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Traveling the Coast of CA, OR and WA (ideas where best to stop?)

edited July 2013 in Everything Else
My wife and I are planning a trip from one of California's southern cities to Seattle in September/October time frame. What places a long the coast should I attempt to see and what's over rated. probably will have about 10 or 11 days and a limited budget.

(calculate about 2000 dollars for flights, car rental and gas going from San Diego to Seattle) Probably going to spend a day or two in Seattle at the end of the trip. Though I could start in LA or San Fran to cut some driving out.
Post edited by Cremlian on


  • Clean bathrooms. Don't stop at the dirty ones.
  • edited July 2013

    Oregon: Seaside, Portland for Voodoo Donuts, Astoria (home of the Goonies)

    Washington: if you're going to Seaside or Astoria, you can always drive up along the 101 and check out Long Beach. It's touristy, but pretty. If you want to keep up on the peninsula, I hear the state parks there are cool. Never been.

    Other than that, most of south Washington is boring as balls unless you want to check out our volcanoes of doom: Mt. St. Helens or Mt. Rainier.

    It not, just stick to Seattle. Plenty of stuff to check out there, but you got your peeps in Seattle, so you'll be good to go.

    Also, you should check out Canada. Victoria or Vancouver. Fun times.
    Post edited by Rochelle on
  • I can't speak to Southern California (aside from the really obvious ones like Disneyland), but in Northern California, the Redwoods are a nice way to break up the drive (there's not much else out there).

    Agree with Ro on Oregon and Washington. If you're going up 101 to get to Seaside/Astoria, just south of Seaside is Tillamook. If you like dairy products, their factory is a must-visit. Along with Long Beach, you can visit Ocean Shores, they are fairly similar in my mind. If you continue on up the peninsula, Port Angeles is a nice place to visit. In Port Angeles you can even hop a ferry over to Victoria, BC if you'd like.

    If you want my personal opinion though, considering that you are looking at a Sept/Oct time frame, when you get to Astoria, you should cut inland to Portland and just stay off the Washington coast. That's late enough in the year that the coast will likely be cold and not worth the time.
  • edited July 2013
    Oh yeah Tillamook. CHEESE. DELICIOUS CHEESE.

    If you like the wines, check out any of the wineries we have up here. I'm partial to Chateau St. Michelle.

    If you go up the peninsula, you should check out Forks, WA. :3
    Post edited by Rochelle on
  • Yea was planning to go to Portland gotta relive the nineties :-p
  • edited July 2013
    If you do, bring me donuts.

    DO EET.
    Post edited by Rochelle on
  • Holy crap that doughnut place is crazy.
  • edited July 2013
    I can talk about the southern half.

    San Diego: Great weather 99.9% of the time. Balboa Park is a nice place to walk around. The museums are pretty abysmal by east coast standards. Nice ballpark downtown. Seal beach in La Jolla. Lots of nice beaches but the water is insanely cold compared to what I expected from the east coast due to the Aleutian current. You could go to the Salk Institute and walk down to the beach there if you want to see big cliffs. That's about it unless you surf or want to desert hike. I guess Sea World is there too. Never went when I lived there.

    You have several options for LA to SF. Route 1 is 8-10 hours of incredibly scenic, super windy roads along the cliffs (with shockingly few safety precautions on many turns). Gorgeous if you plan to stop for a night in the middle. Terribly draining and probably dangerous if you don't. Route 5 is the fastest, straightest road you will ever see. Multiple hours of absolutely straight driving with nothing but a gas station once in a while. I went a little nuts trying to drive it alone. Route 99 is smaller, winds through lots of trees and small to midsize farm towns. Beautiful drive, and only slightly slower. I believe the 101 is nice rolling farmland and might be the best compromise if you're going to SF not Sac, but I haven't driven it.

    SF: Hit up Golden Gate Park, but skip neighboring Haight/Ashbury, it's just a bunch of tourist shops now. As with SD, the museums are subpar and really overpriced. Take the Golden Gate bridge over to Marin and go to Muir Woods if you haven't seen redwoods elsewhere (if you have, it'll be underwhelming). Napa and Sonoma are gorgeous places to drink some good wine outside. Depends if you want that. SF is also the best place to see a concert in the country, in my opinion. Great crowds, lots of cool people. Other than that, just wander through the neighborhoods. North Beach is a nice Italian area. Coit Tower is underrated - great 360 views of the city and it's free. The Embarcadero area is completely touristed out, so I'd skip it unless that's your thing.
    Post edited by Nissl on
  • If you're going up 101 to get to Seaside/Astoria, just south of Seaside is Tillamook. If you like dairy products, their factory is a must-visit.
    I second that emotion.

    Also, keep an eye out for any high school logo merchandise in Tillamook. Their mascot is the Cheesemaker.
  • edited July 2013
    I've made the drive from LA to Seattle. Fun times, but be careful about the Oregon State Police. They will nab you in a heartbeat if you speed.

    If you start in LA, be sure to hit up Santa Monica Beach and some of the local famous places like Pink's Hot Dogs.

    Also, if you have time, take the 118 off the 5 and stop by Northridge so I can say hi!
    Post edited by Victor Frost on
  • Nice good suggestions guys! Sonic, I'll see what I can do, generally I seek out any acquaintances when I travel because why not ^_^
  • Go to Yosemite. It's not on the coast, but more than worth the detour.
  • edited July 2013
    If you add Disneyland on the itinerary, hit me up. My sister is a front desk manager for the Disneyland Hotel and can sign people in.
    Post edited by Dromaro on
  • Go to Yosemite. It's not on the coast, but more than worth the detour.
    Definitely seconding this. It's one of those see before you die places, like the Grand Canyon. A bit out of the way though....

  • You may want to make part of the trip north along the Pacific Coast Highway. It's a very pretty beachside drive.
  • Yea, I want to go to Yosemite, but that might be another trip in the more distant future.
  • Go see the peacock guardians of Marin County.

    Only half joking. They guard the orchards/vineyards/whatever it is they grow up there. Also, they guard the houseboat meth labs, but I think the meth dealers have moved out of Marin County now.
  • Yosemite is a worthy destination but I agree on delaying it. I used to spend 2 weeks every summer there from age 10 - 17. It deserves more than just a one or two day stop over.
  • I would second the idea of continuing north of Seattle, possibly all the way to Vancouver, if time allows for it. Don't want to shortchange the earlier parts of your trip. There is some nice nature up that way though.
  • edited July 2013
    If you do, bring me donuts.

    DO EET.
    They have vegan doughnuts!
    Post edited by canine224 on
  • So I booked the trip from San Francisco road tripping along the coast to Seattle from 9/12 to 9/23
  • Leaving today for San Francisco, Tomorrow we'll probably hit the exploratorium, staying in San Fran till Sunday then 5 days of road tripping till we hit Seattle sometime on Friday. Probably going to stay in Eureka, CA and Portland OR with lots of micro stops in between! Should be an interesting trip not used to not having all the days mapped out ^_^
  • What is your travel time from Portland to Seattle? Since we'll see eachother on the 21st, bring me donuts. :P
  • well I'm planning to take the long way to Seattle (driving around mt Olympus. So it will probably be two days old at that point in a car?
  • Nevermind then. It's all good. I really am trying/planning to make lots of lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) for the gaming bbq. That is the plan, at least.
  • Err actually it depends what we do, we might go to Seattle first and THEN go driving around Olympus... So I might be able to deliver only day old donuts maybe even just half day old ones.
  • I'll buy a certain amount of donuts if our plans are work.
  • What the heck did I just write.. So much multitasking today ^_^
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