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  1. Default Portland to San Francisco and Back Again


    I am planning a trip from Sept 12 - 26th out on the West Coast. Flying in to Portland on the 12, driving down to SF on the 13th until the 18th or the 19th, then heading back to Portland until the 26th.

    I would like to drive down the coast and could use some help planning out what to see and where to stay. I am thinking of hitting the coast on the way down, staying in SF for 3 days, then hitting Napa on the way back to Portland. Do you think this is too ambitious?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Time Enough

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You've got plenty of time for the trip you envision, so no, I don't think it's too ambitious at all. You could probably do just the driving portion of it in 2-3 days each way, so the rest of your two weeks can be devoted to stopping wherever you find something interesting. For one of the best summaries of what's generally available in that area, I refer you to these links.


  3. Default

    Thanks for the links - the San Francisco leg of the trip would be from September 13-18th, that includes driving time and 2-3 days in SF. Still think it is doable?

    I am concerned about how long it takes to drive down the coast. If I want to do the dive in 2 days on the way down, how far do I need to make it on the first day in order to get to SF in the early evening on the second day?

    I was thinking 2 day drive down the coast on the way down, and on the drive back taking I5 and doing an all day drive to get back to Portland.

    I know there is a lot of stuff to see on the coast so I am worried a 2 day drive down will be rushing it but I also want to spend some time in SF as we are thinking of moving there.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default In that case

    I agree with Buck that you've got plenty of time to see things each direction, and have time to explore the cities of SF and Portland.

    However, based on how you are trying to break this up, it really no longer becomes a roadtrip - its just 2 week trip exploring 2 cities, with a couple of sprints between them.

    I'm not even completely confident that you could make the trip down the coast from Portland to SF in 2 days, once you consider how slow going the road is. But even if you can cover the miles, you'd have to be in the car for long hours each day, with zero time to stop along the way. Going back up via I-5, can be done in one long (11-12 hours) day, but once again, that leaves zero time to see anything other than what's next to the freeway. Napa, Crater Lake, or anything else would not be possible on that timetable.

    You've got time to have a nice trip here, but if you have already decided that you need to spend more than 10 days of your 2 week trip in just 2 places, then that really is going to squeeze your ability to do anything else.

  5. Default

    Yeah that is what I thought - how about taking the 13, 14, and getting to SF on the 15th in the evening - driving down the coast.

    Staying in SF the 16 and 17th - then hitting I5 on the way back on the 18th.

    I could also extend one more day and return to Portland on Saturday the 19th.

    What are your thoughts on that timetable?

    I think 2 days in SF would be enough.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default enough is enough

    Only you can decide how much time is going to be enough in any spot. Three days will let you see some things while making it down the coast, but even then, you'll have to keep moving to a degree.

    To me the bigger question is, what's your reason for spending more than a full week of this trip exclusively in Portland? That's really what's draining your available time much more than the decision between spending 2 or 3 days in SF.

  7. Default

    We are visiting family there and want to spend more time there to see if we want to move there - it is definitely a drain on the time we have but probably can't be changed.

    Since we will be spending so much time in Portland we will probably do some day trips - we do not need to see anything on our trip to SF that we can do in a day during our week in Portland.

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