Foodies & Photogs Road Trip: Portland to San Francisco
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Sep 16, 2012 4:06 AM Last Post By: victalis
Aug 13, 2012 8:47 AM
Foodies & Photogs Road Trip: Portland to San FranciscoHi all!
My boyfriend and I are planning a road trip from Portland to San Francisco in early October. I have read all the related forums on this site as well as others and there is so much information that it is so hard to decide and plan the best places to see and routes to take. A few things to note:
-We are 25 years old, no kids
-We will have ten days from when we land in Portland to when we fly out of San Fran
- I am a photographer, so I am mostly interested in going to places with great photographic opportunities, and if possible hitting the best ones at the best times of day lighting-wise
-We are both foodies. I've heard the area between Portland and SF is not the best for good food, but any good suggestions would be greatly appreciated
-We do not do camping
I've read a lot of info, so it's hard to decide what would be an ideal route. I've heard that the best way might be to go out Portland via Mount Hood over to Crater Lake then take 42 to hit the Oregon Coast at Bandon. From there taking the 101 through the Redwoods and catching Hwy 1 in Fort Bragg down to SF. This route would make us miss Cannon Beach, Cape Perpetual, Haystack Rock, Cape Mere, Newport/Yaquina Head and the Dunes, which I thought might be kinda cool to see. I guess my big question is what out of all this is worth seeing and is Crater Lake worth the detour or would we be best off sticking closer to the coast for the duration of the trip? Thanks so much in advance for all your help!
Aug 13, 2012 11:38 AM
Aug 13, 2012 11:57 AM
2Crater Lake is definitely worth it. So is Bend, which is on the way to Crater Lake from Mt. Hood. As you go east, some of the photography opportunities are fantastic. Eastern Oregon is truly dramatic. ianw was recently-ish out that way, so he can give you more information about visiting Eastern Oregon as a tourists. I live in Central Oregon (Bend) so I make day trips out that way often.
The coast is also dramatic but - and this is just me, so remember that -- I find it kind of depressing. The towns are old and run down. You won't be swimming in the water. The beaches are nice and the tide pools are fun to explore, but other wise the coast is damp and cold. Again, this is just my opinion. Be sure to go crabbing if you spend time on the coast. We caught loads of crabs and it was fun.
Around Bend you have Newberry Volcano, Sisters, Smith Rock Canyon, and Mt. Bachelor. Besides, the town is worth staying in especially if you like beer. Great beer and lots of it. As for food, well, you need to know where to look. I find the pub food in Bend is better than some of the "high end" food. If you spend any time in Bend I am happy to make some recommendations.
Aug 13, 2012 11:57 AM
3Cannon Beach was nice but I am not sure if I'd rank it as must sees.
The Columbia Gorge is a definite must see. You can do it as a day trip from Portland city. If you never experience it, consider doing a boat tour to Bonneville Dam. You'll experience what is like to sail through a dam.
The drive between Bend and Eugene is quite nice. Note that this area tends to have fire in August/Sept, so do check on it even though it is likely be over by October. You will likely have the whole Crate Lake to yourself in October. It was quite empty already when I was there in early September.
From what I am told, most scenic part of the coast is southern Oregon into northen Calif. So if you cover certain portion of this area, you will likely see some of the most scenic sites.
There are many things to see, so you'll need to balance between quality vs quantity.
Aug 13, 2012 6:01 PM
4II,ve done trips to both areas, (as well as a trip to Crater Lake just last week), and ts a tough call. I think both the Coast as well as Crater Lake and some of the areas around Bend are equally worth it in terms of photogenic sites. You might consider planning both trips and then playing it by ear till you arrive so you can see what the weather forecast for the coast is. Although moody storm clouds make excellent photos, dull grey and constant rain don't, whereas the interior will be better photo wise, with more crisper/cooler skies Also consider exactly when in October you will be by Crater lake. Although the Park stays open, some of the roads (basically to the the rim)close in mid October.
Whichever you do, I would definitely suggest a day trip down the Columbia river gorge from portland, and then head down to Bend or loop back to Portland via Mt Hood if heading down the coast.
As for food, the only Michelin 3 star restaurants West of the Misissippi are in Wine Country north of San Francisco, so you aren't in a foodie wasteland. There are many great places to eat north of San Fran and along the coast. The more northern part of the state isnt as refined, but has some worthwhile touristy places like Samoa Cookhouse, as well as a few brewpubs. I liked getting my morning bagel at Los Bagels in Arcata. I dont remember as much about the choices on the Coast in Oregon, but there are many brewpubs in Oregon worth visiting.
If your interested, heres a link to some of my photos from the respective areas:
Oregon Coast: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=22352052@N00&q=oregon%20coastal%20trip
Central Oregon: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=22352052@N00&q=central+Oregon+-McKenzie+-Julie+-coast+-raft&m=text
Crater Lake: http://www.flickr.com/photos/congochris/sets/72157631006835498/
Aug 13, 2012 7:32 PM
5There is a micro brewery in Newport Beach OR, I cannot recall the name, that has the best clam chowder. There is also a chowder chain called Mo's, but I don't think it's near as good.
Aug 13, 2012 9:31 PM
6In my humble opinion Bend has the best microbreweries in Oregon, but I'm admittedly biased living in Bend. Deschutes, 10 Barrel and Boneyard are my favorites. I also have rediscovered Good Life and a new one called Crux Fermentation Project just opened.
The well-known microbrewery in Newport is Rogue. Good, consistent beer.
Aug 14, 2012 10:51 AM
7Everyone else can post about which route etc. All I want to say is you must take this tour http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/tours.asp or visit the Cow Girl Creamery stall at the SF Ferry Bldg's Farmer's Market and buy their Mt. TAM cheese. Petaluma is a wonderful town to visit by the way. Will also state that while in The City MUST have the garlic noodles and garlic crab at Thanh Long. Not cheap but as a foodie you must experience this fabulous explosion of mouth watering food. Take the N Judah from downtown. Nice way to see a variety of SF neighborhoods. For cheaper but none the less wonderful food try a banana leaf tamale at LA Oaxaquena's in the Mission District, Vanilla Bean French Toast at the Brickhouse Cafe, the Black Bean Cakes at Dottie's True Blue Cafe, Ritual for coffee on Valencia, Pakwan for Indian/Pakistani (more than one spot), Khan Toke Thai House on Geary, Credo's 99 cent Pizza special, A La Turca on Geary for a Doner platter, and if you can follow via Facebook or Twiiter see if you can enjoy some grub from the Senor Sisig, Old World, food trucks. Lastly and for the sheer fun of it please try to have a cocktail at the Tonga Room in the Fairmont hotel. Silly fun.
Aug 14, 2012 12:27 PM
Aug 14, 2012 3:42 PM
9East Oregon's scenery is great, but so is the coast. There are 11 lighthouses on the coast, some in spectacular locations. Also a sand dunes area and an elk sanctuary. Decent restaurants hard to find, best to ask a local that may know what you're talking about.
You could also cut over to Hwy 199 to see some redwoods along the way before entering California.
Aug 15, 2012 9:13 AM
10Ahh thank you everyone for all your wonderful advice! LexS we will definitely be doing the Redwoods, we know that for sure. Sounds like everyone's split on whether the coast or the interior is the way to go! congochris, I will definitely look through your photos that will be very helpful. And thank you everyone for your restaurant suggestions!
Aug 16, 2012 5:59 PM
11We just arrived in Belgium from Seattle. We did more or less the same trip, starting from San Francisco. We wished we had spend more time along the northern californian coast (amazing redwoods, friendly people, dolphins etc.) and in central Oregon (mckenzie river). Although the scenery of the southern oregon coast is incredible, we didn't like the towns along the coast (full of patriotic flags etc....especially Brookings, cultural shock in the first degree). Best food oregon coast.IMO...red fish ( port orford). In Bend we discovered zydeco restaurant, a real gem...fantastic food, great cocktails...
Portland is just my favorite city...too cool to be true
Aug 16, 2012 11:27 PM
12I've done the coast and crater lake (both in the same trip) and I was a huge fan of crater lake. The coast was really nice too, stopped at a lot of the light houses. Might want to take a day trip down the Columbia River Gorge and also a day to head up to Mt. St. Helens if that interests you. But definitely see the coast in northern California in Redwood National Park. Muir Woods and Point Reyes National Seashore are great to see as well.
Aug 17, 2012 5:09 AM
13Thanks everyone! I think we are going to sit down tomorrow and plan out a possible itinerary, I'll probably get your thoughts on that then. Someone told us that Carmel/Monterrey is worth the drive since we'll eventually end up in the San Francisco area. Seems like a pretty far drive, so I'm not sure. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Aug 17, 2012 11:35 AM
14SF to Monterey/Carmel? Is that what you are asking? Depends on the route. Do you want to stay along the coast? Then take HWY 1 outside of Pacifica South. Stop in Half MoonBay for breakfast then continue on passing Santa Cruz. have coffee and a nosh at the Ugly Mug or the Surise Cafe in Soquel. Then back on the road to Monterey and onto Carmel. Don't forget to include a stop in Pacific Grove. Get an early start. OR take 280 out of the City to 85 outside Cupertino, follow 85 to HWY 17 and go West heading to Los Gatos. (where I grew up). Take 17 over the hill to Santa Cruz, catch Hwy 1 and head to Monterey. Be forewarned 17 is two lanes each way, the road is curvey with trucks. Go EARLY to avoid as much traffic as you can. OR take 101 out of SF all the way down to Salinas (you'll get to see CA farmland on this route) and cut over to Monterey on 68. It's a long day but definitely doable. Simply pace your selves and watch the gas gauge.
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