Highway 101 from Seattle to San Francisco

As I mentioned in yesterday’s San Francisco recap, we had a total BLAST exploring San Francisco… what a unique place! As much as we loved San Fran, getting there was just as gorgeous (if not even more so). I never thought I would say that the driving part of a trip could compete with the final destination…. that was until I experienced the Pacific West Coast via Highway 101. #WOW

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Side note: I don’t think that my photos do these breathtaking views any justice, but I tried my best. And please pardon the layer of fog that looms in each photo and makes these pics appear slightly out of focus. Photographing in the fog ain’t easy and the struggle is very real in the PNW.

The Route

We drove from Seattle (recap here) to San Francisco via Highway 101 and I would HIGHLY recommend everyone takes this drive at some point or another. I honestly don’t think I have ever seen such amazing views. The two-day drive felt like a breeze because there was ALWAYS something interesting to look at. (or maybe it was because Matt was driving….). Either way, this leg of the trip ranks somewhere near the very top of my lifetime travels so far.  seattle-boats-waterIMG_5726IMG_5753

Car Rental

We started our drive in Seattle where we rented a car at Seattle’s International Airport. We had this Garment (the GPS was a lifesaver!), no real plan, and two full days to get us to California. When we first plugged in our directions, the GPS suggested that we take a route that was not along the coast until the last 50 miles of Day 1. This route was intriguing to us because the arrival time was almost 3 hours faster than the Highway 101 alternative, but we decided that this drive was once in a lifetime and we had to take the longer option if it meant we’d be driving the Oregon coast the entire day.

Worth the Time Investment

Man oh man were we grateful that we made the decision to take the longer, coastal drive. The amount of mileage was pretty similar for both routes, but the coastal route was extremely curvy and had lots of mountain driving, meaning a significantly lower speed limit than the alternative traditional highway driving. The drive was such a diverse collection of views– coastal, farms, mountains, beaches, dunes,  beach towns, small towns, wineries, you name it, we saw it.

IMG_5781Slow and Steady

For majority of the trip it was us and an open, meandering road. Since we weren’t in any rush, we were able to take advantage of the countless “viewpoints” along the drive (highly recommended). These viewpoints were scattered throughout the route and allowed us to pull over and enjoy the views. This is where most of these photos were taken. Usually these points were marked about 1/2 mile in advance, but many times they just popped up. #bealertbridget-travel-beach-carmel-leather-jacket

Look Out Advice:

If you miss one of the viewpoints around a “view” you really loved, there is probably one or two more coming up that will allow you to check out that same spot. The really AMAZING views have at least 2 or 3 viewpoints to check out.  IMG_5802

 

After the first day of driving, we stopped and slept over in Bandon, OR. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you HAVE to stay here, it just was about half way to our destination and made sense for our trip. We didn’t spend much any time in Bandon since we came in late, slept and got up and out before sunrise. <– Many people have weighed in on where to stay since I posted this recap, check out the comments on the bottom of this post for more details on where to stay along the route! 

IMG_5819More Advice:

Catch a sunrise on your drive if you can! Amazing views + gorgeous colors + open road = #bucketlistmaterial 

I would definitely recommend catching a sunrise on your drive, as these views were well worth the early morning alarm clock. Matt and I grabbed coffee and took in these breathtaking views as the morning sun crept up on the horizon. The thin layer of fog added to the Pacific Northwest “feel” and the experience seemed surreal.
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Day Two of Driving

Day 2 of driving was just as stunning as we entered California early in the morning and were able to enjoy the new views that Cali’s coast had to offer. First we entered California on Highway 101 then we were met with miles and miles and miles of enormous Redwood trees. I literally felt like we were in a movie driving through the Redwood Forests. The sun peeked into the forests, mixing with a thin layer of fog to create the most stunning and scenic views. Without seeing a car or truck for miles and miles, we felt like we were driving alone through these quiet yet iconic woods. Again, pretty surreal.

The Redwoods

Just when we would start to get used to these forest views, the highway would meander back to the coast and greet you with more coastal views that left us Oohhh and aahhh, and then twist back to miles and miles of serene woods. Just amazing.

IMG_5859Later we pulled off when we saw a sign advertising the opportunity to drive through a Redwood. How could we pass up that opportunity? For $5, we pulled off the highway and were able to drive through and take pictures in one of these enormous trees. <– Although it felt dorky and very touristy, this pit-stop was well worth 20 minutes of our time! #photoOp

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IMG_5787IMG_6085Eventually the Redwood Forests became more scarce and we were greeted by rolling hills of wineries (not pictured) and drought-ridden California hills. By this time, it was about 2:00 and we were ready to turn in our rental car and start exploring San Fran.

Entering San Francisco

On the last leg of our trip, we were able to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge (so darn COOL!) and eventually made it to the San Francisco International Airport where we turned in our rental car and started our next adventure.  IMG_6066

The two day adventure was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity for us, and we are still so grateful for beautiful weather and safe travels. We had so much fun exploring this part of the country for the first time and can’t wait to go back someday.  IMG_5981Seattle to San Francisco, and everything in between…. we heart you! Thank you for making our trip unforgettable!!

Other Random Tips:Highway 101_ A Roadtrip Guide from Seattle to San Francisco

Top Tips for your Ride

  • Don’t wait to get coffee, gas or a snack! These towns do not come as often as we are used to, so don’t put off that pit-stop until it’s too late. No one wants a “hangry” passenger. #oops
  • There were hardly any fast food restaurants or familiar stores along the route, but we did see 2 Goodwills, 2 Habitat for Humanity ReStores and several Thrift stores, I restrained myself since I was traveling with a suitcase. 
  • Charge your camera!! 
  • Don’t count on the radio because the signal is very limited, bring music!
  • There were only a few stretches of driving that were a little nerve-wracking because of the drop-off. This was a lot less than I anticipated, which was a pleasant surprise. Drive slow.
  • We were assigned a Toyota Prius, which was a tiny little car. However, this tiny little car only used ONE tank of gas for the entire two-day trip… another welcomed surprise!  
  • ENJOY! Take it in!! You may never see views like this again, so if you want to stop 42 times… DO IT!

Other Posts you May Like

If you like this post, then you may like these too!carmel-by-the-sea-beach-travel

A Weekend Guide To Carmel-by-the-Sea, California! Carmel is a town that is little more south on Highway 101 and it is hands down worth a visit. Clint Eastwood was once the mayor and it is home to the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course.

-Tips for Visiting San Francisco and a vacation recap!

-Looking for more travel tips and guides? You can check out our “TRAVEL PAGE” here and see our guides for places like Chicago, Arizona, Sonoma, WacoAlaska and more!

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  • Jillian

    Beautiful! San Francisco & Seattle are definitely on my travel list & you’ve inspired me to take the road trip between cities. So happy you enjoyed it!!

    • Awww, thanks lady! And you will LOVE it!! Next on my travel to do list: TEXAS. =) #seriouslythough

    • Diane

      I enjoyed your post. I’m going that route in July, can’t wait. I’m from Texas make sure you travel the panhandle to Amarillo. There is an awesome museum 20 miles south and Palo Duro Canyon. Keep posting your fun because I’m ready to hit the road.

    • Thanks for the advice, we definitely have to check that part of the country out!! And enjoy your road trip this summer, so excited for you!

  • Erin

    love love these tips!!!! i’ll save this for the future!

  • Summer Hogan

    Gorgeous!

  • Heather

    Just.STUNNING!

  • These look AMAZING! Definitely going to have to do this some time!

  • Katie

    Didn’t you just love how there were flowers at the bottom of every frame when taking the coastal mountain/ocean pics? We did the drive through Big Sur and there were little yellow flowers at the bottom of each picture we took. Gorgeous!

  • Lisa Muhs

    I am SO unbelievably jealous! OMG! So beautiful! thanks for sharing! I want to frame these pictures.

  • We did about 8-10 hours of driving each day and definitely did not anticipate that. Although the map says the mileage isn’t that far, because the roads are so “windy” the short distance takes MUCH longer. (worth it though, the views are jaw dropping!)

    And yes, you can stop very often at “unofficial” look out points (about every mile or so) or at any of the small towns you drive through along the way for gas/food.

    Hope that helps!! This trip is once in a lifetime and I HIGHLY recommend it. =) Happy travels.

  • Tomas Hernandez

    Holy Smokes this awesome sauce! I’m turning 30 this year and am planning on making trip the in August. I’m surprised the drive was only 2 days. I”m thinking mine will be a littler longer because I plan on camping a night or two in one of the national parks. Thanks for sharing! What an experience!

    • Happy to help Tomas! Hope you have a great trip for your birthday!

  • Kesani Devadas

    Thanks for this Bridget.. It’s exactly the type of advice I was looking forward to. I’m travelling from London to seattle in about a month and need to get to SF thereafter… I will be travelling solo… the pics you have taken are stunning and although i would love company to drive this route, I can’t pass up the opportunity to see this for myself!

    • So excited for you Kesani, and happy to help by sharing my experience. Have a wonderful trip! 🙂

  • Wow, that must be an amazing ride!! Yes, some parts on the cliffs were a tad windy but not overly obvious when riding in the car (more clear to the driver not the passenger). We also drove inland and not directly on the coast trying to get to highway 101 at the very start of the trip and the super curvy roads were more distracting than the wind (for us at least). So many tight curves through the hills, I could see how someone could feel carsick.

    Good luck and happy travels! I hope your daughter loves it!!

  • Anders Bjerring Høier

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences with Highway 101 between Seatle and San Francisco. We are a family from Denmark, who plan to make the trip in July 2017 from San Francisco to Seattle in a rented camper, and we plan to make several overnight stays on the way (campgrounds). Is there any particular places, that you would recomment for a overnight stay?

    • How exciting, I’m confident you will LOVE the trip. The entire route is SO breathtaking and amazing. Honestly, I don’t really have any recommendations on what towns to stop and stay in. There are plenty of towns throughout the journey so any of those small towns would be fine. Since you already have the camper, I’m sure anywhere you stay will be beautiful, especially if you find a campsite that’s right on the water!!

      Enjoy!! I hope you and your family have an unforgettable time.

    • Mary949

      There is an amazing campground in Brookings, Oregon, just north of the CA-OR border. Stay there. They even have yurts. Also Ashland is nice, and Florence, OR is a gem too. Gigantic sand dunes south of Florence are a special feature.

      In CA if you drive from SF to Mendocino, stay at van Damme State Park – it’s lovely and you can walk to the ocean from the campground.

    • Anders Bjerring Høier

      Thanks for the advices – we really appreciate them

    • Thanks so much for adding these suggestions — love them!! Enjoy your trip Anders. =)

  • Mary949

    roads in Oregon from the CA border up to Florence aren’t bad. From Mendocino to Eureka also. From SF to Bodega Bay is winding.

  • JTHE

    Hi 🙂 Your trip sounds amazing ! Myself and my boyfriend are thinking of doing this 🙂 I have to ask about the windy roads though – we’ve recently got back from a 2 week road trip in Colorado and a few of the mountain pass roads freaked us out a bit! Namely Trail Ridge Road (seemed a never ending windy drop off, lol) – does anyone know if the roads on this drive are more windy and dropping off than this? X

    • Carissa Carter

      I don’t know the Colorado roads at all, but the Northern part of the California coast has many hairpins and speed reduced right back. Looking at the GPS screen was like spaghetti! I have never seen so many hairpins and tight curves. It felt safe though, but you really have to not be in a hurry and be careful if you are jetlagged. My partner fell asleep at one part after our 12 hour flight!!! The Southern part of the coast is not as windy, but cars have gone off the edge! Heading South you are at the cliff edge, but to me that is the best direction to go for scenery, but you will see it all no matter which way. I remember seeing wrecks over the cliff on my first trip up there in 1991. That trip, we went on the three day California Parlor Car tour (coach). It was a great way to do this for the first time. It can only happen if you are too busy looking at the scenery and not concentrating. Do not be distracted by your co-pilot and just pull into one of the turn-outs when you can. Try not to drive it at night. Sometimes wild deer run across the road. We saw this in the Big Sur area and got a real fright. So many vista points and you can always turn back if you want to, but be careful doing so. There is a law in California whereby if you have five cars behind you, you have to pull over and let them pass. Sometimes up or down that coast there are 20 cars, so do the right thing and be courteous.

    • These are AMAZING tips, thank you So much Carissa!!

  • Thanawat N.

    Really enjoy your post.

  • Cecilia Cabrera

    We are frm Uruguay and we are going to Seattle with my husband in March 2017. We were planning to drive from Seattle to San Francisco and as we found this blog now ee are decided to follow your Steps! Thank you very much. We might make some changes. As from Seattle to Bandon is a bit too much for us. Any advice?

    • How fun!! So happy to hear you are taking this GORGEOUS adventure!! I think you will love it. I don’t think Seattle to Bandon is too far, but I do think it’s definitely a FULL DAYS drive. If you’re not looking for a full day’s drive then I would recommend rerouting to somewhere North of Bandon.

  • If you don’t need to explore Seattle and San Fran during that time, I think Sunday through Wednesday is PLENTY!! If you have to add in Seattle and/or San Fran in that 4 day window, that probably isn’t enough time. Good luck, I hope you have SO much fun!!

  • pjacob

    We are planning to drive to SF the new years weekend. Where do you suggest we stay? We are planning to drive through the night so we reach SF by afternoon next day. We want to cover some of SF and may be Monterey, Carmel, Napa if possible.

    • Aw, how exciting! Anywhere on the coast would be gorgeous. Most of the towns are very small and there weren’t a ton of hotels options (especially large chain hotels) on the route so I would look at what’s available in the approximate area you want to drive to on Day 1 and choose that way. Sorry, I wish I could help more but it really depends on how far you want to drive each day.

      Good luck and enjoy! The route is BREATHTAKING and will make for the perfect start to the New Year. =)

    • pjacob

      We ended up staying in Montara a small gorgeous town near SF. Booked a beautiful house via AirBnb.

    • Thanks for sharing! Sounds amazing, so glad it worked out!!

  • Amy Kronbeck

    If you had to choose which half of the drive to take highway 101, would you pick the half closer to seattle or the half closer to san Francisco? We don’t have as much time but want to drive part of the way on highway 101.

    • Honestly, we LOVED both… equally. They were both breathtaking! The California half has more of the redwoods and some of the vineyards (Napa Valley area) but the Seattle half had more stunning cliffs and lots of gorgeous ocean views. Hope this helps (a little). It’s a win-win so whichever you choose, you made the right choice!!

  • RB

    Which rental car company did you use?

    • Honestly, I don’t remember which company we used. We used Expedia to compare prices from the car companies and went with the most economical one at the time. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help, but good luck with your trip!!

    • RB

      No problem, thank you 🙂

  • Tarryn Sutherland

    I am looking at doing the Seattle to San Fran drive over a little long period. Interested to know if there were other places you wish you would of gone. Also, we plan to get rid of our rental when we get to San Fran too, how did your San Fran adventure go, I’m curious about that part of the vacay for attractions and how you got around the city! Thanks!

    • How exciting, Tarryn! The trip was amazing and I’m confident you are going to love every minute of it. Honestly, there weren’t any specific places or towns we wish we could’ve stopped and explored but having extra days really take in the scenery will be well worth it! I would suggest taking your time and maybe stopping wherever there are Redwoods because it is amazing. Also, you could hit up Napa or Sonoma to enjoy wine country for a day or two before arriving in San Fran (it’s about an hour outside of San Fran).

      Dropping off the car worked out perfectly when we got to San Fran. We pretty much walked or biked everywhere in San Francisco (including over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito), which I HIGHLY recommend. http://thediyplaybook.com/2015/06/san-francisco.html

      Enjoy your trip, it’s going to be amazing!!! =)

  • Suzanna

    Any tips on Seattle or San Fran hotels? We have a week to do this trip in May

    • I wish I had some! I think we stayed at the Sheraton in SF, which was a good location but very expensive and nothing amazing. We stayed at a airBnB in Seattle, but we rented an entire house because we were with another couple. Good luck!! If you find any amazing deals or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

  • It took at least one full day and a half because of the winding roads and speed limits (driving on the edge of a cliff = slow speed limits). I’m so excited for you guys, I hope you enjoy every minute!!! Take tons of pictures and really take in the scenery. What a fun anniversary trip! =)

  • How fun, I’m sure you are going to love it! The drive a day and a half (which included stopping and enjoying scenic views as much as we wanted and stopping to eat/get gas). We definitely did not feel rushed, but maybe account for at least 2 days if you really want to stop and explore some of the small towns on the route. I’m so excited for you, the route is AMAZING!!!

  • KeoniD

    We live in Seattle and are thinking of taking this trip with our son in a couple of months. We’ll have our own car. What did you do for hotels during the drive down? Is there a city or town about 1/2 way that you would recommend staying in overnight?

    • How fun! We stayed in the small town of Bandon, OR the first night, which was after a full day of driving. I’d say it was just a little more than half way through the drive. We were honestly only there to sleep, so I don’t know much about the town… only that it was right on the coast (gorgeous views) and allowed us to rest before getting up at sunrise to hit the road again. But anywhere around there would would do the same! Enjoy!!

  • Brandon Chang

    Hey there I’m trying to make this trip happen this summer and wanted to make it more of a week trip than just 2 days. Do you remember seeing places to camp instead of hotels to stay. We are very outdoorsy and want to get a full experience.

    • From what I remember, there were plenty of places to camp along the route! Camping along the route would be AMAZING and would definitely offer you the chance to really soak in all of the beauty! Unfortunately I don’t remember the spots since we didn’t camp, but I’m sure you won’t have a problem finding some great ones!

  • Vikki Gibbs

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing your wonderful adventure with us, a great read and beautiful pics. We will follow your travel recommendations when we are there in September this year. A great blog??.

    • Happy to help, Vikki! So glad you found us. Enjoy your trip!

  • Andrew Jorden

    Thank you so much for your trip details and information. Me and the wife are planning a trip to Universal, renting a convertible for the first time ever, and she loves the coast/beach so I think this will be a great trip for us. We were originally thinking about driving down I-5 and staying for 4 days in California, but I like this idea soooooooo much better. I am looking forward to this.

    • If she loves the coast, she is going to LOVE this trip!! And in a convertible?! That sounds amazing!!! =) Enjoy

    • Andrew Jorden

      Thank you, I am in the planning process. I looked up on the map and don’t see a route that takes 101, the only thing I see is an I-5 route.Could you help me out?

    • I don’t remember our exact route but do remember that once you’re on Highway 101, it’s SUPER easy to navigate because you follow it right down the coast! Once you find the nearest point to hop on 101, you should be good to go!

    • Carissa Carter

      We have driven the coast in a Mustang convertible with two big suitcases on the back seat (won’t fit in the trunk) – wonderful experience!!!! Enjoy.

  • Carissa Carter

    Thank you so much! We have done the coastal trip from San Francisco as far as Astoria, but this year we want to drive Seattle to San Fran via the coast so I started Googling and found your post. Your post is most helpful and you are so right. This coast is amazing. We have done Highway 1 from San Fran to LA about 10 times! and we are from New Zealand. Can’t get enough of it and Carmel is my favourite place to stop of all time. I find heading South is more scenic too. Sounds weird, but you are on the cliff edge and the view is ahead of you so to speak. I remember driving up the coast and looking back saying “wow look at that” wrenching my neck around.

    • Ten times?! That sounds AMAZING, Carissa! I’d love to hear what you think of driving the northern part of Highway 101 vs the southern part. Have such a wonderful time and thanks so much for your kind words. We are so happy that this post helped you navigate your upcoming travels. =)

    • Carissa Carter

      Hi DIY Playbook. I just spotted your reply. Thank you. We truly love the Big Sur around Bixby Bridge and love stopping at Nepenthe for lunch to enjoy the view. Carmel by the Sea is my second home and I get frequent Tales from Carmel.com to give me itchy feet. But the Northern 101 has it’s own beauty and quite different. Such winding roads too. Last time we did it, it was very foggy so we missed alot of the vistas. We have been to almost every lighthouse on the California coast now and all of the beautiful Missions bar one. So far my research is turning the Seattle to Astoria trip via the coast into four days! To do it in a day, you just wouldn’t be able to stop. I have discovered there is so much to see in Tacoma and Olympia and now I’ve spotted Hurricane Ridge inland from Port Angeles. We have limited days to get from Seattle to Santa Rosa for a SPHTS convention (Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society) – a historic rail convention my partner loves to attend. But we do plan to do this via the coast, so will just see how we go. Yay for Googlemapping!

    • You’re so right, the winding roads make traveling this route a LOT longer than we thought it would. Thank you!!

  • Deb Wells

    We are leaving McMinnville, OR and driving to Bandon, OR on day 1 out of Portland. When we leave Bandon, we want to take in the Redwoods as we travel to San Francisco. Do we need to get a hotel between Bandon and San Francisco in order to see all there is to see on the 101 or will a day get us from one to the other with enough time for the Redwoods? I had thought about a stop over in Eureka but if we do that we only have one day in San Francisco. Would you suggest a full day of driving from Bandon to San Fran and then two days of sightseeing in the city?

    • That’s such a tough question because both places are amazing! Personally I would spend two days in SF instead of one day each because I think you can get the most out of the drive in one day. And I think SF has SO much to offer and the thought of getting to see as much as possible in only one day seems tough. But honestly, it’s a win-win because both locations are AH-MAZING!

    • Carissa Carter

      We stayed in Bandon and loved it. Will you head straight out to the coast from Portland? I recommend that. I think we stayed at the Bandon Beach Motel, but I thought it was a Days Inn. The photo on their website of one of the rooms is just like what we had. Next stop, I recommend stop at Leggett overnight and do the Redwoods the next day. We stayed at a Super 8/Motel 6 I think. Was fine for one night. Bandon to Leggett is approx 5½ hours. Don’t miss the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree. Check out their website. Don’t knock the rental car mirror on the tree like we did. Then continue your trip to San Francisco from there (approx 6 hours driving), but you would want to stop at Fort Bragg, definitely Mendocino and we like little Gualala, but you can drive through that. Depending on your interests, you may want to stay with the redwoods a while. San Francisco is so big and it can take a while to get settled and then it’s time to leave. We have been there many times, as in about 12? and we have just about got to the end of our “to see” list, but that is just our list! To do it justice, you need at least 3 days as in Fisherman’s Wharf (day 1), Union Square (day 2) and other sights (Day 3) and not to mention the amazing foods and restaurants. Clam Chowder in a Sourdough bun on Fisherman’s Wharf is a must. You can do Alcatraz by Night now, so that doesn’t use up daytime, but do book. Our favourite hotel is The Columbus Motor Inn with limited free parking. Great rates and very nice rooms on a budget. Two years ago we stayed at the Castle Inn. Doesn’t look much on the outside, but we had a great stay there. Rooms were near new. Free parking garage underneath and adequate free breakfast. Walking distance to cable car and quaint restaurants. In between Fishermans Wharf and Union Square on Broadway. You could look at it as just another big city and do it another time, but we love it. We have walked the Golden Gate to half way which is fun but time consuming. You will enjoy the incredible coastal scenery and redwoods.

    • Thank you SO much for sharing this valuable information!! I’m sure others planning this trip will find this information extremely helpful! Thanks Carissa. =)

    • vicki

      Great info. So excited to plan my trip. I hope I can find the same conversation again when I get closer to planning time.

  • You are going to LOVE it!! Happy Travels. =)

  • Anthony Wilson

    My wife and I are flying to Seattle from Alabama May 31st and traveling from there by car to San Francisco, LA. and ending in Vegas. In all we have 14 days to see and do all we can. Thanks for the post and we can’t wait to go see the sites.

    • You are going to have such an amazing time! Happy Travels, so glad the post helped! =)

  • Luz Canepa

    thank you! Really cool tips!

  • Carissa Carter

    Howdy neighbour! I’m from New Zealand and you will see my previous replies on this coastal trip. We have driven the Southern California coast about 10 times and the Northern California coast once and various other places in the USA, so if I can be of any help ask away. There is some really good advice here. The Northern Coast roads are very winding in parts, so it can take longer than GPS may tell you, so factor that in. Also the beautiful scenery stops. You can drive Seattle to Astoria in about nine hours via Tacoma and Olympia, but that doesn’t include stops, so we are doing it over about three days so far. Not sure how foggy it will be during January which would block your view completely. It did for us in September a few years ago. The whole Northern Coast drive was in fog. We have been to Whistler and Vancouver Canada. Whistler is gorgeous and we are planning to stay at the Summit Lodge Whistler late October to walk the Pilot Suspension Bridge and ride the Sea to Sky Gondola. Such a gorgeous area. I can email some of our old itineraries to you if that is of any help. I love reading how others travel the same route.

    • We would love to see your itineraries, especially for Whistler and Vancouver. These are both places we want to travel to at some point. Our email address is [email protected].

      You’re the best!! Thanks again Carissa.

    • Carissa Carter

      Hi DIY Playbook. I will fish out those itineraries for you. My reply was to Annette O’Brien of Australia (hence the Howdy Neighbour – she’s just across the ditch as we say downunder), but happy to share with anyone if it helps their planning. Some great information shared here. I just love to travel.

  • AkhilesH Nair

    Me and my wife planning to take this 2 day to SFO from Seattle. But still I am confused on where to stay in between. I guess as you said Bandon will be a good choice coz its middle of the route. So is there walk-in hotels available there(bandon) or I need to book it earlier?

    • That’s a great question and I think it really depends on the time of year. I would advise calling Bandon to see if they are typically open to walk-ins. Especially since there are not a TON of other places to stay super close to that location, I think it would be better to be safe than sorry.

      Happy travels, we hope you enjoy your trip!

  • Rosie Cavin

    Hi DIY,
    I am putting together an itinerary for Seattle to San Jose for my cousin and his wife who live in Portugal. They only want to do about 4 hours of actual driving, sightsee the rest of the time. Besides Brandon are there any upscale places to stay? They are used to Ritz Carlton accommodations.
    Thanks

    • How fun! Unfortunately I don’t remember any upscale hotels on the route, but I could be wrong. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

  • Thanks so much for the tips, Carol! I’m so glad you and your daughter had a blast, I’m sure she it was a trip of a lifetime. And to be able to do it together?! Amazing!

  • Catalina Kernish

    What time of the year did you do this trip?

  • Rakesh David

    I am planning a cross county drive soon (moving) with a 16′ truck and towing my car. Do you suggest driving on Highway 101? I am super excited about the drive, but now i’m kinda worried about it.

    • How exciting! Personally I would be a tad nervous however, there are LOTS of large campers that make the trip so I’m confident it’s possible as long as you’re careful.

    • Rakesh David

      I was planing on driving slow anyway. It helps to know that there are large camper driving along that route. Thank you, this is helpful! Now i am super excited!!

  • kantaaa

    hey! great website! I was wondering if you have the map/itinerary for your trip from seattle to sf. I am planning on taking a trip from seattle to san jose and this could be very helpful! thanks in advance!

    • Unfortunately I don’t, sorry! We took Highway 101 from Seattle straight to SF and stayed one night in Bandon, OR. Other than that, we didn’t have much of a plan and just enjoyed the adventure. =)

  • Carolyn Farrell

    Hi We are coming over from Australia next year and are doing this drive at the end of June. We have 5-6 days This info is excellent however we want to spend more time so I was wondering if Carissa Carter would be able to send me some ideas of places to stop We do not want to rush and would really like to hug the coast as much as possible. We do have 3 nights in Seattle prior and 4 nights in San Francisco post the road trip…any names of Hotels and places that are nice would be much appreciated

  • aruna

    Hi .We are doing the exact same thing, but in the opposite direction.We are driving from San Francisco to Vancouver . Coming back to San Francisco So two way drive. Yes , please tell us all the stops you did . Anything and everything helps.
    We are going to Orcas Island fora few days on our way .

  • Penny Barry

    My husband and I are leaving for seattle Sept 24, staying in seattle 4 days and then driving to portland, oregon and then san francisco.

    Do you have any suggestion for what to clothes to bring?

    • Lots of layers (and a raincoat/boots)!! As long as you have those essentials, I think you’ll be well prepared!

  • Honestly I’m not too sure because we did not venture off of Highway 101 but I’m sure there are some! I wish I could help more but good luck. Anywhere you end up staying will probably be surrounded by stunning views!!