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  1. #1

    Default Seattle to LA in August

    Hey all. I've been reading these forums in preparation for a summer trip I'm starting to plan and they have been very helpful. I decided to create a new post to try and get some specific advice on the trip I'm trying to create.

    I'm planning a road trip with the fam (wife and 2 boys ages 11 and 12). We will fly to Seattle from MD and then spend the next week or so driving to LA. I would like to do the entire vacation in approx 12 days.

    While reading earlier posts, I've created a list of places that I'd like to visit. I'm not sure we can visit everything on this list and that's where I'm looking for some advice.

    We are an outdoorsy type family, but not a full-fledged camping type family. We'll stay in hotels and probably rent a mini-van in Seattle for the drive. We like to stop and explore, hike, do local activities, and be adventurous. We love waterfalls and other natural scenic places. Here's the list of places I'd like to visit.

    Yosemite
    Lassen Volcanic
    Crater Lake
    Multnomah falls
    Columbia river gorge
    Mt. Ranier and/or Mt. St. Helens
    Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (maybe)
    Oregon Coastline (best part. which is what?)
    Redwood National Park
    Big Sur

    I want to stay in Seattle for 2 days at the beginning of the trip, San Francisco area for 2 days, and then LA for 2 days. My wife and I have never been to Seattle or LA. We have friends in LA that we would visit otherwise I would probably just go home when we got there. :)

    Anyone want to take a crack at what our itinerary should be taking those places to visit into account? Anything we should skip or add? Anything you would consider can't miss?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    12,992

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I think you're going to have to cut a few things out of your plan. You've got 12 days, but you're planning 6 of those days in the cities, and even at a brisk pace, you'd need 2 more days to make the drive on the Interstates. That only leaves you roughly 4 days to see a list with 9 things you want to see, most of which really deserve about a day of your time.

    I think if I were you, I'd start by figuring out which things you want to see most, which will help you eliminate some other areas. For example, if you do the trip through Big Sur, then you probably shouldn't do Yosemite, because that would add a lot of miles to head back inland. Or if you do the Redwoods, then it would be a bit difficult to also do Lassen. There's really no bad options, and if you really wanted to do both place, in the above example, you could still make it work, but other things would have to go.

    Also be aware, if you do this trip one-way, you are likely looking at a pretty large extra fee for your car rental. With your desire to see both coastal and inland thing, this is the kind of trip that could work well as a loop, if you had a bit more time.

  3. #3

    Default

    Also, you don't really want to do Crater Lake and the Oregon Dunes in the same trip. You'll end up crossing I-5 and waste a good half a day just driving between the two.

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the suggestions so far. I've been working on the itinerary and I definitely made some cuts. I've added a 13th day to the trip, so here's what I'm now looking at:

    Day 1 - Fly to Seattle
    Day 2 - Seattle
    Day 3 - Seattle - Mt. St. Helens - Multnoah Falls - Portland - approx 4.5 hrs of driving
    Day 4 - Portland - Crater Lake - approx 6 hrs of driving
    Day 5 - Crater Lake - Crescent City, CA - 4.5 hrs
    Day 6 - Crescent City - Avenue of Giants - Mendocino - 6 hrs
    Day 7 - Mendocino - Napa Valley - SF - 4.5 hrs
    Day 8 - SF (timed up to catch my Nats playing the Giants!)
    Day 9 - SF - Yosemite - 4.5 hrs
    Day 10 - Yosemite
    Day 11- Yosemite - LA - 5.5 hrs
    Day 12 - LA
    Day 13 - Fly home to DC

    I had to cut out all of the Oregon coast, Lassen Volcanic, Mt. Ranier, Columbia River Gorge (although I'll go to Multnoah Falls). Skipping Carmel and Big Sur.

    It's a lot of driving, but never more than 6 hrs on the road in a day. Any other suggestions? Anything I should reconsider?

    How about some specifics - places to stay in the small towns - Mendocino, Crescent City, Yosemite? Other things I might see on the road along this route that would be worth a stop?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tntgator View Post
    Edit: Somehow post above was double posted, so I deleted everything but this. Couldn't figure out how to delete a post
    This happens to all of us from time to time. If you just leave it, the moderators will remove it. You cannot remove a post.

    Lifey

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Check maps and other resources.

    Quote Originally Posted by tntgator View Post
    Other things I might see on the road along this route that would be worth a stop? Thanks!
    My way of finding these extra things worth stopping at along the way, is to look for interesting signs along the road. These have landed me upon some great gems in the most unexpected places.... gems which you will never read about.

    As well as that study some good paper maps and see all the things along your route, marked on the map. (I take it you are doing this planning with good quality maps... not just on a little screen.) Maps have soooooo much more information.

    You might also like to look on the map centre on the green bar above, where you can search for attractions, accommodation and eating places along your route.

    I still prefer stumbling upon an unknown unplanned gem.

    Lifey

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    My way of finding these extra things worth stopping at along the way, is to look for interesting signs along the road. These have landed me upon some great gems in the most unexpected places.... gems which you will never read about.
    I like to ask locals. :) There is a historic Grist Mill near about 50 miles away with a cool covered bridge next to it that I would never have known about if I had never asked the guy at the nearest gas station for cool places to visit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default The best.

    Oh yes! Erich, nothing like interacting with the locals. A favourite source of information for me too. Not every day/hour needs to be planned. Leave time for the surprises along the way. Here is an excellent article.

    Lifey

  9. #9

    Default Sea-LA Aug 2015 - Looking for specific suggestions of where to stop/see

    Hey all -

    Earlier this year I asked and got some great advice about generally planning a summer road trip for my family (wife and kids 12,11). The trip is planned and we leave next week. I have the main places I want to visit and places to stay for every night of the trip all lined up. Now I'm asking for some specific advice about hikes not to miss, restaurants that are awesome, other cool things to check out. We are only driving 3-5 hrs each day on my driving days, so I have time to stop along the way. We're flying from BWI and then start the trip in Seattle. Here's the outline of the trip:

    - Seattle (2 nights) - We'll see Pikes market, do a harbor cruise, space needle. Anything else?

    - Drive to Portland via Mt. Ranier National Park (1 night)
    - Any hikes we should do at Mt. Ranier?
    - Was going to stop at Multnomah Falls on my way into Portland.
    - Only have the night in Portland. Anything worth doing?

    - Portland to Crater Lake (1 night)
    - I heard the drive through Roseburg is more scenic. Can someone confirm because that's not the fastest way.

    - Crater Lake to Crescent City (1 night)

    - Crescent City to Ft. Bragg (1 night)
    - Through the Redwood forest. Avenue of the Giants.

    - Ft. Bragg to SF (2 nights in SF)
    - Was going to drive through Napa on the way. I think that adds about 1.5 hr of driving plus wherever we stop. Is this worth it?
    - Have an Alcatraz tour and a baseball game lined up in SF. Staying in Fisherman's wharf.

    - SF to Yosemite (2 nights at the Tenaya Lodge)
    - Any can't miss hikes in Yosemite?

    - Yosemite to LA (2 nights in LA)
    - Probably the longest single drive of trip.
    - Staying in Hollywood. Want to go to the beach. Which one would you recommend?

    That's the trip. We can't wait. Thanks in advance for any advice.

    Please keep all posts about the same trip in the same place. - Mod
    Last edited by AZBuck; 08-03-2015 at 07:25 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default

    I heard the drive through Roseburg is more scenic. Can someone confirm because that's not the fastest way.
    Confirmed as beautiful. We've driven it twice.

    Staying in Hollywood. Want to go to the beach. Which one would you recommend?
    North of Hollywood and Santa Monica, etc., is Malibu. North of Malibu is a set of beaches that may be familiar to you -- Zuma Beach, Westward Beach, Point Dume State Beach. Movies, TV shows, commercials, and advertisements have been filmed on Zuma Beach (north side of Point Dume). A portion of the movie SPACEBALLS, a very recent ad for a Ford van, and several TV shows have used that beach including my own favorite oldie, I DREAM OF JEANNIE (pilot episode). These are nice beaches for people, with Zuma Beach being the least crowded (only because they charge for parking, and Westward Beach does not).


    Donna

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