to Lincoln City.

If you want an extraordinary experience on the return drive to San Francisco follow this routing: Grants Pass, Eureka, Mendocino, Jenner, San Francisco. This will take you on a magnificent stretch of historic Highway 1, which hugs to coast.

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 20th, 2012, 07:43 AM
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My first suggestion: Read/google about how to pack light - and remember - you can buy things over here in the States too. Also check the stiff charges for extra baggage - and it will also help you pack light. Check Arthur Frommer's and Rick Steeves for some ideas/methods.

And check www.rentalcars.com for rates. For a group - 4 is it? - renting a car is usually the best way.

And you can break it up a bit if you like. Maybe go up part of the way along the Cal coast - and then say West of Redding - head back east to Interstate 5 and a short way up to Weed and then take hiway 97 on to Bend and stop at Crater Lake http://tinyurl.com/7uannvx on the way up. From there - you can continue on up 97 toward Portland and check out the beautiful/classic Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood.

http://www.timberlinelodge.com/

After Portland - on your way back to SF - take the Oregon Coast south to say Gold Beach (ride the Jet Boats up the Rogue River http://www.roguejets.com/ ) and then get back over to I 5 for the faster return trip back to the Bay Area.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 20th, 2012, 07:46 AM
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BTW - if you are Shakespeare fans - the summer Oregon Shakespeare Festival (held outdoors - in a Park) at lovely Ashland, Ore - is a great production. Has been for decades.

http://www.osfashland.org/visit/index.aspx
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 20th, 2012, 10:30 AM
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If you want to avoid renting a car in California to drive to Portland via Bend, the train/bus combo to Bend from Emeryville is only $84/adult. the 15 yo is only $42. The train leaves EMY at about 10 PM and you arrive in Bend before noon.
The car rentals in Bend are Enterprise, Budget and Avis.
Do your sightseeing and kayaking from Bend and then go over US26 past Mt. Hood to get to Portland. Leaving Portland heads south on I-5 to visit Ashland, Medford and Crater Lake.
Exit Crater Lake by the north entrance and go east on Rt. 138 to get back to US97 about 75 miles south of Bend.
The Redmond (RDM) airport has shuttle flights to/from Oakland or SFO.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 20th, 2012, 11:12 PM
  #7  
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Wow - thank you very much. I did laugh at the packing light suggestion. I've 2 older teens who aren't coming with us and they already have the empty suitcase ready for me to fill with pressies...........light is not an option!! I really like the train idea - i love train travel adn this would cut down on the car rental time for us. Also like the 2 different options for the north bound and south bound journeys.
Will check out my option and may re post again.
thanks again
Suz
suzdal is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 12:27 AM
  #8  
 
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I agree w/ HTTY: I can't imagine missing the Redwoods if you do decide to rent a car. Both areas, north (Redwood National park- great trails that lead to the coast- and south (Humboldt Redwoods, Avenue of the Giants) are amazing for hiking or you can drive through; not a far drive- few hours- to Crater Lake. If you have the luxury of time, the drive to Portland will offer many sites and action-filled things to do with the kids (if they like nature and the outdoors)
soliera is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 03:23 AM
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Would again suggest you check the prices for baggage before you promise to bring back suitcases of prizes. Another option is to ship things - but not sure about international rates.

While I love train travel in Europe - I think the best way to see the states is with a car - and check the weekly rates - starting with www.carrentals.com, which lists most of the companies.

The drive from SF to say the Redding Area is fairly easy for your first day (assuming you want to hit the road right away)and nearby Lke Shasta is beautiful - you could try to even rent a houseboat perhaps) and then from there to Bend is about 4 hours or so. The first leg - SF to say Redding - should take about 4-5 hours on the freeway - or longer of course, if you head up the beautiful Coast.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 03:41 AM
  #10  
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Thanks guys - Tomsd, this is very helpful. A 4-5 hour drive is very doable. Is Redding a good spot to over night in or should i opt for another base? I'm happy just to overnight there and keep the budget for Bend where i think we'll do one of the half day raftings. I stayed in Bend a couple of years ago and we drove to Portland over Mt Hood so this leg is familiar.
So, south bound. If we leave out Crater lake as we may do it as a day trip with my sis from Portland, what stops are recommended again breaking into 4 to 5 hour driving stints adn with one big event like the rafting in one of the stops - dune buggying etc.

thanks in advance
Suz
suzdal is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 06:48 AM
  #11  
 
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Don't try to go to Crater Lake as a day trip from Portland.
Coming north from Redding you have the choice of coming on I-5 through Ashland and Medford to get to the south entrance or you can go north on US 97 and getting to the same entrance through Fort Klamath. Exit the park by the north entrance. It is only 90 miles from the north entrance to Bend.
As for the presents transport, either mail them home or get a small backpack that will fit under the seat. You can bring the backpack from home or buy it on your travels as a present.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 11:24 PM
  #12  
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Interesting. So, let's say i commit to staying in Redding and doing the Redwoods. Then we drive towards Bend - via Crater lake??? Sounds perfect. Which route is preferred, Ashland or fort Klamath?
Your advise is much appreciated.
Suz
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:00 AM
  #13  
 
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There is a lot to see and do in Oregon.

Crater Lake is great, but it is way off the beaten path. As a result, in my view, you would be wise to spend your precious short time in the redwoods, on the (spectacular) Oregon coast, and in the Columbia River Gorge.

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:28 AM
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If you stay in Redding or the little town of Mt. Shasta, continue up I-5 and take rt. 62 from Medford to get to the south entrance of Crater Lake. You will get the best pictures if you take the road on the west side with a stop at the lodge and a stop at the Wizard Island overlook. The Pumice Desert is worth a stop on the way to the north entrance.
Drive back south on the Oregon coast from Portland all the way to Crescent City California to see Redwood National Park.
For some unusual trees, visit the "Trees of Mystery" near Klamath CA.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:32 AM
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Compare car rentals in Portland or San Francisco. Because they are larger cities they will have no doubt be more economical. Also it is always best to rent in 1 week increments because you get your best rate that way. Sometimes an extra day and a half can cost you as much as a whole week. The drive is an insight as well. If you stay on I-5 you will pass Mt. Whitney, which is lovely. If you have never seen geo-thermal activity you might want to detour over to Lassen Volcanic National Park. If you have time to stop in Redding, CA there is a really neat park and pedestrian bridge by Calatrava. If the kids have never been on a cave tour there is a fun one on Lake Shasta. You take a boat to arrive at the cave. The Oregon Cave National Park has a great cave tour plus a really lovely rustic Lodge and Restaurant. Grant's Pass, OR is a great place to take a jet boat tour on the Rogue River, or to raft. Bend has some neat geologic Volcanic parks, plus rafting, horse back riding, golf, hiking, biking etc. Consider the Sunriver Resort for a complete vacation experience.
If you choose to try the coastal route, you may find you run out of time because it is so beautiful that you will constantly have to stop. Of course, coming from Ireland, these views may not seem as unique. However stopping at the Redwoods National Park to see the redwoods would be something unique.
Crater Lake is nice, but since your time is limited, I would give it a pass. That's the trouble, there are just too many wonderful choices to make.
hotzim is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2012, 11:09 AM
  #16  
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hi = the car rental tip is very useful - thank you. Planning on driving the coast back south from Portland to SF. it's the north bound route that i'm unsure of - to crater lake or not to crater lake - to Bend or Eugene, which Redwoods to stop at...........As you say Hotzim, just too much to see. I would prefer 2 or 3 firm stops and highlights rather than trying to fit in lots of bits. THe kids being mid to late teens will have a short attention span on natural beauty etc and i do want everyone to be chilled and having a good time. My holiday ethos has always been, "kids happy, parents happy", (to a degree of course).
You've all been great so far
Suz
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 02:55 PM
  #17  
 
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THe kids being mid to late teens will have a short attention span on natural beauty etc and i do want everyone to be chilled and having a good time.

I think your teenagers will be fascinated by the redwoods, and there many opportunities for activity on the Oregon coast (about which others I better informed than I am).

On the Columbia River they will enjoy the views and waterfalls along the Historic Columbia River Highway. If you want to drive this highway, take I-84 to Corbett to access it and drive as far as Moltnomah Falls (you will encounter viewpoints and other waterfalls along the way). Return to I-84 and drive at least as far as Hood River--a delightful little town that is a center for windsurfing.

HTTY
happytrailstoyou is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2012, 03:10 PM
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If the kids want kayaking Bend beats Eugene hands down. http://www.visitbend.com/Bend_Oregon...er-Activities/
Last weekend I traveled from central Oregon to Coos Bay and Charleston. On the return trip I saw an Azalea in bloom, 50+ elk about 5 miles east of Reedsport and hard packed snow on the Willamette Pass.
If you don't see Crater Lake on the way north, turn east on 38 in Reedsport and go through Roseburg to get to the north entrance of Crater Lake.
tomfuller is offline  
Feb 25th, 2012, 05:15 PM
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Hi all, I am planning a similar trip and am looking for guidance too. We are flying into Portland and driving down to Carmel, CA with about 7 days to site see. There are four of us including a 13 and 16 year old boy. I was thinking fly into Portland and drive to Bandon (monolith), then to Caven Junction and stay at the Tree Resort with the ziplines, then Gold Beach, stay at Tu Tu Ton Lodge and do the Jet Boat tours, one night in Eureka, one night in Saulsalito then on to Monteray where we stay for 5 days to unwind. Doable? Am I missing things? looking for some action, adventure with chill time on the back end.
Marie_Forrestal is offline  
Feb 25th, 2012, 05:39 PM
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Having grown up in Klamath Falls - I think taking 97 at Weed is prettier than driving the rest of the way up 5 to Medford and then to Crater Lake. Either way - figure about what - 4 plus hours?

If you want to see Redwoods, albeit not as big as the Coastal Redwoods - but still plenty big - just north of Klamath Falls you can find all you want.

Via 97 - you also drive along 30 mile Klamath Lake on the way to Crater Lake - which is still considered one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. If you want to continue on to Bend from Crater Lake - it's what - another couple of hours, or you can stay there - or at nearby - also beautiful Diamond Lake. http://www.diamondlake.net/
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