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  1. Default San Francisco heading North - Where do we start?

    We’re planning a trip from the UK to the West Coast this July. We will have about three and a half weeks for our trip, the plan is to hire a car and camp but I guess we will stay in some motels along the way. Our thoughts so far are to fly into San Francisco then to take a scenic drive up to Seattle. We also like the idea of catching a train up to Vancouver, having a few days there and then a train back to Seattle. Do you know if we would miss out not having a car in Vancouver? We will need to get back to SF for our flights home and are not sure whether to go for a plane or train for this leg of our trip. What’s the train journey like? Is there much to see from a train?

    I’ve read loads of links on this site which have been a great help but I am still struggling with where to start in the planning of it all!! I am looking for some advice on the must see sights - we both like the outdoors and want to get plenty of walking done – we would also love to get some sea kayaking in there somewhere. I’m interested in what there is to see & do further up the coast as it seems that a lot of the trips are loops around California and don’t include much ‘up north’. (Or I’m just looking in the wrong place!) We don’t want the holiday to be spent doing nothing but driving but at the same time, we want to see as much as possible while we’re there!

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Oregon and Washington Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by NicolaP View Post
    I’m interested in what there is to see & do further up the coast as it seems that a lot of the trips are loops around California and don’t include much ‘up north’.
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! It is actually possible that there are even more posts (in terms of word counts) for the areas of the coast north of California --- there are some very prolific posters in the Pacific Northwest Region.

    Here are some resources for you (and also always remember to look at the bottom of any page on this forum for "related threads"):

    Peter Thody's post about Crater Lake & other places in Oregon
    Peter's field report from the Redwoods of California to Seattle
    Judy's Olympic Peninsula Ideas
    Seattle and Portland some ideas from Judy
    I am partial to the hot water in the Eastern Oregon outback.
    Intro to Depoe
    A few more ideas here.

    And then there are two guide books I use for this area:

    Backroads of Oregon,
    by Rhonda Ostertag & George Ostertag
    Backroads Of Washington: Your Guide To Washington's Most Scenic Backroad Adventures, by Diana Fairbanks;

    Hope that gets you started!


  3. Default 3 1/2 weeks is a good amount of time...

    Heading from SF to Vancouver and back is a great trip, and 3 1/2 weeks is about the right amount of time to do it, without going crazy on the driving.

    My personal opinion isn't to do either way as a train trip -- I've done it, and while the train is interesting, it's not going through some really scenic areas (like the coast liner farther south), so I prefer driving.

    For a rough route, you might want to consider heading north from SF, possibly stopping in Napa or Sonoma to tour a couple of wineries (there are dozens....) and then head over to the coast. Coast 1 going north from SF is very scenic -- there is a redwoods grow in Muir woods just north of the SF bay, and the Bodega Bay area is very pretty and loaded with wildlife. North of there, is there the old Russian Colony at Fort Ross (now a state park), and some very pretty coastal scenery on the winding drive up along the coast to about Fort Bragg. North of Fort Bragg you'll head inland a little ways and join up with 101 to go up into the Redwood parks. There's Redwood National Park, and several other State Redwood Parks. Some very pretty scenery, some amazing trees, and pretty nice camping areas at the parks. There should be several descriptions of trips to these areas on the site.

    From the Redwoods National Park area, you can continue up along the coast. The coast changes somewhat, and there are the Oregaon Sea Lion Caves, and some long sandy beaches, as well as some rockier ones for beach combing. Lots of smaller coastal towns.

    You can sea kayak near Eureka, Mendocino, and along the Oregon Coast.

    Crossing over the Columbia River on the Astoria bridge, you can continue up to the Olympic National Park. I would definitely check out the Hoh Rain forest, and Lake Crescent, and Hurrican Ridge in the National Park. There are numerous hiking trails and hikes along the beaches the whole way, and some very nice places a few miles off the main way.

    From Port Angeles, you have the option of continuing north -- taking the Ferry to Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island, or continuing east around the Olympic Pennisula towards Seattle.

    My recommendation would to head for Victoria, and do some sightseeing. Then either continue up along Vancouver Island (all the way up to Telegraph Cove, if you want to see the Grizzly Bears feeding in Knight Inlet), or take the ferry back over to the mainland to come into Vancouver from the west.

    You won't need a car much in Vancouver itsslf in the major metropolitan area, like most other big cities -- but it can be a fun drive to do somewhere like up to Whistler/ Blackcomb for a day, or somewhere lese in the local area.

    From Vancouver, I'd drive south -- via Seattle to sightsee, to Mt St Helens, to Portland, to Crater Lake, to Mt Shasta, to Mt Lassen, and then down the central Valley of California through Sacramento and back to San Francisco.

  4. #4

    Default North West Coast

    First of all, I want to say that the west coast is great place to visit when coming the US. In my opinion, It is the most beautiful part of the country, and more specifically the north west. The coast in northern Oregon and Washington is just incredible. I have been to 45 of the 50 states, and this is my favorite. Southern California is a nice, but if you are into nature, I would make sure I didn't leave out the northern coast. If you have any specific questions about the northern coast of Oregon, just let me know. My grandparents live there there, and I have spent a lot of time there as well, so I've probably done it at one time or another. Good luck with your trip!

  5. Default Great place to start...

    Thanks Guys, these ideas give me a great place to start. I'm going to spend the weekend trying to put a plan together and I'll come back if I have any more questions!!

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