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Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

Glendora, California
6 posts
Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

Hello! I have been scouring these forums and have already gotten some great ideas from several posts, which is outstanding but am still trying to nail down our itenerary.

I (55y/o mom)will be traveling the day after Labor Day 7/5 with two of my "adult" children (ages 19 & 26). Heading from L.A. area to Portland. That said, I am seeking advice for the to/from routes San Francisco to Portland part of the journey which I'd like to do in 5 days (appx). The LA to SF legs are 1 day each way(additional) and I know those areas well (long drive but I can do it).

Here is what I have so far (just a draft):

Day 1 - LA to Ferndale (10 hour drive)

Day 2 - Ferndale/Eureka (visit Ave. of the Redwoods)

Day 3 - Eureka to Newport. (6.5 hour drive + stops)

Day 4 - Newport to Portland (3 hr drive) (day in Portland)

Day 5 - Portland to Columbia River Gorge & Mt Hood loop

Day 6 - Portland to SF (10 hours via 5fwy)

Day 7 - SF to LA

We are hoping this road trip will give us great views, nice places to stop ( even short stops). We can do short hikes ( maybe Multnomah falls). Looking for a suggested route to Portland (my itenerary is not in stone) with nice views and stops and perhaps a shorter, less scenic view home. Would love to see some of the Oregon Coast, waterfalls, see Portland, try some good food (1 of us is vegan, 1 vegetarian), take some pictures, try at least 1 good pub and Sumptown coffee.

I am concerned of the timing as I'm reading more about the wildfires, smoke and air quality. It is possible to put this trip off for a month, but it is a rare event to travel with my kids, so if it's going to be yucky, we will wait. We are on a tight budget so any suggestions for less expensive motel/hotel is important.

Any help, guidance and advice will be most appreciated.

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
9,933 posts
200 reviews
1. Re: Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

Starting at the end, it takes us 10 hours from Eugene to the Bay Area. Add two hours for Portland to Eugene.

Even I-5 will be experiencing heavy smoke in places and possible road delays and slower traffic.

It's at least 5 hours from SF to Eureka, so I don't see how you can get from L.A. to Ferndale in 10 hours. And Ferndale is only about 20 miles from Eureka, so I don't understand the trip from one to the other in the equation. In general I would add 25-30% to the estimated driving times to the rest of you itinerary.

Other flies in the ointment: road construction on 101, biggest fire in the nation on edge of Brookings, VERY hot weather.

Corvallis, Oregon
Level Contributor
1,237 posts
89 reviews
2. Re: Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

You wrote: It is possible to put this trip off for a month, but it is a rare event to travel with my kids, so if it's going to be yucky, we will wait.

WAIT!

Listen to O'poppa and read all the other postings about travel right now in Oregon. HEAT, mega-fires, choking smoke that ruins otherwise beautiful vistas, and all the summer road construction. Makes a recipe for a terrible trip IMHO. Sorry! Otherwise we'd love to have you visit. :)

Glendora, California
6 posts
3. Re: Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

Wahiawakid, thanks for the response. As I'm delving in to all the current info I was starting to come to that conclusion. This is "bucket list" trip for me to take with them and with those conditions, we'd honestly be miserable! No Bueno!

So we'll wait a bit and maybe we can stretch the future trip for a few more days to really enjoy the Oregon coast, Portland, waterfalls and maybe include a day in Seattle!

Thanks again for good honest advice, much appreciated!

Glendora, California
6 posts
4. Re: Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

Thank you so much @ oregonpoppa! I've read many of your responses and recommendations on several posts, all good info.

The advice regarding adding additional drive time is sound, I've used google maps to track out the different options on this trip so taking all into consideration, I'm allowing for additional time. My kids can each take over some of the driving so on a few of the days we will drive longer just to get to a destination, other times we can meander through, enjoying sites.

Without knowing time frame of containment of the wildfires (prayers for all concerned and all that beautiful land and wildlife) I am going back to the drawing board regarding our route, time frame, destinations etc, (and while I have your attention @ oregonpoppa, any recommendation for a route from SF to Portland which includes some of the Oregon coast (southern half/northern half) as a one day drive, redwoods as a one day drive, gorge/waterfalls loop (I have the map you posted on another post), Portland (a day plus half day) would be so helpful!

When we do go, I was "planning" to take a straight shot in one direction and the slower scenic (stop or stay & enjoy) in the other direction.

Thanks for all your good info, much appreciated !

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
9,933 posts
200 reviews
5. Re: Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

If you're coming from Glendora, you might be able to skirt most (but not all) of the L.A. metro mess. Rather than head for SF I'd take I-5 straight up through Sacramento to Redding. It's a long driving day, but you and your family can do it and get the "boring" over with sooner. From Redding you can get to Portland easily in one day.

I'm a bit lost on your time frame, but if it's still 6 days, you can spend a day exploring the Gorge and doing the Mt. Hood Loop if it's not snowing at the higher altitudes. You could also spend some time in Portland. From Portland I'd go back down I-5 to either the 18 to Lincoln City or the 38 to Reedsport and then south on 101. My preference would be the 18, giving you chances to whale watch in Depoe Bay, see the sea lions on the dock in Newport, explore Cape Perpetua, see the lighthouse and fantastic seascape at Heceta Head and maybe stop for a snack or ice cream in Florence's Old Town.

If you take the 38 route along the South Umpqua River Scenic Hwy to Reedsport, you can stop at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area just inland from 101 and then enjoy the beautiful southern coast, stopping for the night in Crescent City. From there, it's a 7 hour drive through the redwoods, Sonoma County and over the Golden Gate Bridge into SF.

Glendora, California
6 posts
6. Re: Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

Thank you @ oregonpoppa!

Great suggestions, I can't wait to see as much of Oregon as we can!

7. Re: Road trip from San Francisco to Portland 5 days, help pls

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