Road Trip from California to Oregon
A road trip to Oregon has been on our bucket list ever since we moved to California. I know a lot of people would probably prefer the one hour flight from San Francisco to Portland as opposed to the ten hour drive but we didn’t want to miss all of the beauty that lies between.
The first leg of the trip was relatively short thanks to us spending the night in Boonville. We finished our wonderful breakfast at the Boonville Hotel then started the hour drive towards Mendocino through Hendy Woods State Park.
Once we got to Mendocino we took in a view of the gorgeous coastline and walked around downtown for a bit. Before we left we grabbed coffee and a few tasty pastries for the road from the Goodlife Cafe & Bakery. On the way back to the car we spotted the most adorable little chihuahua puppy in the front seat of someone’s parked van. It took all I had to resist taking it with us!
The second stop we made was at Glass Beach, located about fifteen minutes north of Mendocino in Fort Bragg. There are actually three “glass beaches” in Fort Bragg that are covered with sea glass created from years of dumping garbage such as cars and appliances along the coast.
We didn’t stay for long but while we were there I saw a few people searching the beach with metal detectors. I guess the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” actually holds some truth to it!
From Glass Beach we drove along Highway One until it eventually connects with Highway 101. It took us about two hours to get to the famous Avenue of the Giants in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Unfortunately we missed the first exit to get onto the scenic route so we only got to drive about 1/3 of the highway but the small amount we did see was gorgeous. Definitely be sure to pay attention and get off at the first exit that says “Avenue of the Giants Scenic Route” if you ever make the drive!
You could easily spend a few hours along this route if you had the time as there are lots of place to get out and explore. We took a short walk through Founders Grove which is also home to Founders Tree, a 346-foot tall redwood that’s iconic to the park.
At this point we were getting pretty hungry (I know, shocker) so we stopped off in Arcata at Los Bagels for lunch. There were a ton of great food options in Arcata but we arrived later than expected so most of them were closed.
We seriously lucked out with Los Bagels though. I ordered a thai-style whole grain bagel sandwich and it was amazing. It was toasted and layered with peanut butter, jalapeno jelly, carrots, cucumbers and green onions. Sounds strange but it was so good!
With full bellies we got back on Highway 101 and drove towards Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.
I wasn’t sure if this was going to be worth the stop (or the bumpy drive to get to it) but it most definitely was. It’s a 50-foot canyon lined with lush green ferns and it’s just as enchanting as it sounds. I came prepared with my rain boots so the few inches of water that we had to hike through didn’t bother me.
The hike is a 1-mile loop but we only did a quarter-of-a-mile and turned back since we had Coco in the car (dogs are allowed in the park but not on the trails). I know that might make us sound like bad puppy parents but it was about 6pm at this point and the weather was nice and cool. Plus we had the windows halfway down. She did great! :)
We got back on the road for one more hour and drove to Brookings, Oregon where we stayed at the Best Western. The hotel is right on the beach which gives you a beautiful view, however the rooms were just okay considering the price. I also wasn’t thrilled about the tsunami warning signs everywhere. Coco woke me up a few times throughout the night and I was convinced she was predicting the arrival of an impeding earthquake. #paranoia
Later in the week a fellow traveler in Portland told us about a place nearby to Brookings called Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge which looks like an awesome place to stay. It’s about the same price as the Best Western and it’s out of tsunami zone which is always a plus. The riverside setting looks stunning too! Can you tell I’m having buyers remorse?
Anyway, if you happen to find yourself in Brookings and need a good meal, be sure to check out Zola’s Pizza. We had a veggie pizza and two salads delivered to our room and it was fantastic.
The next morning we passed up Best Western’s breakfast and got back on the road to head towards Coos Bay. We grabbed a green smoothie at the Tin Thistle Cafe then drove towards Eugene. The coastline leaving Brookings was stunning and it got even prettier once we started driving inland.
The highway goes right along the Umpqua River which is surrounded by mountains dotted with endless rows of vibrant green trees. I can imagine it’s a great vacation spot in the summertime!
There was so much that I couldn’t capture from this road trip but I am so happy we did it. If you have the opportunity to drive it yourself I highly recommend it!
You can find details from the rest of our trip here: