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Uncovering the best family holidays

Northwest, USA

How To Road Trip The Pacific Northwest In 14 Days

The Pacific Northwest of the USA offers some of the most beautiful landscapes anywhere in the world. So naturally the best way to see it up close is on a well-planned road trip. Follow our route from San Francisco to Seattle and back. We covered it in 14 days, but you could speed it up or slow it down to suit your schedule. Enjoy!

Day 1

San Francisco to Novato, CA

Novato RV Park - Free (check hotel prices in Novato)

10 – 11pm=1 hour

29 miles

We started our Great American Road Trip much later then we planned so we didn’t go far. After picking up our Jucy Campervan we did some sightseeing around San Francisco before heading over the Golden Gate Bridge and setting up home in the first RV park we found. 

Here was our home for the next 2 weeks - meet Champ

Day 2

Novato to Trinidad, CA

Azalea Gardens - $45

7:30am – 4pm=8.5 hours

265 miles

$70 fuel

Today we drove through California’s Redwood forests - such incredible beauty. We also made a stop or rather a pass through the 2400-year-old Drive-Thru Tree.  We kept our tree theme going with a scenic detour from Route 101 through the Avenue of the Giants, before spending the night at a fully equipped RV park in Trinidad. 

Once you sit in the tree, you can see how big they truly are

Day 3

Trinidad, CA to Coos Bay, OR

Mills Casino North Bend (check hotel prices in Coos Bay)

11:30am – 5pm=5.5 hours

196 miles

The day started wet and rainy so we spent some time in our Jucy camper. Later that afternoon we took a leisurely drive down the Oregon Coast, popping into any places that spotted our fancy. With all the rain we decided to stop in at Mills Casino for the night and ordered room service. 

Scenic Oregon coast

Day 4

Coos Bay to Portland, OR

Ainsworth State Park - $20 (check hotel prices in Portland)

12pm – 9:30pm=9.5 hours

221 miles

$71 fuel

Adventure was on the books for today with our first stop being SpinReel. With a couple 2-seater dune buggies, we explored the Oregon sand dunes. The craziness that issues can be read here.

We stopped several times over the next 6 hours at supermarkets, Walmart, toilets, restaurants and more.  So it was late when we pulled into Ainsworth State Park. We backed the campervan into a lovely spot surrounded by trees and mountains, set up home and put the kids to bed. 

The world is yours on a road trip

Day 5

Portland, OR – Seattle, WA

Trailers RV Park - $34 (better stay in a hotel in Seattle)

9am – 6pm=8 hours

300 miles

The views were phenomenal for our campsite this morning. We followed it up with another of nature’s equally stunning performances – Multnomah Falls

After the falls we drove to Mount St Helen to see the devastating volcano that hit Washington in May 1980. The drive was much further than expected, but was definitely worth it.

Originally we had planned to stay in St Helens overnight, but since the kids fell straight to sleep we decided to push through to Seattle so that we could start in on the city the following day instead of travelling. A travel-free day sounded awesome after so many miles. 

A must visit - the Multnomah Falls

Day 6

Seattle to Tacoma, WA

Days Inn - $59 coupon from hotel brochure (check hotel prices in Tacoma)

6pm – 7:30pm=1.5 hours

300 miles

You can read about our day in Seattle here. We visited the EMP Museum and had a tour with Ride the Ducks of Seattle. We were happy with the ground we covered so we decided not to stay another night, but head out of town stopping at a highway Days Inn. 

Seattle from the water

Day 7

Tacoma, WA to Woodburn, OR

Woodburn RV Park - $44  (check hotel prices in Woodburn)

11am – 4pm=5 hours

300 miles

Today we stopped in a tiny town for lunch and ate at the Cars Diner. Since we were ahead of schedule we decided to pull in at an award-winning campsite, Pheasant Ridge, but it was full. The staff member recommended Woodburn and it was there we spent the afternoon in the pool with the kids, giving the nearby discount brand outlets a wide berth.

We took our temporary home on an amazing journey

Day 8

Woodburn to Roseburg, OR

Holiday Inn Express (read the reviews here)

11:45am – 5pm=5 hours

300 miles

$75 fuel

It was another relaxing morning swimming in the pool and enjoying the free Wi-Fi before taking off for Roseburg. We spent the majority of the day driving and pulled over in a little town, of which Foursquare said Roger’s Rock ‘n Diner was the highlight.

We’d heard about an outdoor movie night at Stewart Park and it was exciting to be part of the local community that night. 

Outdoor cinema in Roseburg

Day 9

Roseburg to Lava Beds National Monument, OR

Indian Wells Campsite - $10

11am – 8pm=9 hours

300 miles

This was quite possibly my favourite part of the entire trip. Today we visited Crater Lake. It had just been opened this week after the winter closure, and the melting snow made this scenic vista all the more exquisite.

After our fun at Crater Lake we decided to speed things along and headed to Lava Beds National Monument, a dry and barren landscape with an amazing view of the Milky Way like nothing we had experienced before. 

You have to visit Crater Lake

Day 10

Lava Beds National Monument to Lake Tahoe, CA

Stayed with friends from FamilyTrek (where can you stay in Lake Tahoe)

9:20am – 5:30pm=8 hours

300 miles

$73 fuel

We attempted Skull Cave today, but being unequipped for a dark, icy cave we didn’t make it too far in. After that we drove through three states - Oregon, Nevada and then California before pulling into the driveway of someone we had never met, but only read about.

We ended up talking late into the night and were invited to bed down indoors. 

Daring to enter Skull Cave

Day 11

Lake Tahoe

Family Trek - $ bottle of wine (where can you stay in Lake Tahoe)

300 miles

FamilyTrek were nice enough to show us around Lake Tahoe today. We visited the Stream Profile, Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay Lookout. The kids rode bikes, cooked S’Mores and just generally enjoyed being outdoors.

I wish we could of stayed longer in beautiful Lake Tahoe

Day 12

Lake Tahoe to Yosemite, CA

Upper Pines - $20 (check hotel prices in Yosemite)

10:30am – 2pm=3.5 hours

300 miles

$73 fuel

We arrived to Yosemite through Tioga Pass and fell in love instantly. We spent some time at Swinging Beach before checking into our camp site in Upper Pines. We visited Curry Village for dinner and Yosemite Falls Lodge for a kids program where they learned about wildlife and participated in colouring activities in.

Swinging Beach is great for families

Day 13

Yosemite

Upper Pines - $20 (check hotel prices in Yosemite)

Today we rode bikes to Happy Isles, hiked to Lower Yosemite Falls with our Manduca carrier and took a shuttle around the park. At 3pm we won the campground lottery and secured our spot for a second night. We didn’t want to leave! 

Climbing Yosemite Falls is no mean feet, but worth it

Day 14

Yosemite to San Francisco, CA

Travelodge - $101 (read the reviews here)

8am – 3pm=7 hours

300 miles

$57 fuel

We had a lot to pack in today so we were up and out early. Our road trip finished with a tour through Silicon Valley visiting the headquarters of Apple, Google and Facebook.

By that afternoon we had dropped off our Jucy Campervan and got a taxi to the Travelodge by the airport. It was great to have a bath after two days of camping and headed to bed early to prepare for our early flight the next day. 

Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley

 

Wrap Up

There you have it! The Pacific Northwest in 14 days.

The stats?

3 nights in hotels

2 nights in a friend’s house

8 nights in our Jucy camperan

Fuel cost=$419

Total miles=2049


We actually have a full itinerary available to read in a 4 part series:

How I slept in my Jucy Caravan for 2 weeks

Day 1 – 4

Day 5 – 9

Day 10 – 14


We hope you enjoyed our Pacific Northwest road trip
and I hope it may be a useful and inspiring guide to you if you ever decide to discover the amazing natural beauty that this region of the US holds. You will find the journey reserves dozens of breath-taking moments that will leave you longing for more. I, for one,  definitely want to go back.

Here's what you have to say...

"I respond to every comment by private email. So please leave me comments, I love chatting to you" -
Posted by John on
You have explained your experience visually and textually in a price way to convince to reader to visit these places as much as you enjoyed there.It is very difficult for any family to visit place via road trip and you make it in a great way.

As a tour operator, i am impressed from you because family traveling is not a easy job for anyone.Apart from it,photography is very stunning and professional.

If you could come to visit Rome to see historical places, i would welcome to you.Keep it up Erin & Josh
Posted by Tamara on
Hi Erin & Josh, what did you use to create the road trip map? I'd like to add something similar to a post of mine.
Posted by Meandering Dad on
Our family recently did a Northwest road trip. We did it in a suburban and a borrowed 22 foot camper. Oh how I wish we would have known about Jucy! It was quite an adventure threading our 40 foot vehicle through the Seattle traffic. When you return to the northwest I would highly advise a trip down the Washington and Oregon coast. You'll be hard pressed to find better scenery or nicer people.
Posted by SchippekeDad on
Pretty cool trip. Except California isn't in the Pacific Northwest! Two days for Portland to Seattle and back to Woodland, OR, makes you completely miss Washington State. What about Mount Rainier, ferry rides on Puget Sound or even crossing one of our famous floating bridges.
Posted by admin on
Hey guys I answered all your questions privately and SchippekeDad check out our other roadtrip guides, which feature the delectable Washington state!
Posted by MikesRoadTrip on
Great post, I love the Pacific Northwest. I've been to every place you have listed...so many wonderful sights!
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