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  1. #1

    Default Driving from Seattle to San Diego - Help Needed !!

    I've read other threads on this but didn't see much regarding the route I want to take or a few of the cities I'm looking at staying in (i.e. Fort Bragg, Crescent City, Lincoln City, etc). I've never been to California nor have I ever been on an out of state road trip so I'm just trying to put everything together with the little knowledge I have.

    It has always been a dream of mine to drive the PCH. I love to drive, and I really love to drive on scenic roads, so the PCH is sort of like my holy grail. If I'm going to do it I'd like to try to get the most out of my trip, which is why I'm thinking of going all the way from Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA, with full days spent in Seattle, San Francisco, LA area (2 if possible), and San Diego. Right now, I've only got 9 days, and I'm looking at flying into Seattle the eve of Friday, September 3rd and departing from San Diego the eve of Sunday, September 12th. I picked early September for a few reasons, a) I'm hoping the weather will still be pretty good b) I'm hoping it'll be just past "peak season" so traffic won't be as bad and c) it allows me enough time to save the money :-) What are your guys' thoughts on this?

    I'd probably leave Seattle for Lincoln City Saturday afternoon. The only city I'd like to spend more than one night in is LA. I'm debating which cities to stay in, right now I have Seattle, Lincoln City, Crescent City, Fort Bragg, SF, San Luis Obispo, LA, and San Diego. Thoughts?

    Google Maps tells me the coastal route I'd want to take is around 31 hours of driving and totals just over 1,500 miles.

    I think this would be the rough plan (based on 12-hour driving/sightseeing days):

    Fri eve - Arrive around 8:00PM in Seattle

    Sat - sightsee 7 hours drive 5 hours - possible stops in Tacoma, Olympia, Aberdeen, and Astoria
    Sat eve hotel - Lincoln City

    Sun - sightsee 5 hours drive 7 hours - possible stops in Florence, Coos Bay, and Gold Beach
    Sun eve hotel - Crescent City

    Mon - sightsee 7 hours drive 5 hours - possible stops in Klamath and Eureka
    Mon eve hotel - Fort Bragg

    Tues - sightsee 7 hours drive 5 hours - possible stops in Gualala and Bodega Bay
    Tues eve hotel - SF

    Wed - sightsee 7 hours drive 5 hours - possible stops in Oakland, San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Monterey
    Wed eve hotel - San Luis Obispo

    Thurs - sightsee 7 hours drive 5 hours - possible stops in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Malibu and Santa Monica
    Thurs eve hotel - LA

    Fri - sightsee 10 hours drive 2 hours - with stops in Hollywood, Compton, Beverly Hills
    Fri eve hotel - LA

    Sat - sightsee 8 hours drive 4 hours - possible stops in Long Beach, Anaheim and Oceanside
    Sat eve hotel - San Diego

    Sun - sightsee 6 hours
    Sun eve - Depart around 5:00PM

    That allows for roughly 38 hours of driving (7 more than trip calls for) and 64 hours of sightseeing.

    By the way there will be either 2, 3 or 4 people on the trip. I'm thinking we'll rent a basic car in Seattle for $600-$800/week and drive that most of the way. I may want to upgrade rentals and hotel choices as we get further into California. ;-)

    Budget will be around $2500-$3000/person.

    I figure expenses will break down in this ballpark: $400/person RT airfare, $1000 car rental, $1200 hotel, $250-$300 gas, $350-$400/person food, $1000/person fun/misc spending. I plan to go the economical route most of the way, but I do want to splurge on at least two nights, and I also want to rent a Porsche or other performance car to drive one day. I plan to see pretty much all the sites to see along the coast but I also want to do some other things like take a 20-30 minute open air plan ride along the OR/WA coast, some dune buggy racing near Florence, and a food tour or two in LA. What do you guys think? What else should I look to do? What other places should I look to visit or stay the night in? I'm a big foodie so unique and/or famous food spots would be great to know!

    All suggestions, tips, or other pieces of advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Last edited by Audi; 05-26-2010 at 01:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I would replan the trip, and add 20% to the computer's predicted drive times, even more on the winding 2 lane stretches of the coast road. I don't see how you can make it from SF to SLO via Oakland then back to the coast road with only 5 hours behind the wheel.

  3. #3


    Drive times are meant as guidelines more than anything, and the trip to Oakland would come as part of exploring the SF area, so that wouldn't be included in the 5 hours of drive time, that's just for a straight shot from SF to SLO with a couple stops along the way. I understand it will probably take more than 5 hours to get from SF to SLO especially with the stops and all, but that's why that day includes 7 hours of sightseeing. You see, google maps said the trip would take 31 hours, I planned for around 37-38 hours, which, as you suggested, is about 20% more.

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