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San Fran to Seattle Road Trip June 14th through 24th

Dallas, TX
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San Fran to Seattle Road Trip June 14th through 24th

Hi all! I've noticed there are quite a few people asking similar questions as I am in regards to doing a road trip through the Oregon coast either from or to Seattle/San Fran.

Hopefully my question(s) won't be too redundant. My husband and I will be taking an anniversary trip in June with the first part starting in SF. Neither of us have been to Oregon or WA state, therefore it's hard to gauge drive times between places.

From what I can gather, we should definitely drive the Oregon coast, which I'm excited about! Although, I realize due to time, this will cause us to forgo Crater Lake and Bend and Eugene.

Question #1 - Do you all agree this is the best choice? We will be coming from the Napa Valley area and the choice is to either take the coast or not.

Question #2 - How much time should we allot for discovering the Oregon coast? Should we drive the entire coast or would it suffice to drive to, say, Newport then cut over from there?

Question #3 - Hopefully I can ask this here - how much time would you suggest we allot for Portland? Given we have a total of 10 days for the entire trip, with 4 spent in San Fran/Napa and 1 day to drive to Redwoods/coast if that's the choice we do make (with the night stay in Brookings, OR) and we need the proper time spent for the OR coast... and we would still have need the back part of the trip for WA/Seattle.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!!

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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1. Re: San Fran to Seattle Road Trip June 14th through 24th

Hi and welcome to the forum. That was a terrible twister you folks just had - the videos of the huge trucks hurtling through the air was unbelievable.

#1 - Most visitors opt to drive the coast. Oregon also has mountains, high desert, great farmland, true desert . . . so you could visit whatever interests you the most!

I'm going to answer #2 and #3 together. To drive from SF to Brookings in one day is a lot of driving and not much stopping! Hwy 101 is freeway/four lane but as you get farther north, the freeway becomes a lot of miles of two lane road. It's perfectly fine, but the trucks and RVs travel more slowly, so therefore does the rest of the traffic.

SF to the Eureka area is about 6 hours +/-. From there north is the true scenic area so you won't want to just zip through here. If you drove straight through without stops Brookings is another 2 hours.

The Oregon coast has three sections that are the most scenic. If you drove to Newport area you would see two of them, so you'd get a good sampling driving that far. From Newport it's about 3+ hours to Portland.

Portland is a big city. It's not unattractive and of course has things to do, but not to the extent that SF does. Take a look at some of the things to do and see what interests you. If you like nature, you should try to take at least a half day drive out to the Columbia Gorge to see spectacular waterfalls.

Are you planning to go directly to Seattle (3-4 hours from Portland) and then not spend any time there? I think you will be short on time so will need to make some choices as to what to see!

Dallas, TX
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35 posts
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2. Re: San Fran to Seattle Road Trip June 14th through 24th

Hi Half-brit!

Thanks for your reply - yes, the twister yesterday was horrible. Thankfully, our home was spared as we were just south of the "metroplex" as its called so we were barely touched. Some friends weren't as fortunate and lost all they had.. Just never know when nature will strike.

I believe the Oregon coast is going to be of great interest to us - we are avid explorers, especially around the ocean. I've seen pictures of this coast and can't wait to be there in person. I'm willing to forgo the other parts of Oregon on this trip in order to drive most of the coast.

Right now, day one/night one is in SF. Days 2-5 a.m. (nights 2-4) will be in Napa Valley. It's from there that we would drive to the California coast and up the Oregon Coast. We would like to stop/stay in Portland after the OR coast and visit some breweries and the city in general. Anything outdoors/nature is of interest. And of course from there, to Seattle. Once in Seattle, or on the way there, we would like to visit things of interest in WA if there is time. Whitewater rafting is of interest to us either in OR or WA.

So it seems like the first part of our trip I have allotted the right amount of time to SF and Napa..unless I cut back one night in Napa. It's the remaining part of the trip I'm unsure of...How long on the Oregon coast..do we stop in Portland overnight? etc..

Thanks for your info on the coast being split into 3 sections - I wouldn't feel as if we'd miss on too much if we cut over from Newport.

Newberg, Oregon
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3. Re: San Fran to Seattle Road Trip June 14th through 24th

Glad you came through the tornado onslaught OK. I grew up in northern Illinois and have seen a few of those devils -- thankfully not in my own backyard though.

I might suggest a slight adjustment in your travels up the Oregon Coast. Instead of going over to I-5 from Newport, go another 25 miles north and head over from Lincoln City on Highway 18. Might actually be a little faster as construction to streaighten out parts of Hwy 20 from Newport to Corvallis has had a few problems, and slowdowns are possible, if not likely. Plus, the section of Hwy 101 from Newport to Lincoln City is quite scenic with several pullout stops worth a few minutes -- Agate Beach, Devil's Punchbowl at Otter Rock, Cape Foulweather, Whale Cove and Boiler Bay.

Getting through Salem (take Hwy 22 from 18 a few miles past the Spirit Mountain Casino complex at Grand Ronde) is quick and easy if you take the left exit on the Center Street bridge as you approach the downtown area on the Center Street Bridge over the Willamette River. That will take you to the Salem Parkway and you'll be on I-5, and just 45 miles from Portland within 10 minutes from the bridge.

Edited: 05 April 2012, 02:16
Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: San Fran to Seattle Road Trip June 14th through 24th

it's likely to be too cold to do whitewater rafting in June in OR/WA... unless you want to don wetsuits... would also recommend the Columbia River Gorge and historic highway. its fairly quick access, but provides lots of opportunity for hiking/walking/nature, etc.

after Portland, you might be interested in ditching your car and taking the Amtrak Cascades to Seattle- it is quite scenic along the Puget Sound- the only question there would be getting to the airport- should be doable, but would require some logistics. There arent many stops between Portland and Seattle along I-5, except for Mt St Helens, likely Johnstone Ridge visitor center wont be open in June- although the lower visitors center near I-5 will be...

5. Re: San Fran to Seattle Road Trip June 14th through 24th

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