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  1. Default Portland, Oregon to Orange County, California!

    Hi Y'all...
    Need some advice on making a roadtrip down to Southern California from Portland, Oregon. I will be traveling, without my husband, with my 10 and 12 year olds. I have great memories of camping & roadtrips with my family growing up and am tired of flying down via Alaska Airlines nonstop. This time I will take the SUV and stay in decent motels instead.
    I was thinking of making a stop down in San Jose to see my husband who works there in the middle of the week maybe on the way back up & seeing a few sights with him on the way back home.

    I also would like to incorporate some Hwy. 101 driving, see the Golden Gate Bridge, all the great beaches, and just have a good time. I was thinking of taking maybe 3 days to drive down and maybe 2 or 3 on the way back. Any suggestions? We will be visiting family once we are in OC so no need to comment on Orange County attractions....

    Any ideas or thoughts you have are appreciated!!! Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Bay Area, CA

    Default the coast

    If you have not been to the OR coast, thats where you want to start. I came back yesterday from there(we took 101 too). More to see there, the more you stay.
    You can make a search and find out tons of places to see.
    My personal favourites are Cannon beach, Tillamook, all those lighthouses, bridges & Bandon.
    Quick detours(from 101) are the avenue of the giants, drive thru tree(I did the one in Legett-chandelier tree).
    July 4th was very clear near the Golden Gate bridge. So, you got good chances there will be no fog.

    have fun,

  3. Default

    It's roughly a 2 day drive from Portland to Orange County, California. The valleys will be hot going through, so ducking through to the coast will much cooler, and there's a lot of things to see there.

    One option coming south would be an early start from Portland, swing west at Grants Pass to Crescent City, CA (stay the night), then go through the Redwoods National Park and etc, before swinging down to San Jose that evening (long day). Good places to visit include the Lady Bird Grove, Avenue of the Giants, Gold Beach/ Fern Gully, etc. From San Jose an interesting option would be to head down 101 to Paso Robles, and then swing west to San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle and perhaps the Elephant Seal colony at Pedros Blancos, before returning down 101 to OC (a long day's drive, but doable -- stop somewhere like Ventura or Santa Barbara to have dinner and let the traffic in LA central die down before heading through).

    You might consider 3 nights on the way down, and then speed trip back on a 2 day/ one night trip going north.

    If you're heading down through the valleys, an interesting option is to swing East at Redding and do a several hours side trip through Lassen Volcanic National Park, before heading back into the valley at Chico or the like. Chico to OC is around 8 hours if memory serves.

    What are your kids interested in? There's the wildlife park in southern Oregon, wildlife refuges along the whole trip, California Missions along 101, some really cool museums and the Cable Cars in SF, Gold Mining and history near Sacramento, Yosemite, Sequoia, etc. etc.

  4. Default Just want a scenic "roadtrip" - more natural beauty

    than tourist, museum type things...definitely want the kids to see The Redwoods, and some California beaches... I can never get enough of coastline beaches...

    I have done the Oregon Coast numerous times now... I want to do a good "California Coastal Tour"... with some interesting stops along the way...the sea lion caves in Cali. sound neat...

    I think I am fantasizing about this...the open road, the cool ocean breeze, a good cd on the radio...I feel like driving and being "on the road"...don't want to hit nasty traffic though...good advice about L.A.

    Any additional thoughts are appreciated. Thanks everyone.

  5. Default Tips on Portland, OR to Orange County....

    Would love to plan a scenic roadtrip with my dds - traveling alone without husband. Want to see the coastline...see the golden gate bridge, stop in Silicon Valley to visit a friend, and end up in Orange County to visit family.
    The kids are 11 and 13....just want to do the "roadtrip experience" and do it safely and efficiently while still seeing some great sites...

    Any advice is greatly appreciated on cities to spend the night in...etc. - and guidance on "route".


    Oregon Mom originally from California!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Larrison's route some food!

    Between Grant's Pass and Crescent City, you might check out the Oregon Caves. Crescent City is interesting mainly because of the tsunami that wiped out part of downtown there. Then you have the various Redwood forests. Watch for Avenue of the Giants and the place Cool recommended for the big tree. Eureka is an amazing town with fantastic Victorian architecture. More redwoods and beautiful coastline driving await you south of Eureka.

    You might enjoy playing around with the online TripTik tool at the AAA website. You can play with routes and, if you zoom in, you can get lists of lodging, restaurants, attractions, etc. along the way. Very fun and handy!

    If you get an early start, I think Crescent City would make a good first stop for the night. Then you can have the day to explore the Redwoods and enjoy the beautiful coastal driving. Maybe Monterey on the second night? I would plan at least 2 nights/3 days, if not more. How much time do you have for this trip?

    On the way back, if you go up I-5, you can enjoy the Mt. Shasta area, make a stop in charming Ashland, OR, swing over to Crater Lake, and more. Do you also plan on sight-seeing on the way home? If so, how many days are you planning on taking.

    You and your kids are gonna have a hoot! Enjoy!

  7. #7

    Default Possible Itinerary

    A 3 day -2 night itinerary is pretty rushed in my opinion. You won't have
    much time to see anything.

    A 4 day - 3 night itinerary might be less stressful and more interesting.
    Here's a possible plan.

    Day 1:
    Portland to Crescent City, CA. Visit Oregon Caves.

    Day 2:
    Visit Redwoods National Park
    Fern Canyon
    Lady Bird Grove
    Skunk Train in Willits if you like trains.
    Avenue of the Giants
    Prairie Creek State Park (possibly see Roosevelt Elk)
    Ferndale is a cute town of Victorian Houses
    Stay in Ukiah, Healdsburg, or Santa Rosa. Sonoma County is a well known
    wine region, on par with Napa.

    Day 3
    Cut over to Hwy 1 (from Rohnert Park) to visit Point Reyes, Muir Woods
    and the Marin Headlands, stopping at Battery Spencer which has a classic view
    of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Then onward to San Jose via I-280 (one of the nicest freeways in an
    urban area).

    Day 4
    Drive to I-5 for the speediest route to OC (~7 hours).

    On your drive back, you could explore the central California coast
    between Santa Barbara and San Jose.

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