Epic Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip

United States of America
13 nights private tour

Embrace the opportunity to indulge in a classic American road trip. Travel along the Pacific Northwestern Coast on this USA tour, discover the café culture of Seattle, the spectacular scenery of Washington's lush rainforest and snow-capped peaks, the rock-strewn shores of Oregon and the giant redwoods of California. Along the way, enjoy the liberal, calm vibe, and food culture, with its farm-to-table ethos, and wineries, along with the scope for some of the best outdoor activities in the world.

Epic Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip
At a glance
  •  Immerse yourself in the jaw-dropping natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, with its lakes, volcanoes, mountains, rivers, giant redwoods, and mossy rainforest, creating a natural playground to enjoy superb hiking, kayaking, boating, and biking.

  • Explore the wild shores, craggy headlands, rocky outcrops, sea stacks, sandy dunes, and beaches of this impressive coastline, pounded by the ocean surf. Walk windswept beaches and visit the lighthouses and historic coastal towns as you drive along the famous Pacific Coast Highway.

  • Savor the fabulous fresh local produce and wonderful seafood of the region. With a food culture based on a farm-to-table philosophy, great microbreweries, and excellent wineries, this is a food lover’s paradise. There’s even the opportunity to enjoy several hands-on culinary experiences.

  • Scout for the abundant bird, marine and wildlife. From whale-watching to elk, bear and eagle spotting, wildlife lovers will relish the opportunity to see so many creatures in their natural habitat.

Journey highlights
  •  Immerse yourself in the jaw-dropping natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, with its lakes, volcanoes, mountains, rivers, giant redwoods, and mossy rainforest, creating a natural playground to enjoy superb hiking, kayaking, boating, and biking.

  • Explore the wild shores, craggy headlands, rocky outcrops, sea stacks, sandy dunes, and beaches of this impressive coastline, pounded by the ocean surf. Walk windswept beaches and visit the lighthouses and historic coastal towns as you drive along the famous Pacific Coast Highway.

  • Savor the fabulous fresh local produce and wonderful seafood of the region. With a food culture based on a farm-to-table philosophy, great microbreweries, and excellent wineries, this is a food lover’s paradise. There’s even the opportunity to enjoy several hands-on culinary experiences.

  • Scout for the abundant bird, marine and wildlife. From whale-watching to elk, bear and eagle spotting, wildlife lovers will relish the opportunity to see so many creatures in their natural habitat.

  • Exceptional itinerary:A harmonious blend of authenticity and superlative luxury, our Exceptional Journeys are designed for the discerning traveller, providing unparalleled insider access and exclusive luxury private experiences
Our tailor made journeys include:
  • Your dedicated Travel Consultant who will take care of arrangements
  • Private international airport transfers in destination
  • Your own private, English-speaking local guides
  • Unique experiences, hand-picked by our Journeys team
  • Entrance to must-see local sites
  • Dedicated 24/7 team providing in-country support and guidance
  • Complimentary access to My Scott Dunn – industry-leading travel app providing pre-departure information and in-journey support

When to visit

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Best time to visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit

Seattle is a great city to visit all year round; as the seasons change, the scenery creates different stunning landscapes with vivid scenes. June through September is peak season, this is due to the lovely weather which really draws in the crowds. This summer weather is beautiful and the temperature usually averages mid 20s. There are often higher temperatures but these can not be guaranteed.

Itinerary

Day 1-3

Seattle, Pacific Northwest, United States of America

After arriving in Seattle, you will pick up your rental car at the airport and make your way to the Four Seasons Hotel, just steps away from Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. This upscale hotel is a great place to relax, explore the many charms of the city and prepare for the fabulous road trip that awaits you. 

After a good night’s sleep and a chance to acclimatise, head out to one of the local eateries for breakfast, before your guide collects you for a private guided tour of the highlights and attractions of Seattle. Learn about the history and fish trade of the famous Pike Place Market, see the site of the ‘original Starbucks,’ and drink in the incredible views from the observation deck of the Space Needle. Chihuly Glass Museum is also on the itinerary, which showcases the spectacular brightly colored glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. The tour includes a mix of walking and driving and can be customized to your interests, so do let your guide know of any landmarks you would like to see. As the birthplace of grunge, the city is synonymous with Nirvana and you may wish to visit the Museum of Pop Culture, or enjoy the 19th century architecture of Queen Anne Hill, one of Seattle’s most affluent and oldest neighborhoods. This full day tour includes lunch.

Those who prefer more outdoor adventures, can forgo the city tour for a day in the San Juan Islands traveling by seaplane. With a transfer time of around 50-minutes, you can enjoy the thrill of a ‘flightseeing’ trip over the city and its coastline to the islands, located between Washington State and Vancouver Island. The San Juan Islands are famous as a premier kayaking destination and your trip includes guided kayaking and a delicious lunch at the attractive resort of Roche Harbor. The wildlife is plentiful, so look out for whales, sea lions, porpoises, seals, and otters, before the flight back to the city.

Dinner this evening involves an interactive market-to-table cooking experience with local chef, Traci Calderon. Traci will accompany you around the stalls of Pike Place Market to buy the ingredients for dinner, while explaining to you the market’s history and lesser-known secrets. Once you’ve got the produce, she will take you to Atrium Kitchen, a community resource in the heart of the market, where she will guide you in preparing, flavoring and cooking a delicious Pacific Northwest dinner. Bon appetite!

Accommodation: Four Seasons Hotel Seattle ( 2 nights )
Day 3-5

Seattle, Pacific Northwest, United States of America

The following morning it’s time to hit the road and head to Port Angeles in Washington State on the Olympic Peninsula. The journey begins with a chance to take the scenic Bainbridge Island ferry across the Puget Sound, with a crossing time of 35-minutes. Do have a stroll around the pretty towns of the island, known for their artisan shops, boutiques, galleries, cafés, and lovely harborfronts. We’d also recommend stopping for lunch in the historic maritime town of Port Townsend, which was once home to the S’Klallam tribe and boasts glorious beaches, first-rate restaurants, and historic Victorian architecture.

The total driving time today is around 3-hours, and your ultimate destination is Domaine Madeline Bed & Breakfast on the waterfront of Olympic National Park, Port Angeles. Your base for the following two nights, this charming and comfortable property is full of warm hospitality and has fabulous views of the ocean and distant mountains.

Refreshed from a good night’s sleep and rejuvenated by a heart breakfast, today you will enjoy a private guided tour of Olympic National Park’s natural beauty and wildlife. A UNESCO-listed attraction, the park is resplendent with snow-capped mountains, rushing rivers, glacier lakes, old-growth forest and is home to bald eagles, deer, marmot, elk, mountain goats and even, black bears. Encompassing several different ecozystems, the park is both vast and diverse and is the only place in the US to see temperate rainforest.

As you accompany your guide along the atmospheric forest trails and hiking paths, you’ll learn about the geology and human history of the area. Hurricane Ridge is a highlight and the sweeping views over the peninsula will live long in the memory. Lunch is enjoyed in the tranquil setting of Lake Crescent, surrounded by forest and close to Marymere Falls. Those interested in Native American history, culture and traditions will enjoy the excursion to La Push, a Quileute Indian Reservation coastal town, with some excellent surfing beaches.

For those who prefer a bird’s eye view, there is the option to upgrade the tour for a 2-3-hour private ‘flightseeing’ experience to take in the peninsula from an aerial perspective. Looking down on the Olympic Mountains, glaciers, forests, and coastline, while spotting wild herds of elk, and marine wildlife including whales, dolphins, and seals is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The magnificent natural beauty and spectacular scenery is breath-taking.

Accommodation: Domaine Madeline ( 2 nights )
Day 5-6

Seattle, Pacific Northwest, United States of America

The following morning, after another delicious Domaine Madeline breakfast, it’s time to leave Port Angeles to drive to Lake Quinault, in the southwest corner of the park. Along the way, we suggest a stop at Hoh Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Its unique ecozystem has stood the test of time over thousands of years. Head to the visitor center to take one of two short nature trails for an otherworldly and beautiful, lush green walk.

Driving time today is around 3-hours and your base for the night is the historic Lake Quinault Lodge. First opened in 1926, the lodge is full of rustic charm and comforts with a homely vibe and is the ideal location to relax by the fireside and lake. President Roosevelt was one of many famous former guests.

During your stay at Lake Quinault Lodge, two additional experiences can be arranged. Those seeking to explore more of the glacier-carved lake can enjoy guided kayaking or to learn more about Native American culture, there is the chance to attend a storytelling and ceremonial bake with the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. The bake honors the annual return of the salmon to spawn in the waters of the lake and river and reflects the tribe’s respect for the fish which is an important source of sustenance for the community.

Accommodation: Lake Quinault Lodge ( 1 night )
Day 6-8

Cannon Beach, Pacific Northwest, United States of America

The following morning, Oregon beckons and after breakfast you will head south to Cannon Beach on the state’s northwest coast. The total drive time today is 4-hours and we would recommend a stop for lunch in the delightful town of Astoria. The oldest settlement in Oregon, Astoria was first established in 1811, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. An important outpost for the fur trade, fishing and canning industries, Astoria’s historic past is reflected in its Victorian architecture, forts, and museums. The food scene here is buzzing. With a temperate climate, fresh produce is available year-round and coupled with the freshest of seafood, there are plenty of excellent choices for lunch.
As you venture further south, the rugged Cannon Beach is revealed with the impressive Haystack Rock rising from the offshore waters. The rock is home to tufted puffins, gulls, and cormorants, while the tidepools host starfish and sea urchins. Your base for the following two nights is the Stephanie Inn, whose beachfront location overlooks Haystack Rock. With fabulous Pacific views, a homely vibe, whirlpool tubs, warming fires and hospitality, the inn makes a relaxing and indulgent retreat.
Tonight’s dinner is an event to remember, with a culinary dining experience hosted by two accomplished and entertaining chefs, Bob Neroni and his wife, Leonore. Guests sit around a central kitchen area, while the hosts prepare, cook, and explain how to create the flavors and textures of the Pacific Northwest, along with the importance of wine pairing. The couple are passionate about organic and sustainable produce and the evening is a fun, educational and convivial way to enjoy the local cuisine.
The following day is spent exploring the many and varied spectacular national parks of the area, with a naturalist guide. In an area of outstanding natural beauty, there is much to see and learn about. Ecola State Park stretches along the coastline, offering superb ocean views and forest trails, while Oswald West State Park boasts a temperate rainforest and the famous surfing Short Sand Beach, known locally as Short Sands. Other wondrous sights include the sandy cove beach of Hug Point, the impressive sandstone headland of Cape Kiwanda and the scenic viewpoint and lighthouse of Cape Meares. Lunch is at the coast’s only beachfront craft brewery, the Pelican Brewery and during the day, you will also enjoy a crabbing demonstration near Nehalem Bay.

Accommodation: Stephanie Inn ( 2 nights )
Day 8-9

Oregan, Pacific Northwest, United States of America

The drive southwards continues the following morning traveling to Florence. Along the way is the chance to stop at Oregon’s famous lighthouse and scenic viewpoint, Heceta Head Lighthouse. The views are superlative. We’d also recommend a visit to the Sea Lion Caves, the only Stellar Sea Lion rookery on the US mainland. Once you’ve arrived in Florence, enjoy lunch at one of its top-rated seafood restaurants, before wandering around the boutiques, antique shops, and cafés of this lovely coastal town set on the Siuslaw River.
The area is known for its rolling dunes and the afternoon brings the chance to enjoy an epic sand rail adventure. Sand rails are lightweight vehicles designed to skim across the shifting sands without getting stuck. This one-hour ride is akin to riding a roller coaster and covers 19-miles of dune and 1-mile of beach terrain. Goggles are provided and we suggest you wear warm clothing and protect any valuables from blowing sand. 
The ride requires a strong stomach and while adrenalin thrill seekers will love the experience, for those of a gentler disposition, there is the option for a scenic jet boat tour along the Rogue River. A protected wilderness since 1968, the boat trip is a popular way to soak up the scenic beauty and spot the wildlife of the river and its valley.
The total driving time today is 3-hours and your base for the night is the rustic upscale Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge, set on the banks of the Rogue River, inland from Gold Beach. The lodge has a fabulous ‘Do Nothing’ philosophy and is the ideal place to relax, replenish your energy and rejuvenate your zest for life. Named after the first inhabitants of the area and boasting architecture inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, the lodge is infused with a deep sense of calm and tranquillity. 

Accommodation: Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge ( 1 night )
Day 9-10

Eureka California, United States of America

After a delicious breakfast at Tu Tu’ Tun, it’s time to head to the majestic Redwood National and State Parks, a complex of one national and three state parks. Native to California, these redwoods are some of the tallest and largest trees on the planet. There are many highlights of the region. These include the dense groves of old-growth redwoods of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park; taking the scenic hiking trail at Stout Grove and enjoying the playful tree sculptures at the Trees of Mystery attraction which has an aerial tramway. All wonderful experiences before immersing yourself in the immense woodland system of redwoods and trails located in the Redwood National Park.
Today, the drive time is around 3-hours and there is a choice of accommodation. Guests can opt to stay in the Victorian Carter House Inns in Eureka, known for its charming Old Town or we can arrange for a rental home for those looking for a home-from-home experience. These upscale homes offer the space, flexibility, and independence to suit all family requirements. Options include beach access, Pacific views, and outdoor hot tubs.

Accommodation: Carter House Inns ( 1 night )
Day 10-12

Sonoma, California, United States of America

Leaving the coast behind, this morning you make the 3.5-hour drive inland and southward to Healdsburg in the heart of Sonoma County wine country. For the following two nights your base is the idyllic Montage Healdsburg Hotel. This contemporary property features a spa, pool, superb dining options and guestrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the vineyards, mountains, or forest. Once you’ve settled in, enjoy wine tasting, pampering in the spa and fine dining at your leisure.
The following day is a chance to explore the stunning vineyards and scenery of the valley, with a full day tour accompanied by a private guide. The day includes visits to three wineries, a chance to chat to the local wine producers to learn more about the production process and of course, an opportunity to taste some of Sonoma’s finest wines. Get to go behind the scenes with barrel tastings and vineyard walks as you deepen your knowledge of the grape to glass cycle. During the day, you’ll also enjoy a gourmet deli-style picnic lunch amid picturesque views of the giant redwoods and lush vineyards that populate the valley.
For those interested in upgrading their cooking skills, there is also the opportunity for an additional experience with an evening cookery class. Using fresh seasonal produce, you will be guided in preparing and cooking a multi-course dinner to enjoy alongside wine pairings, making for an educational, entertaining, and delicious culinary evening.

Accommodation: Montage Healdsburg ( 2 nights )
Day 12-13

Union Square, San Francisco, California, United States of America

After checking out from the hotel, San Francisco awaits. Head south to reach this fabulous city, with a drive time of under 2-hours. We’d suggest stopping for lunch in the affluent harbor town of Sausalito, which offers stunning views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as a comprehensive choice of acclaimed farm-to-table restaurants.
For those wishing to upgrade their experience, we can arrange an afternoon sailing tour of San Francisco Bay, which is a glorious way to see the city from a different perspective. Alternatively, enjoy a private city tour taking in many of the highlights and landmarks including the famous hills, iconic cable cars, colorful Victorian architecture, the famously crooked Lombard Street, and the fabulous Golden Gate Park.
Your final night is at the stylish St Regis Hotel in the heart of downtown San Francisco in the trendy SoMa district, steps away from Union Square. Family-friendly, there is an indoor pool, relaxed dining and afternoon tea served daily to guests in the Lobby Lounge.
The airport is around 45-minutes from the city and depending on your departure time, you may wish to add in a private city tour or sailboat cruise around the Bay to maximize your time in the Golden City.

Accommodation: The St. Regis San Francisco ( 1 night )
We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you.
Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your holiday.

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When to visit

  • J
  • F
  • M
  • A
  • M
  • J
  • J
  • A
  • S
  • O
  • N
  • D
Best time to visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit

Seattle is a great city to visit all year round; as the seasons change, the scenery creates different stunning landscapes with vivid scenes. June through September is peak season, this is due to the lovely weather which really draws in the crowds. This summer weather is beautiful and the temperature usually averages mid 20s. There are often higher temperatures but these can not be guaranteed.

Epic Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip
Epic Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip

We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itineraryis a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely personalized to you. Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation.

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