L.A - Seattle

Travel Forums North America L.A - Seattle

1. Posted by YuggyBear (Budding Member 3 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Hi All,

Two of us are planning to do what some may say is a super cliche american roadtrip, however we cannot wait. We are flying out on the 26th June and Returning 12th July.

We have booked our car rental and have a rough plan of where we are visiting/stopping on the way but have tried to keep it fairly open so that if we spot something we dont need to rush to be somewhere. Keen to know if anyone has any "must see's" or places/stops that they found by fluke.

We are also aware we are travelling during 4th July. We are hoping to be at Nappa Valley by this point..should we be super aware of anything or are there any nearby celebrations anyone knows of?

Our rough guide is:
L.A
SANTA BARBARA
SAN LUIS OBISPO
CARMEL BY SEA
MONETERY
SANTA CRUZ
NAPPA VALLEY
REDWOOD
PORTLAND
SEATTLE

Thanks for any advise,

A complete newby to the travel forum world

2. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 359 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Quoting YuggyBear

We are also aware we are travelling during 4th July. We are hoping to be at Nappa Valley by this point..should we be super aware of anything or are there any nearby celebrations anyone knows of?

Are you looking for activities related to the holiday OR are you trying to avoid them?

There WILL be traffic concerns at this point, especially if your route goes through toll booths. At toll booths be prepared for legendary traffic back-ups and that sort of thing.

Many folks turn that holiday into a week long one, so heightened crowds could extend beyond the 4th.

If you are looking to have a good old celebration with the locals, that's easy. Many towns have parades/food trucks/events/concerts/fireworks.

As for bummers to avoid along that route: I cannot say, but I lived in Seattle for a few years, and even worked at SEA, so i'd love to answer any queries you have about that area.

3. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 359 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

How long in Seattle? What do you plan to see there?

IF you are into hiking and nature, you can see a very impressive sight at Mount Rainier National Park. You can take a very easy 2 mile hike to the southernmost glacier in the lower 48 states. Vehicle-sized pieces fall off the glacier on an hourly basis and it is quite impressive! In fact, that glacier forms a river that flows strong throughout the year.

4. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1033 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Carmel left me cold personally - just a lot of affluent people, expensive shops and golf courses! But the 16 Mile drive is a must for scenery :)

You don't have San Francisco on your list; is there any reason for that? I loved it and there's so much to see - Alcatraz, Chinatown, the Golden Gate, variety of architecture etc.

Don't miss Cannery Row and the aquarium in Monteray - very touristy but appealing at the same time. On the Oregon coast we liked Bandon Beach but there are several with very photogenic rock formations that are worth a stop. Further north the coastline of the Olympic Peninsula is also amazing but the detour may be too lengthy for you unfortunately.

A little over two weeks doesn't seem long for this drive, especially once you factor in any delays associated with the 4th July holidays. Have you got any latitude to extend the trip? If not, you are going to have to make some tough decisions about what not to see!

5. Posted by YuggyBear (Budding Member 3 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Quoting road to roam

Quoting YuggyBear

We are also aware we are travelling during 4th July. We are hoping to be at Nappa Valley by this point..should we be super aware of anything or are there any nearby celebrations anyone knows of?

Are you looking for activities related to the holiday OR are you trying to avoid them?

There WILL be traffic concerns at this point, especially if your route goes through toll booths. At toll booths be prepared for legendary traffic back-ups and that sort of thing.

Many folks turn that holiday into a week long one, so heightened crowds could extend beyond the 4th.

If you are looking to have a good old celebration with the locals, that's easy. Many towns have parades/food trucks/events/concerts/fireworks.

As for bummers to avoid along that route: I cannot say, but I lived in Seattle for a few years, and even worked at SEA, so i'd love to answer any queries you have about that area.

Literally ANY AND ALL recommendations / do's& don'ts for Seattle would be amazing. We are there for three nights/four days...

6. Posted by YuggyBear (Budding Member 3 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Quoting ToonSarah

Carmel left me cold personally - just a lot of affluent people, expensive shops and golf courses! But the 16 Mile drive is a must for scenery :)

You don't have San Francisco on your list; is there any reason for that? I loved it and there's so much to see - Alcatraz, Chinatown, the Golden Gate, variety of architecture etc.

Don't miss Cannery Row and the aquarium in Monteray - very touristy but appealing at the same time. On the Oregon coast we liked Bandon Beach but there are several with very photogenic rock formations that are worth a stop. Further north the coastline of the Olympic Peninsula is also amazing but the detour may be too lengthy for you unfortunately.

A little over two weeks doesn't seem long for this drive, especially once you factor in any delays associated with the 4th July holidays. Have you got any latitude to extend the trip? If not, you are going to have to make some tough decisions about what not to see!

Hi,

We are giving San Fran a miss as we have both been a couple of times before (and although we both love it) as you can tell with the time, we thought it best to allow space for new places to explore.

We have extended it once already, so highly likely we will again, we are booking a bit at a time month by month so flights, L.A & Santa Barbara are all covered so wiggle room for sure!

Thanks so much for your recommendations will have a look into Bandon Beach & the Olympic Peninsula :)

7. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1033 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Quoting YuggyBear

Literally ANY AND ALL recommendations / do's& don'ts for Seattle would be amazing. We are there for three nights/four days...

In Seattle we thought the Space Needle, although not cheap, was well worth doing. It costs less if you go when they first open in the morning (I think before 10.00) and it's also less crowded then - we went first thing and there were no queues at the ticket counters but when we left an hour later, even though it was by them more expensive, there were lots of people queuing.

We also liked MoPoP, the Museum of Pop Culture, although again not cheap. Have a look at what exhibitions are on before deciding, as you pay the same whether you're going to those or just the permanent collections so it's better value if there's something of interest.

We also spent time in the Pioneer Square area - we visited twice, once in the afternoon when we spent lots of time taking photos of the street art and visiting some of the galleries, and once in the evening for dinner at a cool Mexican.

If you're interested you can read my blog entries about Seattle here: https://toonsarah.travellerspoint.com/116/ and https://toonsarah.travellerspoint.com/147/

I also have some on the Olympic Peninsula which may help to entice you there ;) : https://toonsarah.travellerspoint.com/122/, https://toonsarah.travellerspoint.com/123/, https://toonsarah.travellerspoint.com/125/

8. Posted by road to roam (Travel Guru 359 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

Seattle: Yeah, the Space needle is iconic - and worth it. And prepare to spend all day at MoPOP, it is that good. Another iconic thing to see is Pike Place Market. The food and flowers displayed there make for great photos, and there are the flying fish, of course. There are a TON of grazing opportunities and even proper restaurants, so come hungry.

The Geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck) clams and Dungeness crabs are local seafood specialties, and halibut is the best tasting fish in the whole world - try all 3.

For something goofy, check out Ye Old Curiosity Shop. https://yeoldecuriosityshop.com/ Good, silly fun.

Gas Works Park is also a cool spot on Lake Union, offering nice views of downtown. This was once a gas works (clever, huh?) but has been preserved. Someone saw the potential in leaving behind these giant tanks, pipes, smoke stacks and walkways to rust. Oddly, the whole thing works quite well and has become a lesser-known symbol of the city. It's an oddly beautiful sight to behold!

The Seattle Japanese Garden was a favorite of ours, especially in autumn. https://www.seattlejapanesegarden.org/

Many folks come to Seattle to visit the Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass. https://www.chihulygardenandglass.com/ I'd give this a skip.

For some more classic views of Seattle, head to Kerry Park in the Queen Anne neighborhood.

Mount Rainier is a bit of a haul from Seattle, but it may be on your list. That glacier I mentioned earlier is called the Carbon Glacier, and the entrance to that corner of the park is known as the Carbon River Entrance. This point of entry was free for ages, however I don't know if that is still the case. If you come to this entrance, don't expect the scenic drive you'd get on the other end of the park - that is the main entrance and is where almost everyone heads to. The Carbon River entrance dead ends.

Seattle is about 20 miles long and and several miles wide - be prepared to for a lot of driving between points of interest and a lot of traffic. The city is notorious for it's traffic.

If you happen to arrive late into Seattle, but fancy a true gourmet meal (ya never know...) head to a restaurant across the road from the airport called 13 Coins. Gourmet food and "open 24 hours" rarely go together in the same sentence, but this place manages both. Sometimes you crave pan seared mutton chops in an early spring plum reduction, served atop wilted local cress at 11.30 pm.

They also have a location in Pioneer Square. https://www.13coins.com/

9. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1188 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

As you travel north, please be aware that you might encounter some tolls on the way.

You don't have to pay a toll northbound on the Golden Gate Bridge, but if you travel southbound (towards San Francisco) then you'll have to:

https://www.bayareafastrak.org/en/guide/GGBridgeToll.shtml

The same goes for Seattle:

https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/default.htm

Better to pay online than leave it to your rental-car company as you likely will be charged convenience fees that you might not like.

I drove last May from Seattle to San Francisco. The journey took about a week, which didn't leave much time for sightseeing. For example, we did not stop in Portland. It was inland from our desired coastal route.

We used the Forks Motel in Forks as a base for hikes in the Olympic peninsula. We liked Pacific Pizza in Forks for its food and hospitality.

We stopped at several places on the Oregon coast, including Cape Lookout and Cape Perpetua. We liked our stay at the Bandon Inn in Bandon.

In northern California, we stopped at Jedediah Smith, Prairie Creek and Humboldt Redwoods state parks. Hiking in Humboldt Redwoods, touted for the Avenue of the Giants, is limited unless you're camping.

I traveled from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the coastal route many years ago so I can't comment on what it's like now. But I suspect it's as beautiful as it was then.

10. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1275 posts) 36w Star this if you like it!

I do not know what effect the fires have had on that area of the coast - I hope not too much. But if you go up California Route 1 from San Luis Obispo, you will be passing San Simeon which is the old Hearst estate. It would be (I think) a good idea to get the tickets on line in advance. http://hearstcastle.org/plan-your-trip/about-san-simeon/

After that the road goes through great scenery including Big Sur and by Point Lobos to Carmel. North of Carmel is the Lone Cypress and the Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove before you get to Monterey. North of Monterey is the Fort Ord Dunes State Park (back when I lived there this was the firing range of the fort or something like that)

If you take California Route 9 north from Santa Cruz you can visit some of the California state parks such as Henry Cowell or Big Basin which have the coastal redwoods (a different species than the Sequoias of Yosemite and King's Canyon), so you might consider stopping at one of them if you have not been.

I have always wanted to visit the Olympic National Park to see the rainforest there, but I've never managed to get three.

I have always found it was nicer to do a meal at the restaurant in one of those revolving needle things (for example Toronto, Sydney and Seattle). So I recommend an early dinner in the Space Needle. It will probably take enough time for at least one revolution. The trip to the top is usually covered in the coast of the meal.