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  1. Default Planning on travelling from Edmonton, AB, Canada to San Francisco, CA

    Hey everyone!
    Just wondering if I could get some advice on a trip from Edmonton, AB to San Francisco, CA. We're planning on travelling in the middle of September for 2-2.5 weeks.

    What would be the best scenic route to see and do things? To go from Seattle and head down to San Francisco?

    What are things we could do?

    Where are recommended places to stay for a couple?

    Please help!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There's never a single best route, and the number of things you could see and do are really in the millions.

    One idea would be to make a loop, going down the coast like you mentioned and come back through the moutains to places like Yellowstone, Glaicer, Banff, and Jasper NP. However, that actually could end up being too much for the time you have.

    But before we can offer more specific suggestions or even think about suggesting places to stay, we'd really have to know more about what you are hoping to achieve on this trip, beyond just your starting and ending points.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Winnipeg, Manitoba - for now.


    Hey Devi - With 2 weeks, with a destination of San Francisco and a goal of doing some pretty drives and seeing a lot of land, this is what I would do.

    I would make my first destination Vancouver - depending on how familiar you are with the route in between you could either bomb straight through if you have multiple drivers, or take two days, maybe stop over in Kamloops. For the sake of Michaels patience with me, I'll say Kamloops. I've spent a bit of time in the area, and while I'd say Kelowna or Penticton is a lot nicer, Kamloops in the summer has great weather and if it's just a stop-over, it isn't such a big deal. Looking at a map Kamloops or Revelstoke look like good half-way points.
    If you really wanna see some of BC, you can go from Kamloops to Lillooet and come down towards Whistler and spend a day there. Otherwise you cut south at Merritt straight to Vancouver. Summary: either Edmonton -> Kamloops/Revelstoke -> Whistler (via lillooet) -> Vancouver OR Edmonton -> Kamloops/Revelstoke -> Vancouver.
    I don't know who you are so activities are hard to predict, but if you do come via Whistler to Vancouver you drive right past the Stawamus Chief, south of squamish. This is a 2-3 hour hike that gives you views that cannot really be surpassed in the North West. It's a bit strenuous, but definitely doable, and really cool.
    In Vancouver, places like Granville Island, Robson Street and Granville Street are worth checking out for food/shopping/or just looking around.
    From Vancouver to Seattle, if you are looking for a cool drive, I'd cut over towards the coast in Bellingham and take the Chuckanut south along the water, and then go to Coupville and take the Ferry (about 30 mins, make reservations) to Port Townsend. PT is a cool little town, especially in the summer (september is close enough). From there you can head down the olympic peninsula, towards Bainbridge Island, and then take the ferry straight into Downtown Seattle. While it is a much longer drive, it is vastly more beautiful than the I5. The portion between Bellingham and Port Townsend is some of the prettiest driving I've ever done.

    In Seattle, I really liked the Underground tour. It's a bit kitchy, but what tourist thing isnt? You get to see some pretty cool stuff. I've heard great things about the Experience Music Project, but I've never been. The whole downtown area is pretty sweet, I really like Pike Place - again, touristy, but you can watch them chuck fish around and see what the creatures they haul out of the ocean look like before they end up on your plate, beyond that there are lots of trinkets to buy and shops to explore. On that note, I think Anthony's is something of a chain - I've only been to the one in SeaTac airport - and they have bar none the best fish tacos I've ever eaten. You can also check out a Football or Baseball game.
    Seattle south I have less experience, I'll be in portland in early May, maybe I'll let ya know what I see - but it is an obvious stop. From there, I've never been through the Redwood national park, but that would be a definite goal for me. I think that the big tree you can drive through is somewhere in this area. Regardless, it's a goal for me to do one day.
    Coming south, I'd definitely drive through or stop in Napa just to check out the vineyards. I spent a day up in that area a few years back on a day trip from San Francisco, around that time of year in fact, and it was really cool.
    In San Francisco, your time is your own. Things I enjoyed while I was there include the Alcatraz tour (we did the nighttime one, I loved it. Kinda creepy being on Alcatraz at night, and you get a beautiful view of the bridge on your way out, and of the city lights on your way back). I really, really, really like the "gocars" tour. As silly as it looks, it was an absolute blast. I couldn't say enough good things about it. Of course, fishermans wharf is worth checking out, and if you are interested Chinatown is a cool place to look around and check out the shops and restaurants.
    On your way home, MMs suggestion for coming through the mountains is one idea. If you do that, you come reasonably close to the Bonneville Salt Flats as well as the places that Midwest Michael suggested. I can second Yellowstone, and Glacier is also a pretty nice drive - we saw rocky mountain big horn sheep when we went through 6-7 years ago. Wildlife is always a plus :)

    Let me know your thoughts/if you need help with a timeframe. I doubt you'll want to do EVERYTHING I've mentioned above, but...whatever.

    Oh, another option is to come back to Canada in between the mountains and the coast. Places like Sisters, Oregon, and Winthrop or Leavenworth, Washington are pretty cool. I really thought crossing the Columbia river was neat when we did it a few years back. I think we crossed at The Dalles, but im not sure. It's a pretty substantial river, and a good looking gorge, with the top of the washinton side littered with big metal windmills. A pretty cool sight, for sure.

  4. Default

    @Tyrel Henderson
    Thanks for all the awesome suggestions! Me and my boyfriend have already done a lot of travelling through BC so we're cutting that off our list. But thanks for the suggestions.

    Thanks for all the things to do in Seattle!!! Most of what you listed where things we're planning on doing. Any ideas/opinions on Seattle food tours?

    Our plan was then to drive south, see Mount St. Helens and then off to Portland for a couple of days. I would love to hear how you trip goes in May!

    Then we're hoping to go to Newport, OR, Crater Lake, stop to see the Redwood trees, do some wine tours in Napa and Sonoma and then off to San Francisco! We'd planned on looking at most of what you recommended. What are "gocars" tours?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Winnipeg, Manitoba - for now.

    Default Gocars

    These are the gocars. I know they look somewhat foolish - and I was skeptical, but it was a great way to see the city. They go all over the place, and the whole trip is narrated by the GPS machine who is hilarious, ie. you'll be driving up a big hill and suddenly the GPS will be like "whew, that was tough, betcha didn't think I'd make it". Now, that isn't objectively funny, but when it happens just after you're thinking "jesus, this thing isn't gonna make it" it ends up being pretty funny...especially coming from your car.

    Anyways, we rented with the intention of using it for 2 hours and I think we ended up taking it for 5 because it just kept showing us more things we wanted to see.

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