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  1. Default SF-Vancouver (and beyond) - 2 weeks in September

    My husband and I have booked flights into San Francisco and out of Seattle. The plan is to do a one-way car rental from SF to SEA and hit British Columbia as well before we leave from Seattle. On our list so far is Redwood National Forest, Portland, Vancouver, Squamish or Whistler and Seattle. I know there are many other spots that we must see and we don't want to just focus on cities.

    We are very active and would like to hike as well as visit beautiful coastal locations. We have 14 nights and will probably spend 3 in SF and 3 in Vancouver. Any and all suggestions for possible itineraries appreciated! I have never been to Oregon, WA (other than Seattle) or B.C. before and looking forward to exploring this beautiful part of the country.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default You might benefit from another's trip.

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum!

    Make sure when you rent your car in SF that they know you will be taking it into Canada. Not all companies allow this.

    To make a start, why not have a look at this recent thread.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I would also grab a good map of the Western USA, or an atlas, and start looking to see what jumps out at you. Among places I can think of:

    Redwoods National Park (and a few CA state parks in the redwoods area)
    Oregon Caves National Park
    Rogue River Park, Oregon
    Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
    Three Sisters Wilderness area, Oregon (great place to hike!)
    Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark, Oregon
    the Columbia River Gorge
    Mt St Helens, WAMt St Helens, WA
    Mt Rainier National Park
    North Cascades National Park(may have closures early in Sept)
    Space Needle, Seattle
    Puget Sound

    and so much more....


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default It's not an official attraction.

    ... Squamish or Whistler and Seattle.
    Why the 'or'? Whistler and Sqyuamish are not that far apart, and both are lovely little touristy towns, up in the mountains. I'd even go a little further, if you have time, to Lillooet. Near there, there are three glacier lakes, each a little further up the mountain. The uppermost flowing into the lower ones. There is a most doable hike to the upper lake, passing by the others. Wish I could remember what they were called. Maybe someone else will know.

    You will also be passing right by Garibaldi Prov Park. Great short hike up to the waterfall.

    While in Seattle, make sure you visit their Library. This unique building is built on the plan of a parking garage, and is a one of a kind. They used to have tours through it, explaining it all. Not sure if they still do, since it has now been open for a decade.


  5. Default

    Thanks Lifey. We will be renting either with Avis or Hertz. Do you happen to know if they generally allow their cars to be taken to Canada?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default They all make their own policies.

    It is completely up to each individual office as to what their policy is. I'd contact the very location where you will be renting. In fact, I'd be contacting several offices. I am so used to getting incorrect information, that I contact them several times with the exact same question, to see if I get the same answer. Often I do not.

    When you get closer to the border, they all allow travel into Canada, but when you rent as far away as SF, it is questionable.


  7. Default

    Thanks! I hadn't even thought that would bee an issue (too busy trying to find a deal with unlimited mileage rather than paying by the mile for a one-way rental).

    Thanks Donna for those great tips! I will check them out.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default One of my favourites.

    Although you are heading north, I wouldn't discount first heading east to Yosemite NP from SF, it's a half day drive to one of the finest of all National parks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Try some others.

    I always rent from Budget; always have unlimited mileage and have always found them to be the cheapest for my needs. (One trip I died more than 6000 miles in four weeks.)

    Normally they do not come up on the cheap rental search sites. You need to go to their own site. I would check all their outlets in SF and suburbs, as they can vary quite a bit. The airport is definitely the most expensive. I have even found some of their branches will deliver the car to you.


  10. #10


    First time poster. I just found this site today.

    My wife and I will be making a similar trip, (SFO to SEA) for 10 days this coming September as well. We will travel the coast for the majority of the time, with a diversion to Crater Lake via US 199 and State Route 62. We will head back to the coast via State Routes 138 and 42 to Bandon.

    As part of what Donna above referenced as "and so much more........."

    I was informed that Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is worth seeing, especially the Stout Redwood Grove, a part of Jedediah Smith State Park. It is right off US 199 a few miles east of Crescent City and US 101.

    Here's a description from the Stout Grove link above:

    Stout Grove is the world's most scenic stand of redwoods. It's not all that large, and it doesn't have the biggest trees, but for sheer photogenic beauty nothing beats this extraordinary grove on a sunny afternoon....

    The grove has a remarkably hushed and serene environment. Sounds are damped out by the thick, spongy layer of needles on the ground. What's more, the grove is hidden away off the normal tourist routes and busy Highway 101 is miles away.

    Once back at Bandon, we will continue north along 101 till we reach Lincoln City. Heading inland to Portland with a destination of Mt. Rainier and then finally on to Seattle. I want to visit the Evergreen Aviation Museumin McMinnville, OR. There is a very famous large wooden airplane housed there........

    I found that Thrifty had the best rates of any of the major rental companies for a one way from San Francisco to Seattle, unlimited mileage. I joined their Blue Chip program to avoid the lines at check-in.

    Note to roxycat: Where ever you are along the coast at sunset, stop to enjoy the view! I traveled from Eureka to Portland several years ago. I spent the night in Bandon, and will spend the night there again so that my wife can enjoy the view.

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