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Driving from San Francisco to Eureka

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Ponte Vedra Beach...
posts: 85
reviews: 258
Driving from San Francisco to Eureka

Yes, another post on this topic. I have read the others and understand that most people feel it takes way too long to do the coastal route, although well worth it in scenic beauty. But some do say to drive part of the way on the coast.

Here's our situation: 2 vehicles with 4 adults, 2 teenagers, 2 elementary kids, and one almost one year old. The trip will be mid-July. One family lives in FL and the other in MI, so we don't want to miss the beauty of the CA coast. Eureka is our most northern destination, unless we drive a little ways up to see more redwoods while we are staying in Eureka.

Obviously, we don't want to be on the road longer than necessary. If we drive mostly 101 and detour only to drive the Avenue of the Giants, is there any short stretch of Hwy 1 that we can take without causing too much extra time on our trip?

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 27,243
reviews: 6
1. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Eureka

Well, not really, if you want real coast.

At Willits, you could cross over to the coast at Fort Bragg on a 30 mile state hwy 30. And then you would have about 30 miles of coast. But not terribly scenic. IMO.

In my opinion, you should bite the bullet and drive up from Jenner.

But it sounds as if you have a full load of people, two cars, and a short time. So, just enjoy the trip as it is.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
posts: 39,070
reviews: 831
2. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Eureka

Hmmm. If you want to take a day and drive north from Eureka to Crescent City, you'd see a lot of pretty coastline and lots of redwoods. (You could take the Newton P Drury scenic parkway one way.) Via the main road, it's about 90 minutes from Eureka to C.City with no stops.

Yes, you'll be missing the most dramatic parts of Hwy 1, but the whole area is really quite pleasant.

Eureka, California
posts: 380
reviews: 2
3. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Eureka

Hi StarfishSeashells

I agree with half-Brit. You can save highway 1 for another day. Humboldt County has some of the best coast in all of California. Take a full day to explore them. Here are some suggestions. Starting from Eureka head north on 101 about 16 miles. Past McKinleyville, get off at the Westhaven exit and head downhill, then turn right. There is a string of beaches and views for the next 20 miles stretching north to the Klamath River. The coast here is as nice as anywhere in the state. Trinidad beach has the easiest access. You can usually (bring binoculars) spot seals and sea lions at Elk Head. You could spend a whole day at Patrick’s Point, hiking the bluffs or searching for agates at agate beach. The lagoon beaches are wonderful. There is a park information center at the north end of Freshwater lagoon. Ihere you might see river otters in the redwood creek estuary. Prairie Creek, Gold Bluffs beach and Fern Canyon should be for another day. However drive through the park and at the north end of the parkway take the coastal drive loop. Then head across the Klamath River and turn west to Reqa and the Klamath River overlook. I would turn around here and head back to Eureka. This is more than a days worth.

It does not rain much in July but remember the coast up here in July can be cold. Bring long pants and sweatshirts. In most cases you do not want to swim at these beaches and regrettably each year people are swept into the ocean and die.

My wife and I are on the beach or in the trees every weekend. Let me know if I can be of more help.

Have Fun


Ponte Vedra Beach...
posts: 85
reviews: 258
4. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Eureka

Once again, TripAdvisor to the rescue. Thanks to everyone. I guess I just needed permission from those in the know to not take the coastal drive.

I think we will definitely take the day trip north of Eureka, as we have several days there. Exploring as opposed to viewing is more our style. We will certainly heed the warning of the dangerous coast. We're on the Atlantic, and my surfer boy has already read up on Humboldt and says, "No thank you."

I have an uncle in Eureka whom we are visiting, and he certainly knows the area, but gives full-time, round the clock care to his girlfriend with MS and has little time to give instructions in detail. I am trying to research it all and then send my agenda to him to critique. Hopefully, he will have assistance that week so that he can be our tour guide at least part of some days.

Thanks again!

5. Re: Driving from San Francisco to Eureka

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