San Francisco to Portland Drive - Suggestions Please
September 14, 2017 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Driving from San Fran to Portland - Leaving Wednesday stay the night somewhere in between and wake up Thursday and finish the drive to Portland. Heres my question.....

So I have never been north of San Fran so I want to definitely stop by the redwood forest. Should I take highway 1 the whole time? I was looking at this and it seems to add a significant amount of time. I want the most scenic drive there, but im guessing i shouldnt take it the entire way there. Any suggestions??? places to stop...etc....gonna leave SF by 7am Wed...would like to get to redwood by 5 or so....Is there a good city to stay at close by that has a Holiday inn express...Thanks!! Mainly suggestion just for the drive from San fran to Redwood forest.
posted by flipmiester99 to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (8 answers total)
I drove the Oregon coast in one day once. It was a long hard day driving with no time at all to sight see. I don't recommend it. The coast drive needs 2 days all by itself.

My recommendation would be to take the 101 up to Crescent City and look at the Jed Smith or Del Nort redwoods. Then jog over to the 5 and continue northbound the second day. But do start early on day 1. The 1 north of SF is also a gorgeous slow drive.
posted by SLC Mom at 3:30 PM on September 14, 2017

Do you mean 1 or 101? You could get a significant exposure to redwoods staying on 101, then switching over to I-5 via US 199 once you get to Crescent City. It still adds two hours to the trip compared to taking 5 the whole way, but saves 3 hours off taking 1. You don't get into really heavy redwoods just on the 1 anyway - most of the state parks and national park are north of the 1 - 101 merge. The 1 is a gorgeous drive, but a lot of the coastal strip that it goes through is not heavily forested.
posted by LionIndex at 3:32 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Highway 1 is pretty slow. But quite lovely.

It's not clear how much you know about the route but in case you don't know -- you can get to redwoods just a few miles north of San Francisco. Redwood National and State Parks are much further north (but well worth a visit.)

The scenery along the Oregon Coast is quite spectacular, too, but you might not want to drive the whole length of it for time reasons -- that means you might want to cut over from US-101 to I-5 somewhere along the way. The state highways that travel east/west between these two major north/south routes are themselves quite scenic as well, and in southern Oregon generally follow lovely river valleys.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:45 PM on September 14, 2017

199 is spectacular. So is 299, which connects Arcata to Redding and the 5. You'd get to skirt along the base of Mt Shasta on I-5 if you chose to cut across there rather than 199 further north.
posted by notyou at 4:09 PM on September 14, 2017

Skip 1, take 101 the whole way. It's 3 hours to the redwoods. I agree, push on to Crescent City for your overnight, otherwise your second day will be too long. You should have time to get off on the Avenue of the Giants at Phillipsville. Also take the Prairie Creek bypass. You'll need to then take 199 to I-5. Otherwise, it's an additional night along the Oregon coast.
posted by humboldt32 at 4:20 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

My realest recommendation to you is to stay the night in Klamath at the Requa Inn. All the stars, would do again, have recommended it to many. They have great food and the mouth of the Klamath is one of the best places I have ever been. It's 30 mins or so from the redwoods, so the next morning head up and take one of the easy walks - try Fern Canyon early enough that it's not crowded. Then cut over to I5 as others have said and bomb it the rest of the way.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 4:40 PM on September 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you do end up taking I-5 through Oregon, Sequential BioFuels (they have regular gas too) just south of Eugene is, weirdly, a gas station that is worth a stop. They have delicious food for all appetites and diets, including meat-and-cheese-filled breakfast biscuit sandwiches, gluten-free vegan peanut butter chocolate pie, and everything in between.

Port Orford, OR is potentially worth a stop, but I'm not sure if it's reasonable given your schedule. If you had more time, I'd say sign up with South Coast Tours for a Port Orford Heads kayaking tour and see some gray whales.
posted by cnidaria at 10:46 PM on September 14, 2017

If you take the I-5 route, I always like to stay in Weed, CA. It's charming, beautiful, and has a silly name.
posted by nonmerci at 4:32 AM on September 15, 2017

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