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Route Options - SF to Eureka

Scottsdale, AZ
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5 posts
2 reviews
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Route Options - SF to Eureka

My wife and I are planning to drive from SF to Eureka and are trying to decide on the right mix of scenic/coastal roads and more direct highways.

We've never done this drive before and will be leaving SF first thing on a Saturday morning and staying in Eureka that evening. We also will have our six month-old in the back seat, so minimizing some of the really twisty roads would probably be best for us.

Thoughts? We'll be heading up from Eureka to Portland the next day so if there are other picturesque spots to consider instead of (or in addition to) hwy 1 from SF to Eureka we'll take those ideas as well!

Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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1. Re: Route Options - SF to Eureka

Driving Hwy 101 all the way from San Francisco is about 275 miles. AAA gives it 5 hr. 30 minutes. You could cut over to the coast on 128, joining Hw 1 just south of Mendocino, this is about 55 miles. Then you would have 65 miles of Hwy 1 before it joins Hwy 101, but this section is not as scenic as some.

Given the baby and the length of the drive I would stick with 101 and save your coastal drive after you leave Eureka the next day. On the way to Eureka you will pass Humboldt Redwood State Park and a couple of redwood reserves.

After Eureka you are on the coast and you go through Redwood National Park and a couple of state redwood parks.

I would not suggest getting on Hwy 1 from San Francisco because it goes through Point Reyes and then skirts Tomales Bay before turning inland for awhile just before Bodega Bay. One of the most spectacular drives is the 10 miles between Jenner and Fort Ross, but this is VERY twisty. Once past Jenner you cannot cut back to Hwy 101 conveniently

Eureka, CA
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7 posts
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2. Re: Route Options - SF to Eureka

I agree. Forget about HWY 1. Your passenger(s) will be ready to walk by the time you get here.

HWY 101 from SF to Eureka can easily eat up your day with lots to see without having to add HWY 1. Check out the Avenue of the Giants that runs parallel to 101. You can pick it up several places and its an easy hop back to 101. Wonderful easy drive through gorgeous old redwoods, places to pull over, a few restaurants and stores to pick up a picnic lunch.

From Eureka north to Crescent City you can enjoy a lot of ocean views and access along 101. Be aware of sneaker waves. They are real and kill a handful of folks every year. If the signs say be aware of surf please do so.

A few tips on Eureka:

Carson Inn - pricey but wonderful place to stay in Old Town.

Quality Inn - Usual mid range motel. Clean and near Old Town.

Lost Coast Brewery - Funky family place. Good food.

Mazottis - Family italian. Good prices for big servings.

Roy's Club - Old style italian. Pricey but awesome.

Hurricane Kates - Good CA cuisine. Nice art.

Hue - Asian / Thai. Small little place and best of its kind for Eureka. Great owner.

Eureka, CA
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7 posts
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3. Re: Route Options - SF to Eureka

BTW - From SF through Santa Rosa can be a pain for traffic. Don't worry... once past Ukiah you will wonder where everyone went.

Eureka, CA
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4. Re: Route Options - SF to Eureka

bitman is right on the mark. It's a full day's trip getting to Eureka from San Francisco by way of 101. Through the wine country and up into the redwoods you will marvel at the beautiful scenery. And later, going north to Portland from Eureka, the 101 will afford you world-class views of the ocean. So on this trip, spare yourselves Highway 1.

Also, he has given good advice about sleeper (rogue) waves. My friend's son was swept off a large rock and drowned by just one such unexpected huge wave. Up here we don't turn our backs on the ocean.

Scottsdale, AZ
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5. Re: Route Options - SF to Eureka

THANK YOU to everyone for your informative posts! We will definitely take your advice re: HWY 101 and stay away from the water this time.

Hope this helps others who look at taking this drive in the future!

6. Re: Route Options - SF to Eureka

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