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Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

California
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Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

We want to plan a trip to drive from San Francisco to Seattle. This is our first trip, and I'm looking for any suggestions for the following:

1. The Drive. We plan to spend two days driving. Any suggestions on nice places to stay in Oregon (1/2 point, I guess) that is along the route? Although we don't want to veer off-course, are there any sites that can be visited along the way?

2. Seattle. We plan to spend about 5 days in downtown Seattle. What are some must visit places? We will have a 15 month old with us so we may be limited to where we can go!

Thanks in advance!

Seattle
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1. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

Two days one night? You do realize you're looking at 8 hours freeway driving each day, right?

Ashland is the logical place to stop.

Given how mind-numbing 8 hours of freeway driving is, I'm not sure you'd want to lengthen your day by stopping. And other than Portland, the things worth seeing are a good way off the freeway (eg. Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, Crater Lk, Columbia River Gorge).

Have you considered spending less time in Seattle so you have more time to make the drive and see some things?

I know there have been several recent posts on things to do in Seattle with young children--try doing a search.

Cloverdale...
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2. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

I agree that Ashland would be a good stop. Pretty little town. You will still have quite a drive ahead of you but you can break that up by stopping in Portland. And try not to come through Portland during the commute hours. It is real nightmare! Previous to moving here from California, we made the same drive many times (more than I care to count!). Oregon and Washington have very nice rest stops if you need to take a break. Many have coffee, pastries and WiFi and are very clean and safe. It is about 13 hours, non-stop, of drive time from SF. 2 days is more than enough to drive to Seattle unless you want to sight see along the way.

As to Seattle,, where do I start? What do you like to do? What are your interests? What area are you staying in? Definately plan upon getting out of Seattle for 1-2 days. Whidbey Island is wonderful. Also, catch the ferry to Bainbridge Island and see some of the Peninsula. Port Townsend, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island,Hurricane Ridge, etc. If you enjoy art, the Glass Museum in Tacoma is incredible. So much to see! Seattle has so much to see and do. It is hard to recommend what to do without knowing what your interests are. Whatever you choose you will love it, I'm sure. It is a beautiful but casual city with many wonderful neighborhoods and great food and some great art.

Washington
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3. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

Who are these drivers? Every day someone is like "hey I'm driving up to Seattle from San Francisco".

I've done this drive 400 times. It's not 8 hours a day. It's about 6 hours a day on I-5 tops. With stops and hanging out, grabbing dinner or lunch and breakfast adn taking pictures and hanging out and on and on...yeah, maybe 8 hours. But straight driving from SF to Seattle: 12 hours on I-5.

Agree. Ashland. Nice southern oregon town. North of Redding is very nice. The sacramento valley is beautiful but no spots per se of note to stop. But enjoy that part of the drive, esp with a sun setting in the west at around 7 or 8pm. Stay in Weed, CA. Get into the drive / freeway / interstate / norther cal, southern oregon "FEEL" of the trip. Weed is a great trucker town / by way stop with some cool restaurants and great "highway motels".

Stop in Portland.

California
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4. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

Thanks for the feedback so far!

We were thinking of making the drive from San Francisco to Seattle in 2 days, but we are certainly open to extending the drive by one day as well.

We don't really have a set agenda at this point for most of our trip (which we are still deciding on the duration of 7-9 days). We'll be staying in downtown Seattle off Pine Street (since we got a discounted wedding rate) to attend a wedding at the Thornewood Castle.

I'll also try to search, as another member suggested, for past discussions about children's activities in Seattle or other parts of Washington.

Many thanks,

Lisa

California
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5. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

I realize the number of days didn't really add up in my previous post. We are open to taking anywhere from 1 week to a week and a half for this trip/drive. Another option may be taking 3 days to get to Seattle and 2 days to drive back to San Francisco.

Seattle
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6. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

So you're driving both up and back? Then you should definitely consider going the coastal route one way (preferably southbound as it's easier to pull off 101 at scenic viewpoints) and I-5 the other. If you do the coastal route, take at least 3 days/2 nights to do it.

Fox Island...
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7. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

Definitely try to go along the coast one way and inland the other direction. Thornewood Castle is in Lakewood which is south of Tacoma. That will be about an hour drive after the wedding back to your hotel in Seattle. Have you considered staying that night in Tacoma?

California
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8. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

I didn't know about the coastal vs the I-5 route. Will definitely look into that! Again, thanks for the replies - definitely helps us!

California
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9. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

I told my husband about the posts here. He didn't know about the coastal route either.

He asked me to find out:

Google Maps says it takes 6 hours to get from San Jose to Ashland and 7 hours and 15 minutes to get from Ashland to Seattle. Does that sound about right? I've been told that it might be hard to find accomodations near Ashland because of the Shakespeare Festival at this point (around Labor Day time)? Do you think that's true and if so, is there another good place to stop for that first night (if we go North on I-5 for 2 days)?

thanks again!

Fox Island...
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10. Re: Drive from San Francisco to Seattle

I have stayed several times at the Seven Feathers Resort and Casino in Oregon which is halfway between Medford and Eugene. They are right on I-5 and there are plenty of signs. The food is good, rooms are very nice, and they have the casino attached.