North West Road Trip (what to do in Oregon)
June 16, 2014 10:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm taking a leisurely drive from San Jose CA. to Tacoma WA. I have allowed myself 4 days for the ride up and 4 for the ride back. What should I see?

So far, Crater Lake is the only thing on my list. I'm looking for anything: cool scenery, favorite restaurants, good hotels/motels, short hikes, historic stuff, good bookstores, etc.
posted by doctor_negative to Travel & Transportation around Tacoma, WA (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You have to go to Powells Books in Portland. Also: Voodoo Donuts (the smaller one, not in downtown is WAY less touristy and also less wait-in-line-for-an-hour) and the food trucks in NE (can't remember the exact corner, but there's a pie truck that's so good that I ignored my gluten intolerance to try them).

Kennedy School in Portland is pretty cool - it's an old school turned into a hotel, movie theatre, restaurant and bar.

I also love the Oregon coast - I spent a few days driving down there a few summers ago, and the weather was great and we found lots of cute little shops.
posted by guster4lovers at 10:34 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: Some highlights from that area during my 2005 cross-country drive.

Crater Lake is indeed amazing. I also love the Oregon coast like the previous commenter.

Have you considered a visit to Mount St. Helens?

How about a drive up California 1?

Have you been to any wineries in Napa?

If kitschy tourist stuff is your thing, you can drive through the Chandelier Tree in Leggett, CA.

There's Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in northern California near the Oregon border.

Tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon.

Seconding Powell's Books.
posted by tckma at 10:48 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: I would take I-5 straight up past Shasta, and then take 97 over. You can hit Crater Lake in a day of driving. Sleep there, and then you can hit the park and make it to Portland in four hours or so. Can't help you north of Portland - but two days at least are down.

Take 101 on the way down from Tacoma. Hit Astoria and eat at Josephson's smokehouse for smoked fish. Drive down and look at Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. Ice cream at Tillamook's factory. Quick hike to Munson Falls. I would stay overnight anywhere from Newport to Lincoln City - you can go for a short whale watching tour in Depoe Bay. Eat at Mo's or Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport. Go to the Yaquina Head lighthouse and look at the tidepools and seals. Cape Perpetua is supposed to be fantastic for hiking - never done it. 101 in Oregon is bliss - the ocean and deep forests - take your time. I would take 38 over back to 5 and take the day to speed back down to CA. Or, stay on 101 and go to Redwood National Park.
posted by umwhat at 10:53 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: Sonoma is lovely, there's a phenomenal tiny pasta restaurant hidden away near a wine shop (La Bodega). I've done a trip where I go inland on 128 to hit 1 just south of Mendocino area, over the bluffs. Follow 1 north until it curves inland, and head up to the redwoods from there. Avenue of the Giants is actually pretty legit.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:07 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: This is not coastal, but you could check out the John Day Fossil Beds in Oregon.

In Washington, there is a the Hoh Rain Forest. This is coastal. (Just the other side of the mountain is Sequim, the driest point on the west coast north of San Francisco, IIRC.)
posted by Michele in California at 11:14 AM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: The John Day Fossil beds are a long way off your route, and Voodoo Doughnuts can't hold a candle to Blue Star. But I second everything tckma said. Have fun!
posted by Specklet at 12:22 PM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: You might want to check out Multnomah Falls.

Mt Hood is beautiful -- there are some awesome short hikes around Timberline Lodge and elsewhere.
posted by elmay at 12:42 PM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: I spent two weeks up and down the coast last Summer. Some suggestions:

Do the boat ride on crater lake.

The source of the Sacramento river in a little park in Shasta is pretty cool.

Nthing Jedediah Smith park.

Panning for gold in the Klamath near Happy Camp, CA.

Mt. Rainier!

Hike a lava tube at mt. St Helens

Chihuly museum and Space Needle.

Have fun
posted by bricksNmortar at 1:30 PM on June 16, 2014

Check your memail, Tom. I went to school in Tacoma. You should have said something about your plans at Shane's last weekend. :-)
posted by mosk at 2:59 PM on June 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This great folks, please keep it coming. I have no set plans as of yet so nothing is off the table as far as locations or routes go. I do live in San Jose, so I've been through a lot of northern California but nothing farther east than I-5.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:01 PM on June 16, 2014

Best answer: This is not coastal, but you could check out the John Day Fossil Beds in Oregon.

I found the John Day fossil beds underwhelming [saw better fossils in a roadside cutting], but the Painted Hills were awesome.

If you're in the area [and this sort of things floats your boat] I found the Newberry Volcanics interesting, especially the Obsidian flow, and Lava River Cave.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:17 PM on June 16, 2014

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