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Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

indiana
Level Contributor
8 posts
13 reviews
Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

My wife and I want to take a week or so and see the sights between San Francisco and Portland Or. Thinking about September. Is Hwy 1 worth taking, or should we take 101?...or 5? What are the best things to see along the way? We like nature.....the redwoods....parks....the ocean.....

Thanks!

9 replies to this topic
Renton, Washington
Level Contributor
5,272 posts
1. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

Don't take the freeway!! That's rule #1. CA-1 and US-101 merge in Northern California, so you are really asking about from San Francisco to Leggett, CA. CA-1 is a pleasant drive. Slow, but that is to be expected. Fort Bragg and Mendocino are cute towns. US-101 runs more inland, through the redwoods, until you reach Crescent City and the Oregon border. You definitely want to be on US-101 when travelling up the southern Oregon coast....the numerous sea stacks offshore from Gold beach, OR are not to be missed. Stay on US-101 until you get up toward Lincoln City before heading over to Portland.

www.avenueofthegiants.net

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
10,001 posts
200 reviews
2. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

Will this be a one way trip or do you plan to return to SF?

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
44,648 posts
1,112 reviews
3. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

>> Is Hwy 1 worth taking <<

Absolutely! The section north of SF is one of the most spectacular drives in the USA . . . well, also so is much of the section south of SF for that matter ;-)

It is quite a slow drive, so an overnight in quaint, picturesque, pricey Mendocino or the pretty but somewhat more plebeian Fort Bragg would work out well. Once Highway 1 ends at Leggett, the only through-road is Highway 101 which goes all the way to Canada.

If you have time, I would suggest staying on 101 to Cannon Beach or Astoria, then heading inland to Portland. It's only a couple of hours from the far north coast, and you'll see some gorgeous scenery along the north coast of Oregon.

Timing is important, though. With only a week, how much time do you want to spend in the big cities? Or is your week excluding city time?

indiana
Level Contributor
8 posts
13 reviews
4. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

We'll fly into San Fran and out of Portland.

indiana
Level Contributor
8 posts
13 reviews
5. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

We might extend it to 10 days depending on the sightseeing options. We want to see Alcatraz, but otherwise don't plan on a lot of time in the cities...unless there are other "must see" things.

indiana
Level Contributor
8 posts
13 reviews
6. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

would you take 1 or 101?

Florence, Oregon
Level Contributor
2,552 posts
309 reviews
7. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

Highway 1 is a small picturesque highway that runs along the shoreline. There is where Bodega Bay of "The Birds" fame and Mendocino are located. Highway 101 is inland and goes through the traditional California Wine Country. Highway 1 would add a couple of hours more driving time and would be the choice of people who love scenic roads.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
44,648 posts
1,112 reviews
8. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

>> would you take 1 or 101? <<

As stated in my post 3 above, Highway 1 is well worth taking. But it is slow and will add more than just a couple of hours. There are many things to see along the way, including historic Fort Ross, Point Reyes Nat'l Seashore, Point Arena lighthouse, Glass Beach, many lovely state parks. You can easily spend a couple of days in Mendocino alone!

Hwy 101 is a pleasant moderately scenic inland drive that is much faster since a good chunk of it is freeway.

There are of course dozens of things to see and do in the city of San Francisco. Be sure to book your Alcatraz visit well in advance (directly) , as it is one of the most popular attractions in CA.

Missouri
Level Contributor
1,055 posts
32 reviews
9. Re: Vacation drive from San Francisco to Portland Or.

Check your Tripadviser message box, hobs. I have some information for you there. We took this SF to Portland trip in 2013 and really enjoyed it.

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