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  1. Default Road trip to west coast

    Hi,

    I am planning a 15 days trip from Seattle to San Diego. This is my very first time in the country and am doing it all by myself.

    Reading what others have posted, I have a general idea on things I should consider seeing and doing during my 15 days. I am planning on spending time in some big cities on the way, what are the cities that are worth staying at and what do you suggest on the duration of stay in each place.
    I still don't know what to do regarding the lodging. When I am in cities I should be able to find hostels, but what to do on the way? Also does it make sense to keep the car all the way, or should I drop the car when I arrive in big cities?

    Also is it safe to travel alone?

    Thank you!

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

    Default For Your Own Consideration

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Just a few thoughts on West Coast cities. The ones I have found the most interesting include San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. With the exception of San Francisco all of them are easily navigated by car and parking is generally reasonably available. In San Francisco, you would probably do better to leave the car outside of town at a large lot near a rail or subway (BART) station, go into the city for as long as you like, then return to the car when you're ready to move on. I have never thoroughly enjoyed any of my many stays in Los Angeles. It's just too spread out, has too many tourists all trying to get to the same attractions, and requires hours of driving just to get around. If there are specific things you want to see, then get to them by all means but L.A. is not, IMHO, a place to relax and explore.

    As for how much time to spend in a given city, I generally like to spend at least two nights. That gives me at least one full day to see and do what I want without worrying too much about timing. This is especially true in urban areas where the night life is one of the attractions. Being able to walk or take public transport back to 'home' comes in handy. You certainly have the time to do so and to spend even a little bit more time in any particular city you find suits you.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default

    Also is it safe to travel alone?
    Generally speaking, yes it is. It's no different to walking around your home town alone, every place is some persons home. All you need is your common sense and instincts. If you feel uncomfortable in a certain place/bar, there is usually a reason, so just move on.

  4. #4

    Default

    I live in Seattle. My recommendation would be to skip the coast in Washington State unless you intend to go north first and go out toward La Push and that area. The southern coast in Washington is sort of...blah. I would take 5 south to right around the Oregon border and head West toward Astoria. That is a beautiful town (where they filmed the Goonies) and the Oregon coast is Spectacular. I would drive south on the coast and then head back east once you get to Coos Bay or so. Get back on 5 south until you hit Grant's Pass. Then get on 199 West. That takes you right through the heart of Norther California's redwood forest. It dumps you on the coast at Crescent City. You can get on the PCH there and take that as far south as you want until you hit Mexico.

    I took this picture on the PCH just south of Big Sur

    PCH.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default Welcome.

    Hello and welcome to RTA Smiling Tiger !

    Thank you for sharing some 'local knowledge' on your first post, it's much appreciated that you took the time to do so.

    Enjoy RTA and hope to see around the forums !

    Dave.

  6. Default Road trip on the West Coast

    I live in Seattle. My recommendation would be to skip the coast in Washington State unless you intend to go north first and go out toward La Push and that area. The southern coast in Washington is sort of...blah. I would take 5 south to right around the Oregon border and head West toward Astoria. That is a beautiful town (where they filmed the Goonies) and the Oregon coast is Spectacular.
    Thank you all for the tips.

    I am driving down from Vancouver Canada.

    According to Google Map:
    The trip to Astoria is 4 hours,
    Then to Coos Bay, 6 hours
    to Grants Pass 2.5 hours
    to Redwoods ca 2 hours

    Where does it make sense to stop for an overnight, Astoria or Coos Bay? I assume 15 hours drive in one day is too much. I am staying mainly in Hostels rather than hotels.

    My triplooks like the following, Does it make sense?is it doable?

    Start early from Seattle:
    08.03 Seattle to Vancouver,
    08.06 Vancouver to Astoria 4 hours.
    Astoria to Coos Bay 6 hours.
    Coos Bay to Grants Pass 3 hours.
    Grants Pass to the National redwoods parks 2 hour.

    08.09-08.11 camping at the Jedediah Smith campground

    08.11 from Red woods to SF 7 hours

    08.12-08.14 in SF

    08.14 from SF to Big Sur

    08.14-.17 camping in Big Sur

    08.17 from Big Sur to San Diego

    08.17-08.19 in San Diego then fly back to DC

    Thank you again for advice and recommendations
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-18-2015 at 01:10 AM. Reason: Fixed quote format

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Please remember that Google Maps and Mapquest online mapping programs use that as actual DRIVE time. It does not include stops for gasoline, food, or pit stops, nor does it include construction and other slow downs. You're best off taking the mileage that those programs give you and divide by 60 (for Interstate travel) or 55 (for 2-lane highway travel). On the SF to LA leg, you need to take into consideration the fact that you'll be stopping at scenic views.

    That said, Big Sur to San Diego is going to take you a lot longer than 7 hours. It will probably be closer to 9 hours IF you "hit" the traffic in LA just right. Make it 10 or 11 if you find traffic snags in LA, which happens all the time, even on the freeways.

    When I've gone up to Santa Barbara and back, it took me 4 hours in one direction (because it was early on a Saturday morning), and 6 hours in the other direction.

    Donna in San Diego

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bg506 View Post
    Thank you all for the tips.

    I am driving down from Vancouver Canada.

    According to Google Map:
    The trip to Astoria is 4 hours,
    Then to Coos Bay, 6 hours
    to Grants Pass 2.5 hours
    to Redwoods ca 2 hours

    Where does it make sense to stop for an overnight, Astoria or Coos Bay? I assume 15 hours drive in one day is too much. I am staying mainly in Hostels rather than hotels.

    My triplooks like the following, Does it make sense?is it doable?

    Start early from Seattle:
    08.03 Seattle to Vancouver,
    08.06 Vancouver to Astoria 4 hours.
    Astoria to Coos Bay 6 hours.
    Coos Bay to Grants Pass 3 hours.
    Grants Pass to the National redwoods parks 2 hour.

    08.09-08.11 camping at the Jedediah Smith campground

    08.11 from Red woods to SF 7 hours

    08.12-08.14 in SF

    08.14 from SF to Big Sur

    08.14-.17 camping in Big Sur

    08.17 from Big Sur to San Diego

    08.17-08.19 in San Diego then fly back to DC

    Thank you again for advice and recommendations
    Looks reasonable to me. I will point out 2 things- San Fran to Big Sur isn't a full day trip so I would plan to do the 17 mile drive on the Monterrey Peninsula as part of that. Its some of the most amazing scenery in the world. Second- Big Sur to San Diego is a LONG way to go in one day, especially considering LA traffic and the fact that you will be uncontrollably compelled to stop and take pictures the whole way down the PCH. You might want to plan Big Sur to Santa Barbara or Santa Monica one day and then from there to San Diego the next.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post

    That said, Big Sur to San Diego is going to take you a lot longer than 7 hours. It will probably be closer to 9 hours IF you "hit" the traffic in LA just right. Make it 10 or 11 if you find traffic snags in LA, which happens all the time, even on the freeways.


    Donna in San Diego
    Thank you Donna... I guess I will be staying in Santa Barbara for a day to break the long distance.

  10. Default

    Thank you Smiling_Tiger... Both you and Donna pointed me to the distance between Big Sur and San Diego. I will stop in Santa Barbara!

    But, I am still wondering about the distance from Astoria to Redwoods...Where does it make sense to stop for an overnight, Astoria or Coos Bay? I assume 15 hours drive in one day is too much...

    Thank you!

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