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Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

London, United...
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Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

Road trip from San Francisco to Portland advice please

today, 11:30

Hi all,

Hope to get some advice about a road trip I'm going on in six weeks from San Francisco to Portland.

Got two weeks in the states and want to spend about 4/5 days driving between San Francisco and Portland, setting off on the Tuesday June 3rd morning and arriving the following Saturday/Sunday, spending a few days in Portland before heading to Seattle. The itinerary is fairly flexible so far.

I'm doing the roadtrip solo and looking to find some strange and scenic sites along the way. I currently live in London so comfortable navigating my way around.

A few questions:

-Is 4/5 days enough time to not drive too much and see some sites?

-Do I need to book accommodation in advance or can I do it as I go along? I was planning to work out each days route the night before, but not sure if that'll work.

-Any thoughts on budget per day? I was thinking about $150 for accommodation and food (excluding petrol and car)

-What are some good sites along the way?

-What is a good resource to plan which roads to take? I'd like to stick to the coast for some of it.

Hope people can help out, many thanks in advance

David

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1. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

There are so many options you will have to be picky in choosing where to stop. You could easily spend all 4-5 days in California. And there's plenty of great places in Oregon

If you drive along the coast there's Marin Headlands, Point Reyes National Seashore, Mendocino, Redwoods National Park and a whole bunch of state parks to choose from.

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2. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

If you want to drive along the coast in California going north from San Francisco, you need to drive Hwy 1. A good day's drive is up to Mendocino where there is abundant lodging. Fort Bragg and several other smaller communities have lodging as well. It's a good idea to book ahead in this area.

After Mendocino, Hwy 1 continues north along the coast for about 45 minutes and then cuts inland to Hwy 101. 101 then goes through the redwoods and parallels a scenic road called Avenue of the Giants. There's several state park groves along here and a nice visitor center in Weott.

Hwy 101 continues up to Humboldt Bay and the city of Eureka. You could stop in Ferndale first and enjoy visiting a small Victorian village with quaint shops and B&Bs. Eureka is worth a stop as well. It's revitalized waterfront downtown area has more historic Victorian era buildings than any town in California. Eureka is a good place to spend the night. It has a wide assortment of the chain motels and also some very nice smaller inns and B&Bs.

North of Eureka along Hwy 101 is Redwood National and State Parks. Depending on your interest in the trees, you could spend all day visiting the sights or you could just drive through and enjoy the views from the highway and make your way to Crescent City and then into Oregon.

In Oregon, Hwy 101 runs along the coast mostly and the best place to get ideas of what to see and where to stay is on the Oregon fourm.

Redding, California
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3. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

You can head up Highway 1 for best scenery. Interstate 5 is faster but not really interesting.

I think your budget is just about right. You won't need to make reservations for lodging.

Most of the sights worth seeing (in my opinion) are not really famous - though of course the state parks are all beautiful. Just follow your eyes! If you see a sign that says "winery next right" - then follow that sign. Or if you smell bread baking - stop the car and go buy some. Stuff like that.

It's a great drive. Take your time and enjoy the trip.

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4. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

thanks for the help all, much appreciated!

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5. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

Campy old-school California:

Trees of Mystery (do they teach about Paul Bunyan in England?)

http://www.treesofmystery.net/

When did they add a sky tram?

And watch out for Big Foot: http://bigfootdiscoveryproject.com/

Edited: 21 April 2014, 21:53
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6. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

My bad - that Bigoot museum is South of San Francisco. I know there's one somewhere along I5 up north.

Redding, California
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7. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

I think there is a Bigfoot Museum in Willow Creek ()Humboldt County).

Redding, California
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8. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

Dang! I meant Highway 101.

Oregon Coast
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9. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

Willow Creek has the China Flat Museum, in which there is a "Bigfoot room". It is kind of campy fun. It is not on Hwy 101, nor I-5! It is on Hwy 299 inland from Arcata (just north of Eureka). It is about an hour or just under from Hwy 101 in Arcata, one way.

When are you travelling, David S? If not in high summer, you should be okay not booking ahead.

There are many many things to do and see in the redwoods. Most are on the fairly well beaten path (which is interesting and scenic) but I can direct you to a WWII hidden radar station if you are interested.

Don't miss Newton Drury scenic drive though.

--

The Sky tram was added about 10-12 years ago.

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>> the best place to get ideas of what to see and where to stay is on the Oregon fourm.<<

Yes!

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10. Re: Road trip San Fran to Portland - advice for California bit

We did this drive along the coast a few years ago in late May and took 7 days to go from SF to about half-way up the Oregon coast. We spent 2 nights near Redwood Park, to give us a full day of exploring that area. We should have spent 2 nights at TuTuTun Lodge on the Rogue River so we could have gone jet-boating.

We didn't have reservations, and for the most part didn't need them. But be aware the weather can be changeable -- rain along the coast and even snow in the mountains (on I-5 between CA and OR).

You don't really have time to do everything there is along the route, so pick and choose. If you use Google Maps to estimate driving time, add about 10-20%, as you can't/don't want to drive as fast on some of those roads as the speed limit implies.