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  1. #1

    Default San Diego to Portland in May

    My 20 year old daughter and I are planning a road trip from San Diego to Portland(???) beginning on May 1st. We are huge beach people and love old historic towns/cemetaries, etc. It would be nice to see the Redwoods and POSSIBLY some of the wine area although that is probably our least interests. I'm hoping to save some money in doing nature areas/sites that are free or are at a very minimal fee. Also, we cannot camp but would be interested in other very affordable lodging options along the line. A couple of questions: 1) Suggestions on "must see's" for this trip 2) suggestions for time frame in which to complete this --- 5 days, 7 days - 10 would be the absolute maximum we could accomplish 3) If not all the way to Portland, what other major city other than San Francisco should we plan to fly out of back to Atlanta, GA or Charlotte, NC?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default The Art of the Possible

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Most RoadTrips are just as yours, a constant struggle between what we'd like to do (Everything!) and what the constraints of our calendars and wallets allow. So let's first concentrate on the major 'allows'. San Diego to Portland can be done in as little as two days if all you do is get an early start each day and head straight up I-5. So time should not be too much of a limiting factor in your planning. After San Francisco, there really are no other price-competitive airports until you get to Portland. Now, I'm assuming that you're going to be doing this in a rental car, which is cheapest if you get the weekly rate, so plan on seven days for the entire RoadTrip including any time spent in San Diego before you actually hit the road.

    Finally, there are several low-cost, national motel chains such as Red Roof Inns, Motel 6, Super 8, Travelodge, etc., although I generally find it to be a better value to go a step up to mid-range chains such as Days Inn, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and the like. You will also usually find lower prices out away from the major cities, and so a tactic I use is to pull up short of a city I plan on visiting, drive in after morning rush hour, spend the better part of the day sight-seeing, and then get out of town either before or after evening rush hour ad get an hour or two down the road towards my next destination before stopping again for the night. This takes a bit of pre-planning, but I prefer to do my motel shopping before I hit the road anyway so that I have the time to search for the best prices/rooms that suit my itinerary from the comfort of my own home rather than trying to find a deal in the dark when I'm tired and in a strange place.

    As to "must sees", we really don't like that concept since everyone's tastes differ, but a few of the places and sights you ought to be considering include: Balboa Park in San Diego - you could easily spend an entire day there, so be sure to check in at the visitors center to find out everything they have to offer. The Pacific Coast Highway - north from Los Angeles to San Francisco on CA-1 (note that I have no recommendations for Los Angeles) taking in the seal and sea lion rookeries (free) and the many state parks (free for the most part). Monterey/Carmel - The Carmel Mission, Cannery Row, walking tours of Historic Monterey, and the seashore are all free to very low cost. San Francisco, the Presidio, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, all free as are just the sights, sounds, and smells of the city. Golden Gate Bridge - toll but worth it. PCH again - Point Reyes National Seashore, Salt Point State Park, Manchester Beach State Park, and Russian Gulch State Park, all free. Redwoods - near Orick, Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods Park, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Oregon Coast - the entire Oregon coast is dotted with state parks, but also check out the Lewis and Clark historic sites around Astoria. Portland - any one of the many rose gardens for which the city is famous.

    So, there's plenty to choose from and plenty of time to do much of it, just not enough to do everything.


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