Road Trip July 2013 West Coast ?Seattle to LA?
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Nov 28, 2012 4:03 PM Last Post By: willysnoutredux
Oct 31, 2012 11:46 AM
Road Trip July 2013 West Coast ?Seattle to LA?Hi,
Always wanted to do a US road trip but have only ever been to popular tourist areas of US. Namely NYC, Florida and will be going to Vegas before the planned trip. We still want to include city trips but also want to see the real US too.
So the dream is to see as much as possible in 2 weeks or little over in mid to late July 2013 without feeling exhausted and spending hours and hours driving so that we are too tired to see the sights.
From UK I can fly from London Heathrow to & from Seattle, LAX and San Fran.
I would love to start in Seattle, maybe see some of the Olympic Peninsula (is this ridiculous), Portland and some of Oregon.
Then to Cali - Napa Valley, San Fran, Monterey, Yosemite (or another National Park) and LA/Hollywood.
There's 600 miles between Portland and Napa Valley so any recommended stops?
There's 5-6 hours drive from Yosemite to Monterey.
I'm either looking to fill these gaps or am I being short sighted and cancel Washington/Oregon leg of the trip?
Any recommendations for any part of this trip, the whole trip or road trips in general are welcome.
Oct 31, 2012 12:11 PM
1OK, you have 2-weeks in July of next year and are arriving and departing through Seattle.
You have nowhere near enough time to go to ALL the places you list in your post. Also, you are going to need to rent a car to see any of them.
Also, you don't say anything about accomodations. Do you want to camp? Do you need budget accomodations? Looking for luxury? Oregon and Washington State are a camper's paradise if that's your style.
The good news is, yes, the Olympic Peninsula is VERY doable from Seattle. As you probably know, most of the Olympic Peninsula is composed of Olympic National Park and it is fantastic. The Olympic Peninsula can be circumnavigated on a three - four day driving tour. After that in Washington, there is Mount Rainier National Park, Mt. St Helens National Monument and the incomparable Cascade Loop driving tour through the North Cascades.
In Oregon you have Mt. Hood (year-round skiing), the Columbia Gorge Natoinal Scenic Area, Crater Lake National Park, and the high desert of eastern Oregon.
Both states have magnificent coastline along the Pacific.
As for cities: Seattle has a distinct cosmopolitan vibe with jazz clubs, trendy restaurants, and upscale bungalow neighborhoods. Portland Oregon is much smaller with a distinct counter-culture- gothic scene. In between is Olympia, Washington the nation's funkiest capitol city with more tattoo parlors than churches (always a good sign), organic brew pub, and a pretty cool restaurant scene in the small, downtown area.
Oct 31, 2012 12:44 PM
2Before I answer your question in any great detail, I have two questions of my own.
1. Will you be renting a car here?
2. Can you give us a general idea of your budget?
One thing: It's 900 miles from Portland to Napa, not 600. And Cascade Bob is right about your not having the time to do everything.
Oct 31, 2012 1:15 PM
3Thanks @Cadcade Bob. I think maybe that's a future trip for me thank you so much.
@willysnoutredux my budget including 2 adult flights from London to US, car hire (we want a road trip aspect) and accommodation is about £3000. Flights seem to be approx £1000 each so would leave me about £1000 for accommodation and car.
Ok so California/Pacific Coast is more appealing, I'd just read some websites that sell flydrive packages that go from Seattle to San Fran in 8 days so thought to LA maybe doable but I want say 2-3 days in San Francisco and LA the rest (unless otherwise recommended) I'm happy to do in 1-1.5days.
With regards to accommodation I'm after a good mix, so lodges, glamping (in UK this is posher or already erected tents for camping), luxury hotels and budget - but nothing like a hostel or shared bathroom, the likes of Holiday Inn/Best Western is fine.
The question is now - If I do stick to California, which airport do I start in and finish in?
Oct 31, 2012 1:25 PM
4I'd fly in and out of San Francisco, because it's centrally located. But you'll need more than $1,600 for two weeks. Figure about $300 a week for the rental charge plus 15 cents a mile for gas, which will wind up about another $200 or so. You can't eat and sleep for 14 days for $800. I wouldn't want to try it with less than $2,000 in my pocket, and preferably more than that.
Can you increase your budget? Alternatively, the Pacific NW would be noticeably cheaper. But I'm afriad it's pretty much one or the other, unless you want to run yourselves ragged.
Oct 31, 2012 2:25 PM
5@willysnoutredux thank you for your reply again, I'm not including spending/eating or petrol money in my budget which I would have another £2000 or so, it would literally just be for car hire, flights and accom.
Would you suggest a round trip or fly into SF then out of LAX?
I'm getting very excited now a plan is coming together! :)
Oct 31, 2012 3:16 PM
6I do think anybody coming from the UK, should try and get their head around the distances in the States.
Perhaps the best way to do this would be to speak in the time it takes to get from point A to B, and not simply in miles, as i do think you will get a better understanding of the distances you would need to travel.
And i think if you plan to go up to Seattle, not seeing Vancouver would be a shame, for me it is my favourite city in the area.
Oct 31, 2012 3:31 PM
Oct 31, 2012 3:44 PM
8My apologies if my phrasing offends you, however my meaning was implied in the 'natural' sense as opposed to the manmade wonders of Vegas, NYC and Disneyworld-all of which I love I should add!
Thank you for those routes.
In regards to California, would it be best to do Napa Valley after Yosemite?
Oct 31, 2012 3:49 PM
9@jedgerandclyde thank you for your reply...I agree some of the 'recommended preplanned' tours are approx 2100 miles which is astounding to me who lives in the centre of England with only 250ish to the farthest point of the country haha!
I will take the advice of the other LP'ers who suggested to stick to one area to halve the mileage!
Plus it's an excuse for another holiday!! :)
Edited by: josienpaul
Oct 31, 2012 4:07 PM
There's another poster, nutraxfornerves, who often posts about alternative wine regions to Napa/xSonoma. Maybe she'll chime in.
Btw, you neither want nor need a car in xSF, which is why the loop starts there. Pick it up on your way out, and drop it off when you return.
Oct 31, 2012 6:38 PM
11I'll say a few things here, OP. They're just ideas, but they've got a lot of experience behind them. But I need to answer your question first. If you rent in L.A. and drop in S.F. or vice-versa, you'll pay a drop-off charge similar to the cost of a one-way plane ticket. between the two cities. It is strictly a matter of cost and logistics. I generally prefer to rent and return at the same airport, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Last spring, I rented at LAX and returned to SFO. Do what makes sense for your purposes
Okay, now that I took care of that, here's the rest of what I was going to say to you. A few years back, I wrote a post in the FAQ about what I somewhat grandiloquently called a Grand Tour of California and the Southwest. The whole thing would take 26 days. You can look there for ideas; not much has changed. One point that ought to emerge is that even 14 days isn't enough to see California. The geography alone is daunting: the state is 50% larger than the U.K., and that's without the add-ons like Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion.
You've mentioned wanting to see "the real America." I am noted by the regulars on the TT for having scorned the whole idea of "the real America," telling people that "the real America" is wherever you are. Which is something I still believe. That much said, I've mellowed a bit, and take a less literal view nowadays. I figure that when people talk about the "real America," they're looking for departures from the typical tourist experience.
Even then, I think those departures are at least as much inside the tourist's head as anything. But still, if you do the California tour (part of it, actually), you'll be treading a well-worn path. Now, the beaten path is beaten for a reason. Tourist California is drop-dead beautiful, especially the first time. I would never discourage anyone from doing the California tour. However, if you do want to go off the beaten path, it's quite do-able. But to get there, you'll pretty much have to get comfortable with the idea of returning to the U.K. and telling inquisitive friends and neighbors, "No, we didn't do (fill in the name of some attraction everyone's heard about). We spent our time in some other places that hardly anyone has heard about."
The Western U.S. is full of great places that no one (well, hardly anyone) in the United Kingdom or Europe will ever know about. Why? Because they are not brand name destinations. If you go to these places, you'll find one-tenth, and in some cases more like one-hundredth or less, of the tourists. But you won't be able to talk to all that many people about it, at least not in the way you'd be able to discuss a more conventional trip, because hardly anyone will recognize the places.
By and large, they tend to be away from the cities. Which, quite frankly, is probably a good thing. With a very short list of exceptions, most American cities don't compare too well to most European cities anyway. I think the reason to come to this country is for the natural beauty, not the city attractions. Even my favorite U.S. cities like New York and San Francisco are, to me, fairly pale next to, say, London, Paris, Edinburgh, Prague, or Venice. But just try to find a spot on your side of the ocean where you can stand on a ridgetop and see all the way to the horizon without spotting any evidence that anyone has ever inhabited any of the land within your field of vision. That's why to come here, in my opinion.
If this intrigues you, start with this FAQ post. Feel utterly no obligation to be drawn to it. This is your trip and not mine, and as far as I'm concerned, it's all good. Not only that, but I'd genuinely hate to rope anyone into the idea and then have them be disappointed. But you mentioned that "real America" thing, so I thought I'd throw it out there and see if you bite. If you do, then there's more.
Oct 31, 2012 6:53 PM
Oct 31, 2012 6:57 PM
Nov 1, 2012 8:16 AM
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