San Francisco to Vancouver Ideas

Old Mar 13th, 2022, 04:32 PM
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San Francisco to Vancouver Ideas

Hi, planning a road trip from San Fran to Vancouver in June. We're from Scotland so not too sure on the best stops and routes so would love some feedback. Have a rough plan at the moment but any suggestions would be great. Only have 13 days but hopefully we can squeeze lots in. If I'm missing any 'must see' attractions let me know! Feel like it's looking very rushed. Thanks
Day 1 - San Fran2 - San Fran then head to Yosemite (West entrance)
3 - Yosemite (head to East Entrance)4 - Yosemite 5 - Lake Tahoe
6 - Crater Lake7 - Portland8 - Mt Rainier Area9 - Seattle10 - Seattle11 - Vancouver12 - Vancouver13 - Vancouver
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Old Mar 13th, 2022, 06:13 PM
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Welcome to Fodors. We moved your thread to the United States Forum and tagged it for CA, OR & WA.
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Old Mar 13th, 2022, 06:35 PM
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That is really REALLY ambitious with much more time in the car than actually being anywhere/seeing/doing anything. The basic route you laid out is almost 1500 miles without any detours, and a lot of it on mountain roads. To give you a comparison: John o'Groats > Inverness > Edinburgh > Newcastle > Leeds > Bath > Lands End is only about 900 miles and except for the very northern bits, is mostly on motorways or dual carriageways.

Are you planning this as a true 'road trip' where the drive is more important than the places along the way? OR do you actually want to see San Francisco and Yosemite and Tahoe and Crater Lake and Seattle? Both are valid but they are not the same thing.

Have you already booked flights in to SFO and out of YVR?
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
That is really REALLY ambitious with much more time in the car than actually being anywhere/seeing/doing anything. The basic route you laid out is almost 1500 miles without any detours, and a lot of it on mountain roads. To give you a comparison: John o'Groats > Inverness > Edinburgh > Newcastle > Leeds > Bath > Lands End is only about 900 miles and except for the very northern bits, is mostly on motorways or dual carriageways.

Are you planning this as a true 'road trip' where the drive is more important than the places along the way? OR do you actually want to see San Francisco and Yosemite and Tahoe and Crater Lake and Seattle? Both are valid but they are not the same thing.

Have you already booked flights in to SFO and out of YVR?
That is really good to know, sounds like we need to do a lot more thinking😅
We have two of us to split the driving but I agree that it's too much time on the road.
The two weeks are more to see the sites than be driving so it's not a true road trip, no. The others I'm with will already be traveling beforehand, I'll be flying into San Fran on 13th and then we all leave Vancouver on 27th.
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 07:51 AM
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Have you figured out and accepted the cost of renting a car in one country and leaving it in another? Or even renting in California and leaving it in Seattle?

As for Lake Tahoe. a Quick overlook would be as follows:

Emerald Bay with Vikingsholm


Picnic at Sugar Pine Point State Park and visit the mansion:


For Yosemite, take a drive up to Glacier point; view from Glacier Point:


Be aware of vehicular restrictions for Yosemite:

https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/reservations.htm

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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 08:20 AM
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I've hosted a fair number of Scottish friends on this road trip (in one direction or another) and agree with Janis that you're being far too ambitious with the time you have. I know it's tempting to include as many highlights as possible in your holiday, but the fact is that there are so many "highlights" in this part of North America that any route - at all - is of necessity only going to skim the surface. So my advice is to accept that and focus on sights that will offer something of a range of experiences - samples, if you will - and maybe reveal some places or activities that are worth pursuing in subsequent trips. And trust me, if you're at all like my Scottish pals, you'll be planning your next trip soon after this one has started.

So a couple of things. First, many mountain areas, such as Crater Lake and Mount Rainier, are still going to have some snow on the ground - maybe a lot of it - at higher elevations during your visit. It's not unknown for Mount Rainier to have six feet of snow on the ground near the Paradise visitor center on the first of July. (Roads and parking areas, and some trails will be clear, but others not.) More importantly, it's still a time of year when things can be cloudy/misty/rainy at higher elevations, which negates some of the appeal.

On the other hand, some lower-elevation areas in the San Francisco - Portland - Seattle - Vancouver corridor are fabulous at that time. First, and the clear winner among my Scots friends for left-them-gobsmacked experiences, are the redwoods along the northern California coast, specifically in Humboldt and Del Norte counties through which US 101 travels.

Second, the southern part of the Oregon coast is also spectacular. Now there are spectacular coasts all around Scotland, but none in the sort of juxtaposition with the redwoods like the southern 60 or 70 miles of the Oregon coast. It's a major one-two punch, if you will.

Third, the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood country just east of Portland are always a revelation to my visitors. Because it's not a national park (it would be in the UK but there's too much human settlement to qualify in the US) it's often overlooked by trip planners from overseas, but it shouldn't be. The Gorge (a wide canyon carved by the Columbia River) is lined with waterfalls on its south bank, then the nice town of Hood River sits at the bottom of a glorious valley, full of orchards and vineyards, with Mount Hood looming over everything. In June you can drive to iconic Timberline Lodge on the side of the big volcano, where they'll probably still be skiing, if you want to get a feel for some high-elevation mountain areas.

From the Gorge you'd continue east to the eclectic Maryhill Museum and nearby, a strange copy of Stonehenge, then you'd head north through marvelous "old west" scenery and the Yakama Indian reservation to Interstate 90, on which you'd travel to Seattle over the Cascade range. Then from Seattle it's 3 hours (plus any border delays) to Vancouver.

Here's a map showing this route; google the places on it. https://goo.gl/maps/JSYYzLwt3nAJ6wTu7

Some "street views" that might be of interest:

Along the Avenue of the Giants in the Humboldt redwoods - https://goo.gl/maps/J6QWivmASxu7mptq9
Along the southern Oregon coast, at Meyer's Creek - https://goo.gl/maps/CAYzczU4J17qsyNZ6
Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge - https://goo.gl/maps/y6dwKY8QvJjJAe976
Mount Hood from Trillium Lake - https://goo.gl/maps/zi2E48KH2R8jNSxv6
View from Maryhill Museum - https://goo.gl/maps/kgSoiXuuyqgFGbSt7
View from Maryhill Stonehenge - Mount Hood in distance past vineyards - https://goo.gl/maps/4bZFUvW3AUnBXQVk7
Along US 97 in the Yakama reservation - https://goo.gl/maps/9pGV1tBXcydwxnX86
Along Interstate 90 crossing Snoqualmie Pass - https://goo.gl/maps/fJ7JZdiTRTa8kW846
Snoqualmie Falls - https://goo.gl/maps/Sxsyex2R6i2RtGS98
Peace Arch at US-Canada border - https://goo.gl/maps/E3SdYUqk69p67RvH8
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 08:28 AM
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If you decide do the car rental only within the US, consider the taking train for the Seattle-Vancouver portion of your trip. We enjoyed the easy, pleasant, scenic journey.
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 09:44 AM
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It does seem a bit rushed with all of the driving. I would would drop Portland (rather boring) and Lake Tahoe and add the Oregon Coast.

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area @ Yachats. This is the most popular tourist destination in Oregon. Towering 800 feet over the Pacific Ocean, the Cape Perpetua headland is the highest viewpoint accessible by car on the Oregon Coast. A great overlook with wonderful views of the Pacific. Over 2,700 acres of unique coastal habitat and 26 miles of trails through the lush temperate rainforest.

Cannon Beach. Scenic coastal resort with Haystack Rock. South of town is Oswald West State Park which has lovely deserted beaches.

Astoria. Many colorful houses and older longtime residents speak with a Finnish accent. Lewis and Clark National Historic Park with the recreated Fort Clatsop. Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Stroll on the Astoria Riverwalk. The Cathedral Tree Trail takes you to a Sitka spruce which you can walk into. Eat seafood.


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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 09:49 AM
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Tacking on to Gardyloo's extensive info (BTW take that 23 hr 41 min google map calculation with a huge grain of salt -- in practical term it would probably be closer to 30 hours because of congestion in the cities and construction in other areas - summer is the only time they can do road maintenance in mountain regions)

With 13 free days (14 - 26 June) You could do something like:

Nights of 13-14 June in San Francisco
15 - Yosemite - staying in El Portal (if Yosemite is a must see below )
16 - Healdsburg at the northern end of the Sonoma wine region
17 - 18 Ferndale (because many places will have a 2 night minimum over weekends)
19 - somewhere in the stretch between Trinidad and Gold Beach
20 - Bandon
21 - 22 East of Portland for the Columbia River / Mt Hood areas Gardyloo mentions
23 - 24 Seattle (drop car - you don't really need it in Seattle and can take the train or a bus to Vancouver)
25 - 26 in Vancouver
27 fly out

If you decide against the detour over to Yosemite . . . it IS glorious in June . . . you can massage the itinerary adding that night somewhere else along the route. Yosemite will be different than anyplace else along your route
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by k_marie View Post
If you decide do the car rental only within the US, consider the taking train for the Seattle-Vancouver portion of your trip. We enjoyed the easy, pleasant, scenic journey.
In addition to the (two?) trains per day from Seattle there are several Amtrak buses that also leave from Seattle King St. station going to Vancouver.
Spend a full day in San Francisco and the next morning take an Amtrak bus over to San Jose to get on the Amtrak San Joaquin train to Merced. From the train station in Merced you get on a YARTS bus into Yosemite. This way you don't have to try for a reservation to drive into the park.
When leaving the park, take the YARTS bus back to Merced and get on a San Joaquin train to either Martinez or Sacramento. The north bound Amtrak Coast Starlight is in Martinez sometime after 10PM and is in Sacramento about midnight every night. Take the Coast Starlight overnight to either Eugene or Portland and rent a car for a week to see what you want to see in Oregon including Crater Lake NP.
After you have returned your Oregon rental car where you rented it, take the Coast Starlight to Seattle. Depending on what you want to see in Washington you could rent another car for 1-2 days before taking the train or bus to Vancouver
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Old Mar 14th, 2022, 10:26 AM
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Many locals prefer you abbreviate their city as SF rather than SanFran. (Note, SFO is the airport and over 10 miles south of the City).
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