Portland, OR to LA Must See and Do

Old Dec 26th, 2021, 03:23 PM
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Portland, OR to LA Must See and Do

Hi there,

My husband and I are traveling with our 18 & 21 year olds for a West Coast trip. We have never seen or been to the West Coast. We figured starting in Portland and making our way down would be good start. We are traveling for 10 days, any advice as to must see stops, best places to see, eat, etc would be appreciated. We are traveling end of June through 7/10.
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Old Dec 26th, 2021, 03:53 PM
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Welcome to Fodors forums!

What do you have in mind? I assume you are renting a car? Will you be returning to Portland or flying in there then out of Los Angeles?

You want to see and do city things? Or going along the coast? Hiking and nature acctivities? Ocean or mountains? Camping or hotels? State and national parks? Museums? Sports?

People here will have lots of ideas and suggestions, but if you can tell us a little more about your interests and how you are picturing this trip, will help everyone make appropriate suggestions.
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Old Dec 26th, 2021, 04:12 PM
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Yes, we have rented a car, we fly into Portland from Boston, fly out of LAX home. Definitely hotels or Airbnbs, or if in park area, totally ok with camping.We are open to any suggestions, thought was to see Redwoods, San Fran area, Alcatraz, possibly Napa, boys are planning on golfing at Pebble Beach, don’t want to spend a lot of time in LA except to see the Hollywood Stars (kids choice). Definitely coastal drive preferably, but open to any doable suggestions/routes as this is a new adventure for us. Looking forwards to suggestions! Kids are pumped!
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Old Dec 26th, 2021, 04:47 PM
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A couple of quick comments --

1) Have they already booked their Round at Pebble Beach? If not that should be done first and ASAP. July 1-2 are already sold out but you wouldn't be that far south by that weekend.

2) 10 days may seem like a generous amount of time but it really isn't. Just a quick Portland > the Oregon coast > down through the redwoods/CA coast > Napa > SF > Monterey Peninsula > LA would take at least 28-30 hours butts in seats car time plus stops. Because of Alcatraz, PB , and Walk of Fame (I assume that s what you mean by stars), you'd really need 2 nights minimum each in SF, Monterey/Carmel and LA. So that is 6 of your 10-ish nights right there.
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Old Dec 26th, 2021, 04:52 PM
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Oh -- and welcome to Fodors

Is it a must that you fly in to Portland and out of LAX? Because IF the kids can give up Hollywood -- - flying in to PDX and out of SFO would be much easier. That would give you time for the coast, redwoods, SF, Napa/Sonoma and the Monterey Peninsula. It would still be a little rushed but much more doable.
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Old Dec 26th, 2021, 04:55 PM
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I recently drove down the Oregon coast & recommend a stay for a night at the Silvia Beach Hotel in Newport. Fun place, good served breakfast with ocean view. They also do a several course dinner if you can manage several courses.

Sylvia Beach Hotel ? Call Us Today 541-265-5428



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Old Dec 26th, 2021, 05:01 PM
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Thanks for the info! I am not sure about golf, but will give them the heads up. Would it be more beneficial to fly into SF and start journey there and skip Oregon Coast and Northern CA? We are really open to anything just know San Fran, Alcatraz, Walk of Fame, PB musts., Napa isn’t a must do.
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Old Dec 26th, 2021, 07:54 PM
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Ten days between SF/Napa/PB and LA makes more sense to me. Or 10 days between Portland and SF/Napa/PB.

Because July 4th is a Monday, lodging on the California coast will book up fast for the nights July 1st to July 5th, and you may find most places will have at least a 2-night minimum that weekend. During the pandemic, camping became very popular in California, and I assume it will be the same this summer. Reservations are essential and may already be hard to get for the July 4th weekend.

I'm an L.A. native. I honestly don't get the attraction to the Hollywood Walk of Fame or even Hollywood for that matter. But I'm not a tourist, and if the WOF is a priority and you want to see particular names, find them on the map of the WOF and plan your route. Otherwise, you'll wander past 2700+ names spread over nearly 20 city blocks (some mildly interesting and some truly tacky). Seeing the hand- and foot-prints in the forecourt at what I'll always call Grauman's Chinese Theater (no matter who owns it now) is moderately fun, but I find young people today don't recognize many of the names.

FYI, the homeless crisis in LA is acute, and I wouldn't expect to see significant improvement in 6 months. If you don't have a burning desire to visit LA on this trip and have multiple things you want to see/do here, I'd skip it.
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 06:52 AM
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Thank you for this information as I think the kids believe from TV that WOF is glamorous and a must do, this is a good time to reevaluate. If we stay away from that area and plan on Portland, OR to SF area, Monterey, etc any recommendations? Appreciate the information!
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 07:46 AM
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A couple of thoughts, a little at odds with each other, as usual:

1. You could truncate the trip at SF, in other words make it just Portland - SF Bay area (plus Monterey Bay area.) I do wonder how impactful the Hollywood walk would be on 18-21 year olds who probably won't recognize many of the names. Frankly, there's enough to see and do in the LA area to make it a trip on its own; not just Hollywood, but all the Hispanic history, beach culture, and if you went during a cold New England winter, maybe throw some desert into the mix, say Palm Springs and Joshua Tree NP, both quite wonderful in January/February. Google the places on this map - https://goo.gl/maps/GHvMJXw4pfRBzjpV9

2. While the Oregon coast is spectacular (in parts) there's no shortage of glorious Pacific coastline in other places. What if you flew into Portland and spent a couple of days (maybe three) exploring that area (Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood and Hood River Valley etc.) then flew one way to San Francisco (around $80 one way) then spent the rest of the time either heading to LA via Monterey Bay and Big Sur, or just including those areas in a big loop? You could stop at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (near Santa Cruz) for the big trees fix, or maybe visit the cool old fashioned beachfront amusement park in Santa Cruz, see the historic Spanish mission at Carmel, channel the ghosts of Orson Wells and Rita Hayworth (or Dick and Liz) at Nepenthe, see the elephant seal rookery at San Simeon... lots to see and do. You might also think about swapping the many vineyards and wineries in the Hood River Valley in Oregon for the Napa/Sonoma ones, or else stop at some of the central coast wineries that stretch from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara and Ojai. Again, google the places: https://goo.gl/maps/bBvhdxDBg5x6P3Gy6
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 07:56 AM
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" . . . that WOF is glamorous "

Oh my, they would be in for a (very) rude awakening

Portland to SF or vice versa would make a very nice 10 day trip. Not loads of time but doable. You have to be carefull where you are on the 4th / that weekend. As Jean mentioned most anyplace decent will have a 2 night minimum and with the 4th on a Monday some along the coast might have a 3 night min (or even 4 nights including the Friday).

I personally don't think camping makes much sense. You'd either have to schlepp all the gear with you on the flights, buy some cheap stuff at Walmart or Target and leave it behind, or rent which isn't really an option on a one-way road trip.

Exactly how many nights do you gave in total??

Depending on what time you and (using PDX) something like this would work if you have 10 nights:

Fly in to PDX

• first day PDX > Newport OR - about a 3 hour drive. *If that is too long/tiring after a Xcountry flight, it would be nice somewhere in the Willamette Valley for the first night - Beautiful farms, vineyards/wineries/towns. I've only ever stayed in DaytonMcMinnville and others may have better suggestions - maybe Dayton or MT Angel?? Thus are is an hour to 90 minutes south of PDX and from there it is 2-ish hours over to the coast where you'd head south. So either first night on the coast or in the Willamette Valley.

• Night 2: maybe Coos Bay or Bandon

• Nights 3-4: then I'd plan 2 nights on the N. CA coast for all the redwoods/hikes/etc. (Somewhere between Trinidad and Ferndale)

• Night 5-6 Mendocino/Ft Bragg area. Check out this place https://www.littleriverinn.com (One night would work better for the itinerary as a whole but assuming a 2 night minimum - plus there is a lots to see/do)

• Night 7: Sonoma (I don't really think this is a 'must' and if you are up to it driving all the way to Monterey instead it would give you and extra night at the end in SF. That would be a 5-6 hour drive but the only really long car day of the trip)

• Nights 8-9 Carmel/Monterey (Golf/Pt Lobos/Kayaking/etc) . . . or nights 7-8 as above

• Night 10 in SF. (or nights 9-10 if you skip staying in Napa/Sonoma)

Fly home.

This is rushed but doable
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 08:04 AM
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I was posting the same time as Gardyloo. -- his suggestion to fly from PDX to SFO s good -- would make for a really different trip but very doable.

I still would not travel any farther south than Carmel/BigSur (maybe San Simeon at most)

In either case . . . CA and Oregon are very big states and the driving can be slower than expected On the coast because of the coast . . . and in urban areas (ESPECIALLY in the SF Bay Area) because there is just too darn much traffic. If you had 3 weeks a PDX > LAX road trip would be more than doable, but not in 10 days with the things you want to see and do.
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
I was posting the same time as Gardyloo. -- his suggestion to fly from PDX to SFO s good -- would make for a really different trip but very doable.

I still would not travel any farther south than Carmel/BigSur (maybe San Simeon at most)

In either case . . . CA and Oregon are very big states and the driving can be slower than expected On the coast because of the coast . . . and in urban areas (ESPECIALLY in the SF Bay Area) because there is just too darn much traffic. If you had 3 weeks a PDX > LAX road trip would be more than doable, but not in 10 days with the things you want to see and do.
Agree with janisj and Gardyloo! If you want to play a coastal golf course (or 5), we have Bandon Dunes in Oregon (not cheap) They also have several lodging options there as well (also not cheap).
Many of the Oregon State parks near the coast have yurts which would be a much cheaper lodging option.
Renting a car at PDX is easy, but I hate drop off fees so I advise returning the car to PDX and then flying to SFO or Sacramento (SMF) and renting another car to see what you want in California.
Many of the hotels and inns near the coast of Oregon have 2 night minimum stays.
If you wanted to spend all of your 10 days in Oregon, you could go as far south as Crescent City CA and see the Coast Redwoods and then take US 199 to I-5 and then visit Crater Lake NP and Bend before returning to Portland driving past Mount Hood.
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 12:31 PM
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I agree you do not have enough time, people usually take 14 days and might add in a side trip to Yosemite or similar.

I'd start from SF (locals do not like the "San Fran" abbreviation) and spend 3-4 nights there. You can see Alcatraz there but have to have reservations a month or so in advance from what I understand. Then pick up your car and head south.
Personally I would skip Napa, it is very pricey and probably the only California winery area many people have heard of due to their public relations and references on TV and such. There are very good winery regions in adjacent Sonoma (more spread out, less traffic), Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara. I would stay a night or two in Monterey, then drive to Pismo Beach or Morro Bay, then Santa Barbara, and lastly on to LA. Where you stay is another topic but depends on budget, and itinerary, etc.
The WOF is NOT glamorous, most of the housing in Hollywood is pretty old, like post WW2 except a few places like the Hollywood and Highland shopping center. You will not see movie stars walking around in evening wear unless there is a premiere and you have bleacher seats. Your sons might enjoy the Petersen Automotive Museum (next to LACMA) and you might enjoy one of the Getty museums (there are 2) and there is a newly opened Academy Museum centered on movies. To see "stars" try and get tickets for a TV taping like Jimmy Kimmel or similar. A LOT of shows are on hiatus (break) in July and most of August, so try and get tickets early. Just FYI, this will take the better part of a day since you have to get in line for the tickets a few hours ahead of time, etc.
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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 02:05 PM
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As mentioned, the Oregon coast is pretty impressive:

Astoria
. Many colorful houses and older longtime residents speak with a Finnish accent. Lewis and Clark National Historic Park with the recreated Fort Clatsop. Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Stroll on the Astoria Riverwalk. The Cathedral Tree Trail takes you to a Sitka spruce which you can walk into. Eat seafood

Cannon Beach. Scenic coastal resort with Haystack Rock. South of town is Oswald West State Park which has lovely deserted beaches.

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area @ Yachats. This is the most population tourist destination in Oregon.

Ashland. Described as one of the coolest small towns in America, it has a hippie vibe and Southern Oregon University. There are some wonderful parks including Lithia Park and Siskiyou Mt. Park. Nearby is the famous Rogue National Scenic River which which has waterwater rafting. There is a hands-on science museum.




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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 02:14 PM
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On your next trip, go down Highway 1 from Monterey to Santa Barbara. It's one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Monterey. Drive the scenic 17-mile Road in Carmel; check out Monterey’s world-famous aquarium and Cannery Row; go on a Monterey Bay Whale Watch tour; view the 1855 Point Pinos Lighthouse and 1794 San Carlos Cathedral; and hike the Sea Lion Trail at Point Lobos State Reserve.

Big Sur is90 miles of jagged Pacific coastline with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Hike through towering Redwoods in Big Sur (Pfieffer Big Sur State Park). View McWay Falls gracefully cascade directly into the ocean at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Keyhole Arch Rock at Pfeiffer Beach is considered to be one of the most photogenic sunset spots on the central coast. On down the highway is fabulous Hearst Castle and Morro Bay with its rock.

San Luis Obispo. SLO has been dubbed the ‘happiest place in America”, and has a lively downtown, old mission, and many outdoor recreation opportunities including biking, hiking and the nearby beaches. Great farmers market (esp. Thursday night when it becomes part farmers market, part music fest, part street fair).

Santa Barbara. Stop off en route and explore Spanish Colonial-style Santa Barbara located on the American Riviera; sunbathe at its East Beach. Much of the architecture is in the Spanish Colonial style with red-tiled roofs. Sights include the Santa Barbara Mission, Stearns Wharf, the Waterfront, El Presidio State Historical Park, Aquarium of the Pacific, Botanic Gardens, centuries-old oaks in Mission Canyon, great restaurants and some of the best beaches in America. On Sundays along the waterfront in Santa Barbara they always have an artist fair.

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Old Dec 27th, 2021, 06:34 PM
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If you're going to fly home from LAX then you could see a lot of Los Angeles the afternoon and evening before. It only takes a few hours to start at the Griffith Observatory/ Hollywood sign and then get glimpses of the Walk of Fame, the Sunset Strip, some of Beverly Hills and then the Santa Monica Pier . Work your way from east to west so that you will be nearer LAX when you finish your drive.

First week of July is a very busy, trafficky and expensive time to travel the California coast. No, in most places there are not a few off-the-beaten-path family-friendly little motels that are a bargain. Even the Motel 6 locations can be $250+ per night. Camping reservations would need to be made months in advance for sure. If you can move your trip back a week, and travel June 20 to 30th, you would have a much less hectic drive and better luck finding accommodations, probably saving $500-$750 over the 10 nights just from the slightly lower room rates. Flights may be less pricey as well.
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Old Dec 28th, 2021, 06:35 AM
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I have never driven between PDX and LAX but I've visited both and SFO hundreds of times over the past 15 years. In PDX, there is a strange/quirky hotel/restaurant/movie theater complex called the McMenamins Kennedy school. It's an old elementary school converted in to new uses, and it's very Portland'esq and the food is nice as well. A side trip to Mt St Helens is beautiful, but a bit in the wrong direction for your journey. Do stop and see the redwoods on the way down to SFO.
For SFO, I agree with earlier posters on Monterrey, it's a lovely little town (a bit touristy, but nice) and the aquarium is fantastic. The 17 mile drive is amazing, and as someone posted earlier, book way in advance for pebble beach. For Alcatraz, book early as even pre-pandemic it was sold out days/weeks in advance. SFO can be a fun city to spend a couple days in, but bring a jacket, most people are shocked how chilly it can be, even in the summer. The Golden Gate bridge park is a must see for spectacular views.
From SFO to LAX, I would almost venture to say head inland and stop at Yosemite and then continue south on the other side of the mountains and stop in Death Valley. I would also agree with an earlier poster on Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree is one of the most spectacular places I've seen and is truly worth a side trip, although it's a bit further south.
If you haven't been to LA, it may disappoint you a bit, but there are nice areas. I always love seeing the La Brea tar pits, very unique, interesting and a great way to spend a day. Plus they are really close to Hollywood and Beverly Hills, so easy to do both in an afternoon. As mentioned earlier, Santa Monica Pier is very nice, but there can be a lot of homeless people at times and sometimes they can unfortunately be aggressive, but other than some threats and foul language being yelled at me, I haven't had any problems at Santa Monica Pier in the 20 times or so that I've been there.
If you had the time for a day/side trip, I would highly recommended taking the ferry from Long Beach over to Catalina Island. It's a different world from LA, picture a laid back beautiful island town. There are lots of local restaurants within walking distance, and makes for an enjoyable afternoon/evening. San Diego could be an option as well, although its taken me anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours one way to drive between the two.

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Old Dec 28th, 2021, 07:08 AM
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TheTravelingLocals: Not to be snarky, but how on earth could they fit in even half of your suggestions in the 10 days they are planning? That list would take 3+ weeks . . . and that would be rushed.
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Old Dec 28th, 2021, 08:50 AM
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a few surprising things about Southern California:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tri...ost/ar-AASd7KR
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