SF to Vancouver in July - any ideas?

Old Apr 17th, 2002, 11:18 AM
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SF to Vancouver in July - any ideas?

My wife and I were thinking of taking a 10-day vacation in July with our 1-year-old son, starting in San Francisco and driving up the coast all the way to Vancouver. Any suggestions for itineraries, etc. would be most welcome. We are from NYC and don't know much about the northwest. We plan on 2 days in SF and the rest on the road.

Old Apr 17th, 2002, 02:07 PM
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Here’s what I’d recommend:

SF – 2 days
N. Calif. coast – Mendocino etc. – 1 day, overnight Mendocino
Redwoods – 1 day, overnight Eureka or Crescent City
Oregon coast – 2 days, overnight Newport (OR), Ilwaco (WA)
Olympic Peninsula, 1 day, overnight Crescent Lake
Seattle, 1 day, overnight Seattle
Vancouver, 2 days, overnights Vancouver

This is a “coastal” agenda, in which you give up most city time in favor of the boonies. An alternate agenda would skip the Oregon Coast and Olympic Peninsula by cutting across to Grants Pass via US 199 from Crescent City, then up Interstate 5 to Portland, Seattle and on to Vancouver. The California coast and the Redwoods are non-negotiable IMO, so they’re common to both routes. If you chose the latter, you might be able to squeeze in an Olympic Peninsula day or a Puget Sound day at the tail end of your trip.

With a one y.o. your daily mileage may be less, so a more leisurely approach might be warranted – hurry up and relax, as it were. SF, Seattle, and Vancouver tend to be pretty intense places in mid summer, so a “country” emphasis might work out well for you, but it’s your call.
Old Apr 17th, 2002, 06:11 PM
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I have lived in the Pacific Northwest all my life, and have spent all my coast trips on the Oregon coast, currently living near Salem. I have to be honest with you: with a 1 year old, I would not do that much road time! I think you would WAY more enjoy a couple of nights in San Francisco, then drive up the coast to Crescent City or as far north as you can get. You would drive through the Redwoods, and see them, but not spend lots of time. There isn't that much there, frankly, though obviously, the trees are impressive. Crescent City is usually foggy and fishy-smelling, but an okay overnight stop. Then, I would stay and savor the Oregon coast. It is incredible! Bandon! Beautiful! Amazing dunes in Florence, fascinating tide pools at Strawberry Hill north of Florence, several beautiful lighthouses. Newport is okay, Lincoln City is kind of cheesy town-wise, but beautiful coast. Neskowin Wayside, north of Lincoln City is our favorite beach in Oregon, but there are many beautiful spots. The Three Capes Scenic Route is incredible. Cannon Beach, farther north, is a CUTE artist colony with great places to stay and eat. Get a travel book about the coast, or Best Places in the Pacific Northwest for more ideas. If you REALLY want to go on up to Seattle, just jet from the Oregon Coast over on highway 26 into Tigarg/Portland and up I-5. Don't mess with Ilwaco--yuck! The Washington coast is not nearly as attractive as the Oregon (I grew up in Washington and am just being honest). The Olympics are incredible, but that is really a whole other trip! Honest! Seattle and Vancouver are huge cities, and you can take them in on this trip, but they are more for nightlife, which isn't the best with a one year old! Another possibility is to take the ferry from Anacortes north of Seattle into the San Juans, but that is really a separate trip, too!
Old Apr 18th, 2002, 12:17 AM
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I live just north of Seattle, and used to live in Vancouver, BC. I would suggest maybe staying longer in San Francisco. 10 Days will go by fast, and there is SO much to see in SF. Unless you drive for a while, there isn't really too much around there. The Oregon Coast is just beautiful. And to drive all four hours through WA to go to Seattle with a baby is going to be tough. Another three hours to get to the border-then off to Vancouver (a beautiful city)! May I suggest going south from San Francisco to Los Angeles instead? May be easier if you have a baby, and you will spend a lot less time driving and will enjoy your trip more.
Old Apr 24th, 2002, 12:44 AM
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Be sure to look at the giant redwoods of California, and the roosevelt elk there also. The Oregon coast is great, the sea lion caves are neat, but very smelly.
At Newport on Hwy 101, head inland through the Willamette Valley farmland and wine country, stop at some fruit stands and get some great berries and fruit to eat along the way and into Portland. In Portland take the loop on Hwy 26 over Mt. Hood, stop at Timberline Lodge and let you one year old play in the snow there may be some left there since it has snow so much there this year), and pet Bruno the areas Mascot Saint Bernard, then take Hwy 35 through Hood River and back through the Gorge on I-84. Stop off at Multnomah falls, then go north and stop by Mt. St. Helens. I would spend my time in the rural areas of NW California, Oregon and Washington, and avoid time in the big cities.

A straight shot drive in good traffic on I-5 from Portland to the Canadian border is about 5 hours. There are plenty of rest areas to stop at and to the necessary duties with a one year old along the way.
Old Apr 24th, 2002, 03:50 AM
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I hope your son is better for that length of time in the car than my kids were - that is a lot of drive-time for a little kid and you run the risk of him sleeping the whole way and then being awake all night. I might suggest limiting your trip to either the SF area or the Seattle/Vancouver area and saving the other half for another day.

But, you didn't ask for that type of advice - so, I would spend 2-3 days in SF, next stop Crescent City area for redwoods - don't know anything to recommend until you get to Seattle since we just drove it with few stops. You can not bring fresh fruits or veggies across border Calif/Oregon or the "Produce Police" will confiscate it (not kidding). We loved Mt St Helens but that does add another 1/2 day at least to your trip north.
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