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Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

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Fort Lauderdale...
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Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

Hi, We are visiting San Francisco (finally!!) over NYE, from Friday to Friday, using a timeshare week at The Donatello. We aren't flying home until Monday morning, and really want to take a trip up to see the Redwoods, I know we could just visit Muir Woods, but since we have Friday to Sunday available, I thought we could drive up the Northern Coast, to Redwood National Park. My questions are, is this doable, leaving San Francisco early on Friday, and returning late (relatively speaking, don't want to drive in the dark), on Sunday afternoon?

I know the weather can be rainy, but we don't mind that, I just want to see these huge glorious trees :)

I know its a good few hours driving, and I like to mosey along these types of drives, so just looking for advice on how to be use this weekend time.

Thanks in advance!

Carol

Lassen National...
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1. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

Yes, it's possible. It is a 6 hour drive. I'd keep an eye on the weather and keep flexible. If we happen to get a big downpour it won't be a fun drive at all. There are a couple of low elevation passes along hwy 101 that can actually get snow.

Nothing that lasts, but that would make driving much slower & more dangerous. There are also a couple of areas of falling rock too.

If you luck out with the weather, go for it. Start out early on Friday. Some stops--Healdsburg, Avenue of the Giants, and Ferndale. Stay the night around Arcata to Trinidad & get a full day in the park all the way up to the Jed Smith Redwood SP in Crescent City. Stay the night in Crescent City & start out on Sunday for a full day of driving & stopping. Check out the Redwood National Park forum for more info. You can get lodging as you travel without a problem in Dec/Jan.

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2. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

I think 5 hours each way is a long drive just to see some trees. And that's taking Highway 101 the entire way ... it would be quite a bit longer if you want to the the coast road for part of the drive.

Forum regular Puter has developed a day trip north which loops through Armstrong Grove state park in Sonoma County. I would take this itinerary and expand on it to make a couple of days. You could add Muir and Point Reyes (which is immense and incredible) as well.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60713-c139373/San-Fr…

Edited: 10:42 am, October 03, 2012
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3. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

I think it s a case of infinity+1 and -1 Yes Redwood National Park is great but you could see the trees as Sal and Puter mention within 30 to 60 minutes from SF and enjoy the weekend North of SF. A whole day's driving is really not worth it imho as well

Lassen National...
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4. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

It depends on your perspective. I absolutely think it is worth it. Hwy 101 from Trinidad to Crescent City is one of the most beautiful drives you'll ever take.

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5. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

I just returned from a trip that involved driving from the bay area (Martinez) to Crescent City (in the Redwoods N&SPs). That's a punishing drive for only one full day in the trees, but if you enjoy driving then it should be fine. Get an early enough start to let you make plenty of stops so you can enjoy it. Cute little towns, Avenue of the Giants, take a short hike in Humboldt Redwoods, enjoy the scenic views.

I think any of the five coastal redwood parks would make you happy, though - no need to go all the way to Jedediah Smith, which is at the far northern end. (Unless the weather is likely to be better/worse in one?) I agree that the drive is lovely.

Edited: 2:18 pm, October 03, 2012
Fort Lauderdale...
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6. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

Thanks all for the response, took me a few days to get back here.

I did like that alternate idea day trip (expanded), but we are still not sure at this time. I think we might wait it out and see how the weather really is at that time.

Call me crazy but, going to see these trees is something I have always wanted to do, and it just happens this was the time of year we are close enough.

Could you recommend something that might be just a few hours north of San Francisco, I have been trying to research, but I seem to keep getting lost (does not bode well for driving?? lol).

Just a note on the driving, last year we did a weekend in Carmel and had to get back to L.A. for a red-eye, so we know those long drives, heck I can't go anywhere down here in Ft Lauderdale without going thru at least 5-6 hours of Florida driving! ;)

Am I being too picky saying that Muir Woods isn't enough? ...

Thanks again all!

Carol

Edited: 11:27 am, October 08, 2012
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7. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

Could you recommend something that might be just a few hours north of San Francisco?

Look we are all strangers here trying to give you advise based solely on one paragraph. It is your vacation and you should decide what you want to do and what you want to see. If you have always wanted to see Redwood National Park, then by all means, please go and see it. @ Traveling.. has suggested a great itinerary so please ago ahead and do that. That part of our state is lovely -- there is no doubt about it and if you are between rains, things will be cool and lush green enroute and the park itself is beautiful.

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8. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

<<Am I being too picky saying that Muir Woods isn't enough?>>

If you follow the "Day Trip North" article I linked to previously you can go to both Muir and Armstrong Woods.

Obviously everyone has different ideas but I would rather make longer stops than be on the road for 5 solid hours.

There is lots to see within 2-3 hours north of San Francisco and the linked to article includes many of them. It provides an opportunity to get onto some back roads, enjoy the Sonoma Coast, wine country and trees. Point Reyes and Olema Valley are two wonderful places.

But, if RNP is on your bucket list, by all means go. Understand however that you're swapping a lot of great back roads experiences to beat feet up Highway 101.

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9. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

It's more like a 7 + hour drive to Redwood National Park when you factor in the stops for fuel and lunch. There's only 9.5 hours of daylight at that time of year. It's probably not worth driving all that way. We used to make that drive every other weekend in January and that drive is not all that much fun if it's raining which is highly likely that far north.

Consider going up to Mendocino for the weekend instead. There's great coastal views and redwood parks in that region as well as good wine and great beer. Take a look at this website for other ideas for visiting redwoods:

http://www.redwoodhikes.com/

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10. Re: Dec/Jan Trip, need advice for few days after SF

I agree - if Redwood NP is a bucket list item, then go - it is absolutely doable. OTOH, if seeing coastal redwoods is your bucket list item (not necesarily the ones in the NP) then there are a lot of choices closer to SF. And it is not a choice between RNP or Muir Woods - I personally don't care for Muir Woods because every time I have been, it has been packed with people.