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  1. Default Down the West Coast: Seattle to Las Vegas

    Hi there,
    I know there are a lot of posts in the forum about road trips down the west coast, but was just wondering if you could have a quick look over our basic plan and see what you think? My boyfriend and I will be in America for 21 days, arriving in Seattle in late August and flying out from Las Vegas in early September. It our very first road trip, and we need to keep the costs down as low as possible. We intend to stay in motels in the major cities, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, staying in motels or hostels in each city for two nights, and camping in a tent the rest of the time.

    So the idea is:-
    -Seattle 2 nights,
    -Camping just outside Seattle 1 night (so we can spend a bit longer during the day in the city, but keep the cost down)
    -Camp near Mount Rainier 1 night
    -Meeting the coast at Cape lookout, camping in the state park 1 night
    -Then 3 more nights of camping along route 101 until we hit San Francisco
    -2 nights of motels/hostels in San Fran, although I also read about a campsite in San Fran called Candlestick state park.
    -As with Seattle camping just outside San Fran, on-route to LA
    -2 more nights camping on the way to LA
    -2 nights in LA
    -1 night camping between LA and San Diego
    -2 nights in San Diego
    -Camping between San Diego and Las Vegas, halfway along the fastest route as neither of us particularly want to see Death Valley (or do you think it is worth the detour?)
    -And finally 2 nights in Las Vegas.

    Do you think we have spread the time appropriately, or are there areas where we should spend more or less time?

    Also could you recommend any particular attractions along the way, we are especially interested in weird, retro roadside attractions, as well as scenic spots. We are hoping to just see places along the way, and be a bit spontaneous, but it would be good to have a few places pin pointed!

    Would it be better to stick to route 101 (and the I-5 it changes in to), or are there any better scenic routes that we would have time to fit in. I have read recommendations to take route 1 after the redwoods, and rejoin 101 at San Francisco.

    Also, when campsites say they have shower facilities does this mean cold showers or hot showers? Do the state parks have better facilities, as from looking at their websites showers seem consistent in all parks? When staying in a state park how does it work with admission fees? I understand you can buy annual passes, but do they just cover the parks in each state, or all states? Would it be better for us to just pay the individual fee for each park, as we only intend to stay for a short time?

    Some of my friends have mentioned big directories containing listings of cheap deals at motels nearby. Is this right? Where would they be found in major cities, or are they only in small towns on major road trip routes?

    Sorry, I seem to have written an awful lot. So many questions! And I'm sure I'll think up a lot more after I've posted this....!

    Thank you, Katherine

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Down the Coast - Park Hopping

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Your general routing and timing look fine, allowing you plenty of opportunities to 'stop and smell the roses' along the way. You have the time to take the most scenic route possible, so I'd stick as close to the coast as the roads allow. In Oregon and northern California, this is US-101, but south of Leggett, CA you should be using CA-1 instead as your primary route down the coast. There are more than enough quirky small town (especially along the Oregon and northern California coasts) to meet your requirements. Along the central California coast I highly recommend that you plan to spend a day or two taking in the sights around Monterey and Carmel - scenic drives, the old Carmel Mission (still in use), butterfly sanctuaries, etc.

    I can't guarantee that the showers will have water as hot as you'd like, but I did find a couple of well documented warnings to campers when hot showers would NOT be available due to the season or repairs indicating that hot showers are the norm. Note that some parks charge extra for these. And camping always costs more (typically $10-25 depending on amenities) than the few dollar entrance fee.Washington, Oregon, and California all offer excellent web sites describing their parks and camping options, be sure to have a look.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Camping

    When staying in a state park how does it work with admission fees? I understand you can buy annual passes, but do they just cover the parks in each state, or all states? Would it be better for us to just pay the individual fee for each park, as we only intend to stay for a short time?
    Each state runs their own state parks system, so an annual pass in California would cover every state park in California, but not in any other state. In terms of which is a better option, annual or day passes, it will just depend upon how many days that you plan to spend there. Some states, an annual pass pays for itself after the 3rd day, so if you are planning to spend 3 or more days there, then I would by in bulk, so to speak.

    As Buck mentioned, those passes only cover enterance fees. Camping fees are always higher, although in some places, they include the entrance fee into the cost of the campsite, so you wouldn't have to worry about annual passes in those case.

    Showers and other amenities are always going to vary by park, but I've found there are usually some consistantcy within each state. I've seen them all over the board, with some places having just cold water showers, while some places have had water that was way too hot for my taste.

  4. Default

    if you are looking for odd/interesting road side attractions i usually use Roadside America, you can search by state or city and i've found some pretty strange ones while doing the seattle to vegas drive, good luck!
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-17-2007 at 07:26 PM. Reason: Preferred URL format herein

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A Friendy competition between RTA and Roadside America

    Quote Originally Posted by Will and Wife View Post
    if you are looking for odd/interesting road side attractions...
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum -- good suggestion -- RoadTrip America has it own roadside attractions department -- broken into roadside murals and roadside marvels, but the Roadside America site is a good one and both companies enjoy competing with each other for the road trip community readership.


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