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  1. #1

    Default A Week in the Pacific Northwest for a Road Trip Newbie

    Hi everyone!

    I'm new to road tripping and after attempting to plan my first one... realized I definitely need some help!

    I'd like to road trip the Pacific Northwest at the end of August. My plan is to fly into San Fran or Oakland, rent a car, and drive up to Seattle, stopping at various attractions/parks along the way, and then fly home from there. I have around 8 days for the trip. Sound doable?

    One kind of general road trip question I have: Do you normally make hotel reservations in advance or just hope there are available places? I feel that there's no guarantees on road trips that you'll stay on schedule! Also, what is the bare minimum I'd need for camping out? I know there are a lot of parks up there but I've never gone serious camping before so not sure if it'd be a good idea lol but it would work better with my budget!

    Any Pacific Northwesters out there please let me know must-see stops, scenic roads to take, or cool little places to see. I've never been out West before! Also, I wouldn't mind some general road trip planning tips :)

  2. Default Road trip tips

    Hi Coopercoy

    I haven't been to that part of the Northwest myself so can't give any advice on must-sees or routes, but regarding the roadtripping, we generally don't book much ahead. I would perhaps book a hotel at the first place I arrive at, especially if I'm arriving in the evening, just so I don't have the hassle of searching for a place to crash after a long journey. And I'd book in places that are known to be very popular and where accommodations are hard to get.

    For instance, for the 5 week road trip I've planned in June I've only booked in LA (where we arrive) and in Vegas (because I'd rather know where I'm headed there), and in Grand Canyon and Yellowstone (because National Park lodgings fill up notoriously quickly). The rest we'll see as we go along. It generally works out, and if you can't find a lodging some place, you always have the car to drive a bit further.

    For camping the minimum you'd need is a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad (you'll need to be warm and dry enough). If you plan camping out in the boondocks somewhere or if you'd like to be independent I'd also take along a stove and a few cooking utensils, but that depends on whether you think you'll feel like cooking.

    Camping is a good way to go, but it's a personal thing. Some people just don't enjoy it, others do, so you'll have to see for yourself.

    FWIW I am trying to rent camping equipment from Mountainside Gear so we don't have to lug it along.

    Hope that helps a bit

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia


    Quote Originally Posted by yaya View Post
    FWIW I am trying to rent camping equipment from Mountainside Gear so we don't have to lug it along.
    On my 2004 trip I bought cheap camping equipment from one of the chain stores, and craigslist, and sold some of it on craigslist before flying home. The rest I donated to charity.

    A couple of days before leaving home, I searched and found what I wanted, and arranged for settlement when I arrived in the US. Similarly I listed the items a few days before I was done, in the location from which I was leaving, mentioning the date it would be available. Definitely beats paying excess luggage.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    I'm a huge fan of camping on a trip, however, if you've never done it before, this probably wouldn't be a great time to start. By the time you try to buy (or even if you can rent) gear that you'd only use for a week, plus campground fees, I really doubt you'd find that you have much savings over staying in budget motels.

    If you already had some gear, were going to be gone longer, or simply knew that you'd enjoy camping then it could easily be a good idea, but I think you'll find it is a case of more hassle than it is worth for this trip.

  5. #5


    We took an awesome trip from Oregon to San Fran last summer. We spent 7 days on the road, camping along the way. You could probably manage in 8 days, but there is so much to see that I wouldn't want you to miss out by rushing through. I would reccommend taking hwy 101 from San Fran up to Oregon. The Ave of the Giants isn't too far north of San Fran and is amazing. The giant Redwood trees are incredible and there is something so serene about being surrounded by them. Eat a meal at the Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka,CA. I would say a stop at the Oregon Caves in Cave Junction, OR is a must; bring a jacket because its cold. Crater Lake is Oregon's only National Park and is the deepest lake in the United States. It is definitely a must. Gosh, I could on and on. These are some suggestions that I think would be definite musts to check out. Have fun!!

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