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West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?

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West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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Hi everyone,

I'm driving the west coast this May with a friend and will have around 2 weeks and a half to 3 weeks maximum. The idea is to drive all the way down to San Diego and then drive to Las Vegas where we will fly out back to London UK. Should I start in Seattle or skip and start from San Francisco? Have you done this trip from Seattle? Is it worth it? Is it realistic to do the whole thing in 3 weeks max? I note that I do want to go to Disney/Universal. :) Adding Yosemite for 2 days, realistic on this timeframe?

19 replies to this topic
Vestal, New York
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for Auburn, Finger Lakes
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225 reviews
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1. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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Start in SF and add in Yosemite (though only if you can find lodging in or very near the park).

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell, Utah
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2. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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Unless you have a burning desire to see Vegas,I wouldn't drive there just for a flight home. i'm sure you can find good flights from Los Angeles to London. Also do research on the cost of a one way car rental. There cn be a hefty additional fee.

Edited: 23 January 2023, 03:26
Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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3. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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For a 20 day trip…

This is early fir mountain driving where some roads aren’t yet oprn. Thry open late May- October/ novrmber.

For rough drive times/ a,ousts.

1 day Seattle to Portland or oregon coast

2-3 days for olympic Peninsula

3 days oregon coast

2 days for California coast north of San Francisco

3 days for coast between

1 day drive to vegas

Addition drive time to go inland and back.

It’s about 10+ days driving thrn times sering spots

1 day Seattle

1 day Portland/ Columbia gorge

2 days San rancisco

3 days LA/ San Diego

1 day vegas

That's 8 days seeing citues.

8 days seeing+ 10 days driving+ 2 days flights is 20 days.

In May you might get better flight+ rental car prices reversing direction flying into vegas then ending in Seattle

Yosemite valley is peak waterfall time in late May but I didn’t include thst. It woukd take about 3 days going there, seeing it, back to coast.

Doing death valley would add a day on the San Diego to vegas drive from 1 to 2 days.

You can easily do a full 3 weeks just in California/ vegas loop. You can easily do a 3 week washington, oregon loop trip.

Tacoma, Washington
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
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4. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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A 3 week califirnua loop would look like

Day 1 fly to vegas

Day 2 egas

Day 3 to Death Valley

Day 4 to Fresno

Day 5 to Yosemite

Day 6 Yosemite

Day 7 Yosemite to napa

Day 8 to SF

Day 9-10 SF

Day 11-13 to LA

Day 14-17 LA and San Diego

Day 18 to Joshua tree

Day 19 to Grand Canyon

Day 21 Grand Canyon

Day 23 back to vegas and fly home

For Washington/ oregon

Day 1 fly to Seattle

Day 2-4 Olympic

Day 5-7 oregon coadt

Day 8 redwoods in extreme Northern California

Day 9 redwoods to Medford

Day 10 Medford to bend via crater lake

Day 11 bend to Columbia gorge

Day 12 Columbia gorge to Portland

Day 13 Columbia to mt rainier

Day 14 mt rainier to seatyle

Day15-16 Seattle

With those extra days you can go up to Vancouver or Victoria or San Juan islands for a few days.snd mt baker/ bnorth cascades area

Bangkok, Thailand
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5. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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You could fly into San Francisco. We started a 2-week road trip from SF years ago. You don't need a car in SF.

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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6. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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SFO - SF (3-4 n) - {pick up rental car before you leave SF} Yosemite (3 n) - Monterey (1-2 n) - Central Coast / Pismo Beach (1 n) - L.A. (3-4 n) - Anaheim (? n) - San Diego (3 n) - South Rim Grand Canyon NP (1 n, maybe) - Las Vegas (? n) - LAS

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7. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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Thanks, everyone! The message I'm getting is that Seattle all the way to San Diego requires way more time. In 3 weeks max. is it that impossible?

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8. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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Thanks! We are flying to and from different airports, the price is very similar.

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9. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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Do you think that's better then doing Seattle down?

Vestal, New York
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for Auburn, Finger Lakes
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225 reviews
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10. Re: West Coast road trip starting in Seattle or San Francisco?
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"Do you think that's better then doing Seattle down?"

Do you mean starting from SF? If not, what do you mean by "that"?

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