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Trip feedback? PCH

Travel Forums North America Trip feedback? PCH

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Pacific Northwest
1. Posted by brianfitz1979 (Budding Member 4 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

hi all
traveling from Vancouver down the west coast all the way to San Diego in September, gonna hug the coastline as much as possible looking for ideas of places to stop and stay etc, any help would be great thanks :)

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5087 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Seems to me like far too large a distance to cover in such a short amount of time. I hope you really like driving a car, and even then, I'd reconsider, either cutting the distance in half, or preferably doubling the amount of time you have. (Also, have you looked at what the one way fee is for a rental car (which I'm assuming you're taking), particularly given that you're going from one country to the next?)

Next some advice on some detailed bits I have experience with. Very much personal opinions - others might disagree!

I found Whistler a bit of a letdown - very much a resort town (feeling extremely artifical). Yes, gorgeous scenery around, but if I were to spend a couple of days in the nature in the vicinity of Vancouver, my personal first choice would be Vancouver Island, making a beeline for Tofino, and hiking the old growth rainforest just south of there.

The amount of time you have in San Francisco is good. A day or two extra wouldn't be amiss, but this is enough to get a decent impression.

Yosemite really needs more than the one night you're giving it. There's absolutely gorgeous hiking, and the crowds thin out very well once you get more than 15 minutes away from the parking areas. Don't wait too long with booking accommodation! Mid-september is not that much beyond high season, and you're on the edge of a weekend, so it'll be popular!

The stretch from Santa Cruz to Morro Bay, particularly around Big Sur, needs at least one full day extra to properly appreciate and explore in depth. I'm saying this because I raced from LA to Monterey in a single day myself, and have regretted that ever since. So much beauty along that coastline. Note that accommodation south of Monterey is extremely scarce, and what's there is very expensive.

LA, on the other hand, can stand with fewer days. One is too many already, in my opinion. It's a grey, smoggy, highway-infested, rundown shade of former glory, and a prime example of everything which is bad in American cities. (And hardly showing anything of the many things which are good in them.)

3. Posted by brianfitz1979 (Budding Member 4 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Tks a million appreciate all the advice im stuck to three weeks unfortunately. I definitely will try and spend more time on the big sur and less in LA

4. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 1999 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

PCH is a good trip. Be sure to try and get to the following spots.
(1) Redwood National Park, (2) Seattle, WA (space needle and Experience Music Project), (3) west coast portion of Oregon (really underrated), (4) north coast of San Francisco, (5) Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey (including the 17 mile drive portion that goes near the coastline there), (6) Hearst Castle, (7) wine country near Paso Robles (only about 300 wineries there now), (8) Yosemite, and the nearby cities of Murphys and Columbia/Twain Harte, and (9) coastal portions of southern California (choose from Zuma Beach, Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach (my favorites are these last two).

Hope you enjoy your trip.

5. Posted by brianfitz1979 (Budding Member 4 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Thanks a million Cal appreciate the advice :)


33 stops on this trip

  1. Dublin, Ireland
    03 Sep
  2. Vancouver, BC, Canada
    03 Sep-06 Sep
  3. Whistler, BC, Canada
    03 Sep-05 Sep
  4. Vancouver, BC, Canada
    05 Sep-06 Sep
  5. Seattle, WA, United States
    06 Sep-07 Sep
  6. Aberdeen, WA, United States
    07 Sep
  7. Astoria, OR, United States
  8. Portland, OR, United States
    07 Sep-08 Sep
  9. Lincoln City, OR, United States
    08 Sep
  10. Florence, OR, United States
  11. Port Orford, OR, United States
  12. Gold Beach, OR, United States
  13. Crescent City, CA, United States
  14. Eureka, CA, United States
  15. Fort Bragg, CA, United States
  16. San Francisco, CA, United States
    09 Sep-12 Sep
  17. Lake Tahoe
    12 Sep-13 Sep
  18. Yosemite Valley, CA, United States
    13 Sep-14 Sep
  19. San Francisco, CA, United States
    14 Sep-14 Sep
  20. San Jose, CA, United States
    14 Sep
  21. Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  22. Monterey, CA, United States
  23. Big Sur, CA, United States
  24. Ragged Point, CA, United States
  25. Morro Bay, CA, United States
  26. Santa Maria, CA, United States
  27. Santa Barbara, CA, United States
    14 Sep-15 Sep
  28. Los Angeles, CA, United States
    15 Sep-16 Sep
  29. San Diego, CA, United States
    16 Sep-17 Sep
  30. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, United States
    17 Sep-18 Sep
  31. Las Vegas, NV, United States
    18 Sep-19 Sep
  32. Los Angeles, CA, United States
    19 Sep-22 Sep
  33. Dublin, Ireland
    22 Sep