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Seattle to San Fran - inland or coast?

Bendigo, Australia
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Seattle to San Fran - inland or coast?

Hi, we're planning yet another USA trip and I was thinking of maybe driving from Seattle to San Francisco. It will be mid - late May and we will have around a week for this portion of the trip. We have been to San Fran before so will only stay here for 2 nights so that gives us 5 nights for Seattle and the drive down. Three questions.... Is this enough time or should we add on an extra couple of days? Should we take the coastal route or is there something on the inland route that we must see? Any suggestions of towns/cities to stop overnight on way down?

We love the driving part so are happy to drive for around 4 hours a day as we see the driving as part of the journey.

Thanks!

Norwich, United...
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1. Re: Seattle to San Fran - inland or coast?

In simple terms, it's the coast road for scenery, or inland for speed.

In May access to places inland such as Mount Rainier, Mount St Helens and Crater Lake will probably be severely restricted or completely impossible.

Wednesbury, UK
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2. Re: Seattle to San Fran - inland or coast?

Hi.

I'd add as many days as you can, it would be easy to spend a couple of weeks on that drive, maximising the sightseeing opportunities.

At that time of year, in the timescale your looking at I'd go with the coast mostly. Some of the inland locations, Mt Rainier, maybe Mt St Helens and Crater Lake will most probably still be snow bound, if its a normal winter.

Down the coast you have Olympic NP (why you need more time), Columbia River Gorge east from Portland, Oregon Coast including the Oregon Dunes, and the Redwoods parks not to mention Hwy 1 and the Lost Coast, Mendocino etc.

In May its quite likely going to be damp in the PNW, so pack your rain gear!

Wednesbury, UK
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3. Re: Seattle to San Fran - inland or coast?

If you only have 4 nights for the drive, I'd go ( but a couple more nights would be better).

1. Seattle to Portland, via Yakima and then west along the Columbia River Gorge from the Dalles.

2. Out to Hwy 101 and down the coast to Florence or Bandon.

3. To Trindad via Redwoods NP.

4. To Medocino via Ave of Giants, Garberville, and then Hwy 1, from Leggett.

5. Finish Hwy 1 to SF crossing Gloden Gate ( pay toll online).

Edited: 19 May 2014, 13:01
Bendigo, Australia
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4. Re: Seattle to San Fran - inland or coast?

You are awesome, thanks for the great suggestions. Will do a bit of tweeking and try to add a few more days, we don't want to cut ourselves short. Thanks again!

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Seattle to San Fran - inland or coast?

Allocate plenty of time for the Columbia Gorge; the waterfalls will be in full spate, and spring in the Hood River Valley is lovely. You can also visit Timberline Lodge on the side of Mount Hood, where there will still be snow on the ground (maybe a lot of it.) The Maryhill museum (www.maryhillmuseum.org) is a fun stop right where US 97 hits the Columbia River.

If time allows, a stop at Cape Disappointment at the mouth of the river is a must - lighthouses, waves on rocks, fascinating history.

My preferred stop in the redwoods is Ferndale, south of Eureka.

Watch out for the Memorial Day holiday weekend (last Monday in May) when accommodation in tourist areas can get very tight.

6. Re: Seattle to San Fran - inland or coast?

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