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Old 06-05-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
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Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

We are planning a trip with our 17B from Alberta, down the west coast, as far as we get, perhaps San Diego. We have 1 month, and will be traveling with 2 kids. Any advice on things such as where to focus our time? For example, should we go through Washington quickly, since it is quite close to home and we can always go back there, and focus on California? I see in previous posts that people recommend reservations, but half of the sites in Oregon cannot be booked. Would we be ok if we depend on non booked sites? Any must see things? Thanks everyone for the previous posts, great info!

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Old 06-05-2011, 11:17 PM   #2
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

We enjoyed The Hearst Castle and Winchester House.

Also the drive through tree in Leggit.

I must warn you that the road down to the ocean from Leggit is 28 miles of curves.

Hwy 1 is beautiful, but not an expressway. Every time you cross a river, it's go down one side of the canyon, cross the river, and drive up the other side. It is a trip that is worth taking once.

"How is that working for you?" - Dr Phil
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:53 AM   #3
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

If you planning on visiting San Francisco, there's limited site available near the city so you need reservations.

There's a nice State Park, but it's about an hour north of SF Samuel P Taylor, one benefit is to come into the city you have to take the Golden Gate.

An hour south is Half Moon Bay - There's Half Moon Bay State Beach (RV / tents)

There's also Santa Cruz - which has a boardwalk/amusement rides and is quite a fun little area (about 2 hours south of SF)

We like Monterey Bay and of course the Aquarium is a must see.. Carmel is close as well.

We also like Morro Bay, there's another state park for RV/tent. There's a great bike path that runs along the wharf.

Farther down it gets more 'beachie' - Pismo Beach places like that and there's a ton of options to stay..

You should check out the website, most campsites both private and public are there..

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Old 06-06-2011, 09:30 PM   #4
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

There was a news release about CA state park closeures. Here is a link to the article and the list.

Sorry, Hope it doesn't put a damper on your plans.


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Old 06-07-2011, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

If the emphasis of your trip is coast, I'd recommend that you skip Washington's coast, since the road is far enough inland that you are usually just looking at trees. If you don't mind covering ground on freeways, ask Google Maps to take you through The Dalles, Oregon to Astoria. That will put you alongside the Columbia River for a good chunk of the drive. Try to avoid Portland at rush hour.

The Oregon coast is worth at least three, if not five, days of your drive. We stayed at these Oregon coast sites last summer, and recommend all of them:

Barview Jetty County Campground (a bit big and busy, but not bad)
Beachside State Recreation Site (I loved this place - no dump station, tho)
Sunset Bay State Park (a bit off the path - lots of sea lions and a botanical garden nearby)
Harris Beach State Park (reservations a must)

I hear good things about Beverly Beach State Park and Bullards Beach State Park.

I am not a kid guy, so I don't like Seaside. Your kids will probably love it.

Oregon dunes offer exciting dune buggy rides for families.

Good kite flying opportunities in Oregon.

Death Valley and Las Vegas are on the way home. Prepare for heat, but take advantage while you are there. I'd do a side trip to the Hoover Dam, but that's just me.

I have not been to Bryce Canyon or Zion National Monument, but I think you should go there on the way home.

Whatever you do, DON'T RUSH HOME. Turn around early enough that your homeward trip is not hurried.

My thoughts, for what they are worth....
Ron Stewart
Tsawwassen, BC

2009 17' Plan B
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:50 PM   #6
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

The Washington north coast is part of the Olympic National Park and very beautiful, like nothing you will see anywhere else along the west coast, but it is a bit out of the way. I think it depends on what you like to see and do. being a National Park, the north coast of WA is more pristine and wild with gorgeous beaches, 'sea stacks' (rock formations in the ocean), no fancy resorts and developed areas. The only other place that I think comes close to it in natural beauty is the southern Oregon coast, though there are 'patches' along northern Oregon coast that are less developed and very beautiful. Then of course there is Big Sur in CA, but even there, I am told, it is getting more developed, though still beautiful.

If you decide to see that part of the WA coast I would suggest you go out to the coast, spend some time (I could make some recommendations) then go south and cut back to I-5. As already mentioned, there is a section of the coast that is quite inland and after that you have to go out again, it gets to be a time consuming trip.

If you do decide to skip WA I encourage you to go sometime.



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Old 11-15-2011, 04:18 AM   #7
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

This is what I sued when I was planning my trip:
You can write to the reviewers directly as well which is great for tips.
I'm planning a road trip next summer from somewhere in California (I come from Europe so really have no idea where) to Alaska. how long is realistic to plan? There are so many things I want to see!

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Old 11-19-2011, 03:02 AM   #8
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

Just what time of year are you planning this trip? Taking kids, so can I assume it will be summer?
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:18 PM   #9
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

We just finished a trip from Chilliwack to Carlsbad. The only place where not having reservations was a problem was South Carlsbad State Beach, which is mentioned in another post. We got in, but had to change sites every day. We went in the spring, but hit their spring break which somehow goes on for a month.

we had a great trip top to bottom, but some of the highlights were...

Tammy and Reace put us on to a good RV Park to visit San Fran from - Marin RV Park in Greenbrae. It's a short walk to either a ferry or bus ride to the city. It's not pretty, but clean and convenient.

We really liked Patrick's Point just north of Eureka. Great hiking along a beautiful part of the coast. That's the only thing about Eureka that we liked though.

Have fun,
John - North Bay, Ontario
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:09 PM   #10
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Re: Planning Trip down Pacific Coast Highway

Hi will be a gorgeous trip. You didn't mention the age of the kids as that would have a bearing on what I would recommend. The Oregon dunes would be a winner for any age. You can rent dune buggies if the kids are old enough, or you can go out in a touring buggy which is lots of fun for all ages. Fantastic beaches. Honeyman campsite (by Florence) has a couple of great lakes for swimming. On the lake nearest the beach, you can slide down a sand dune right into the lake ....great fun.

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