11 day self drive Itinerary

Artisan Adventures in the Wild Northwest

Spectacular sight of the west coast

Explore some of the National Parks and spectacular landscapes along America's spectacular West Coast, including the breathtaking Redwood National Park where you'll find the tallest trees on earth and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area where sand dunes have been sculpted by the wind and stand an incredible 500 feet above the sea. Take a picnic, sit in the sand dunes then walk on the sands of Oregon Shore. Spot lighthouses and stop off in picturesque marinas on your way to Lincoln City. Enjoy farm to table cuisine in Portland, sample fresh local coffee whilst strolling along the River Walk and indulge in local wine and cheese. 

Our Experts Recommend:
  • Seeing San Francisco's iconic sights
  • Exploring the stunning landscapes of the West Coast
  • Visit cheese farms in Ft Bragg
  • Veturing into the capitals of Washington State and Oregon State

Sample Itinerary Summary

We can tailor any part of this itinerary or create a new one just for you.

Duration
11 days
Destination Breakdown
Options
Private basis, Self-Guided
Included
  • International flights
  • 10 nights hotel accommodation
  • Car hire
  • Car insurance
Not included
  • One way drop car hire fees (if applicable)
  • Meals or excursions unless specified
  • Park entrance fees (if applicable)
  • Ferry charges (if applicable)

Itinerary Breakdown

Arrive in San Francisco, pick up your car and proceed to your hotel. Maybe take a stroll this evening to stretch your legs after your flight and find a restaurant on the piers and watch the world go by.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Best Western Plus Americana or similar

Today enjoy the sights and sounds of the City by the bay. Hop a cable car if you so choose and drop to Fisherman's Wharf for a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge and some of the tasty fresh seafood. Whilst there visit an artisan bakery where the local sourdough bread is made fresh daily. And, for chocolate lovers, no trip to The City is complete without a visit to Ghirardelli's, the local chocolatiers whose founding location is now a public landmark and part of the National Register of Historic Places. Under the historic Clock Tower, you may wish to feast upon an ice cream Sundae with hot chocolate sauce, Ghirardelli's style. This evening, you may wish to stroll the Embarcadero or sample Dim Sum in Chinatown or see the twinkling city lights atop Twin Peaks (bring your jacket!).

Overnight Accommodation

  • Best Western Plus Americana or similar

Today head north from the city and at the base of the first giant redwood grove, you may wish to drive your car through the base of a redwood tree at the Drive-Through Tree Park! (Admission fee). Continuing north, you'll reach the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail, comprised of farmsteads for local cheese makers. This area is known as the Normandy of California. Here you may wish to visit a farm where cheese is made and perhaps attend a cheese tasting or two. Some of the finest Goat, Brie, Swiss, and Mozzarella cheese hail from these farms. Next you will drive through Cloverdale Wine Country where you may wish to stop and picnic at one of the many local vineyards or orchards. Perhaps you'd like to pick up a crisp local Cabernet Sauvignon or freshly bottled olive oil to compliment your sourdough bread from San Francisco for later this evening. After lunch your journey takes you past the historic Point Cabrillo Lighthouse, where you may wish to stop and explore, to the coastal city of Ft. Bragg, a historic lumber town where you may wish to ride horseback on the beach, walk along the Fort Bragg coastal trail or visit a local glass artisan's studio.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Best Western or similar

Awaken at the seaside town of Ft Bragg and perhaps consider a brisk morning walk along Glass Beach where the sand at this unusual beach is covered with interesting-shaped and coloured rocks and stones. Continue north on the Shoreline Highway 1 through the moss covered trees lining the Pacific Coastline and will take you to California's Redwood Empire. At Redway, the world famous the Avenue of the Giants section of the drive begins, a 31 mile drive with 51,000 acres of magnificent Redwood Trees, the tallest tree species in the world. At the many convenient services along the way, you may enjoy stops to picnic, hike, swim, fish, raft, bike ride or simply experience peace in the cool hush of this ancient forest. Then you dip again to the coastline city of Eureka, the largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland which played a leading role in the West Coast lumber trade and where today Redwood Burl Artists abound. Here we invite you to experience artisan shops with tables, mantles, clocks, carvings and more made from the special burl wood. From Eureka we suggest you travel the Samoa Bridge which takes you across Humboldt Bay, Indian Island and Woodley Islands to your overnight destination, Arcata, home of the Redwoods Zip lining Canopy tour (fee applies). Arcata is also the home of Six Rivers Artesian Brewery, one of the first female owned breweries in California.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Best Western Inn or similar

You may wish to start your day in Arcata with a morning walk along the shores of Humboldt Bay at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary known for pleasant walking trails and outstanding birding. Your journey north takes you through Redwood National Park where miles ahead wind gracefully through the majestic giants. Crossing the California border into Oregon, enter America's Wild River Coast. At Gold Beach, the mighty Rogue River meets the Pacific is home to scenic jet boat and other river touring adventures (fee applies). Continue north to Bandon and perhaps drop by the Bandon Cheese Factory for a bite of tasty cheese or ice cream before reaching picturesque Cape Arago Lighthouse. Your destination today is Coos Bay, the largest city on the Oregon coast.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Red Lion Hotel Coos Bay or similar

Your coastal adventure continues today through the spectacular Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area where wind-sculpted dunes tower to 500 feet above the sea. Formed by the ancient forces or wind, water and time, these dunes are like no others in the world and hold many special spots to spend the day exploring. Perhaps consider a picnic today, weather permitting. Your seaside drive continues alongside lighthouses, marinas and parks to the town of Lincoln City, named after the 16th USA President, Abraham Lincoln.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Best Western Plus Landmark Inn or similar

Dip your toes this morning into the Pacific before starting your drive which takes you inland to Tillamook and then on to Portland, the largest city of Oregon. In Tillamook, small creameries joined forces to produce a world-renown cheese. Here you may visit the fascinating Tillamook Cheese Factory for an up-close look at the cheese making process and to try some tasty cheddar. Continue through the fairytale-esque Tillamook State forest with its evergreen trees covered in bright green moss to the city of Portland.

Overnight Accommodation

  • The Benson Hotel or similar

Portland is known as being the most-walkable city in America. In this city, you will easily find some of the best local chocolatiers, bakeries, microbreweries, coffeemakers and independent food artisans, all within walking or a short public transit distance. This morning you may wish to wake up with a cup of fresh local coffee take a city walking tour to visit the famous Portland Landmarks, museums or stroll the along River Walk. The city holds sightseeing to fill the day.

Overnight Accommodation

  • The Benson Hotel or similar

Depart today for the Emerald City, Seattle. En route are both Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier National Parks, both active volcanoes and part of the Northwest's "ring of fire". Tonight you may wish to dine atop the famous Space Needle's 520-ft high tower (reservations highly recommended) or on the Famous Seattle Waterfront, renown for local crab and tasty seafood from Puget Sound.

Overnight Accommodation

  • Warwick Seattle Hotel or similar

Enjoy a full day to explore the famous sights and sounds of this charming city. Perhaps start your day early at Pike Place Market as the vendors lay out farm-fresh goods and artisan products. Be sure to see the famous "fish-throwers" there. Then perhaps experience Seattle's history in the underground city tour, or the Seattle Center originally built for a World's Fair and today is a large park, arts and entertainment centre home to the Space Needle or the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and other art and entertainment venues (fee may apply). Tonight you may wish to dine at a local seafood restaurant or enjoy one of Seattle's International District Restaurants to enjoy tasty Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean or Vegetarian cuisine prepared with Seattle hospitality.

Points of Interest

Overnight Accommodation

  • Warwick Seattle Hotel or similar

Enjoy any free time remaining for a final farewell exploration of charming Seattle before returning your rental car and transferring to the airport for your departure flight. Alternatively you may wish to extend your stay in the region, perhaps crossing the border into Canada to explore the likes of Vancouver.

Points of Interest

  • San Francisco

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Golden Gate Bridge Bay Cruise
    • Notorious Alcatraz Island
    • Yosemite National Park
    • Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf
  • Portland (OR)

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Sample the wares of local chocolatiers, bakers and microbreweries
    • Stroll along River Walk
    • America's most walkable city
    • Visit Mount St. Helens
  • Seattle

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Shop in Pike's Place Market
    • Embark on an underground city tour
    • Dine in Seattle's International District Restaurants
    • Visit Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve