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  1. Default Portland to LA - 7 days - PCH (August)

    My wife and I are planning to road trip south from Portland to LA in August. We have one week. Is that enough time to enjoy? What are the best sites, towns, and things to hit in Oregon? We would like to stay on the PCH off the coast/cliffs in Oregon. Are the Red Woods feasible? Napa? Where to go & what to take in between Oregon & SF / between SF & LA...???

    Any recommendations on types of car/truck/SUV to best suit our trip

    Any suggestions/advice would be appreciated...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default My Opinion (Yours May Differ)

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You can get from Portland to Los Angeles in two days if you just use I-5 and make no detours to the coast or you can take 4 days or more to use the coast road all the way down. So if this is to be a round trip you would have time, barely, for one of each route with some wiggle room to see a few things. The choice of vehicle is entirely up to you. What are you comfortable driving? What can you afford, both for the rental and the gas to feed it? And as for what to see, both the Oregon Coast and the California Coast have been covered elsewhere in great detail as have the redwoods and sequoias. But I don't see how you plan to stay on the Pacific Coast Highway (US-101 in Oregon) and off the coast.

    So would I do this as a round-trip in a week? Yes, and I'd enjoy myself, but only you can answer that question for yourselves.


  3. Default

    Thank you...

    Actually, this will be a 1-way trip from Portland to LA. We have a wedding to attend in LA, and will just fly home from there. So we would like to use up as many days possible without time being a factor. We have no problem taking the scenic route.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Central California

    Default Anything you want


    As you'll find in AZBuck's links, there is a ton of stuff to do along this trip, though 7 days is a good amount of time if you are selective.

    The Redwoods are almost unavoidable as they are on side roads that parallel Hwy 101 in northern California. In fact, you have several groves to choose from. I would say that the Prairie Creek Redwoods, south of Crescent City, and Avenue of the Giants, south of Eureka, are must-sees, though they are all wonderful.

    Napa Valley is certainly reachable. One beautiful route is to take Hwy 1 to Jenner, then follow the Russian River on Hwy 116 through Duncans Mills and Guerneville to Santa Rosa. Cross to Calistoga (take a mud bath there if you like that sort of thing) and continue on down Hwy 29 stopping in St. Helena (stop at V. Sattui winery on the south end of town for a picnic and some wonderful desert wines) and Yountville (Compadres is a great Mexican restaurant with relaxing outdoor seating, our favorite for a sunny breakfast). It is fun to cross the valley several times to see the less-traveled, less-touristy eastern edge, too. The Oakville Grocery is a fun place to gather picnic food.

    Any type of car or SUV will make the trip just fine. The roads are all good, you won't be doing any backroad driving. The only reason an SUV might be better is that you sit a little higher so seeing over the barricades and hedge rows will be easier.

    In addition to all the other recommendations you'll find on this sight, I can suggest the Benbow Inn, near Garberville, CA as a nice place to stay with a wonderful restaurant. The town of Carmel is also a lovely place to stay with good eateries and interesting art galleries.

    Have a relaxing ride down the coast,

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

  5. Default

    Thank you for insight & advice RedCorral...
    That definitely opened up some ideas & plans...

  6. #6


    If you're interested in Napa, I'd like to suggest Sonoma County as it also has a huge variety of wineries to visit. CA-101 runs right by some great wineries!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-27-2008 at 07:02 AM. Reason: Preferred link format

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

    Default Do you live in Portland?

    If so, much of the Oregon coast from about Coos Bay or Bandon north is easily accessible as a weekend adventure, or two or more. So, really, why spend your precious vacation days exploring areas you can easily see another time? In order to have more time for the southern Oregon coast and all the wonderful places to explore along the California coast, I suggest you consider driving south on I-5 to Winston and then taking 42 west to Bandon, then starting your coastal adventure from there.

    Of course, if you don't live in the Portland area and are, instead, flying into Portland, totally ignore this piece of advice.

    As to vehicle type....I would want a sportier car to drive the coastal route. There are amazing twisty-bits on this drive. I'd rather look through guard-rails and hug the curves. You really don't miss much, if anything, but the drive is more fun, imho. But this is an individual preference so you should get the type of vehicle you think will work best for you.

    Some of my favorite stops along this route are Bandon OR, Eureka CA, any of the redwoods, San Francisco, Monterey, Hearst Castle, and Santa Barbara. Enjoy!

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