Like the movie Road Trip, but with less Tom Green.
February 7, 2006 8:06 PM   Subscribe

So we're thinking about a road trip south from Vancouver to (maybe) LA...

A few classmates and I are considering (well, depending on vehicle considerations) taking a jaunt down south this coming week, in the time-honored tradition of doing crazy, reckless things on your spring break.

The plan is pretty vague, which I'm fine with: Leave Vancouver and start driving south along the coast, and just to end up where we end up. If we make it as far as LA, that's cool. If not, we'll find somewhere else to be.

My question is this though: Is there anything along that drive (that is, along the pacific coast through Seattle, maybe via Portland, etc) over the next week (that is, beginning around the 12th) that you would consider an A++ two thumbs up thing to see? Are there any particular restaurants or hostels you'd reccomend? Any shows, clubs, pubs, museums or art galleries?

I realize this is a pretty open-ended question, but really, we don't have any fixed plans and it'd be nice to have at least a few ideas of what to see along the way, since none of us have been down that way (well, not since I was 9 years old, in my case).

Thanks a lot.
posted by vernondalhart to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
When I drove from Seattle to San Francisco, one spur-of-the-moment detour I really enjoyed was Mount St. Helens National Monument.

Portland struck me as a nice-place-to-live, wouldn't-want-to-visit kind of town, but certainly it's a good place to stop and see an indie rock show.
posted by nev at 8:13 PM on February 7, 2006

I've heard good things about the oregan caves, but haven't been myself yet. Though you'll need to set aside a few hours for this.

That new science fiction museum that opened in Seattle?
posted by -harlequin- at 8:23 PM on February 7, 2006

Cannon Beach, OR
posted by frogan at 8:42 PM on February 7, 2006

PedantFilter: If you're driving down the Pacific coast, you'll hit neither Seattle nor Portland; you'll see some beautiful things, but the major cities are all inland.

That said, I second the Mt. St. Helens idea, and if you like beer you should stop in Portland, where there may be more brewpubs than strip bars - and that's sayin' something.
posted by pdb at 8:44 PM on February 7, 2006

Response by poster: pdb: yeah, I know that those cities aren't on the coast, but I figure that I can head a bit inland to them, or whatever. I don't really have a route planned.
posted by vernondalhart at 8:54 PM on February 7, 2006

Chuckanut Drive.
posted by timeistight at 9:04 PM on February 7, 2006

jump out when you get to santa barbara. LA is a dump.
posted by kooop at 9:29 PM on February 7, 2006

We drive from Seattle to LA all the time. Things I've especially liked: Cartoon museum in San Francisco. 17-mile drive in Carmel. Haven't done Hearst Castle, but would like to.

You'll find numerous "what to do in Seattle" threads on here I believe. I live there, my personal faves are cliched but worth it: The Space Needle and Pike Place Market. Depending on your age group/interest, you could easily drive past the home where Kurt Cobain last lived (it's hidden and private, but you can see it from the road, kind of) or visit Bruce Lee's gravesite (Jimi Hendrix's is not that far away, it's in Renton, not Seattle.)
posted by GaelFC at 9:30 PM on February 7, 2006

Just remember that Vancouver - SF is about 18 hours non-stop, just driving on the interstate, with no detours.
posted by fionab at 10:12 PM on February 7, 2006

The Olympic Penninsula is really cool and has some great hot springs.
posted by fshgrl at 10:22 PM on February 7, 2006

seattle... jimi jendrix and bruce and brandon lee's graves...
boeing factory tour...
posted by dawdle at 10:30 PM on February 7, 2006

I've suggested California's "Lost Coast" before, and I'll do it again, goddamit. Best spur-of-the-moment detour I've ever taken.

I have also previously suggested restaurants in Guadalupe, CA, and Santa Barbara, CA, both of which suggestions I will continue to stand by.

Also, if you have the budget, a night in the Caveman room at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is pretty fucking classic.
posted by dersins at 11:18 PM on February 7, 2006

I think you might have to skip some of the scenic stuff if you want to make it all the way to L.A. and spend any time enjoying yourselves along the way. Interstate 5 is the direct route to California, but it's not really a coastal route. Highway 101 is the scenic route, but it will add time to your trip. You might consider shooting for San Francisco and making it a more leisurely trip, but to cram everything into one week and make it all the way to L.A., maybe something like this would work:

Day one: Interstate 5 south to Seattle. spend the day there, then drive towards Mount St. Helens.
Day two: Visit Mount St. Helens, then down I5 to Portland for dinner, nightlife, etc.
Day three: Head towards the Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 101) and travel south, enjoying the scenery. The Oregon coast is beautiful. The Oregon Dunes are worth a stop, as is Redwood National Park in California.
Day four: San Francisco
Day five: Los Angeles
Day six: Drive north on I5
Day seven: Return to Vancouver.

Even if you want to skip Seattle, since it's so close to Vancouver, you'd have to leave Vancouver pretty early in order to get to Mount St Helens before dark on the first day of your trip. Mount St Helens is definitely worth a visit, but it will take the better part of a day. If the weather is bad, I'd skip it and either spend the extra time on the coast and in the cities, or maybe try to fit it in on the way home.

I don't have any specific suggestions for shows, clubs, pubs, etc. along the way, but I hope that helps a little. Have a blast, and I wish you the best of luck getting a reliable and comfortable vehicle for the trip.
posted by Buzz at 12:31 AM on February 8, 2006

Response by poster: That's the thing. If we don't make it to LA, that's no big deal. All we're doing is driving in that direction, to see how far we make it. We (or at least I, I suppose) want to know what's along the way that's worthwhile - in particular, any shows (bands, plays, whatever) that're happening.
posted by vernondalhart at 7:57 AM on February 8, 2006

Might I suggest the hostels north of Santa Cruz, CA? Both the Montara and Pigeon Point Hostels are in old lighthouse complexes, right on the ocean cliffs. I've stayed at Montara, so I can highly recommend it.

On the other hand, these places are isolated places of beauty, not wild party spots. If that's not what you're after, I would suggest a stop in San Francisco. There are several good hostels there, but check on parking before you book - the Fort Mason (Fisherman's Wharf) hostel is the only one with ample, free parking, AFAIK.

While there, check out the Mission District for great food and nightlife.

(sorry about not linking - i've no idea how to do this.)
posted by shifafa at 8:49 AM on February 8, 2006

Visiting the Tillamook Dairy cooperative was cheesy (please forgive me) but fun. And I also vote for Mount St. Helens. If you make it to the Olympic Peninsula visit the Hoh Rainforest and Cape Flattery. And there are lots of lighthouses to visit.
posted by deborah at 9:58 AM on February 8, 2006

monterey bay
posted by baker dave at 10:53 AM on February 8, 2006

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