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  1. #1

    Default San Francisco to Portland

    Hello all

    Lots of firsts here - my first post on this forum, and this summer will be my first trip to the USA!

    This August, my girlfriend and I are planning to drive from San Francisco, up the coast to Portland, Oregon. We would like to do around 4 hours driving each day, so are happy to spend 4-6 days on the journey.

    Already noted is the Redwood National Park, and Cannon Beach... but apart from that it's a blank canvas.

    Does anyone have any suggestions regarding places of interest, best roads, places to stay, car hire etc?

    Many thanks! :)

  2. #2

    Default KOA campsites

    Also, has anyone stayed in KOA campsites? Particularly the cabins?

    I've just been looking at the Crescent City/Redwoods site, and wondering whether to book a 'Kabin' for a night... do we have to take our own bedding etc?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Things to Check Out

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    One of our Moderators has written extensively about that general area. I think you'll find her comments and insights far more useful than anything I could write. And as far as KOA goes, while I've never stayed at one, my understanding is that they aim to be the McDonalds of campgrounds, pretty much the same at every location so that their customers know what to expect and are comfortable just pulling into one at random. Check their website and see if you can find the answers to your specific questions, or failing that the location of one near you that might be able to give you some insight.


  4. #4


    Thank you AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Skamokawa, Washington


    Newport, Oregon, is a nice place, too. :) Also, Seaside and Astoria offer quite a bit of history.

    Also, in Seaside, there'll be a turn off on Highway 26 to Portland. I'd recommend going the extra few miles north to Astoria.. Not only do you get to see historic Astoria, but you get to see the Astoria-Megler bridge, too. And possibly drive across it if you wish - it's roughly 4 miles long and crosses you over into Washington State. It's really an impressive piece of construction work. :)

    From Astoria, there are a couple ways of getting to Portland. Highway 30 in Oregon along the Columbia River will take you about 2 hours and take you through towns like Juana, Westport, Clakskanine, St. Helens, and Scappose. If you choose to take the Washington side, You'd take the bridge over to Washington, turn right onto SR-401 to Naselle, turn right onto SR-4 at the stop sign. Once you're on SR-4, you'd stay there for about 60 miles or so - You'll be in Longview, Washington by then and have passed through towns like Rosburg, Grays River, Skamokawa, and Cathlamet. Skamokawa has a really nice park that you can camp at if you wish along with a nice beach where you can watch the ships go by. The sunsets here are absolutely amazing, too. (I live in Skamokawa and try to get pictures of the sunset as much as I can. :))

    Anyway, once you're going through Longview, follow signs to I-5 south. The turn off to it is 2 lights down from Burger King on the right. It'll take you onto Nichols Blvd. and that'll turn into Tennant Way, a four lane highway. You'll cross a small bridge - stay to the right to get onto I-5 South... Before the I-5 onramp, there'll be another exit immediately after getting off the bridge that'll take you onto Talley Way, so take note of that. :) Bridge->Talley Way exit ->I-5 South onramp. I-5 will take you all the way into Portland. Depending on where you're wanting to stay, at Exit 7 there'll be an onramp to I-205 - the 205 will take you along the east side of Portland and past the airport, while I-5 will take you along the west side. Further into Portland via I-5 will be exits to I-405, which takes you across a double-decker bridge (which is awesome, btw) and takes you into downtown Portland.

    Take care and enjoy the trip! Being that I live in the area, feel free to ask any questions about things to do in Astoria, Longview, and all points in between (on both SR-4 in Washington and Highway 30 in Oregon) and I'll be glad to help out as best as I can. :)

  6. #6


    Thank you for the helpful suggestions lascelles, we'll definitely take a look around! :)

  7. Default San Francisco to Portland -- bump!

    I hope it's ok to add to this thread rather than starting a new one.

    We're planning a road trip to Portland and back over one week. Is this doable? Tentative plans:

    Day 1 Drive to McCloud, CA near Mt. Shasta and stay the night in a cute inn we found.
    Day 2 or 3 Drive to Lava Beds NM
    Day 3 or 4 Drive to Ft. Klamath, OR and stay over night, see Crater Lake
    Day 4 or 5 Drive to Portland, stay 2 nights
    Day 5 or 6 head back to SF via the coast, possibly staying one night there, possibly heading inland to Ashland and staying the night before heading back.

    My questions:

    1) how many days should I play for in Crater Lake?
    2) Google maps shows a route from McCloud to Lava Beds NM that doesn't seem to be related to a road at all. Anyone know if this is an accurate route? I'll also check with the folks in McCloud but thought I'd ask here. here's the URL for the map (via google maps):

    Just stumbled on RTA and I love this site! Thanks in advance,


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    2) I don't think that is valid, it looks to me like it involves forest service roads which may not be open for public access or even paved. Here are the official directions.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You're really rushing the return trip.

    One day for Crater Lake is enough unless you plan on doing extensive hiking. I've been there a few times and I don't think I've ever spent more than about 5 hours there, which included a drive around the lake, the boat ride to Wizard Island, and a short hike on the island.

    Again, unless you're planning on extensive hiking, I can't imagine more than a couple of hours at the Lava Beds.

    I would probably drive from McCloud to Crater Lake in one day (it's only about 160 miles). And those miles include the miles to swing over to the Lava Beds. Instead of staying in Klamath Falls, I'd stay closer to Crater Lake.

    Of course, spend more time in both places if you are going to explore both in depth. I'm just relaying how I'd do it.

    And, if you want to do the coastal drive on the way home, I really encourage you to try to squeeze out an extra day somewhere. The Oregon Coast is just too awesome to go through in the time you're giving it. Especially when you consider the slower-driving you'll find on 101. You'll be going through towns and often slowing to 20-35mph, will find yourself behind RVs or trucks without any place to safely pass them, so you might as well plan a bit more time for it and enjoy it without feeling rushed.

    I really wouldn't head into Ashland on the way home. You'll miss the southern part of the Oregon Coast if you do this. It's too beautiful to miss. If you want to head over to I-5 at one point, you should really wait until you get to McKinleyville-to-Redding. All the other routes take you back north quite a ways unless you leave Oregon at Coos Bay and I really think that would be sad to miss all the beauty of the beaches just to get back onto I-5.

    Anyway, if possible, try for three days for the coast part of your trip.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 05-11-2009 at 08:06 PM. Reason: removed misformated quote

  10. Default

    Awesome! Thanks, everyone. We've decided to extend the coastal portion of our trip by a day or two. Where would you recommend staying on our way back to California from Portland? I've done some searching on this board and elsewhere but there seem to be SO MANY choices! We are into hiking, food, fun/cheesy road stops, beautiful coast, etc.


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