Organizing a U.S. West Coast trip.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 24, 2014 12:06 AM GMT
    Hi everyone ! I hope you're doing well =

    So, I'm French (btw, I apologize for my English ...), I'm currently studying in Canada and a friend of mine is going to join me in Vancouver in July to travel.
    We thought it could be great to go down to Los Angeles driving along the west coast with some stops in Seattle, San Fransisco, etc ...

    First, we only have 12 days, so is it too short or doable ?

    Then, are there other cities which can be great to visit too ? I've also seen that there are a lot of nice national parks, but I'm afraid it will take us too much time to go inland.

    In the initial idea, we were travelling along the ocean, stopping here and there to go to the beach, meet people and have fun ! As simple as this !

    So we would tale any advice to make this trip as unforgettable as possible =)

    Thank you for your answers and good evening !
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    May 24, 2014 1:23 AM GMT
    rent or buy a craigslist motorcycle, ride a portion or all of the Pacific Coast Highway.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    May 24, 2014 1:48 AM GMT
    Santa Cruz, Moro Bay, Pismo Beach, Cayucos are cool for the relatively uncrowded beach scene
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    May 24, 2014 1:57 AM GMT
    pellaz saidrent or buy a craigslist motorcycle, ride a portion or all of the Pacific Coast Highway.

    I wouldn't enjoy that, being afraid of heights. I drove north on it so was on the inside lane and still drove at a snail's pace because I was afraid of driving off the edge. Driving south on it in the cliff side lane would be a terror for me.
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    May 24, 2014 4:42 AM GMT
    You don't say if you plan to drive both ways... Unless you really like driving, 12 days might be a bit short, - unless you don't plan on spending much time in any given place. The Oregon coast is beautiful, as well as the central California coast. Don't miss the area around Big Sur. If you plan out a route, you can go to google maps and get driving times for individual segments of the trip. 50 miles or so south of San Francisco is San Gregorio, a great nude beach (if it's not windy that day). A few miles father south is the tiny town of Pescadero, which has Duarte's Tavern, which is well known for its artichoke soup.
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    May 25, 2014 2:42 AM GMT
    Thank you Pellaz, this sounds really great but I've never driven a motorcycle, and I don't even have the driving license ...

    So, you need some details : we will rent a car and we'll do it one way and then take a flight for New York.

    Is there any good park along the ocean ?
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    May 25, 2014 6:45 PM GMT
    ArkiTo saidThank you Pellaz, this sounds really great but I've never driven a motorcycle, and I don't even have the driving license ...

    So, you need some details : we will rent a car and we'll do it one way and then take a flight for New York.

    Is there any good park along the ocean ?

    Park? What kind of park are you looking for?
    Lots of small parks/forests - some big parks - consider:
    Olympic National Park (temperate rain forest) by ferry from Victoria, or west of Seattle;
    Bainbridge Island (west of Seattle)
    Mt. Rainer - about 1-1/2 hours east of Seattle
    Mt. St. Helens (volcano blew up 20 years ago) South of Seattle, north of Portland.
    The entire Oregon coastline is great
    Crater lake National Park (a couple hours inland)
    Redwood National Park (on the California coast)
    Humboldt Redwoods State Park on Hwy. 101
    Mendocino - small cute touristy town where The Russians are Coming was filmed
    Sonoma Coast State park at the mouth of the Russian River - 10 miles east of there is Guerneville (gayish resort area, with the first gay bars south of Portland) and the beginning of the Sonoma County winery area - which extends from the Russian River north to Healdsburg and Geyserville - some of the best California wines are to be found here.

    Just before San Francisco is the Point Reyes National Seashore - forests and windswept coasts; then immediately before the Golden Gate Bridge, turn west and find the beach near Kirby Cove - great sunning with a view of the SF skyline - you will have to park and walk - may be nude at the east end - depending. There is also a nude beach in SF - Baker Beach - plus the Lands End beaches facing the Golden Gate.

    Note: One must plan in advance how to pay the toll on the Golden Gate Bridge - there is no one there to accept payment. See: http://goldengate.org/tolls/tollpaymentchoices.php
    If you are driving a rental car, you should make arrangements with the rental agency in advance, or receive a big bill later.

    Monterrey has a huge aquarium fed by sea water - otherwise the town is a tourist trap.

    Just south of the quaint town of Carmel are Carmel River State Beach and Point Lobos State Reserve - both exquisite; farther down the coast, Hearst Castle is about 5 miles inland from the coast. Built by the prince of yellow journalism, it is an incredible sight, and one can spend hours there.
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14395

    May 25, 2014 8:13 PM GMT
    Just avoid using I-5 at all times and you will have an enjoyable West Coast trip. Use US Route 101 which hugs Oregon's rugged coastline and use state route 1 in California. But avoid Interstate 5 entirely because it misses everything beautiful and interesting.