san francisco to seattle

May 17th, 2018, 03:43 PM
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Join Date: May 2018
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san francisco to seattle

Hi! We are attempting to plan a trip flying into san francisco and driving to seattle in about 5 days. I have 3 teenagers who need to be wowed Please help me figure out the must sees and some great family friendly places to stay along the way. Thanks!!
bp1989 is offline  
May 17th, 2018, 03:57 PM
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Just to clarify - the 5 days is just the drive from SF to Seatlle, not including the "in San Francisco" and "in Seattle" days?
sf7307 is online now  
May 17th, 2018, 04:01 PM
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Do you intend to spend any time in Seattle once you get there? How about Portland? I'm thinking you are planning a coastal trip mostly on US 101. Could you fly to Seattle (or Portland) and then drive southbound?
If you could extend the trip to about 8 days, you could make it a loop and avoid a drop fee whichever direction you drive it.
tomfuller is offline  
May 17th, 2018, 04:04 PM
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not spending any time in Seattle or San Francisco. Can't extend the trip, unfortunately.
bp1989 is offline  
May 17th, 2018, 06:04 PM
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5 days is VERY short to drive from SF to Seattle if you want to do any sightseeing. Just the direct- least scenic route dashing straight up I-5 is nearly 900 miles and would take 2 full days behind the wheel w/ just minimal rest and meal stops.

If you took detours either up the coast or through scenic ares around Portland or in Washington State you are talking close to 4 days car time with very little 'WOW' time.

Sooo -- what sorts of things do you hope to see and do (other than just sticking everyone in the car) ?

Have you already booked your flights? If not, flying into Portland would make more sense. OR . . . if you have already booked in to SFO and home from SeaTac, then do a loop drive through northern California and then fly up to Seattle.
janisj is online now  
May 17th, 2018, 06:38 PM
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Suggest you change your flights as mentioned above. All you are going to see is state rest areas as it stands now.
5alive is online now  
May 18th, 2018, 06:05 AM
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Once again I find myself disagreeing with some of my honored fellow posters. Yes, of course, more time is better, but there are ways to see a good sampling of the wonderful variety of the route, provided you (a) don't mind keeping up a vigorous pace, and (b) are willing to view some places as "examples" of broader things rather than surveying numerous sites offering similar kinds of experiences. So for example, while pretty much the entirety of the Oregon coast is worthy of in-depth exploring, you don't have time for in-depth if you also want to experience other things that might be equally worthy of your time. Hope you get my meaning here.

For example, the redwoods. As you head north from San Francisco you'll be in and near major redwood groves in around 3 1/2 to 4 hours after crossing the Golden Gate, and that access will continue more or less all the way to within shouting distance of the Oregon state line. Do you stop at all of them?

Or the Oregon coast has lots of fabulous pull-outs with stunning views of rocks and beaches. Stop at all, or save time by seeing a selection, then moving on? You get it.

Here's the route and a 5-day itinerary I'd suggest you review. Map -

Day 1 - SF to Arcata via Avenue of the Giants byway.
Day 2 - Arcata to Bandon, OR
Day 3 - Bandon to Portland via US 101, OR 38 and I-5
Day 4 - Columbia Gorge/Hood River area
Day 5 - Hood River to Seattle via Maryhill, US 97 and I-90.

About these days:

SF to Arcata: The Avenue of the Giants byway parallels the US 101 freeway south of Eureka, and is a terrific introduction to the redwoods. Stop at the Founders' Grove at a minimum. Arcata is a college town just north of Eureka. It isn't going to win any beauty contests, but it's got a decent selection of affordable accommodation, and it would be convenient for dinner at the very fun Samoa Cookhouse in Samoa, just across the bay from Eureka. Welcome to the Historic Samoa Cookhouse - Since 1890 on California's North Coast

Arcata to Bandon: Some of the best redwood groves are roadside; stop when you feel the urge. But manage your time to leave time for several pull-offs once you've crossed into Oregon. The scenery between Brookings and Bandon - around 70 miles or more - is the best on the coast. Bandon is the nicest town on the southern coast; I'd make advance bookings once you have firm dates.

Bandon to Portland: Take Oregon Hwy 38 between Reedsport and the I-5 freeway near Cottage Grove. This is the most scenic, also the quickest, route between the coast and the Willamette Valley. Look for elk just south of the road shortly after leaving Reedsport (there's a viewing platform overlooking the refuge.) Eugene is a decent lunch stop; the U of O campus is quite pretty. Stay near PDX airport for car-friendly accommodations, or if you have enough time, push through to Hood River. (I would do this myself, in order to have a more relaxing following day.)

Portland/Hood River: I'd allocate a full day for the Columbia Gorge/Hood River/Mt. Hood area. This is a fabulous region for families with teens, with more activities than you could imagine: windsurfing or kite surfing at Hood River, visits to waterfalls in the Gorge, ride the chairlift up the side of Mt. Hood to the permanent icefields. Drive the Hood River Valley "fruit loop" past vineyards, orchards, U-pick farms, with Mt. Hood looming over all. Visit Herman the Sturgeon at the Bonneville hatchery, white water rafting on the White Salmon River, and on and on...

Hood River to Seattle: I'm proposing the slightly unconventional eastern route for this day. You follow the Columbia east to Maryhill, visiting either/both the funky Maryhill Museum or the nearby replica of Stonehenge overlooking the river canyon. Then you follow US 97 north through fabulous "old west" country and the Yakama Indian reservation to Yakima, then into Seattle on I-82 and I-90 over the Cascades. This route from Hood River takes around the same time "wheels turning" but it avoids the boredom and traffic of the I-5 alternative, and is highly recommended.

Now, to parrot the others. Given you don't plan to spend much time in Seattle, I would give strong consideration to stopping at Portland, and use the extra day in the Portland/Gorge/Mt. Hood/Maryhill area, and fly from PDX. As I said above, there's so much to see in the area that the 5 or so hours you'd otherwise spend driving to Seattle could be very well used. And because hotel prices in Seattle are breathtaking in the summer, and you wouldn't have enough time to see much anyway, more time farther south might also be a cost-saving alternative. Just sayin'.
Gardyloo is online now  
May 18th, 2018, 06:24 AM
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Gardyloo's itinerary is doable and is about the best you could possibly manage. Would I do it solo in my roadster -- perhaps. Would I do it with three teenagers stuck in the back seat - not on a dare.
janisj is online now  
May 18th, 2018, 10:11 AM
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If plane tickets are not yet purchase I agree about the idea of shortening the distance, since you aren't interested in spending time in any of the cities.
Into SFO and out of Portland.
Into Portland out of Seattle.
Into Seattle out of Portland.
... would all work and give you more time to BE places and see things.
suze is online now  
May 24th, 2018, 05:37 AM
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Thank you for all of the advice . We are going to book it this weekend. Will let you know what we do! Thinking strongly of flying out of Portland . What does anyone know about renting cars only one way ?
bp1989 is offline  
May 24th, 2018, 07:31 AM
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Ending in Portland is a more doable plan.

You will have a drop fee for not returning the car where you started from. If I were you, I'd test my dates with the main companies and see if the drop fee is less for traveling in the other direction (PDX to SFO).

Also, if you don't rent cars a lot, two things to know. There are a lot of discounts out there--your frequent flyer miles website, AAA, credit unions... Second, you can add a rider for car rental to your own auto insurance. It is worth doing.
5alive is online now  
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