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Old 07-17-2006, 08:08 PM   #1
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Need advice on planning our West coast vacation....

We usually go to WDW every other year and the off years we stay around Texas. This next May/June '07 we have decided to go West. Here is what we are thinking:

There are 6 of us: me, dh and 4 ds’s – ages 15, 12, 10 and 9 (renting a suburban)

Fly into San Diego (1 night?), then up to DLR (3 nights?) drive up the coast some more and __________?? We want to do a white water rafting trip either in Northern California or Oregon. Our final destination is Seattle, WA (2 or 3 nights?) (mom moved there 2 years ago) where the guys want to maybe do a fishing trip (or somewhere in CA). Flying home from Seattle.

Is this doable??? Is this too far to go, to have an enjoyable vacation? Should we just fly into L.A. and just forget about San Diego?? This is so hard to figure out.

I am not sure what to do in between these high points, the fishing and white water are at the guys request. I would much rather do a National park or something, but they like adventure and I am just not sure how to plan this trip AT ALL!! And not sure how long I need to plan for? I know more than a week, but a week and half would probably be our limit. Any help would be MUCH appreciated.

Also, finding hotels that accommodate all 6 of us is always a problem.

Thank you in advance!!!
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:01 PM   #2
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Boy going from San Diego to Seattle is a lot of driving- about 12-14 hours just to get from San Diego to the Oregon border - of couse you will have some breaks. Also if you want to see beautiful coast driving - take Hwy 1 between San Luis Obispo and Carmel, but be warned that will be slow (but makes up for missing the parks)! Also could stop at Hearst castle - which we all really enjoyed (even then 12 yr old son) - maybe do for Mom? For fishing I would look around the Mount Shasta Area in Northern California (Right off I5 so convienent). Do you want to see Redwoods? Central/Northern coast for that or Sequoria Park. We really enjoyed Crater Lake National Park in Oregon you might be able to do a night there - not to far off I5. In Washington can probably find white water. Plenty to do for a few days around Seattle (Plus we loved Olympic National Park to the west! of Seattle - especially if you didn't do Hwy 1 in California). Personally I would do 2 weeks and probably skip San Diego - it is nice but the best attractions (Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Sea World) are nice and may be best of class, but not as unique as some of the other things to see - but that is my view. No help on hotels for 6 (we are only 4) - that must be a real challenge.
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Old 07-19-2006, 10:26 AM   #3
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I agree with you on skipping San Diego. That is lot of driving, especially with kids in the car. My favorite places are the Redwoods, and the Rogue River (We stopped there on our way up to Washington). There is so much to see going up north, that 2 weeks would give them enough time to enjoy the coast, etc.
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Old 07-20-2006, 09:22 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for the replies and helpful advice!! I am thinkin' we might start at DLR and go up the coast from there!! Still working on what, when and where between DLR and Seattle though!! There's a lot out there!
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Old 07-21-2006, 01:34 AM   #5
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If it is not too much trouble, I suggest stopping at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Quite an experience!

I go down there on a weekly basis to be a Student Guide: I just love it and have loved it since I was five.

If you love Marine Life, take that stop. It is right off Highway 1 (mentioned in another post).
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:17 AM   #6
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You will have fun. The part of the Rogue River that we liked was the Royal Gorge up in Oregon, and I remember going to the Oregon Caves.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:36 AM   #7
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Be sure to save at least one full day to explore downtown Seattle, also hiking on Mt. Rainier would be fun for you and your crew. I live about an hour outside of Seattle so I'm sure more ideas for what to do once you get here will pop into my brain!
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:11 PM   #8
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Thank you, Thank you!!! ANYTHING to do with marine animals would be a hit for my guys!!

And the Rogue River 2-day lodge rafting trip is what we are looking at, I think.

I have only been to Seattle (along with one ds) since my mom moved there and what little I saw of downtown was cool!! And my husband just mentioned last night that a hiking adventure would be fun, so I will check out Mt. Rainer information!!

Again, thank you so much!!
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:04 PM   #9
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Santa Barbara is fun to explore, although it is only 2 hours from Los Angeles, so you won't get too much travel under your belt if you decide to stay there.

About 4 hours north of LA is the Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo and (futher along) Cambria area. The beaches around here are really nice (but the water is cold) and there are lots of amazing natural sites. (Like sand dunes, waterfalls, cliffs overlooking the ocean, mountains to climb and much more)

Monterey Bay Aquarium is great, and if you are into marine mammals, there is a huge population of elephant seals that's always on the beach near Hearst Castle (right before you start heading up the 1 toward Monterey). They are a riot to watch!

A stop in San Francisco is always a nice time, so if you have time for this it's quite a treat. Be sure to try a clam chowder bread bowl at Fisherman's Wharf, take a tour of Alcatraz (reservations are a must during high season), bike or drive across the Golden Gate and ride the cable cars. There are lots of nice and decently priced hotels around SFO (I'm a huge fan of Hotwire for this, because sometimes the regular prices are little scary). A little further North you could stop in Napa for wine tasting...

That's about as far north as I have knowledge of, but I look forward to hearing what everyone else suggests
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Old 07-23-2006, 06:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by scrappinMickey
Thank you, Thank you!!! ANYTHING to do with marine animals would be a hit for my guys!!
Then why oh why would you skip San Diego and Sea World, the Stephen Birch Aquarium and the World Famous San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Wild Animal Park?

DLR is about an hour and a half north of San Diego. Flying into LA or Orange County is a bit closer, but it's not the same
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Old 07-23-2006, 07:12 PM   #11
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I'd skip San Diego..........your mom wants to see you and family.
I don't think you will have a problem finding white water rafting in Oregon at all.
Should be fun for everyone!
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Old 08-12-2006, 01:21 PM   #12
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Maybe I'm biased because I am from San Diego...but I think you and your family would enjoy a stop here.
The San Diego Zoo is one of the best in the world, and some of the coastal/downtown areas are beautiful and full of activities!
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Old 08-12-2006, 02:45 PM   #13
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When I was in WA on vacation some time ago, we stayed at a great place w/ log cabins that sat on the cliff right above the ocean in Kalaloch. It might have been called Kalaloch Lodge, but it was really fun. It's right down the road from the Olympic National Park/rainforest which is also worth stopping at. There's lots to do in San Diego as previous posters have mentioned and then I'd definitely stop at Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's very special. On the other side of the bay is Santa Cruz w/ it's old Boardwalk and wharf. That would also be a fun stop for your boys. It just depends on how much time you have and how many hours per day you plan on driving. Good luck.
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Old 08-12-2006, 10:59 PM   #14
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Hopefully, she has a good idea of what she wants to do. We went to Olympia park, and really liked it.
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Old 08-13-2006, 09:41 PM   #15
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I'm from the SF area and have never liked San Diego. I find the weather is nice, and in my opinion, the zoo is overrated. I just returned from a 10-day trip that started in Denver and went to Arches National Park in Moab, UT. We spent 2 days there and headed to Salt Lake City for a night before driving to Reno for another. On our fifth day we drove to Redding, Calif. where my parents live. After a couple of days there, we drove to the coast and then up to Gold Beach, Oregon. We spent one night there and rented a beach house w/2 bedrooms for only $170. Gold Beach is on the ocean, at the mouth of the Rogue River. After driving back to Redding where we spent a few extra days, we drove 2 hours to Sacramento and flew home to Denver.

I shared all of this because we did it all in 10 days. I think if you skip San Diego, you will be able to do plenty and spend quality time in each. I would suggest after Disneyland that you go to Yosemite for a couple of days. From there, you could head to Oregon, and do the coast there, such as Gold Beach and/or whatever you like. Visit Portland, etc. before heading to Seattle. I'm sure white water rafting is fun, and there are places for it in all three states. Another fun alternative would be a Jet Boat trip up the Rogue. We didn't have time for it on our trip, but will definately do it after we move back to the Bay Area.

Any trip you choose, you are sure to have a lot of fun.
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