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  1. Default Ideas for Monterey, CA to Vancouver, BC via Portland OR and Seattle WA in late July

    We are going on our first family road trip. Two adults and two kids ages 9 and 1. We're thinking of driving from Monterey CA up to Vancouver and back, with stops in Portland and Seattle to visit friends. We have two weeks to do this, right now schedule looks like last week of July into first week of August.

    What are some good places to stop on the way? Something fun and educational for the kids. We're not into wine so no need to stop in wine country. We also live on the coast so not a big need to stop by beaches etc.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, would it be better to go up 101 or 5?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    Do you have paper maps? That should be the first thing you get, so that you can look over what's available. Offhand, I can think of Redwoods National Park (which *is* on the coast), Oregon Caves National Monument, Crater Lake National Park, Mt Rainier National Park, Mt St Helens National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park. Your 9 year old may be eligible for a free national parks pass, if going into 4th grade next school year (or already in 4th grade). You would NOT be able to do all of these in 2 weeks, so you'd need to pick carefully.

    If you decide to do a national park or two, grab a Junior Ranger booklet at the first visitor center at each park. Your 9 year old can earn some nice patches and pins, as souvenirs of the visit.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The 5 Makes Sense

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I'm assuming that your destination is Vancouver, BC in Canada since Vancouver WA would not require that you go as far north as Seattle. I'll also assume that you already have everyone's passports in order since it's getting a bit late to start applying for them now and you won't be allowed across the border without them. With that taken care of, you're probably better off taking I-5 rather than US-101 since the major advantage to US-101 is its access to the coast. With coastal stops hot a priority, it just becomes a slow tourist-clogged road in the summer. I-680/I-80/I-505 will get you around the Bay Area and on your way north. The kids won't need major stops, but a stop every few hours will help a lot. Besides those, some larger venues worth checking out include the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Crater Lake National Park and Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The last two are a bit off your route but well worth it if you have the time. You might also want to consider taking two side trios out of Portland. The first would be to the Fort Clatsop National Memorial and the other would be in the opposite direction, up along the Historic Columbia River Highway which has a number of short walks to scenic waterfalls.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default One way up, one way down.

    As this is presumably a round trip you can get the best of both worlds by taking different routes each way, perhaps taking your time on the way up with a few inland attractions east of I-5 and then a mix of I-5 and coast on the way back depending on time remaining. Lassen national volcanic park could be a good place to start with and if you scroll down this thread you can see Lassen and other attractions that might appeal.

  5. Default

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Yes we have passports for everyone. We will get some paper maps and put all those locations down to help us visualize and determine the best route.

    Yes we are planning to go to Vancouver BC in Canada as well as Victoria BC.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Phoenix, Arizona



    You mentioned that beaches are a low priority, but keep in mind that not all beaches are created equal. The Oregon Coast, in particular, is different from the area where you live, and it's truly beautiful. If you have the time, you should definitely consider driving at least a portion of US 101 through Oregon when you're on your way back home.

    Since you'll be in Seattle, you might also consider taking one of the car ferries across the sound to the Olympic Peninsula, and check out Olympic National Park. It would be a full day excursion, but very worthwhile. The temperate rain forests on the western side of the O.P. are amazing:



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