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  1. Default Seattle to San Fran (via oregon coast)

    Hi All

    I've been reading these forums for weeks, people here are so amazing with their knowledge and being willing to help. Thanks in advance if anyone can help with this. I have two option for a four day trip from Seattle to San Fran. I want to drive some scenic coast and see the Redwoods then get to San Fran in daylight.

    Option 1 Coast then inland

    Seattle for a coupla days then...

    Day 1 Seattle to Cannon Beach
    Day 2 Cannon Beach to Yachats
    Day 3 Yachats to Eureka
    Day 4 Eureka to San Fran

    Option 2 Forest then Coast

    Day 1 Seattle to Portland
    Day 2 Portland to Gasquet to stay at an off-grid cabin
    Day 3 Gasquet to Mendocino via Humbolt and avenue of giants etc
    Day 4 Mendocino San Fran

    This would give me two days forest, two days ocean.

    What do you think?

    Last edited by Shaunagus; 03-24-2014 at 10:33 AM. Reason: Lost original thread

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Lots of Time is Not Unlimited Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    While four days is more than many people would devote to a drive from Seattle to San Francisco, it may not be enough to do everything that you would like. Choices must be made, unfortunately, and there are a couple of places that I would highly recommend to you that aren't on your list as yet. The first general recommendation would be to get a few more miles farther down the road on your first day. Many of your "must see" location are in the southern portion of your trip and you should get there with some speed when you are freshly starting out.

    Specifically, at Olympia I'd take US-101 north towards Port Angeles and then OR-8/US-12/OR-107 west to US-101 south. (You can see what's happening on a map.) Follow US-101 down the coast, perhaps using WA-401 as a shortcut between Nemah and Astoria. Just south of Astoria is one of the sites that I'd suggest you visit if you possibly can: Fort Clatsop. There are more than a dozen state parks along the Oregon coast, most of which offer trails along bluffs overlooking the ocean, views of sea stacks, access to the shore, or all of the above. Consult your map and pick a few that fit in with your other stops or long driving sections. But ultimately you should try to get a bit farther south than Cannon Beach which, after all, is only 200 miles from Seattle by the route suggested. Tillamook or even Lincoln City would be a better target for your first day's efforts. One site that my wife and I found surprisingly enjoyable in this area was the Tillamook Forestry Center a bit inland from the coast, but worth the detour.

    That would set you up for Day 2 with more stops along the Oregon Coast, but a major stop at the northern California redwoods, using the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and hiking the Lady Bird Johnson Grove at Redwood National Park. Then, rather than staying in Eureka which has a more commercial feel to it, try Arcata just north of there which is a funky college town with its own distinct vibe, particularly around the town plaza.

    On Days 3 and 4 continue to work your way down the coast. Now, while CA-1 can be a bit slow at times, I think I'd use it rather than US-101. CA-1 is the only way to get to great coastal towns such as Mendocino (the entire town is a state historic site) or scenic lighthouses such as that at Point Arena. An overnight stay in the Bodega Bay area would set you up nicely for a final day consisting of visiting Point Reyes National Seashore and still having time to cross the Golden Gate Bridge before evening rush hour, let alone sunset.


  3. Default

    Cheers Buck

    Appreciate the suggestions...taking on board your idea to get as far as possible on day one, do you think it's manageable to get to Newport?

    So it would look like

    Day 1 Seattle to Newport (I-5 to Astoria then 101 down through Cannon Beach) 300 miles/6 hours

    Day 2 Newport to Arcata (via Newton B Drury and Prairie Creek) 250 miles/5.5 hours

    Day 3 Arcata to Bodega Bay (via Mendocino) 250 miles/6 hours

    Day 4 Golden Gate

    It's about 6 hours per day driving times not including stops....according to googlemaps anyway. If that's do-able I might be tempted to drive through at stay somewhere near Napa on day 3 instead of Route 1 then it's a really short morning drive into San Fran

    What you think?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Bonny Hills , Australia


    My wife and I covered Seattle to San Francisco as part of out 8 week Road trip last year.It took a bit longer than 4 days.

    Day 1 was from Seattle to Olympic NP.
    Day2- Olymic NP to Portland.
    Day 3 - Portland - Columbia River Gorge- The Dalles and across to Crater Lake NP
    Day 4 - Crater Lake to Cresent City.
    Day 5- Cresent City - Redwood - Avenue of the Giants - Fort Braggs and onto San Francisco.

    A fantastic drive and some beautiful places to stop off. Getting close to the end of our trip so a day or so more would hae been nice.


  5. #5


    I would vote for taking ferry (Edmonds-Kingston) across from Seattle to Puget Sound and take 101 via Port Angles down west and south... This might take one full day if you decide to stop and enjoy many small attractions...

  6. Default

    Hi John and Jm

    Jon - that's amazing but just too long for us plus I really want to do highway 101 as it seems to be one of the worlds great scenic drives. (This also part of a longer road trip and once we've been in San Fran a few days will head to Grand Canyon via Yosemite, Tioga Pass, Death Valley, Vegas and a bit of Route 66 but I am more confident about that part of it)

    JM I like the idea of the ferry then 101 along the river down to Astoria and Cannon Beach then south to Newport but according to google maps from Kingston to Newport would take 7 hours driving. Add the ferry time to that it's probably too much in a day to stop and see anything. Are google maps reliable for driving times in this area do you think?
    Last edited by Shaunagus; 03-26-2014 at 07:23 AM. Reason: Got names wrong

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Always add 20% to Google drive times. You also have to research the ferry schedules.

  8. Default

    Thanks GLC yeah, I am thinking the ferry idea might not work, cool as it sounds, in the time we have.

  9. #9


    JM I like the idea of the ferry then 101 along the river down to Astoria and Cannon Beach then south to Newport but according to Google maps from Kingston to Newport would take 7 hours driving. Add the ferry time to that it's probably too much in a day to stop and see anything. Are google maps reliable for driving times in this area do you think?
    Agree this might be tight. I driven this route and its likely going to be no-traffic. Most of locals will bypass you at higher speed. The only annoyance might be a 18 wheelers hauling logs and other stuffs that you may end up following for few miles...

    I took ferry around 5:30/6:00 AM to skip Seattle traffic and I was near Port Angles in early morning for good coffee. Google maps? .... add some additional time like going through small towns and stopping for scenic views... I was in Portland just before sunset with some stops along the way.

    Last edited by jm98; 03-27-2014 at 08:43 AM.

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