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  1. Default Vancouver to San Francisco

    Hi All,
    would love to hear advice on an RV trip we are planning in October. We have an 8 and 6 year old boys and are mainly picking this region for its beautiful scenery, so different to what we have in Australia. My thoughts are leave Vancouver via ferry to Victoria for 1 night then to Seattle on Ferry. Collect RV in Seattle where we will probably have to stay the night and then head through Olympic National Park area down the coast all the way to San Fracisco. We have about 4 or 5 nights to do this. What recommendations can you experts offer re things that we should stop and see and where are good well spaced places to stop. Would prefer to stop in RV places close to nature, not in cement "RV Parks" if you know what I mean.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Trees and Sand - and Don't Forget the Mountains

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    The allure of the Pacific Northwest is due mainly to it beaches and forests, and you can hardly miss them, but there are a few other things worth going a bit out of your way for. But first - I'm pretty sure there is no ferry service from Vancouver to Victoria. Rather, the ferries operate between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. So you'll have to provide your own transport between Vancouver and Tsawwassen, and between Swartz Bay and Victoria. If you will have a car in Canada, then that's no problem and you should also look at a visit to Butchart Gardens north of Victoria for mom and both the Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre in Duncan northwest of town and the Natural History Museum in Victoria for the boys.

    In the U.S., National Parks are some of the best of the best. Be sure when visiting those along your route to check in at the visitors' centers and ask about the Junior Ranger program. These are a set of age appropriate activities for children your sons' ages and when your boys complete the tasks, they get a badge specific to the park. Makes a nice souvenir and they'll learn something as well.

    So, besides the obvious - Olympic National Park, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Redwood National Park, and Point Reyes National Seashore - what else would appeal to a couple of young boys (and their parents)? Well certainly a short drive up the old Historic Columbia River Highway from Portland to check out some of the many scenic overlooks and waterfalls (all just very short walks from the parking lots) would be in order as would a visit to the restored Fort Clatsop just south of Astoria where costumed interpreters tell the story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803-1806. In southern Oregon, head inland for a bit and visit Crater Lake National Park. And finally in San Francisco itself, be sure to visit the Exporatorium and take the ferry out to Alcatraz as well as ride the cable cars and visit Fisherman's Wharf.

    As for where to stay overnight, there are state and national parks all along the coast, and those would be your best bets for camping. Not all will have camp sites or RV hookups, but enough will that a little advance planning (do a web search on {statename state parks} will yield several possibilities. With 4 days to cover the ground between the Olympic Peninsula and San Francisco, you should look to stop roughly in Astoria, OR, Reedsport, OR and Eureka, CA. Those aren't hard and fast destinations, just kind of broad targets to keep you on deadline.


  3. Default

    thanks so much for taking the time to reply. wow sounds like we are going to have a ball. the boys will love doing junior ranger stuff, awesome tip. you've given me much now to work pn and research. thanks again

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default Here's a tad more about the Junior Ranger program

  5. Default moving on to Yosemite, Death V, Grand Can to Vegas!

    Thanks for the added info on the JR programme. And seeing as you are from Vegas, I might take to opportunity to pick your brains on the next leg of our journey...After a 6 day stop in San Francisco, which will nicely coincide with Halloween, not an Aussie thing at all so the boys are VERY excited...we will head to Vegas in a round about way. I'd like to pass through Yosemite, Death Valley and to Grand Canyon before dropping off the RV in Vegas. I plan to have 5 or 6 nights between San Fran and Vegas but not sure which places or route would be the best given it is going to be beginning of November. Also I am confused over Canyon North Rim/Southe east/west etc...and no I am NOT blond!!
    Any advice??

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Weather dependant.

    By November you can start to see winter conditions in Yosemite and Grand canyon, especially at high elevations. The route from Yosemite to Death valley via Tioga pass [CA120] can be affected by this due to ice and snow and will typically close for the season [untill May or June] around this time of year. There is a good chance you will be able to take this fantastic drive to the 395 and then head South and across Death valley, but if not you will have to head South to the Bakersfield area and go around the mountains. The Rangers in Yosemite will have all the up to date info, and will be able to advise you accordingly. Either way around your route would look like this; Yosemite > Death valley > Grand canyon > Vegas. I would definitely take 6 nights if possible, 2 in Yosemite, 1 in [or around] Death valley, 2 in Grand canyon and one to break the journey between DV and GC, perhaps at the Oasis in Vegas ?

    While in Yosemite, I would recommend one of the "Pines" campground on the valley floor, set amongst the tree's. Be sure to take the drive up to Glacier point, [weather permitting] it is a view you will never forget !
    For the Grand canyon, I would recommend the "Mather" campground at the South rim. Only the North and South rim are part of the National park system, and the North rim will be either closed or extremely cold in November, as it sits at a higher elevation and is more remote. Mather campground is a short walk to the village and the rim for great views of the canyon.

    Halloween in SF was pretty cool when we were there, kids aged from 9 months to 90 years walking around in costumes, pumpkins etc everywhere, the kids will love it, as will you ! I hope you have a trip to Alcatraz in mind, it's a great experience.

  7. Default RV accom in San Francisco

    HI All,
    We are looking at 5 or 6 days in San Francisco in an RV the very end of October. I am after advice on where to stay. Obviously we want to be able to access all the sights in the city but have heard driving is a nightmare so will need to use public transport...Anyone been recently who would care to share?
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 07-20-2010 at 07:35 AM. Reason: Merged - Please don't create multiple threads about the same trip

  8. Default

    sorry I am new to Forums! Didn't mean to do the wrong thing, but haven't found any advice about WHERE to stay, only What to DO in SF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Limited options.

    RV parks in San Fran are quite limited, and although I haven't stayed there personally a popular one is the Candlestick RV park that offers a shuttle bus service into the City. It would seem you pay a premium for the lack of competition although there are other options available if you google for them.

    You are right in thinking that SF is not suited to RV travel for getting around the City, and parking can be costly, so the shuttle bus could be a useful tool. One warning though, it seems to be more of a parking lot for RV's then it is a resort, with tight parking bay's!!
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 07-20-2010 at 09:04 AM. Reason: Added a thought.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default ...And You Probably Won't

    One of the things that makes RoadTrip America unique among the plethora of travel websites is that its recommendations are based on the personal experiences of the contributing members, Unfortunately there are only a handful or two of people who regularly share their hard earned knowledge, and literally thousands of possible lodging options. There is simply no way for us to suggest specific accommodations anywhere. For example, when I have stayed in the San Francisco area I have stayed either with friends and family or at downtown hotels chosen for their proximity to the convention center. None of those would work for you. Similarly, when I travel now my family and I generally stay in B&Bs when on the road and in house rentals when staying in an area for an extended period, again not your typical accommodations. There are websites out there that specialize in reviews of motels and the like, such as, and others, but note that the economy is increasingly driving them to be booking sites rather than impartial review sites. The best advice anyone can give you is to do your own research, since you know far better than anyone else what your needs and tastes are. If you have stayed in certain chains before and they have suited you, then check their websites for locations near your current destination. It's not a guarantee, but it's at least an indication.


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