Pacific Coast Adventurer
Take a deep breath. That’s cedar and spruce you smell, along with the subtle scent of an ocean breeze. Welcome to the beautiful Pacific west coast of the USA. From the hilly streets of San Francisco to the soaring heights of the Giant Redwoods, then the rugged beauty of the Northern Californian and Oregon coastline. Charming Victorian villages and historic timber towns are intermingled with dramatic views of ocean bluffs, forested headlands, and awe-inspiring mountain panoramas. Driving from Seattle to San Francisco you’ll experience one of the most peaceful and beautiful routes in the country. Sit back and enjoy the beauty and contrast on this exceptional journey 14 night journey.
- Mount Rainier & Olympic National Parks
- Crater Lake National Park
- The Redwood National Forest
- San Francisco
Seattle’s charm comes from its stunning location, its friendly and laidback people and the way the city has grown up on the shores of Puget Sound and Lake Washington. The downtown area is full of odd shaped towers and preserved historical districts alongside modern skyscrapers. To get a bird's-eye view of the area, ride to the top of the Space Needle, the city's most famous landmark which rises from the grounds of the Seattle Centre. On a clear day, the view is great. Back at ground level take time to see two other attractions in the vicinity: the Experience Music Project and the Pacific Science Centre. The Seattle Art Museum, in the downtown area, has a spectacular collection of African, Native American and European works.
Located two blocks north of the museum is Pike Place Market, which was built in 1907. Its vendors sell tons of fresh local food, flowers, handicrafts and more. Be sure not to miss the seafood stand at the main entrance: Fishmongers toss huge sea creatures from the display tables to the sales counter, over the customers' heads. Down the hill from the market you will find the waterfront and the Seattle Aquarium, which specializes in Pacific species. Spend the rest of day and tomorrow exploring this lovely city at your own pace.
Mount Rainier National Park
Time to leave the city and head east towards Mt Rainier National Park. This is the Chinook Scenic Byway, home to the highest of the Cascade Mountain passes – Chinook Pass. Just west of the pass, the highway enters Mount Rainier National Park, passing Tipsoo Lake. This is a great spot to stop for a picnic lunch with the stunning Mt Rainier behind you. Mount Rainier is Washington’s tallest and best-known peak and the National Park surrounding it is a recreational paradise. Enjoy stunning drives, like the one from Longmire to Paradise – a 13-mile drive that climbs through evergreen forests.
At Paradise you can enjoy 360-degree views of the park from the Visitor Centre. The Sunrise area is a high plateau reached by a series of switchbacks along 11 miles of road. The visitor centre here has telescopes to allow you to view the park sights close up.
Olympic National Park
Edged on all sides by water, the forested landscape of Olympic National Park is remote and pristine, and works its way around the sharpened ridges of the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. Big lakes cut pockets of blue in the rugged blanket of pine forests, and hot springs gurgle up from the foothills. Along the coast the sights are even more enchanting: wave-sculpted boulders, tidal pools teeming with sea life, and tree-topped sea stacks.
Departing the Olympic Peninsula, today you will be heading for the equally amazing Oregon Pacific Coast. Be sure to stop by the largest sea lion cave in the world at the Sea Lion Caves north of Florence, where the Sea Lions live year round. Be daring and descend in an elevator 208 feet down to the most spectacular natural sea cave. Driving on Highway 101, don’t forget to visit on of Oregon’s nine light houses as some of them are haunted!
Arcades and bumper cars will entertain children of all ages on the Seaside Promenade. Have an educational experience and visit the Maritime Museum in Astoria and don’t miss the house of Lewis & Clark from 1805-06 in Fort Clatsop. 33 explorers lived here, and you won’t believe how small it is. Nearby you can also visit the life size statue of Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian woman who accompanied the explorers on their journey to the Pacific Ocean. Be sure to explore nearby Cannon Beach with its quaint town centre and many art galleries. Nearby Haystack Rock, the third largest monolith in the world is one of the State’s most photographed natural wonders.
Located on the magnificently rugged Oregon Coast, the entire city of Newport is a natural observatory that offers a number of fun and educational activities for the whole family. Spend the morning exploring rock pools, combing the beach for fossils and spotting marine life in its natural habitat. Then head over to the Oregon Coast Aquarium where you can stroke an octopus and walk through a glass tunnel surrounded by sharks. Newport is also home to two lighthouses, one of which is the tallest on the Oregon Coast. Historic Nye Beach, with its colourful cottages and laid-back atmosphere, is the perfect spot for a picnic and a quick rest from all the sightseeing.
The Coos Bay area also offers a wide range of shopping, entertainment and dining facilities such as Pony Village Shopping Mall, renovated downtown Coos Bay, antique, myrtlewood and gift shops, theatres, and an art museum and gallery. Surrounded by the Pacific shoreline with its beautiful dunes and lovely beaches, Oregon’s Adventure Coast is located between the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area on the North and Shore Acres State Park, an impressive botanical garden on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on the South. The area features a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, clamming, wildlife, bird watching, sea lion and whale watching, tours, cycling, and 4-wheel rides in the dunes.
Crater Lake National Park
From high atop the rim of Crater Lake, you can see what a wonder the world really is. A hike down to the water reveals new wonders. The water is so blue and so deep, it’s no surprise it’s the deepest lake in America, and one of the deepest on earth. Surrounded by cliffs almost 2,000 feet high and boasting a picturesque island that serves as a reminder to the area’s volcanic past, Crater Lake is also home to hikes in old-growth forest. A good place to begin your visit to Crater Lake is at one of the two visitor centres. Here you can learn about hiking, picnicking and sight-seeing opportunities within the park. Boating and scenic driving around Rim Drive is also popular.
As you travel north to Crescent City today, plan to stop at Lady Bird Johnson Grove, a gorgeous ridge top stand of old-growth trees that you can explore on a one-mile walking loop. Crescent City hosts the must-see Redwood National Park, home to the magnificent Giant Redwood trees. The northern, wet climate nurtures these great trees in ridge top, streamside, and coastal environments. To truly experience the grandeur of the park, take the “Trees of Mystery” and “Trail of Tall Tales” walking trails through the forest. If you feel like driving, there are a number of scenic drives around Crescent City that allow you to take in the area’s stunning natural beauty. Outside the park, the Del Norte Historical Society Museum and the Battery Point Lighthouse Museum illustrate the intriguing history of the city, which includes shipwrecks and tsunamis.
The town of Mendocino is known for its spectacular rugged coastline, beautiful wine country, and quaint oceanfront Victorian villages reminiscent of 19th century New England. It is the only town on the California coast to be designated a Historic Landmark. Dramatic ocean bluffs, known as the Mendocino Headlands, surround the town on three sides and provide scenic walking trails with exceptional views. Russian Gulch State Forest, just north of Mendocino, features a heavily forested headland with a 36-foot high waterfall and wonderful hiking trails. En route to Mendocino, you can stop to visit the lighthouse and diverse landscape at Point Reyes National Seashore, as well as a number of coastal state parks and beaches.
The world-famous Golden Gate Bridge welcomes you to San Francisco, the most-visited and beloved American city. Prepare to lose your heart as you explore delightful and diverse neighborhoods, take in breathtaking views from the tops of crooked streets, wander through Fisherman’s Wharf, and sample a fabulous variety of cuisines. Begin your stay in San Francisco by walking the Barbary Coast Trail, a wonderful 3.8-mile overview of the city ranging from Nob Hill to Ghirardelli Square. Spend a day exploring the Golden Gate Recreation Area, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio, Muir Woods and more. Jump on the ferry at Pier 39 for a trip to Alcatraz, the famous island prison that also has spectacular gardens, bird colonies, and views of San Francisco Bay. Stop in one of Boudin’s famous sourdough bakeries for a true taste of San Francisco, and be sure to visit Chinatown for great food and atmosphere to match. Spend two nights here before flying home.
- Direct return flights from London (Please ask about other departure airports)
- 14 nights hotel accommodation and room taxes
- Fully insured compact car hire (larger vehicles are available)
- A detailed travel pack containing driving instructions and maps
Daily departures from April to October.