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West Coast travel - 5 days, Seattle-San Fran-LA

West Coast travel - 5 days, Seattle-San Fran-LA

Old Mar 7th, 2004, 12:31 PM
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West Coast travel - 5 days, Seattle-San Fran-LA

Message: Hi,

Looking for some advice on a 5 day span where I will be departng Seattle to hit San Fran and then travel down the coast to LA. Depart LA for return home to East Coast. I've never been to CA before and will likely return within the year but would still like to cover some ground and enjoy myself. Was thinking of either flying from Seattle to San Fran, checking out San Fran and driving down the coast on a one-way car rental - or - perhaps taking the train all the way from Seattle to LA and stopping in different cities along the way (and reboarding as necessary).

Would appreciate any experience with this, including what places to stop at over 5 day trip, train vs. air/car rental, what not to visit/see given the relative short time span for this trip, and any tips for rentals or hotels along the way. I am traveling in Mid-March.

Thanks.
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 01:49 PM
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If you're interested in natural beauty, I would rent a car in Seattle and drive the whole way, down the coast. It will most likely be wet as far as northern California, but this way you will be able to see the Oregon coast, Redwoods, and even the central California coast, rather than flying over any or all of the above. The train is the least desirable alternative as it goes inland for much of the way and not through the most scenic areas.

If, on the other hand, you want to spend time in the cities, then flying will conserve the most time.

For a driving itinerary in late March, north to south, I would plan stopovers in Newport OR (on the central Oregon coast), Crescent City, CA, allowing a day to visit the scenic southern Oregon coast, then somewhere in the Bay area (SF itself maybe), then one on the central Calif. coast, near Hearst Castle. Five days to LA, four nights. No back-breaking driving days, more scenery than seems fair in such a short time.
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Old Mar 7th, 2004, 04:27 PM
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I would also recommend a stop in the Cannon Beach/Seaside/Astoria area. Just gorgeous.

Astoria was just featured in The New York Times. You can access the article by going to www.newyorktimes.com It is in the travel section.

Stop in Cambria on the Central Coast. It is a beautiful town. You may want to tour the Hearst Castle if that interests you. I could give you recommendations on lodging in both Astoria or Cambria if you are interested. Sounds like a wonderful time! ***kim***
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Old Mar 8th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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I believe that it takes 10 to 12 hours via the Interstate to go from Seattle to SF. If you take the coastal road, double that time. I would fly from Seattle to SF and then drive to Los Angeles.
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Old Mar 8th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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It's 13-14 hours in summer on I-5, counting up to the jam on I-80 that will start somewhere around Vallejo, and assuming you skip past Portland in non-rush hour traffic. In March you should add a couple of hours for slow going in weather in various areas, including the Siskyous and (usually for me) an area around Grants Pass where the weather gods see me coming and unleash their wet wrath. Also "thule" fog in the north Valley is not unknown that time of year.

Using 101 on the coast typically adds (for me) around 6 hours drive time overall, not counting stops. In winter or when there are early or late snows in the Siskyous that differential can get closer to zero.

If you don't care about the Oregon coast (for example if you're planning on using Calif. SR 1 south from Ft. Bragg) you can split the difference by using US199 from Grants Pass to Crescent City. You still get to see the redwoods, including a couple of killer groves on 199 before the junction with 101.
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