Travelling San Francisco to Seattle in 2 days, need advise
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Aug 27, 2012 2:10 PM Last Post By: dvdstelt
Aug 25, 2012 8:00 AM
With 4 people from Europe we're travelling from saturday October 27th (plane arrives about 11:50am) to Seattle, where we need to checkin to our hotel on monday 29th at 11:00pm at least. We want to drive a car along the coast via the 101 to Seattle and need advise what to do.
First idea is to drive through SF and see Lombard Street, Golden Gate and stop at Fort Bragg and stay there for the night. Next drive drive to Portland and stay there for a night and experience shops and nightlife a bit.
Another idea could be to stay in San Francisco saturday and sunday a bit, drive half of the route towards Seattle and on monday finish the trip to Seattle.
I'm mostly asking because I have no idea if the above ideas are at all doable. But also if there is anything we need to see while driving through the country.
And suggestions? Thanks in advance!
Aug 25, 2012 8:06 AM
1I think this map tells you want you need to know.
Aug 25, 2012 11:00 AM
2I would turn inland at Newport, OR. To the I-5 & North to Portland ... Or take take AMTRAK overnight...carracar
Aug 25, 2012 2:48 PM
3If you are talking about driving from Seattle to San Francisco in two days, then your sightseeing is exteremely limited as the distance between those two cities is 820 miles. That translates to something over 20-hours of driving time (ten hours per day).
I think you're going to have to hit Interstate 5 and drive like hell directly to San Francisco stopping only for gas and bathroom break and a burger at the drive-through.
Aug 25, 2012 4:52 PM
4Assuming this is a serious request ... an Internet map will show you that San Francisco to Seattle via the scenic route is over 1420km - this is the same distance as Lyon France to Copenhagen Denmark. There is no point driving it in two days, or even in three, and expecting to enjoy very much of it. In fact, it is very difficult to even drive it straight through in any sensible manner.
I suggest you all fly - or plan your itinerary much better.
Aug 25, 2012 9:19 PM
5Shoot, I've made that drive solo in two days and enjoyed it--and I live an hour and a half north of Seattle, making the trip even longer.
The thing is, you need to take the fast, boring route much of the way in order to leave time for whatever side trip or activity you're trying to squeeze in. Fast and boring means I-80 to 505 to 5. Arrange to miss rush hour traffic in the Bay Area, Portland and Seattle and the trip from San Francisco to Seattle will take about 13 hours of hard, steady driving (plus gas stops, which really only need take ten minutes if you stay focused). You can do it in a day, especially with two drivers. However, that assumes everyone agrees on what you're doing--no stopping every hour for bathroom breaks, chewing gum, cigarettes or cute photographs.
Then the question becomes, what are you going to do with the day and a half you just freed up for sightseeing? Since I don't know you or your friends, I can't say whether you'd be best seeing the redwood parks, looking for Lemurians at Mt. Shasta, detouring to the Mendecino Coast, riding cable cars and doing Alcatraz tours, or what. You can narrow it down according to your interests. Just be aware that this kind of high-pressure trip tends to fracture friendships, so try to work out as much as you can in advance so that everyone knows what the program is.
And FWIW, if you really want to take 101 and don't get too distracted along the way, you'll have time to follow your first plan. You'll just won't have time to stop much--more a drive-by kind of road trip. Plus you'll miss the nicest parts of the coast, which are mainly off-route. In my book, that's still better than flying--and cheaper, with four of you.
What should be abundantly clear is that you cannot take back roads, see the sights, snap loads of photos, lollygag around socially in the cities at night, and still make the drive in 2.5 days.
Hope that's helpful.
Edit to add: just noticed you're looking at the end of October. You'll want to know that the weather might not be ideal much of the way: rain, drizzle, fog, absence of views....
Aug 25, 2012 9:48 PM
6Yeah well ... I've driven Alice Springs to Darwin (1500km) and Alice Springs to Adelaide (also 1500km) in straight hits - but I was a local like your good self, and had seen it all. For the tourist wishing to do it quickly and take in some of the key sights for the first time ... well ... close to mission impossible.
Aug 25, 2012 10:23 PM
Aug 25, 2012 10:39 PM
8I'm a surly old bugger - you know that anyway - but I think anything over about 500-600km per day is dang foolish for the travelling punter to enjoy anything. And why do they set their itineraries with these over-tight connections - I blame Race Around the World (and Dick Cheney of course - the American way of life is non-negotiable!).
Aug 26, 2012 1:50 AM
9820 miles is about a 12-hour drive for me if I have nothing but interstate highways that are free of construction delays and I am traveling alone. Passengers, especially women and kids, slow me down considerably. People also tell me I'm nuts. Google says the drive time is about 13.5 hours on I-5. That time excludes all stops.
My guess is that you will still be in Seattle at 3:00 PM or maybe even 4:00 PM on Saturday afternoon. You will also be jet-lagged. My advice is to forget the sightseeing. You don't have time.
My advice is to drive as far as you can on Saturday. Eat dinner, get a good night's sleep, and haul ass all day Sunday. Depending on how much ground you cover on Sunday, you may have two or three hours on Monday for sight-seeing. I said "MAY." Be certain enough of the route and timing of your side trip to be certain that "two or three hours" doesn't turn into six or eight hours.
Note: US-101 is not an interstate highway. I-5 is an interstate. You NEED I-5.
Aug 26, 2012 1:54 AM
10They're big driving miles ZD - much more than I care for these days. And for the OP and their plan - the question needs to be re-asked I guess: what is the point of it all, to travel along this more-or-less non-stop?
Aug 26, 2012 2:46 AM
11ianw6705, that is a valid question. I suspect that OP is thinking 820 Km and is a complete newbie when it comes to long distance driving in the U. S. He isn't the first. Laying out the reality of the trip to him may result in his re-evaluating his plans.
Rereading the original post, I am also confused as to the actual itinerary. OP, are you flying into Seattle and out of San Francisco or is it the other way around? My suggestions stand in either case.
Aug 26, 2012 7:50 AM
12I'm flying into San Francisco and out of Seattle. Tuesday a Microsoft Conference in Redmond until Friday. Saturday we have another day off in Seattle before we fly home on Sunday. We were originally flying in on Saturday and were wondering if a roadtrip would be possible.
This roadtrip is NOT about sight seeing in the sense that we'd be hiking through redwood trees or anything else. So far I've only seen cities, already been to Seattle before and was wondering if we could fill Sunday and Monday with driving through part of America, along the coast instead of taking the I5 straight through. I KNOW the trip will consist of mainly driving, but that's the point!!! It beats hanging out in Seattle on Sunday, Monday ánd next Saturday, because I think Seattle is pretty boring. No offense ;-)
I should've been more clear, but we're well aware of the fact that we can't go hiking and have stops of a few hours. We just want to ride through the country and enjoy the scenery from the car, drive through the smaller towns/villages on the way.
Aug 26, 2012 7:59 AM
Plenty of places you can see, and enjoy, without having to spend all that time driving to make it to xSeattle.
If cost is the issue, have you priced a one-way rental to xSeattle?
Aug 26, 2012 8:41 AM
14Been to SF last year. And if we'd stay in SF for 2 days, we'd also rent a car, increasing costs with additional flight.
But if you have any other suggestions, let me know! We were thinking of landing in New York, stay there for 2 days and fly to Seattle. But ticket prices are 50% higher than flying from SF and the flight will take at least 8 hours with 1 stop! Not really acceptable.
Edited by: dvdstelt
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