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  1. Default West Coast Roadtrip - Need Planning Help

    I have to be in San Francisco on August 11th, and have 2 weeks before that to travel around the West Coast (leaving july 27). I've only been to the west coast once (san fran) and that was twenty years ago -- so I'm open to all sorts of suggestions. I currently live in a big city, so cities are not high on my agenda (nor is going out at night, or going to bars, etc)- I'd really love to just see beautiful places (national parks are great, but doesn't have to be that big) - and drive a bunch (with plenty of time to stop/rest/swim/play/relax etc.)

    A few thoughts we've had is to fly into vancouver, canada and drive down to seattle, and then to portland and then to san fran.

    Another thought we had was to fly into vegas, go through joshua tree and death valley, palm springs, to L.A. and then up to san fran. Our only concern, of course, is how hot it will be in some of these places during this time of year (we really don't know - we're just guessing).

    Other options would be to fly into the yellowstone area and drive across idaho to portland, and then down to san francisco.

    anyway, as you can tell - i'm really open to suggestions, and would love input from people.
    Last edited by elyse; 06-27-2007 at 08:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Here's One Suggestion

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    With two weeks to roam free in the west, I think you can do a 'best of' kind of tour by flying to Las Vegas; heading north on I-15 to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks; seeing the Great Salt Lake, continuing up US-89 through Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks; heading west through the Snake River valley of Idaho and across Oregon and Washington to the Cascades and possibly the Olympic Peninsula;, then heading south alternating between seeing the coast and some of the more spectacular mountains such as Ranier, St. Helens, Hood, Stand Crater Lake; and finally coming into San Francisco by way of the northern California coast and the Redwoods. Each of these is discussed in more detail in various threads, so have a look around, making copious use of the Search function, have a look at this trip on a map, and dare to dream a bit


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Most scenery per mile

    Hi, While our friend, AZBuck, has layed out a great itinerary, it may be too ambitious for a two week trip "with plenty of time to stop/rest/swim/play/relax etc." You'll have to make that determination.

    One alternative I might suggest to see as wide a variety of things as possible would be to fly into Phoenix, drive north through Sedona and Flagstaff, then north to the Grand Canyon, seeing Sunset Crater and Wapatki National Monument along the way. A couple of days in the canyon hiking and sight seeing the south rim and north rim will be amazing, then continue on to Bryce and Zion for contrast. Then toward Las Vegas with a stop at Valley of Fire State Park to see even more amazing rock formations and petroglyphs. Then on to Death Valley (and Scotty's Castle) for all its wonders (yes, it will be hot, but that is what Death Valley is for). Then on to Lone Pine, CA and a visit to the Alabama Hills where many early westerns were filmed, and, if you are very fit, a non-technical day-long climb/walk to the top of Mt. Whitney (tallest mountain in 48 states). Heading north along the eastern edge of the Sierra to Mono Lake to see the weird Tufa formations on the south shore, and to Bodie State Park (well-preserved ghost town) just north of there. Then back track a little to Yosemite National Park for its amazing cliffs, valley and big trees. From there to the coast at Monterey to see the aquarium, then up the coast to San Francisco. From there you can do a day trip to Napa or Sonoma, or even Monterey, if you have time.

    All totalled about 1,500 miles, which makes the driving easy and the time spent at each stop more relaxing. You see some deserts, mountains, canyons, oceans, history all in a fairly compact trip.

    Your Vancouver to San Francisco alternative is a good one, too, with quite a bit of diversity. Here's a possible itinerary: After a day or two in Vancouver take the ferry to Victoria, ferry to the Olympic Peninsula, to Seattle, to Mt Ranier, Mt. St. Helens, the desert/volcanic area around Bend OR (all three John Day units), Crater Lake, Redwood National Park and/or Avenue of the Giants in California, California coast from Legget to Mendocino to Jenner, then across to Santa Rosa and the Napa or Sonoma Valleys, then to Sausolito and across the Golden Gate Bridge to San Franciso. This trip is longer, about 2,300 miles, and quite a bit slower because of the drive down the California coast which averages about 40mph.

    Can't go wrong either way, though. Have fun,

    Craig Sheumaker

    co-author of A Traveler's Guide: America's Living History - The Early Years

  4. Default Need Itinerary Advice - 1 week through Washington and Oregon; 4 days to San Francisco

    My two week trip from Seattle to San Francisco now has some unique limitations put on it, and I would love advice for my itinerary.

    I will be arriving late Friday night July 27th in Seattle, and then have to be in Portland on August 3rd at night (around 6pm) to drop one friend off at the airport. Giving me one full week to travel around Washington and Oregon - my priorities are having a relaxing, beautiful, and fun week. Want to see lots of beautiful sights, and have the time to enjoy them - would love to swim, hike, raft, etc. Whatever I can fit in.

    Then, I have to be in San Francisco by August 7th. Giving me Basically 3 full days (Sat, Sun, Mon) to get down to San Francisco from Portland.

    Here is the plan that I've come up with (by going through all the posts on this website!) , but really have no idea if its do-able, or if there's something wonderful i'm missing on-route, etc. I would love any advice.


    I plan to go directly from Seattle to the NW part of the state [its best to take a ferry to do this, correct? does anyone know how long of a ferry it is?] I would like to see mount olympic, stay in port angeles, and do the hoh rain forest, kalaoch beaches, lake crescent and hotsprings. From here, we will drive down the coast of washington on 101 (anywhere in particular we should stop? things to see?)

    Upon arriving in oregon, we would keep driving down the coast on 101 and to rogue river national forest/ cascade mountains, to ashland, then to crater lake, the desert (stopping by bend, oregon perhaps), perhaps to the john fossil beds (if we have time) and then to mount hood, and end our trip in the oregon wine country (williamette valley) which is right near portland.

    Is all of this doable in one week? If so, do people have suggestions on how to allocate time?

    Then, I have Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (and Tuesday if need be) to drive from Portland down to San Francisco. Since I'll already have done Ashland (hopefully if its doable), and will be going to Napa later on in my trip (not on this roadtrip) - I was going to just drive straight down The PAcific Coast (highway 1 or 101, depending) to the redwoods. Though, I've also been told that the area around Mount Shasta is really wonderful. IS it worth the detour in? If so, any suggestions on what route to take?

    I'm more interested in having a relaxing trip, then cramming in lots of different things -- but really would love to spend most of my time in the outdoors, enjoying the beauty of the northwest (this is my first trip). Would love any thoughts or suggestions that people have.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default A little much


    Without working out all the details, I'd say that you are pushing to do all you want in both Oregon and Washington in one week (don't forget Mt. St. Helens in southern Washington, just east of I-5).

    I'd suggest leaving out the southern Oregon part until you head south to San Francisco. You can work in Crater Lake and Ashland (try to get in a Shakespeare performance if you can - the main reason for going to Ashland) on the way south.

    You can then backtrack a little and cut across to the coast at Grants Pass or go south past Shasta to Redding, CA and cross there. The first route gives you more coast and redwoods, the second route is longer (time-wise) but gives you more mountains and white-water rafting opportunities on the Trinity River. Even if you miss the northern redwoods, there are lots of big, impressive trees south of Eureka at the Avenue of the Giants around Garberville.

    Cross to the Pacific Coast highway at Legget and enjoy the ride south along the ocean.

    It sounds like a lovely time, so enjoy.

    Craig Sheumaker
    co-author of the travel guide: America's Living History-The Early Years

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