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California, Seattle, Oregon, Vancouver

Road Trip from SF to Vancouver/Seattle- where are the best places to see?

A friend and I are planning a trip by car from San Francisco to Seattle/Vancouver (undecided yet) in September next year.

Basically I am wondering if anyone has done this before or lives anywhere around the areas that we will be traveling through can recommend things to do/see? We have the obvious like Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe etc. but looking for suggestions on places to go, hidden gems, things we should see.

Any help would be much appreciated

4 Answers

top answer by
Valerie from Seattle

Elliott, this is such a good idea! I hope you have a great trip.

Last June, I drove from San Diego to Seattle. I stopped off in San Francisco as one of my nights, and drove most of the Pacific Coast Highway (the US1/US101). Here's what I did:

Have a good drive!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Point Reyes National Seashore (attraction)
  2. Point Reyes Lighthouse Visitor Information Center (attraction)
  3. Marshall (attraction)
  4. Nicks Cove (attraction)
  5. Fort Bragg (attraction)
  6. Glass Beach (attraction)
  7. Drive-Thru Tree Park (attraction)
  8. Redwood National Park (park)
  9. Crescent City (city)
  10. Haystack Rock (attraction)
  11. Seaside (Oregon) (city)
  12. Astoria Megler Bridge (attraction)
  13. Cape Disappointment State Park (attraction)
  14. Olympic National Park (park)
  15. Port Angeles (attraction)
  16. Ruby Beach (attraction)
  17. Seattle (city)
6 thanks

answered by
Noel from The Big Island

I haven't done that trip, but it sounds fantastic..just bring warm clothing. Here's a must visit place along the way for you to check out at Point Reyes 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Point Reyes (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Dee from California

Vancouver has as many things to do as Seattle.  It's a beautiful city.  If you want to see the mountains, that is the place to start.  After taking in all Vancouver has to offer you can head up to Whistler.  Or, alternatively, you can go from Seattle through the San Juan Islands and over to Victoria.  It will pretty much depend on where you fly out of.  Be sure to check the regulations for driving a rental over the boarder.  If you go to Victoria, you can leave the car in Seattle, take the ferry to the San Juans and then a ferry to Victoria.

Of course you MUST do Yosemite and Tahoe.  Make a note of "Glacer Point" and be sure and go up there when you're in Yosemite.  Most people miss it because they just stick to the Valley.  Their loss!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Vancouver (city)
  2. Whistler (city)
  3. San Juan Islands (attraction)
  4. Victoria (city)
1 thanks

answered first by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Hello Elliott!  This will be a fantastic road trip!  At some point, as you start your journey north, I would highly recommend Napa Valley and/or Sonoma.  I would try to work over to the Pacific Coast Highway and see Redwood National Park.  In Oregon, I loved my drive up Highway 97 to Crater Lake National Park, but from there, would suggest heading to 101 and the Oregon Coast for the drive up the coast.  If you're into golf, there are some world class courses around Bandon, and if not the dunes north of there are beautiful!  The drive up the Oregon coast is one the most beautiful drives I have taken.  The beach towns like Florence (Oregon)YachatsNewport (Oregon) are all great stops.  I love the vantage point at Otter Rock and a place I really enjoyed staying was the Inn At Otter Crest.  At that point, you could consider moving over to the Willamette Valley and up to Portland, which is great for beer drinking and just a city with a really cool vibe.  I would also highly recommend trying to get to Astoria, which is very close to the mouth of the Columbia River and has a fascinating, and tragic, maritime past.  One of my favorite hotels is Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria.  I also think the drive up the Columbia in and around Mt Hood is gorgeous.  At some point here, you'll probably get on I 5 into Washington.  I would highly recommend the drive up to Mount Saint Helens.  35 years after the eruption, the landscape is still surreal.  Once you get to Olympia (Washington), you have two choices, in my opinion, go northwest into Olympic National Park, loop around to Bremerton and catch a ferry over to Seattle, or keep heading up I 5 to Seattle.  I love going to visit my sister in Seattle.  Such a great city on so many levels.  From Seattle, you can continue up I 5 to Vancouver, or you could take any number of ferries to the San Juan Islands.  I can probably offer myriad recommendations for everywhere but Vancouver.  If you need, or want more specific information on any of those areas, let me know!  This will be an incredible road trip, with an inordinate amount of natural beauty, great food destinations and so many options!  I think I might have to hop in the car soon!  Safe travels and have a fantastic and memorable Vacation/Holiday.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Napa Valley (attraction)
  2. Sonoma (city)
  3. Redwood National Park (attraction)
  4. Crater Lake National Park (park)
  5. Bandon (attraction)
  6. Florence (Oregon) (city)
  7. Yachats (city)
  8. Newport (Oregon) (attraction)
  9. Otter Rock (city)
  10. Inn At Otter Crest (hotel)
  11. Willamette Valley (region)
  12. Portland (city)
  13. Astoria (city)
  14. Cannery Pier Hotel (hotel)
  15. Mt Hood (attraction)
  16. Mount Saint Helens (attraction)
  17. Olympia (Washington) (attraction)
  18. Olympic National Park (park)
  19. Bremerton (city)
  20. Seattle (city)
  21. San Juan Islands (attraction)
1 thankscomments (2)

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