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  1. Default California to Seattle

    Hi all-
    Planning my next road trip for early august with my girlfriend...Flying in from NYC to cali, planning on flying out of seattle. FYI- she doesnt like camping, so we'll be staying in hotels only.

    I would like to rent a car and drive from either LA or San Fran to Seattle...

    I have a max time of 14 days, but would like to cut it down to 10 or 12 if possible.

    First- is this a good itinary:

    2 days LA
    3 days San Fran (1 night in napa)
    2 days Portland
    3 days Seattle

    Should I add an extra stop, or should I forget LA and instead stop somewhere else in northern cali?

    Is portland oregon worth 2 days?


    As always, I love the suggestions from this board, so if you've done anything like this let me know!
    (PS- this trip will be to celebrate our engagement, so a few romantic stops are in order!)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default just cities?

    Are you only interested in visiting cities on this trip? If that is the case, then I think you've got things broken out just fine.

    However, your trip as presently constructed really doesn't appear to be giving yourself time for any of the scenic drives and stops along the way. Obviously, the Pacific Coast Highway would be a common route for this kind of trip, but you'd need to plan to spend several of your nights in other smaller towns along the way (the drive takes at least twice as much time as I-5). There's also the option of stopping at some of the many inland attractions, like Sequoia, Yosemite, Crater Lake, etc, however based on your plans to be driving straight from LA to SF and SF to Portland, you really wouldn't have time for those detours either.

  3. Default

    I'm pretty open to just about anything. I did plan on driving on route 1 for some of the trip from LA-Sanfran. What route would you recommend? I was hoping to see the Big Sur section, but I dont really want to make it more than a 10 hour drive. Is there a good jumping on point/jumping off point in going from route 1 to I-5?

    I was hoping to see the redwoods on the drive to oregon. I have a total of 14 days....in that time frame what are the best destinations I can cover...

    The other option is to ditch LA and spend more time in northern california...I've only been to San Diego, so i'm pretty lost with what is the best way to spend my time.

    Help please!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I would recommend you make it a 2 or 3 day trip from LA to SF. Go up the coast all the way - starting in Santa Monica. Take 1 to Oxnard, then 101 to San Luis Obispo, back on 1 to Monterey, then either 1 all the way to SF or jump over to 101.

    A very romantic place to spend a night going up the coast is in Cambria. It's no more than 5 hours via the coast route I described from LA, so you would have time to do some exploring - maybe spend a couple hours looking around Santa Barbara. A logical place to spend the next night, unless you just HAVE to make it to SF, would be either the Monterey area or Santa Cruz. There are lots of things to see in the Monterey/Carmel area.

    I think you would be selling this whole trip short if you don't just take your time and go up the coast. To me, it's neither fun or romantic driving I-5 and spending your time in big cities.

  5. Default

    glc- excellent advice...i like that route, and its really only 6-7 hours of driving time. Whats to see in Cambria?? There is plenty to do in Monterey, so i'll probably spend the night there.

    Any suggestions for SF, or the drive up to Seattle?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Cambria is a town with art galleries, boutiques, and inns along the beach. Several miles north is San Simeon and Hearst Castle. If time permits, take a tour of the castle. Reservations are generally necessary but you may get lucky and get space with a walk-in.

    There's plenty do do in SF, it all depends on your interests. From Napa, work your way over to the coast, probably through Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay, and head up 1 till it ends in Leggett at 101. Then take 101 all the way north, stopping as desired. The redwoods are up that way. You should have time to do this whole trip without ever seeing an Interstate highway.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default drive time

    Just so you're aware, the route suggested by GLC will take a lot longer than 6-7 hours. Its a good 6-7 hour drive from SF to LA if you take I-5.

    As he mentioned, its about 5 hours from LA just to Cambria. You're looking at 2-3 more hours to Monterey, and then another 2-3 hours to SF (if you stick to US-101). Overall, you're looking at 10-12 hours total, certainly easy to do in 2 or 3 days, but you shouldn't think that this is a route that you'll be able to speed through.

    Similarly, if you head up the coast from San Francisco. While you can do SF to Portland in one long day via I-5, you're really looking at 3 days if you decide to follow the coast.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I'm thinking 3 days LA-SF, 3 days SF-Portland, and 2 days Portland-Seattle. That's 8 days, giving you 6 days worth of sightseeing/down time.

  9. Default

    Thanks for the driving times- google maps has it much shorter, but its tough to judge without firsthand experience

    Can you tell me about the coastal drive from SF --> Portland --> Seattle- are there any logical/recommended stop points along the way...is it worth doing the coastal route - over, say stopping at crater lake and taking the interstate.

    cm

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Always add 20% to Google drive times. Add even more when you are on the coast road, it's very slow going and Google's algorithm doesn't really take that into account. There are considerable stretches where the speed limit is 25.

    You have to decide what you would prefer to see.

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