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  1. Default from california to canada

    hiii. i'm new to this, and my friends and i are planning to road tripp it this summer starting in california and then heading to oregon, washington, and hopefully ending up in canada. if anyone knows a great route to take or some highlights in any of those states it would be muy helpful!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Lots to choose from/take your pick

    Greetings, kellipoop, and welcome to the forum!

    You have many choices depending on what you prefer to see. My first choice would be to drive up the coast with no final destination in mind. Just start up the coast and explore, meander, and enjoy until it's time to return home again. Allow yourself one or two days to jet home down I-5 when it's time to go home.

    *Eureka - wonderful architecture
    *Redwood National Forest - huge trees, even one you can drive through
    *Brookings - just a cool, coastal town
    *Gold Beach - just up the river are some fantastic river-rafting/mailboat trips
    *Bandon - another cool, coastal town
    *Oregon Dunes NP - huge dunes, lots of sand/dune vehicles available to rent. A blast!
    *Sea Lion Caves - ride an elevator down to a huge cavern that hundreds (thousands?) of sea lions call home
    *Newport - great aquarium, and fun places like a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum
    *Depoe Bay - the smallest harbor in the world, inexpensive ocean excursions, see the whales (in the spring or fall)
    *Tillamook - cheese factory/yummy ice cream!
    *Cannon Beach - another cool, coastal town. Watch for the hang-gliders on the beach.
    *Seaside - see a replica of a salt distillery used by Lewis & Clark, play in the boardwalk arcades
    *Warrenton - check out the winter quarters of Lewis & Clark at Fort Clatsop (unfortunately, the fort replica burned down last winter but the museum still stands and they are rebuilding the fort more accurately based on new archeological evidence)

    Up to this point, you will rarely be away from the ocean. It's a gorgeous drive! There's also lots of lighthouses, beautiful beaches, trails, etc. to explore at numerous points along the way. The rest of the way you won't be on the ocean itself most of the route but you will still be driving through some amazing scenery.

    *Astoria - great maritime museum, historical buildings, etc. Cross the mouth of the Columbia River on a bridge that is almost 5 miles long, and just a few feet above the's like driving on water. Very cool!
    *Ilwaco - great, little fishing village with a great Lewis & Clark interpretive museum at a park with amazing views from some trails and a fantastic beach
    *Long Beach Peninsula - fun arcades, great restaurants, great beaches and boardwalks
    * Road from Long Beach to South Bend/Raymond - through some amazing marshes/wetlands
    *Tokeland/Grayland/Westport - beautiful beaches, cranberry bogs, fishing and other ocean excursions
    * Aberdeen - Lady Washington, a replica of the boat used by Capt. Robert Gray in the late 1700's to explore the Pacific Northwest (also appeared in "Pirates of the Caribbean")
    * North Beach coastal towns of Ocean Shores, Copalis, Pacific Beach - beautiful coast drive and great beaches, cute towns with interesting shops to poke around in
    * Olympic Peninsula - so much to see and do, if you're interested I could write a whole post on just this area so let me know if you're interested. Highlights: Lake Quinault, Trail of Mosses, Ruby Beach, Kalaloch, Sol Duc, Lake Crescent, Makah Indian Reservation with a fantastic museum, Hurricane Ridge, Port Townsend

    Circle the Peninsula, end up back in Olympia, WA, and head home down I-5. Unless, of course, you have more time and want to hit Seattle and Vancouver, BC, before returning home.

    This should give you lots of ideas for starters!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Ontario Canada

    Default great route

    lots of great places listed by Judy & some I still want to get back to myself!

    other options (depending how far out from the coast you want to get)
    - Crater Lake, Mt Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Glacier National Park...

    Of course, in British Columbia, Canada...
    Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Yoho National Park, Glacier National Park, Mount Revelstone national Park,
    and perhaps the Columbia icefield with Athabaska glacier (but that is getting over closer to Banff Alberta)

  4. Default California to Canada RoadTrip -- Costs?

    hey, how would you figure out the approx. cost if you were to be on the road for about a month, give or take a few weeks. how much do you think would be a good amount to save up before hitting the road?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The $64 Question

    That's really up to you in a lot of ways. You can check on approximate gas costs for your trip by using our Road Trip Fuel Cost Calculator. Meals and lodging can be anything from camper basic to spa luxurious. The basic way to travel cheaply is to camp out and prepare many of your own meals. For some more on traveling on a tight budget check out these ideas from a couple of our regular contributors. Also be sure to follow the links to related threads at the bottom of this page, and look into the RoadTrip Planning section.


  6. Default

    thanks for all your help. but would you suggest not to travel without a certain amount of money... like less than a thousand?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Bucks for the Basics

    Prices updated Jan. 2009 and some text added for further information and clarification.

    Questions about money are hard to answer. There are way too many variables. I'll try to give you some guidelines to help you figure this out for yourself. And I'll be glad to help you further after you have gotten a bit of a basic budget started for yourself.

    These are the basics for a roadtrip: gas, lodging, meals, activities, souvenirs, emergency funds. Let's take them one at a time.

    You can get a rough idea of how much money you'll need for gas by using the Road Trip Fuel Coast Calculator that AZBuck mentioned earlier. A good place to get current gas prices if GasBuddy.
    Step 1: You'll need to know how many miles you'll be traveling. Using MS Streets & Trips, if you traveled one way along the coastal highways and the other way via I-5, you'll be driving about 3100. That's a minimum. Sidetrips will add a bit. I always like to pad things so my estimates are on the high side so, let's say you'll be traveling 4000 miles.

    For those without MS Streets & Trips, GoogleMaps, Mapquest, AAA, and various other online options are available to get an estimate of your trip miles. Add about 20-25% for meandering, leaving the highway for food/lodging/fuel, etc. and side trips off your main route to attractions.

    Step 2: Now you need to know how many miles per gallon (mpg) your vehicle gets. If your vehicle gets 20mpg, you will need roughly 200 gallons of gas to do this trip. If gas prices are average $2.50/gallon, this means you have to budget about $500 just for gas.

    4000 miles divided by 20mpg times $_current price_ per gallon = $your estimated fuel costs

    Lodging costs vary a lot so you really need to think about where you plan to stay. Are you camping or are you staying in hotels?

    Camping: Camping fees usually range from a low of about $18/night to a high of about $30/night in more resort-style campgrounds. It's probably safe to figure an average of $20/night but I always prefer to estimate high so I would use $25/night for my figure. Of course, you would divide this among your friends. But be aware that some campgrounds will charge extra for more than 2 people so these nightly rates go up a bit with more people. These extra fees are usually about $1.00 to $2.50 extra per person.

    Hotels: Gosh, you can pay about $50/night at discount motels (but these rates are very hard to find and are not necessarily the usual rates you'll find) up to $100+/night. I would figure closer to $70/night for an average. And those rates will usually be higher in resort/tourist areas during peak times. In major cities, don't be surprised is $100/night is more common. In some cities, like NYC, Washington DC, and San Francisco, $150-200/night can be hard to find.

    So, you will need to figure out how many nights you are camping and times that by some guesstimated figure. Then figure how many nights you will be staying in hotels and do the same. Figure a bit high so you have a buffer.

    Of course, you can also get some good ideas by doing internet searches for hotel chains and campgrounds in the areas where you'll be spending the night to see what kind of facilities are available and what the rates are.

    Hope this gives you some ideas to put you on the right track.

    Are you going to be taking a cooler and filling it up at grocery stores for many of your meals? Or are you going to be eating at restaurants for most of your meals? Will you be focusing on cheaper/fast-food like McDonald's or will you want some nicer sit-down restaurant meals? Do you plan any fine dining experiences? These are the types of questions you need to answer for yourself.

    If you eat all your meals from your cooler and/or cooking on a campstove and shop carefully in full-size grocery stories, not mini-marts, and avoid convenience foods, you might be able to do this for about $10/day per person but that's really a tough goal to meet and requires sticking to sale items, etc. Since that's a hard goal to meet, I think $15 per person per day is a more reasonable figure to budget.

    Fastfood meals are typically about $5-7 each. Diners and lower-cost restaurants (think Denny's) are about $10-15 each meal. Nicer restaurants can go up, up, up in price but I believe about $20-25 per person per meal is a reasonable estimate for moderate priced restaurants. You might want to budget for a few splurge meals in finer dining establishments and will have to guesstimate those costs based on your personal preferences.

    Are you mainly just going to sightsee at freebie places? Even if these are your plans, national parks and many state parks have entry fees. You will likely want to go to a few museums, etc. It's hard to do a trip without paying any kind of fees to do activities. If there is something specific you know you want to do, do a web-search to find out the rate, then add a $5-15 for parking. Obviously, you'll want extra money budgeted in this category for unexpected opportunities like a neat river-rafting trip you didn't plan for so you can do spur-of-the-moment things like that. But this just really depends on you and what you want to do. This is probably one of the biggest variable categories. Obviously, someone who just wants to hike around is going to spend less than somebody who wants to go clubbing every night.


    Are you someone who is just satisified with photos of your trip? Or are little things like refrigerator magnets good enough? Or do you want t-shirts/sweatshirts to remind you of your adventures? Again, only you can answer these questions.

    You should always have access to something for emergencies. A car breakdown, etc. can really botch up a budget! Some people depend on credit cards for these types of things in the hopes they won't have to use them. What are your plans to handle some unexpected situation? Do you have a AAA membership that would pay for towing and some other minor incidents that might happen? If you don't have the funds, does someone else have money available to wire to you if you need help?

    I hope this gives you some idea of how to start figuring your budget!
    Last edited by PNW Judy; 01-07-2009 at 09:39 AM. Reason: Changed some prices due to inflation since post was written

  8. Default from california to canada

    hi, so we are planning at 2 week roadtrip from california to canada. and our car rental is going to be taking most of our money. so i was just curious, is there any laws about parking on the side of the road and sleeping in your car? also, what would be the best maps to get for driving that far? we are going through oregon and washington... any suggestions or information is greatly appreciated because we have our flight arrangements which is in two weeks and we have just started planning... /: so anything, comments, concerns! are welcomed and very much appreciated. THANKS!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Yikes! What about fuel and food?

    Quote Originally Posted by kellipoop
    hi, so we are planning at 2 week roadtrip from california to canada. and our car rental is going to be taking most of our money. so i was just curious, is there any laws about parking on the side of the road and sleeping in your car?
    Generally I would say it is probably more a consideration of a personal safety issue than a law. In national forests, generally this is OK, if you get off the main road a ways, but I wouldn't really recommend it anywhere else. Much better choices are travel centers (truck stops) and hospital parking lots -- just be very courteous with this one.
    also, what would be the best maps to get for driving that far? we are going through oregon and washington...
    Our recommendation for maps are here. I always carry Benchmark maps when I am in the northwest.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Keithville, LA

    Default Ya'll are going to laugh at me, but...

    I've had the best luck for maps with the Atlas put out every year by NASCAR. I have a Rand McNally atlas also because in the past the NASCAR maps were small However, I'd often have to refer to my trusty NASCAR map because RM had failed to note that a road changed names or had left off a small state of county/parish road. But the 2006 maps are bigger and there are rather detailed maps of Canada and several of the National Parks.


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