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  1. Default Vancouver BC to Oregon

    My wife and I are planning a 4 day road trip(our first) from Vancouver BC to Oregon. We plan to stay at Portland and visit different areas in Oregon.

    My To-Visit places include Crater lake, Oregon Dunes Recreation Area, Multnomah Falls, Great Cats World Park and a drive along 101.

    Is there anything you guys would recommend to include in the To-Visit list?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    South Central Orange County


    Highway 101 along the Oregon coast is a beautiful drive (when it's not terribly windy and cold).

    Where do you plan to cut over to the coast? One of my family's favorite stops is the Heceta Head lighthouse just north of Florence. There is a short hike to the lightkeeper's house and the lighthouse, and the beach has tidepools to explore. It's a short drive from Oregon Dunes.

    If you go as far north as Tillamook there are two place to consider-- the air museum and the cheese/ice cream factory. We stopped at the latter two years ago as my daughters (then 7 and 1) were more interested in ice cream than aviation.

    It will be slow driving, but if you take 101 south all the way down to US 199 north (east) to get to Great Cats World Park you will see beautiful vistas of the coast and even redwoods when you cross into the northwest tip of California.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Oregon or just the Portland area?

    Welcome to the RTA forums.

    I'm confused about your plans. You say you are staying in the Portland area. Is this for the whole trip or for just a part of your trip? I ask because most of the places you've listed are not daytrips from Portland.

    For example, Crater Lake is fantastic and worth visiting but it is about a 6-hour drive from Portland, one way. If you're going there, I suggest you plan on staying at the Crater Lake Lodge or someplace else close.

    I've attached a map taking you to the places you want to see in a loop drive. It's 877 miles. And then you also need to add in the time it takes you to get from Vancouver to Portland (315 miles/about 6 hours, one way).

    I see no way you can do all this in 4 days. Even if the 4 days doesn't include the two days needed just to get to Portland and home again, it's going to be a very tight trip.

    For example, you would really want 2 days to drive down the coast from Portland to the Oregon Dunes area. There is a lot to stop and see along the way. You don't want to have to zoom past it all. As for zooming...well, you won't really be doing that on the coast. It's a 2-lane road, with lots of twists and hills, and you are driving through many small towns where you will slow to 25-35 mph through town. Add to that, it's impossible to avoid getting behind slower RVs and truckers with no place to pass, so you might as well plan for a slow but enjoyable drive. It's impossible to drive this road in the time mapping programs state.

    Why don't you clarify if the 4 days includes travel time to/from Portland and Vancouver so we know what kind of time you really have to explore the Portland area, and then we should be able to come back with suggestions to optimize your time in Portland and have a great trip.

  4. Default

    Thanks Shirohniichan and Judy.

    Let me clarify a little. I will leave Vancouver on Thursday evening and reach Portland on Thursday night and will be there Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

    I was planning to drive along 101 on the way bak to vancouver on Tuesday morning. I plan to merge to 101 from Tillamook(I am looking at google maps) and take the Aberdeen exit for I-5 on way to Vancouver.

    So, I need to plan for 4 full days in Oregon.

    Since this is my first road trip, I have made the mistake of booking all the 4 days in a hotel in Portland. After reading different posts in this forum, I realized I could have stayed at different places. Well, next time... :-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Thanks for the clarification

    But you still have a problem. There is no way you can get to Crater Lake and back in a day (12-13 hours round-trip drive). Well, I suppose you could but why bother? Same with the Oregon Dunes (7.5-8 hours round-trip drive).

    You should be able to cancel some of your nights in Portland. Hotels typically have generous cancellations policies. If you want to see those places, you should do that and then get hotels near the places you want to go to. There's really no other way to make that work.

    I was planning to drive along 101 on the way bak to vancouver on Tuesday morning. I plan to merge to 101 from Tillamook(I am looking at google maps) and take the Aberdeen exit for I-5 on way to Vancouver.
    I have a better suggestion. I live about 4 miles from Aberdeen so I'm very familiar with this part of your trip. The drive from Aberdeen to hook up with I-5 in Olympia is not particularly scenic. It's OK but nothing you haven't seen before. (Our coastal and forest areas are spectacular so I'm just knocking this particular stretch of road, not my whole area.)

    Anyway, I would veer to I-5 from Raymond. It's a lovely drive through that corner of SW Washington. Once you hit Washington, little of it will be on the ocean but you will go through lovely forests, sloughs, and farmland. The stretch from Raymond to Aberdeen is somewhat scenic but not that much different from what you've just passed through.

    Anyway, in Raymond, take WA-6 to meet up with I-5 in Chehalis. This will save you a bit of time and will be a prettier drive through some lovely farmlands. It won't save you any time, it will be pretty much a wash time-wise, but I think you'll enjoy it more.

  6. Default

    Hi Judy,

    Good suggestions. I did some more reading on Crater lake and it looks like the best time to visit it is June-Oct. So I would leave that out of my itinerary.

    As for Oregon Dunes, we really want to go there. So i will try to cancel the last night from the hotel in Portland and get a hotel near the dunes. That way I can spend Monday at the Dunes and drive all along the coast on the way back to Vancouver on tuesday. I know it will be a long drive on tuesday but I dont want to miss out on the dunes.

    That leaves me with 3 days in the hotel in Portland. I can go to Multnomah Falls, Portland downtown. What else would I be able to see in those 3 days?
    I have read that Portland downtown can take a lot of time with so many different things there.

    Last edited by lguy; 04-08-2009 at 02:49 PM. Reason: Editing the days.

  7. #7
    Tony J Case, Super Genius Guest


    Well, off the top of my head, Mount St Helens is really close (and probably do-able in a day trip), the lava fields of central oregon are really cool (although a bit further away), there's a couple of nice state parks up the Columbia (plus a 1:1 replica of Stonehenge) and Astoria has some nice scenery.

  8. Default

    Awesome :-) Thank you Tony for the ideas. Much appreciated.

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