Family road trip: California Oregon. Recommendations needed.

Hey GWJ people,

My wife, mother-in-law, father-in-law and I are going on a road trip down to Anaheim for a week. Then we want to spend a week slowly making our way north back up through California and Oregon to our home near Vancouver.

Does anyone have any must see attractions or recommendations for a meandering trip?



To Oregon? Choose Banker.

The Monterey bay area and San Fran are awesome places.

Crater Lake, Silver Falls and Multnomah Falls in Oregon are all popular parks/nature attractions. There is also the Evergreen Aviation museum and water park. Or you could head up HWY 101 along the Oregon coast and visit the Florence sand dunes, the Newport aquarium, and enjoy the scenic drive in general.

There's always the Winchester House about halfway up California. (if your into haunted and strange houses) Also i'm a big fan of San Diego Wild Animal Kingdom (maybe to far south) Knott's Berry Farm, LaBrea Tar pits, Natural History Museum, Magic Mountain, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, (looks like my advice is both fun and educational!) and yes i get that there are no kids, i still like going to museums without rug rats, lets me see/do things at my own pace then run around with monkeys on my back.

North of San Francisco, assuming you're going up 101, make sure to hang a left out Highway 128 at Cloverdale, and drive through the redwoods between Navarro and the coast. (The last time I was there, you had to actually exit 101 and go through Cloverdale to get to 128; it looked like they might someday build a direct connection, but I don't know if they ever did.)

You'll first go through Boonville, home of Boontling, a folk language that was invented as local entertainment. You should, thus, thus, see the "Buckey Walter Coffee Shop" -- a buckey walter is a nickel. (it's a VERY old diner.) We rarely stopped in Boonville, but it was always fun to drive through.

From Navarro out to the coast are some of the most spectacular redwoods anywhere. It's one of the best drives I know. There's nothing like it, anywhere in the world. There's lots of wide spots where you can just get out and wander around, maybe have a picnic lunch. Just watch for poison oak; poison oak loves redwoods.

Eventually you hit the coast, and then head north to Fort Bragg and then Mendocino. Deepest redwoods to craggy coastline to tourist traps, all in just a few hours.

If it's still there, stop in at Claire's Pies in Fort Bragg; you'll see a Safeway (or possibly another grocery store by now) on your right as you first hit town. Cross the parking lot to the road paralleling the highway on the other side, and right there in a little brown building should be Claire's. It's maybe 400 feet from the main drag, not at all hard to find.

Claire was an old lady even ten years ago, so I don't know if her shop is still there, but if it is, you'll be hard pressed to find a better pie.

Somewhere around Mendocino, you can catch a right again and head back to 101 -- you don't want to stay on Highway 1 too long, as it's exhausting driving it for long periods. The constant, sharp bends will wear you out quickly. But I don't remember where it is, as I've never done that -- we always turned around in Mendocino and headed back south again. So plan your route on the map ahead of time.

Oh, and yes, the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose is really, really neat, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best in the whole country. Both are very much worth stopping for.

You leave Anaheim taking I-5 North until you hit LA.
Then you take the 101 north, until it turns into Hwy 1 (PCH!)
Then you keep going on the PCH until you find yourself in Pismo Beach.
Then you stop, and you never leave.

At least, that's what I would do. Pismo is like my adopted home. It's the beach everyone from the San Joaquin Valley went to.

Just don't take the left turn at Albuquerque. That never works out.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I will have much googling to do over the next two weeks, but at least I have a few ideas to start my search.

Cayne wrote:

(looks like my advice is both fun and educational!) and yes i get that there are no kids, i still like going to museums without rug rats, lets me see/do things at my own pace then run around with monkeys on my back.

My wife and I love going to educational type places. Our china trip was packed with looking at cool museums and going to exhibits.

Thanks again, I look forward to hearing more suggestions.

Yeah we've got a crap ton of museums in LA (hell it's called Museum district i think) check em all out if you've got time.