Combining unique food explorations and local art with forays into nature and visits to scenic sights in a beautiful way, this Northwest adventure is perfect for those who delight in artisan experiences. Be touched by the places you visit, connect with the interesting people you meet and embrace the great outdoors ready for adventure, fun and relaxation all at once.
A Free Personalised Road Book is included as standard with our Self Drive itineraries.
Please note: – This is a suggested itinerary only and is intended to give an overview of what is possible. All of our holiday itineraries are fully customisable and can be tailor-made to suit your own individual requirements. If you would like to start in a different destination, use specific hotel accommodation, include an extra night here, a side-trip there and/or include tickets to an event please let your Discover North America travel specialist know. They’ll also book you the best value flights to ensure a seamless holiday experience.
Arrive at San Francisco International Airport, pick up your car and proceed to your hotel.
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 the local chocolatiers, Ghirardelli's, 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!).
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! Continuing north, you'll reach the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail, comprised of farmsteads for local cheesemakers. 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, Mozzarella's and more 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.
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 colored rocks and stones. Time permitting, walk along the bluffs, home to a production mill of yore for special views. 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 Ziplining Canopy tour. Arcata is also the home of Six Rivers Artesian Brewery, one of the first female owned breweries in California.
You may wish to start your day in Arcata with a morning walk along the shores of Humboldt Bay at the Arcata Marsh & 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. 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.
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.
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 cheesemaking 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. 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. Alternately you may wish to drive east to see the spectacular Columbia River Gorge (first explored by the American settlers: Lewis & Clark) and visit Multnomah Falls and historic Lodge. This breathtaking cascade is the 2nd highest waterfalls in the United States.
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.
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 center home to the Space Needle or the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and other art and entertainment venues. 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.
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.