1. Welcome to Mu-43.com—a friendly Micro 4/3 camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Any Pacific NW road trip tips?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Hendrik, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    This is still in the planning and might not make it out of the thought problem stage this year but...

    My wife and I want to take two weeks to visit family and friends on the left coast. What not-to-miss sights are there to see on a six-day, October road trip from Santa Cruz, CA to Anacortes, WA? We did a similar trip (SF-Spokane) 40 years ago in fewer days and had a blast. This time, we'd like to linger a little more in select places along the way. We'll also have a few days each in SF, Santa Cruz and on San Juan Island, WA.

    All suggestions will be gratefully received and researched. Thanks...
  2. Lawrence Beck

    Lawrence Beck Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2018
    Keep a close watch on fires that are presently burning out of control. The Mendocino fire is currently the largest fire in California's history and it's not expected to be extinguished until sometime in September. Winds and warm, dry weather can spread these fires in an instant and the air quality is toxic... so don't make any firm plans until you know that the areas you'll be traveling through are safe and free of smoke.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Acraftman

    Acraftman Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 7, 2017
    I just got back from a Wash,Or, N.Cal, trip. Brookings,Or. they have some great beach parks, as a base it was a day trip to the redwood national forest my wife talked to a park ranger who told us about a number of off the beaten path sites to check out which was really a bonus. We did Crater lake also we came down from Portland after visiting the Columbia River gorge,while in Portland went to their big city park it has one of the nicest Japanese Gardens. Coming back up the coast we stayed at the overleaf lodge in Yachats which again was just a real good place to stay, right on the beach,quite etc.I came down thru Coeur De' Alene hoping to go to visit Palouse but ran a little short of time.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Thanks for that. Am I right in guessing that staying to the west of the fires is the better bet?
  5. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    The OR beach parks do look interesting. I find myself in the same boat as you - the Palouse is just a day or so too far...
  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Highway 101 is a beautiful scenic road for much of its way through northern CA and pretty much all of OR. It's a slower trip this time of year with a lot of slow recreational vehicles, but avoiding the congested traffic in metropolitan stretches of I-5 is worth it, in my opinion. I live in the Oregon south coast and on a recent trip to Seattle, we cut across western WA to hit 101 in order to avoid the horrendously congested I-5 through Tacoma/Portland/Salem and we were glad we did.

    Giving yourself time to stop and wander through Oregon's little coastal towns is well worth it, in my opinion. Also if you have lots of extra time, driving all the way up along the Peninsula in WA is beautiful, cutting across to Port Angeles and taking a ferry to Seattle. Probably out of the scope of your current plans but one of the best road trips we've done.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Thanks for the suggestions. The readings I've done so far make the Oregon coastal towns look very inviting, indeed.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Mu-43 Top Veteran

    • Funny Funny x 1
  9. comment23

    comment23 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 26, 2016
    Hampshire, UK
    I thoroughly recommend the Roadtrip USA guidebook series. Their website content is very generous too considering they sell books on the subject. Take a look here.
  10. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    One up for Highway 101, follow it nearly all the way around the Olympic peninsula and if you are going to Anacortes take the ferry from Port Townsend.
    Fern Canyon in northern CA.
    Hoh Rain Forrest on the Olympic peninsula (Olympic National Park).
    Hurricane Ridge also in the Olympic National Park.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Also Trinidad for a quaint coastal town in northern CA, Ferndale if you go a bit further inland. Not to mention redwoods (the Smith River Redwoods state park is amazing).
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Schwert

    Schwert Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2016
    Pacific NW
    Crater Lake is well worth an overnight at the lodge. Sunrise and the circle road are exceptional.

    Ashland OR, Shakespeare and other plays are fabulous.

    Up Hwy 101 has an infinite number of views and walks. Manzanita OR is a cute stopping place on the way north. Loads of rental homes.

    Near Astoria OR is a Lewis and Clark winter encampment historical park.

    Across into WA, head up to the Quinault rainforest. Circle Lk Quinault drive worth the time.

    Quinault Lodge...nice historic place, great short hikes from lodge.

    Kalaloch Lodge...wonderful cabins on the ocean. Don’t miss the narrow strip of Oceanside Olympic Nat Park...Sitka Spruce with massive burls on trunk...short loop hike, unique trees.

    Hoh Rainforest...a must see. Drive in and out near Forks WA. Plan on at least a half day hiking in HUGH trees.

    Sol Duc hot springs...nifty hot pools, wonderful hikes.

    Lake Cresent Lodge, nice lakeside cabins, rooms, super hikes.

    Have fun...take it as slow as you can.
  13. Hendrik

    Hendrik Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Wayland MA
    Thanks for the many suggestions, especially those in WA, and the final bit of very good advice!
  14. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    The coastal route is very slow going so 2wks with your planned lay-overs will be too short for the whole way up the coast. I suggest picking one stretch and then using I5 for the time saving. WA coast route is boring and is not on the coast unless you plan on hiking.

    For help on SJIsl ask away :) 
  15. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Semi-disagree. I-5 is fast except when you get into metro areas, it can slow down a lot from Salem through Tacoma. It will be a more sedate pace on 101 but a lot less of a headache and not stop-and-go like I-5. For a two-week trip going up and down 101 will hardly be a problem.
  16. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    If you go on the Peninsula, head out to Cape Flattery, and then take the road up to Hurricane Ridge in Port Angeles. You'll get coast and alpine views within a few hours of each other. The Hoh rain forest is pretty cool and you can do a quick hike from the visitor center there in. 101 up the coast can be slow going, so it depends on how much time you have. You can take the ferry from Port Townsend (great town to visit, go to the wooden boat museum, Doc's Marina Grill is a great place to eat) to Keystone on Whidbey Island and bypass Seattle. Then you head north to Anacortes for the San Juans. There's no way to get from the Peninsula to the San Juans without having to head to either Whidbey or Seattle and then to Anacortes.

    If you are taking I-5, avoid Portland and then Lewis-McChord through Everett during rush hours. OK mid-day, but best before 7am or after 6-7pm. A nicer route would be to take the ferry from Mukilteo to Whidbey, then drive up Whidbey over Deception Pass to Anacortes. You'll miss the Skagit Valley farms, though. Just don't try and take the ferry on commuter times as it typically has at least an hour backup.

    Another thing to do which would probably be nicer than the WA coast and save some time, is to bypass the Peninsula in Aberdeen, and pick up 101 in Kamilche. Take that up until you hit route 20 to Port Townsend, and then grab the ferry over to Whidbey. Hood Canal has a bunch of Oyster farms if that's your thing.

    If you take one the of the Ferries serving Seattle area, I'd recommend the Bainbridge one. Drive around the island a bit as it's very nice. I'm a bit biased though as I live on Bainbridge. Avoid commuter hours and Sunday afternoons on any of the ferries unless you want to wait.

    If you are taking the Port Townsend-Keystone ferry, make a reservation. Also, double check the tides. Sometimes the tide goes out too much and the ferry has to stop running for a few hours. You can make one a couple days in advance.

    If you are looking for somewhere to spend an extra day, add a day in the San Juans. Take the ferry over to Orcas Island. I don't know if anyone runs a service out to Stuart Island but if you can get a ride up there, it's a great isolated island. Extremely quiet and away from everything.
  17. longviewer

    longviewer Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 22, 2015
    SW Washington (Longview area)
    Jim R
    If time allows, the road over McKenzie Pass is extremely scenic in low light with lava and volcanoes in every direction. Visit lower Proxy Falls on a short hike, very photogenic. Not a fast route over the Cascades however!
  18. joma416

    joma416 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2014
    Toronto, ON Canada
    I was more or less in that area last week, but my trip was a bit different than what you are planning. I went with a couple of friends to see baseball games in San Francisco and Oakland then we drove to Seattle for another game. We only spent a few days on the road between Oakland and Seattle so we were quite rushed compared to what it sounds like you are doing. But what I saw of the Oregon coast was spectacular. I am still going through my pics, but I will post a few ooc jpegs of my favourite spots that we hit.

    My favourite spot was probably the Oregon Dunes Trail. The hike to the actually dunes was very pretty and not overly hard. We were lucky because someone was leaving the dunes as we got there and we didn’t encounter anyone else until we left 90 minutes later. It was surreal having a vast place like that all to ourselves and I don’t really feel that my pics do it justice.


    My second favourite was the beach area at the Heceta Head Lighthouse. If we didn’t have the Oregon Dunes all to ourselves this would have been my number one instead.


    We also stopped at a few other places along the way such as the Chandelier Tree that you drive through and Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area but the first two above were my favourite spots. You will have more time to do it properly. There were ample scenic lookouts that we had to pass over because we didn’t have enough time. I definitely would be interested in going back. I’m sure you’ll have a great time.
  19. ArcticaMT6

    ArcticaMT6 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 11, 2016
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Not sure if you were thinking about hitting the waterfall trail on I-84 in Oregon, but that's still all shut down from last year's fire. Only Multnomah falls is open right now, and it's absolutely mobbed with people.
  20. Bytesmiths

    Bytesmiths Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Why stop at Anacortes?

    You did mention San Juan Island, but the Washington State Ferry from Anacortes also goes to Sidney, BC, and with a ten minute drive and another 35 minute ferry, you could be on the greatest island in the world! :) 
    • Agree Agree x 2
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.