Hi there - we are currently planning our next trip to the USA and would welcome some advice as there are endless possibilties and I'm finding it difficult to narrow things down.
We have up to 18 days in Sept/Oct (our dates are fixed) and have been looking at touring the Pacific Northwest. Flights into San Francisco are coming in considerably cheaper than flying to Seattle, Portland or Vancouver and we have family in SFO who it would be good to see, which means that is likely to be our start and end point. We have toured CA south of SFO in the past so want to go to an area we haven't visited before.
At the moment our loose plan is probably to hire a car and make our way north, looping back down to SFO for the flight home. I was thinking we could drive up the California/Oregon coast for at least part of the way going up to Portland and on to Seattle then take an inland route on the way back. There is a lot to see and it's a great distance to cover, I know. We looked at taking the train out of SFO to Portland but the cost of the Coast Starlight service with somewhere to sleep would make that an expensive couple of days. Are there any alternative train services we could take instead to save us from lots of driving?
We need to find a balance between travelling and relaxing and we would like to see some of the natural beauty of the place including the coast, giant redwoods, waterfalls and so on and we also enjoy exploring small towns and the attractions of big cities.
Can anyone suggest an itinerary with some interesting stops along the way plus some must-sees in Portland and Seattle? We are also toying with the idea of spending a couple of days in Vancouver if feasible within the time.
With thanks in advance. I have posted in the relevant state forums too.