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  1. Default Fall camping road trip from Vancouver bc to Baja!

    Hello!
    My fiancÚ and I and our pup, are planning a camping road trip from Vancouver BC to Baja, Cali. Looking for any advise! Looking to take two weeks.
    - September or October??
    - best places to stop and camp
    - food stops
    - sights
    - any tips!

    Thanks :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Basically

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You've got a few basic choices to make. The first is how much time (and where) to spend on the coast side of the Coastal Range(s) and how much to spend on the inland side. These discussions (north and south) should give you a pretty good idea of what's available and let you see which of the many possibilities appeal to you.

    September vs. October is probably a moot point, but I might lean toward mid- to late- September. The bulk of the tourists will have gone home, but parks and other facilities will still be open. The weather will still be on the warm side, but if you wait into late October, it's going to start getting chilly especially at the end as you head back north to home.

    As for camping, your best bets are the state parks in Washington, Oregon and California, as well as the national Forests. Another advantage to going after the summer tourist season is that campgrounds in the national parks typically aren't packed to the gills either.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Baja California? Meaning Mexico? If I were you, due to the unrest down there, I'd stop north of the border.

    I'm in agreement with above -- late September would avoid the crowds but still have most of the campgrounds still open (but not jammed). Some of the state parks in California are good, but I will admit that they are somewhat "pricey" when you realize that there are few-to-no amenities. We always preferred national forest campgrounds (with the occasional national park campsites) over the state parks in California.

    Two exceptions to that: We loved Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park's campground, which is open year-round. That is just east of Crescent City on Rt 199. Another one was Fremont Peak State Park ,not far from Hollister and San Juan Bautista (south of San Jose). The facilities in the campground weren't what made us love it -- it was the view, especially when waking up in the morning to find ourselves above the morning-low-clouds-and-fog, and looking at the bank of clouds below while still standing on hard ground.

    Food stops: Solvang (CA) has some great places. Lots of good seafood along the way, too, if you love seafood!

    Sights will depend, as mentioned above, on how much time you want to spend on the coast side of the mountains and how much on "the other side" of those mountains.


    Donna

  4. Default

    Thanks so much for the advice so far! Yes. Very true,as I've started researching Mexico would be better to leave out.

    Should we book campsites before or just as we decide to stop?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    California state parks: yes, many would require booking, even in September. Maybe not Fremont Peak, but others require reservations. This is especially true for weekends at any time of the year! I believe 7 months is the booking window, so you'd want to decide and make your reservations in February.

    National forests -- well, many are not on a reservation system at all. It's pretty much first-come, first-serve. Once again, it may not be an issue except on weekends.

    Don't forget to allow some place for showers -- either staying at a motel every few days, or stopping at a truck stop to utilize their ($) shower facilities. My husband and I always budgeted for a motel every 3-4 nights, for a shower and a comfortable bed, when we were tent camping.


    Donna

  6. Default

    Great! Thanks for the reservation info!

    I saw on another forum, someone had listed the spots they stopped on this type of trip:
    Olympia WA
    Long Beach WA
    Cannon Beach OR
    Cape Lookout OR
    Newport OR
    Crescent City CA
    Klamath CA
    Eureka CA
    Calistoga CA
    San Fransisco CA
    San Luis Obispo CA
    Santa Barbara CA
    Long Beach CA
    San Diego

    Suggestions on making these a stop? Ones to leave out?

    Cheers

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HN1119 View Post
    Great! Thanks for the reservation info!

    I saw on another forum, someone had listed the spots they stopped on this type of trip:
    Olympia WA
    Long Beach WA
    Cannon Beach OR
    Cape Lookout OR
    Newport OR
    Crescent City CA
    Klamath CA
    Eureka CA
    Calistoga CA
    San Fransisco CA
    San Luis Obispo CA
    Santa Barbara CA
    Long Beach CA
    San Diego

    Suggestions on making these a stop? Ones to leave out?
    Olympia can be a miss unless you want to stop by the old Olympia Brewery at Tumwater Falls. There is a nice little park there with a path that goes up one side of the river and down the other.

    Long Beach is a miss outside of Marsh's Free Museum. Nothing to really eat in town either. As you're heading along 101 to Astoria you have a couple of lighthouses and Fort Columbia which are cool in my opinion.

    Add Astoria to the list. It's a great overnight town. Fort Stevens is a great camping spot if you can get in. There are some very good restaurants in town like Fuglio and Fort George Brewing. You can also go up to the Astoria Column for an awesome view, and if you like movies the Oregon Film Museum is there in the old City Jail. (It was the opening scene of "The Goonies," which was filmed in town.)

    I have never been a fan of Cannon Beach. The beach itself is great, but the town itself has never interested me. If I was going to stop I'd do Seaside instead.

    Cape Lookout is a must for the views.

    Add Tillamook. Stop by the Tillamook Country Smoker for some of the best beef jerky around, and then at the Tillamook Cheese Factory for some of the best Ice Cream (and cheese) around.

    Add Lincoln City - home of 'D' River - the world's shortest river. Some good eating there also, and you have Captain Dan's Pirate Bakery at the south side of town for some surgary gooddies.

    Add Depot Bay - hopefully you can watch a boat navigate that bay mouth. Get some taffy, explore the stores. Go to Gracie's Sea Hag for some colorful singing and one of the best clam chowders on the entire coast.

    Newport - definitely. Waterfront is fun to walk. I'd bypass the tourist attractions like Ripley's and the Wax Museum. Unless you've never been to either one anywhere else in the world. There are two lighthouses, one is reportedly haunted but the general consensus is that the story was made up to sell newspapers. The Oregon Coast Aquarium on the south side of town (over the bridge - which is amazing for pictures in it's own way,) is a must see.

    Around Florence is the Oregon Dunes. Good place to go dune buggy riding. Also Mrytlewood Factories are fun to visit.

    North Bend/Coos Bay can be a miss.

    Bandon is a stop. Face Rock Creamery opened up. Hands down the best cheese made on the entire coast. Even better then Tillamook's. Cool little candy store and other shops in old town. The Coos Bay Lighthouse is there, and the Wildlife Game Park is south of town.

    Port Orford - interesting because the fishing fleet is pulled out of the water every night. Also the location of an important battle between white settlers and indians as part of the Rogue Indian Wars of 1855-1857. Otherwise you'll blink and miss the town.

    Brookings - another miss although there is a kitschy dinosaur park on the south side of town.

    Crescent City - a miss. Lighthouse on the north side of town that you can walk too if the tide it out. Small aquarium in town that is only interesting because it was built inside a barge that was dragged on to land. Elk Herd likes to hang out on the south side of town, and you're also at the edge of the Redwoods there.

    Be careful, when I went through last month there was road construction to repair the slide damage going on still.

    Eureka - good stop. Some decent food in down town. Check out nearby Arcata for good food also. Interesting shops in the down town area, an old Fort. The Loleta Cheese Factory makes good cheese if you need some more dairy goodness. Ferndale is worth the detour because it has a very Victorian Downtown. The Gingerbread Mansion Hotel there is worth the money.

    South of there, take the old highway if you can through the Redwoods in Humboldt State Park. It's worth the extra time if you've never been before.

    Everything south of there until SF is a miss unless you want to find historic Missions and go wine tasting.

    San Fransisco is a must. Be aware the Golden Gate Bridge is a toll road that way. The list of things to do there is endless. I've spent probably a month total in that town in the past five years and still discover new things every time I go.

    Santa Cruz is worth a stop. Another cool old downtown area. Personally I'd take Highway 1 south of there instead of highway 101. 101 is faster, less scenic although it does have a few places worth visiting. If you take Highway 1 south you're on the perfect side. Most people take that road north. Between rubber necking at the scenery and the curvy roads it can be slow. South is faster, but make sure you take some music for the car - there is no radio signal at all for at least 100 miles.

    Stop at San Simeon and visit Hearst Castle. Absolutely amazing.

    San Luis Obispo is OK, I'll admit that I haven't spent much time there. Santa Barbara is about the same. Both are going to be places where you relax, drink, maybe visit the beach.

    Long Beach is a miss for the most part. Outside of the Queen Mary there isn't a lot to do. If I had the choice I'd hit up Universal Studios or Disney first. If I wanted beach time I'd stay up around. Santa Monica, Redono Beach, Venice Beach or further south at Huntington Beach.

  8. Default

    Wow! Great tips thank you!!

    Have you heard anything it recommend any of the state parks or area along the coast between SF and San Diego? Half moon bay, crystal cove I think etc?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default

    Is this a round trip out and back in 2 weeks ? If so you might want to select fewer coastal places of interest on the way down and leave some time for inland attractions on the way home, the likes of Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Lassen, Crater Lake and the Columbia Rver Gorge are examples to choose from. Each road trip is unique, so I would recommend that you study a good map and research places that appeal to you as well as listening to all the ideas on offer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Have you heard anything it recommend any of the state parks or area along the coast between SF and San Diego? Half moon bay, crystal cove I think etc?
    Beach state parks = reservations needed, even in September, especially for weekends. It's still warm inland so folks like to escape to the beach areas where it's nice but not hot-hot-hot.


    Donna

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