Seattle to San Diego in 14 Days

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Jan 7th, 2018, 09:34 AM
  #1
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Seattle to San Diego in 14 Days

New here! My husband, who NEVER takes time off work and loves to be home due to his extensive work-travel, has suggested taking 14 days to visit the PCH with our kids (6, 14 y/o). I think watching our 22 y/o graduate college and move away for a job has him thinking about time flying and memory making for our other 2. With that said, we are Midwestern'er. While I've travelled to Seattle for a few days for work and to Los Angeles (as a truck drivers daughter - fun big rig trip), I have no experience with the West Coast and whats feasible and what are great places to visit.

Need suggested places to visit/see and the amount of time to spend in each. We are sold on spending a day in Seattle, seeing the Redwood forest, staying off the interstate when possible, but will definitely hit it to make our 14 day drive doable. We love parks, scenic stops, hubby loves college campuses/stadiums (just a thought, not required).

Tentative dates - Arrive Seattle June 13th; Depart Los Angeles June 26th.

At this point, all suggestions are welcome. Our goal is to see the west coast and make great memories with our kids. We are very open to ideas, suggestions.

Many thanks in advance.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 11:22 AM
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First thing, if possible reverse your route. We say in Seattle that July 5 is the first day of summer, so if you can work it so that the weather has some time to improve as you travel north, so much the better.

Second, the term "PCH" is used almost exclusively in southern California, and refers to CA 1; the main coastal road (which isn't on the cost very much at all in California) is US 101, so some confusion can arise.

Two weeks is more than adequate to make the drive; the complications arise in planning side trips or stay-overs. There are so many possibilities in this regard that some tough choices need to be made.

Unfortunately the full length of CA 1 between San Luis Obispo and Big Sur is unlikely to be available in June; road repairs caused by fire and landslides are probably going to last until late summer of this year. So the question arises, do you want to have a pleasant couple of days traveling on US 101 between LA and San Francisco, given it's going to be less scenic overall than taking the CA coastal route, or would you consider skipping San Diego and LA, flying into San Francisco, and starting the drive there?

This would potentially give you more time to see the scenery - redwoods, Oregon coast, maybe even Olympic National Park or some islands in Puget Sound.

There are plenty of beautiful college campuses and stadiums en route - Stanford and Berkeley in the Bay area, Eugene and Corvallis in Oregon, but these are inland from the ocean, so are you willing to give up part of the coast? The UW campus in Seattle is gorgeous; would that be okay? You could time your trip to include - maybe - baseball games in SF, Oakland or Seattle; the baseball parks in SF and Seattle are gorgeous, even if the quality of the teams is... er...

But beyond that I'd suggest you do your research on some possible side trips or routes that might add some variety to the drive. Google the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood, for example, or the California Lost Coast. Or maybe you start in SF and hustle north on a route like this - https://goo.gl/maps/CV2dKk4Anfp - and use the extra days to do a loop around Olympic National Park, with its incredible beaches, Hoh rain forest, and alpine meadows at Hurricane Ridge. You could even take a day and visit Victoria BC by ferry from Port Angeles (passports needed.)

The point being, you can do this trip in two weeks or take years to explore the many possibilities. It all depends on you priorities and your traveling style - slow and methodical, or zoom zoom. Both are legitimate, but you have to have a plan.
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Jan 7th, 2018, 02:03 PM
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I like Gardyloo's plan except for driving northbound on US 101. Seattle can be warm and sunny or rainy and miserable in June. The last time I was in Seattle was the first week of January last year. I went to see the world HQ of geocaching in the Fremont section. The temps were in the mid 50's when I left the city. By the time I got to HooDoo (Santiam Pass) I was driving in blizzard conditions in single digits.
I like making all right turns toward the ocean for the viewpoints.
I'm hoping that the new visitor center for Tillamook Cheese will be open when you get to Tillamook.
For your inland trip I like driving east on US 26 through the south end of Portland past Timberline and north on OR Rt 35 on the east side of Mt. Hood down to Hood River.
In northern California, stop at the "Trees of Mystery" to get a good look at some nice Coast Redwoods.
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Jan 8th, 2018, 12:50 PM
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San Diego is a great place for families. We jave the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park, Sea World, beautiful beaches with kayaking, sailing, surfing, diving, snorkeling, etc. But June is our winter. Or as it is always referred to ... June Gloom. I would try to be in Southern Calif anytime after mid July through Oct which is our best weather.
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Jan 8th, 2018, 12:51 PM
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June is cold, overcast, and grey skies.
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Jan 10th, 2018, 12:28 AM
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So typically, people want to see the coastline for at least part of a West Coast trip like you're doing. The question is, how much of it, and where do you cut over to the coast and where do you head inland. I like the central and north beaches in Oregon as much as the South. So that is a tradeoff and it just depends on what you want. But so that you have a fuller picture, here are a few things that are inland in Southern Oregon:

--Oregon Caves--this is off a state highway 199 that you could take coming up from the Redwoods in California. We really enjoyed the caves, and a short hike above the exit to see the views. And the lovely national lodge, which might be fun to stay the night. If not, do get a malt the 50s era soda fountain. Be sure to

--Ashland, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. They have a real, Elizabethan outdoor stage. If your six year old isn't up to a full play, maybe two people could go in the evening. But there is also the great little museum which features a costume try-on area. And there are paid tours including backstage. These must be booked ahead. Finally, it's just a cute town and it also has a smaller college (Southern Oregon State College).

--Just a few miles from Ashland is little historic Jacksonville. This is just a cute historic town with a mercantile and other buildings to stop in at.

Grants Pass--do a jetboat trip on the river (whole family can do this). Really fun and really scenic. On one of the most scenic rivers in the United States, the Rogue, popularized by author Zane Grey.

Winston-Salem Drive Through Safari.The animals are loose and you are safely in your car with the windows rolled up.

Also inland--but more inland--is Crater Lake. I love it but unless you are going inland through Bend, I'm not sure it makes sense for your trip.
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Jan 10th, 2018, 12:41 AM
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College campuses-

Lewis and Clark in Southwest Portland was ranked #1 on a poll for beautiful colleges. Some of the buildings are really pretty, but really it's the grounds and the views that are the reason to come.

University of Oregon--Basketball court, football stadium and the track all are stellar. Olympic Trials are regularly held at this track. Nike is a major sponsor of U of O and their largesse is evident. Also, this is where they filmed Animal House.

University of Washington in Seattle. It's a great setting with the fountain and the views. Quads are pretty.

I am not a huge fan of Stanford architecture overall. Students call it a giant Taco Bell for a reason. I do like the art museum and the tower.
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Jan 11th, 2018, 06:35 AM
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Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply. I'm new to this "asking the online world for help" and amazed at how friendly and quick people are to offer some of their time to reply, and often passionately. Also, for the newbie in me, letting me know the term PCH is for only a certain portion of this trek. I've recently found part of the drive we were interested in is close due to mudslides. Thanks for the insight on the colleges, too. I teach at our college and my husband played football in college, so he loves to visit campuses, especially athletic facilities. I've been looking for posts by others who may haven taken this trek and what their route, timeline and stop were. I'll check out some of your suggestions - Hoh rainforest sounds very unique. 5alive - your list of suggestions is great. I need to look into them. Again, thanks everyone. This is exactly what I needed - insight from those who've driven this trek or who live in the area. I'm putting a very rough itinerary together and will share for thoughts.

Last edited by FullerFour; Jan 11th, 2018 at 06:42 AM.
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Jan 11th, 2018, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by FullerFour View Post
... Hoh rainforest sounds very unique.
IMO worth the trip on its own, e.g.

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