My husband and I did the drive from San Francisco down to Carmel, then up to Yosemite, Tahoe and back, last year, and loved it. We are thinking of returning this year and this time driving in the other direction up the Pacific Highway. As we live abroad, we will have to fly into and out of San Francisco. We will have about 14 days for the trip (excluding the time flying into and out of San Fran).
I am thinking of doing a loop - driving from San Francisco up to Seattle, our ultimate aim being to spend about 3-4 days in Olympic National Park doing some hiking and just admiring the scenery. Other "must sees" which I can gather from this forum and general internet research are: Point Reyes, Portland, Oregon, the Pacific Coast in general, and maybe Crater Lake if it is not too out of the way. We would like a mix of city and nature on the trip, so will probably spend a couple of days in San Fran and Seattle.
Would very much appreciate advice on:
(i) whether this is this doable within 14 days - we want a relaxed pace since it is a holiday after all
(ii) how we should plan our route - I understand that it is better to drive down the coast rather than up it because of the right-hand drive in the USA, so would it make sense to drive "inland" when we are heading up to Seattle i.e. hit Oregon and Crater Lake first, and then after Seattle and the Olympic National Park, hug the coast on the way down? If so how much time should I budget to get up to Seattle, and how much time coming back down?
(iii) Alternatively, would it be better to fly from San Francisco to Seattle and then just do the drive down?
(iv) Whether there is much difference if we go in August or September, weather-wise. From my research it seems that the fall colours only start coming out in September.
Thanks all for any help you can give!