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  1. Default Los Angeles to Seattle, first road trip!

    Hello all! So me and my boyfriend are planning on taking a 14-20 day road trip from Palm Springs, CA (where were from) to Seattle, WA for next year around June or end of August.
    So what were would like is to go from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara and stay there the night (we don't really care too much for sightseeing until were in SB)
    Then take the pacific coast high way up to San Francisco
    From San Fran to Sacramento and take the 5 freeway the rest of the way up to Portland and Seattle then finally back down the 5 freeway to Palm Springs.

    Between SB and San Fran was are things I must see? Or take extra time on?
    My boyfriend would rather stay in hotels, and it's okay because we get them really discounted (employee perks ha) usually max with tax $85/night
    We really would like to enjoy Portland and Seattle, I have never been outside of SoCal and I would like to see more nature stuff.
    Is 14-20 days a decent amount of time? Not too much or too little? This trip is for next year so I can make whichever work.
    Around how much are we looking at for total cost? Well be driving his '09 civic Si not a rental.
    When should we take breaks? Or which cities do you recommend to spend extra time in?
    I have no idea where to start, so any help would be so appreciated!
    Is my first trip too ambitious? Should I cut it down to just LA to San Fran?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    First thing that jumps out at me -- you might want to reverse your trip's loop, so that you can go SOUTHbound on the PCH. That way, the viewpoint pullouts will be on your side of the road, making it safer to pull over, look, take pictures, etc.

    Points of nature interest -- Yosemite NP (if you haven't already done that), Lassen Volcanic NP, Crater Lake NP, Mt Rainier NP -- all of these national parks can be found at

    14-20 days, yes, workable. It's 3 days up and 4 days south (via PCH) so that leaves you 7-13 days to sightsee.

    Total cost -- well, everyone's cost will be different. My husband and I stay in mid-to-discount range lodgings like Econo Lodge and Super 8, and we averaged $85/night for our trip this past summer. Your fuel cost will be your mileage, add 25% mileage for "touring miles" -- there's a fuel calculator on the right hand side of this page that's very handy!

    Food is the biggest variable. It will depend on what type of places you like, how much food and drink you like to carry along, whether you will take up the offer of the hotel continental breakfasts, and so on. Use a typical meal out as your basis -- but add extra for the touristy areas where it's a little more expensive. (Even the fast food places will be higher priced in a tourist area!) We budgeted $60/day average, but there were more days when we went over that, than where we went under that, this summer.


  3. #3


    I agree with Donna about reversing your route. I believe if you share driving you could probably get to Redding on your first day. It will be a push. As an example last year I drove from Corona to Redding. Now I was 66 yrs old so I was more than ready to quit :-). Portland is a nice city, but I've not spent enough time there to point out any must see's. Coming into Wash. you could detour off I 5 to see Mt St Helens. Seattle has much to offer. The Pike Place Market, Seattle Center, The EMP, the waterfront which has a new ferris wheel which has fabulous views from it. One of my favorite little tourist things to do is the Ballard locks. It's a series of locks that allow boats to go from Lake Union to Puget Sound. The Ballard area itself has a lot to offer, neat shops, restaurants, and bars, plus there are many breweries to visit also if you're into that. You could also plan a trip out to the Olympic Peninsula to visit Olympic NP. Hurricane Ridge would be a must see. You could an overnight in Port Angeles, go out to Lake Crescent, and be back in Seattle in 4 hours or so even taking the ferry from Bainbridge Island back into the city.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Washington, United States


    As a Seattle area resident, I've enjoyed the Duck Tour, the Underground Tour, and the Argosy tour that goes through the Ballard Locks. You can get a discount on those places with the CityPass. Snoqualmie Falls is pretty as well. Our Museum of Flight is pretty awesome since we have Boeing right here. Deception Pass State Park has breathtaking views.
    We drove to SF a few years ago via I-5, and it took us about 17 hours with stops to keep the children from battling in the backseat. My husband and I took turns driving. Driving to San Diego took us about 28 hours with stops. We haven't braved the PCH due to the kids and my car sickness. :P

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    If all you are going to do is drive down I-5 from Seattle to SF or LA or San Diego, you might as well fly!

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