Have just found this fascinating site but being an english visitor I am somewhat confused by the wealth of information.
This July my wife and I will be driving on vacation from Sacramento Ca. to Seattle. Our itinerary has 7 nights for this section of our trip before we fly back to the UK from Seattle the next day. We are thinking spending 4 of these nights enroute and 3 in Seattle.
Could someone please suggest where we should attempt to book motel/hotel accommodation to make the most of seeing the sights along the way. We have in mind driving from 08:30 to 12:30 stopping for, say, an hour then driving another 2 hours before over-nighting. Average speed,say, 40 mph. However, nothing is fixed in concrete other than our return flight.
What should we attempt to see? We like to walk for about a mile once a day (providing there are no bears - we aren't experienced for such encounters!). Would like to see the best of the Redwood parks and the highlights of the coast.
With 2 clear days in Seattle what suggestions does anyone have, please?
Welcome to the RTA forum, Henri!
You might want to read this current thread about someone driving from Seattle to San Francisco. While they're going in the opposite direction, there are some good ideas you can use to help you plan and get ideas. This should answer some of your questions about time needed, things to see, etc.
Things to do in Seattle:
Waterfront including Ye Olde Curiousity Shoppe and the Seattle Aquarium
Tours of Lake Union and Puget Sound via boat
Farmers Market on 1st Avenue - very cool shopping experience and watch out for flying fish!
Pioneer Square - historic, don't miss Bill Speidel's intrigueing Underground Tour of Seattle starting at Doc Maynard's
Museum of Flight - The Little Red Barn (Boeing's birthplace) and lots of neat stuff about flight
Boeing Factory in Everett - amazing tour/amazingly huge building
Seattle Center/Space Needle - decent restaurant but you don't have to eat there to ride up and enjoy the views
Lake Union - houseboats including the one from Sleepless in Seattle, rent a kayak to explore the lake
Experience Music Project (EMP) - at Seattle Center, amazing architecture that people either really love or hate, neat music displays and collections
Fremont District - very funky Seattle community with the infamous large troll under the bridge holding a full-size VW Bug, and the statue of Lenin amongst other things
This should be more than enough to fill two days. Enjoy! And come back with more questions after you've read through that thread. You might also check out the threads that are listed at the bottom of this page (and the bottom of the discussion I referred you to) that will be talking about similar topics and give you more ideas.
Hope to help you more as you get your plans narrowed down!!
Thank you very much for your helpful and rapidly transmitted ideas on Seattle. As you say that will keep us busy!
Still got to plan getting there though and gel the many thoughts of other contributors.
Hmm.. Henri, what are your interests? Are they scenery? or food? or music/ culture? or history? art museums? fishing? geology/ rockhounding? bird watching? beachcombing?
For a very rough itenerary, let me throw out maybe for the 4 nights heading from Sacramento to Seattle? It'd going to maybe be hot in the California Central Valley/ Sacramento area (last time I drove through in early August it was in the high 90's).. so I'd recommend..
Day 1 -- drive Sacramento, through California Wine Country (Napa, St Helena, Calistoga) to Eureka CA
Day 2-- Tour the redwoods, including Del Norte Coast Redwoods and Jed Smith Redwoods parks, ending up in Crescent City
Day 3 -- Crescent City to Eugene Oregon, turning inland with a possible side trip to Oregon Caves, but heading up I-5 (interstate highway 5)
Day 4 -- Continuing generally north near I5-- but side tripping through Oregon Wine Country to Portland, with possible side trip to some of the Columbia George along the Columbia River.
Day 5 -- Portland to Seattle, up I-5, with side trip to Mt. St. Helens
From Seattle, you might consider a side trip to Port Angeles and a quick trip up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic national Park. That's doable in a day trip from Seattle (take the ferry to Bremerton), but a long day.
An alternative would be to reduce your stay in Seattle by one night, and add one night in the Olympic Pennisula. You'd continue from portland west to the coast at Astoria, then up along the west coast of Washington, visit the Hoh rain forest then stay a night at either Lake Crescent or Forks (I'd recommend Lake Crescent) and then to Seattle about mid the next day (via ferry from Kingston or Bremerton/ Bainbridge Island)
If you have time and enjoy the outdoors, Larrison's suggestion to get over to the Olympic Peninsula is a great one. If you're interested, let me know and I can give you a lot of hints for this trip.
Larrison thank you very much for your very full response which must have taken more than a few minutes of your time. It is much appreciated. This is the first time this 68 yr old has joined a Forum and I am increasingly in awe of the benefits that the Internet can offer.
You asked about our interests. We are neither fishermen nor mountaineers but we enjoy being in spectacular scenery and capturing pictures of it. Also, the history of people and places is of great interest to us, as it is with most tourists. We like seeing animals in the wild but from the safety of a car. After living 7 yrs in Uganda you get to know that outside the '20th C bubble' you are on your own, back in time by thousands of years, without the bush craft knowledge of survival or weapons.
I am going to follow your proposed plan and build detail on it. Perhaps on our return, I can relate our experiences.
Thanks again to you and Judy.
How about the coast?
If you stay on the coast after visiting the redwoods, you will be going up the amazing Oregon coast. You can see hundreds (thousands?) of sea lions at the Sea Lion Caves. If you like wildlife, nothing could be better.
If this might be your only trip to the PNW, I really think you're missing some of the best parts of it if you skip the Oregon coast.
If you're interested in either the Oregon Coast or the Olympic Peninsula (or both), let us know. This is my backyard so I could probably give you lots of ideas for stops and answer most of your questions.