Taking you from the Pacific Coast to the Cascade Mountains and back again, this Seattle-to-San Francisco road trip falls into the ‘epic journeys’ category.
Suggested route & duration
15 nights Seattle to San Francisco
• Seattle: 2 nights
• Port Angeles: 1 night
• Olympia: 2 nights
• Portland: 2 nights
• Seaside: 1 night
• Newport: 1 night
• Medford: 2 nights
• Eureka: 1 night
• Sonoma: 1 night
• San Francisco: 2 nights
About this independent tour
Why you’ll love this self-drive
• Visit a trio of uber-cool Pacific Coast cities – Seattle, Portland and San Francisco
• See the natural wonders of Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier and Crater Lake
• Experience the eat-and-drink-local scene in Portland
• See the Pacific Northwest’s most spectacular coastal scenery as you drive through three states
When to go
• This road trip covers a vast area with differing climates: Seattle to San Francisco is approximately 800 miles and climate inland can be different from the coast
• The best time to travel anywhere west of the Cascade Mountains is during the summer or early autumn when the temperatures are warmer along the coast and there’s less rain
• In July and August, the northern Californian coast can be very foggy; this also coincides with the American school holidays so there will be larger crowds
Suggested self-drive details
Day 1: Seattle Begin your epic trip in Seattle, a city that’s the epitome of Pacific North West coolness. Stay 2 nights at Hotel 116.
Day 3: Port Angeles Head out to the Olympic Peninsula and spend a night in Port Angeles, gateway to Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge. Stay at Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles Harbor.
Day 4: Olympia Continue round the peninsula’s coast, taking in its lakes, rainforests and deserted beaches. Base yourself in the state capital, Olympia, and head inland towards one of the region’s volcanoes, Mount Rainier.
Stay 2 nights at Hotel RL Olympia.
Day 6: Portland Continue on to Portland, the Pacific Northwest city of the moment. Drink, dine and check out its flourishing arts scene. Stay 2 nights at The Benson Hotel.
Day 8: Seaside Drive out to Oregon’s beautiful coast. Stay at Shilo Inn Seaside Oceanfront.
Day 9: Newport Follow the Pacific Coast Highway south to Newport, stopping at the breathtaking Cannon Beach on the way. Stay at Shilo Inn Newport Oceanfront.
Day 10: Medford Head back inland to Medford, the base for your visit to Crater Lake National Park. Stay 2 nights at Inn at the Commons.
Day 12: Eureka Return to the coast and follow northern California’s section of Route 101. Drive along roads shaded by the tall trees of Redwood National and State Parks. Stay at Best Western Plus Humboldt Bay Inn.
Day 13: Sonoma Spend some time in the tasting rooms of California’s famous wine region. Stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Sonoma Wine Country.
Day 14: San Francisco Arrive in the City by the Bay for a couple of days of city exploration. Stay 2 nights at Americania Hotel.
Visit Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the USA
Olympic National Park
Washington’s Olympic National Park is a natural wonderland with mountains, lakes and wild beaches
Oregon’s best beach
See Cannon Beach’s iconic sea stacks and Oregon’s rugged coastline from Ecola State Park
Wine country luxe
Upgrade your Sonoma experience with a stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission & Spa
Tailor your tour
Make it your own
We’ve crafted this self-drive based on our own experiences and customers’ feedback. It’s fully flexible, so talk to us and we can create your perfect trip.
Where to stay
The hotels featured are a mix of cool or historic city hangouts to simple chain style hotels where all you’ll need is a bed for the night. In Seattle, Portland and San Francisco, there are plenty of alternatives: for classic luxury opt for the Fairmont San Francisco or for waterfront chic choose the Thompson Seattle.
Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula is one of our favourite parts on this itinerary. Route 101 circles the peninsula, passing through the rainforest and along the coast. There are a few out-and-back detours; head out to Cape Flattery – the north-westernmost tip of the contiguous United States.
This is a fast-paced, long-distance trip that will take you over two weeks to complete. You can easily slow the tempo down a little with a few extra days anywhere along the coast. An extra night in Olympia will give you more time to explore Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks.
We’ve packed plenty of stops into this itinerary but there are plenty of other destinations you can add like Oregon’s Willamette Valley wine region. To create the ultimate Pacific trip, continue southwards on our California’s Classic Ocean Self-drive.