Part 1 was too wordy, but I'll keep going trying to be more brief.
Our first city on the coast was Zadar. I found it to be harder to navigate than I thought it would be after the easy driving on the open roads. What looks simple on a map becomes sort of a maze when you enter the cities or large towns. Part of the problem is maps show only the central part in detail; you usually had to go through quite a bit of urban driving to get to the center. Eventually, we established a method. Don't try to drive with a person directing you by following a map. Rather rely on the signage and when in doubt follow the sign directing you toward the city center.
Zadar itself is wonderful. The harbor side, the long promenade, and the area in the middle of the old city were all great. It was a weekend, and there were a lot of families with young children in the main square by the cathedral, and it was amazing to watch the kids using the Roman ruins as a playground. We also really liked the Sea Organ sort of to our surprise.
We left Zadar after several hours and headed for Trogir with a stop in Sibenik on the way. Our purpose there was to visit the Cathedral of St. James. Well worth the stop with the imposing interior and the carved stone heads on the outside. We also climbed up to the monastery garden and enjoyed the view as well as some ice cream.
After Sibenik, we followed the coast to Trogir where we stayed for two nights in a villa in the Old Town. Trogir was one of the highlights of our trip! It's beautiful, lively, and small enough so it doesn't overwhelm you. We had a delicious fish meal at Restaurant Alka (our anniversary). The second morning we set out and came across a group singing Croatian songs in the main square. Later, that evening a group of 3 really talented musicians was playing 60's and 70's rock music in the same square.
The second day in Trogir we visited Krka National Park. It's not quite Plitvice, but it's close. The falls are bigger but there are not as many and you don't wander among them. It's very impressive to see how the falls were utilized for milling and making thread. As is our habit, we tried to pack in a lot. We went up to the overlook at Visovac. Would have liked to visit the monastery but had to settle for the lovely view from above. We crossed the river on a one lane bridge at Roski Slap (waterfall) and headed up to the old Roman ruins at Burnum. The amphitheater is being rebuilt but interpretive information at the site is missing.
On the way back to Trogir the police waved us into a stop they had set up. They simply looked at our passports and waved us on not asking for a license or the rental papers. Also, if you are driving and staying in Old Town, there is free parking along the harbor on the second island. Will have to walk a few hundred yards but the price is right.