I'm planning a trip to the West coast of the USA for some time in March or April next year. At the moment I have only the general idea of starting in San Diego and making my way to Seattle. Anyone got any fantastic ideas of how to get between the two, and what to see on the way? I've thought about the Greyhound but I'm fairly tall and usually hate coaches!
I wouldn't go greyhound unless you are only interested in getting between point A and point B, and not seeing much in between. Amtrak could be another way to go, and sometimes they offer stay overs in destinations along their routes as part of their package. Train is a nice way to see things and you can get up and move around any time you feel cramped. But Amtrak is notoriously unreliable (always late), and I have no idea what their route is (i.e. what stops they have). But you could check that out on their website (probably www.amtrak.com).
I would say the absolute best way to get from San Diego to Seattle is to drive, if that is a possibility. The California and Oregon coastline cannot be missed. Even if you take only a part of the coastline. And there are so many places to stop and visit along the way that you would be happier having control over where and when you want to stop.
If you decide to drive, let me know. I just did that route a few months ago and I have tons of ideas of what to see and do!
Happy trip planning!
I've taken the train from seattle to San Diego and all i can tell you is that its a beatiful trip. They allowed us to take a stay over in san fransisco for a few days and that was great. I dont know how many stay overs you are allowed to take but i would look into the train, even if its just for part of the way.
One thing that you would have to consider is that there is a big chance of rain in the spring as you get up north. I'm from Vancouver (which you could also visit on the trip) and some years, the rain seems to never stop. But if you spend more time in the south, then make it up here for the summer, you should have better luck (but there's never any garantees )
Hi TimC, I grew up in Los Angeles, so I would be very happy to point you in a few good directions.
What do you like?
In the early spring you are too early to visit Sequoia or Yosemite National Parks
You must visit San Francisco.
If the weather is good, you should rent a car and drive over to Nevada and go to Virginia City. If you look on a map, it is about thirty miles south of Reno Nevada. It is a tourist trap, but it is a ghost town that never died that came into being when silver was discovered there about 1860, and the town never died. It was called the Comstock Lode, and was probably the richest silver concentration in the world.
North of SanFrancisco there is a town called Leggett. You'll probably have to search on the internet (not a map) to find it, but there is a tree there that you can drive through. Again this calls for renting a car.
Where are you from?
I live in London, UK, so I'm very used to rainy weather!!
Travel-wise, I really enjoy exploring cities but I also want to visit some of the national parks. I've been to the Grand Canyon (although I could certainly manage another visit!) before, and I spent a week in San Francisco about six years ago, and I will definitely be going back there during my trip.
I'm also interested in hearing recommendations about where to go in Oregon and Washington, because I don't know nearly as much about them as I do about California.
I've heard there could be huge fees to pay if I rented a car in one city and returned it in another. How realistic would it be to buy a car at one end and sell at the other?
Since you asked about Oregon and Washington, here's what I know from my recent 5 months spent in Seattle on a work assignment.
If you are going to Seattle (Washington) in March or April be prepared for rain--drizzle primarily--but all day and everyday. When it's not raining it will be snowing--but that melts quickly. The number #1 saying in Seattle is: "When you can see Mount Rainier, it's about to rain; and when you can't see Mount Rainier, it's raining. Seattle gets over 240 days of rain a year. Having said that, you'll find it more like Britain than most of the US because of the rain, the lakes, and the green lush countryside. The biggest difference will be that Seattle has mountains, whereas England and the rest of Great Britain has mainly hills. The other difference is that in Seattle they invented the coffee craze--whereas in England, tea rules. Starbucks, Tully's, Seattle's best, and about three other large coffee companies started there, and they have drive-through coffee, cappucino, and expresso stands everywhere.
Things to do and see: Seattle's Pike Market is the best known fish market in the country, and sells just about any kind of food or flowers. The Space Needle has the best view--and the food and service are excellent. At the base of the space needle is EMP--The Experience Music Project--one of the two good music museums in the country (the other is in Cleveland, Ohio). When my wife and teenage son visited they spent 6 hours here and didn't want to leave. Mostly they loved the interactive exhibits that taught you how to play the different instruments. Next door to this is the new "Alien Experience--a science fiction museum". There is a really nice Japanese garden on the west side of Lake Washington, there is a great aviation museum (with old Presidential jets and Concorde jets that you can go through on site) down at Boeing field. Another thing to do that is not very well known is that you can tour the Boeing factory and watch them build the planes if you book ahead. You can also buy stuff from their factory store.
The wineries in Washington are second in sales to California--and the good news here is that four of the best ones are right next to Seattle. Chauteau St. Michelle, Columbia Crest, DeStefano and Novelty Hill are here. The others are about a day's drive to the east near Yakima--the best being located in the "Red Mountain" area.
Another nice thing to do is to visit Snowqualmie Falls--which is located about 20 miles east of Seattle. The falls are higher than Niagara Falls (which is on the Canada--New York border), and a beautiful site. I wouldn't book at the restaurant there though--you can't see the falls when you are in the restaurant--and while they say the food is good, the prices are outrageous.
Instead eat at places like the Space Needle, Chandler's Crabhouse (my personal favorite) on Lake Union, Yarrow Bay Grill or Hector's in Kirkland (on the east side of Lake Washington) with nice sunset views of the lake (when it's not raining too hard), The Waterfront (on the bay), or Cascadia (downtown). Order salmon anytime of year--they do it wonderful here--and it's fresh.
Lastly, go north to Vancouver or Victoria for a day or two--these are wonderful cities as well--and great places to visit. Even if you don't ski you can take the tram to the top of Grouse Mountain Ski Resort just north of Vancouver for an absolutely stunning view (and visit the grizzly bears there if they aren't hibernating for the winter.)
As far as Oregon, I can't help you too much other than to say Portland and Eugene seem to be the top spots (and Ashland, which has a great Shakesphere Festival). My favorite place to go in Oregon is the Columbia River gorge east of Portland. My favorite place to eat in Portland is Typhoon!, a restaurant that features over 150 different kinds of tea on their menu.
Well, have fun and enjoy
It would take a volume to write all the things you will see and all the things you will do. I have taken the route a number of times from Vancouver to LA. If you have lots of time use the coastal highways. Lucky you.
There are a-plenty of places to go in Oregon besides the beautiful coast. You could drive the Columbia River Gorge scenic route where you will pass Multnomah Falls (one of the tallest waterfalls in the US) and other waterfalls (you can try some of the hikes if you have time), and loop around and up Mt. Hood to Timberline Lodge (an old, historic and magnificient ski lodge). Try skiing if you like while you're there. If you only have time to stay downtown Portland for a day, my suggestions on places to go are Japanese Garden, Chinese Classical Garden (it's good, but not that big though), Powell's (a bookstore that's a WHOLE city block - it has used and new books).
Down south, you could also visit Mt. Bachelor, the sand dunes, tour the caves and so on.
Have fun while you're in Oregon!
I agree with the rest. It's smart that u are spending a lot of time on the "westside". Buying a car is a good option. The only pain is finding insurance and registration(if u want the legal approach!) The drop off fees vary from different car company. Call Hertz or Alamo. They usually have lower drop off fees.
Added prissy abstract to do is to stay Snowqualmie Falls--which is situated around 20 miles asia of Metropolis. The water are higher than Niagara Falls (which is on the Canada--New Royalty confine), and a sightly situation. I wouldn't volume at the restaurant there though--you can't see the falls when you are in the restaurant--and patch they say the nutrient is echt, the prices are outrageous.The greatest difference module be that Seattle has mountains, whereas England and the quietus of Zealous Kingdom has mainly hills. The opposite disagreement is that in City they invented the potable craze--whereas in England, tea rules. Starbucks, Tully's, City's mortal, and around ternary added comprehensive.
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jan-2010, at 03:46 by sean456 ]