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Old 01-12-2015, 08:21 PM   #21
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Depending on how much (or little) you like to drive - and what car you are renting, I'd recommend the drive up Highway 1 to Medicino after seeing Napa.

Anyway, the drive can be quite breathtaking and the stopping a few times to walk along the isolated beaches is something you'd remember for a long time.

Book a room at nice B&B or small inn in Medicino, there are many excellent ones to choose from.

If you are especially lucky, there will be fog out on the ocean and it'll be clear inland so you drive in and out of it. It's magical.

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Old 01-12-2015, 09:17 PM   #22
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If you want to explore the wine country you might consider a night in Calistoga. Great restaurants and access to the northern parts of the wine country. I've stayed at Indian Springs resort for the past 15 yrs.

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Old 01-12-2015, 11:15 PM   #23
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I second the notion that Muir Woods is more trouble than it is worth FOR YOU because you will be driving right into the heart of Redwood National and State Parks farther north. If you are Frank Lloyd Wright architecture fans -- a brief side trip to the Marin County civic center in San Rafael would be worth your while. We had a fantastic Middle Eastern lunch at the Falafel Hut on the main strip in San Rafael.

Beware of the little gas station in Mendocino ( the only one for quite a few miles) which does not have any visible prices on the pump or posted anywhere. They gouge the hell out of you...$6.50 a gallon over the summer!!
Now you will have access to lots of Redwood spotting farther north but if you find yourself needing to use Highway 128 (Navarro River State Park) near Mendocino - do was a kick because it has an eleven mile long "tunnel" through a Redwood forest down to the sea...(or away from the sea if you go that direction). It is pretty cool to just drive and drive and see nothing but Redwoods...I think you will have a similar opportunity in Humboldt County. i believe there is a 10 mile stretch up north near the main Redwoods Parks area...(Newton Drury Parkway)

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Old 01-13-2015, 03:53 AM   #24
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In addition to all that has been suggested, I spent most of my childhood vacation time camping in the areas your trip will cover, so here are a few more suggestions:

Northern CA/southern OR: Jedediah Smith State Park near Crescent City is very accessible. Plenty of redwoods and it's easy walking. It was a favorite camping spot for us growing up. Another coastal spot that is very interesting is the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area looks like the Sahara Desert, but there are also lakes, etc. Inland, Mt. Shasta and Mt Lassen are interesting. One can hike to the top of Mt Lassen, weather permitting--it was easy when I was 12, and even my parents who were smokers made it to the top. Lassen Park has many different sites. The volcano erupted in 1914 so there is a lot of fascinating volcanic geography in the area.

In southern Oregon there's Crater Lake, which is a short but very winding drive from Medford. It's a must see to believe place.

Ashland's Shakespeare festival is one of the best anywhere. The outdoor Tudor style Elizabethan Theater is exquisite, and it's located on the edge of Lithia Park which is a gorgeous park that starts downtown and goes up to the edge of town. The park is beautifully lit at night when you walk through after the performances. There are many bed and breakfast places in Ashland.

If you want to see a place that will make you think civilization doesn't exist, then consider driving through the Trinity Alps. The road is a bear though, and not much in the way of gas stations.

WA: Near Seattle the Ballard locks connecting Puget sound to Lake Union, and there are fish ladders where you can see the salmon jump during spawning season, mostly in June. If you do the Space Needle, lunch in the restaurant isn't outrageous, or it wasn't the last time I was there and the view changes as the restaurant rotates. Tacoma has the Museum of Glass, where you can watch artists and students make glass works of art. It's surprisingly interesting. The Olympic national park is beautiful with great hiking trails, but a bit out of the way.

You could spend a lifetime in the area and never see all of it. Good luck choosing.

Also the best weather is late summer early autumn for the coastal regions, especially up north. Often it's quite rainy in June in Washington. And there's no point in seeing the famed Oregon coast when it's fogged in.

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Old 01-15-2015, 12:39 PM   #25
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Thanks for all the suggestions. We wont have time to do everything listed here but it all sounds awesome. We are researching the suggestions now to see which things we can fit in. I think we will definitely skip Muir Woods since we will be heading towards redwood country. We will also go to Sonoma Valley for a wine tasting instead of Napa. My brother is in the wine business and he suggested the same thing.
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Old 01-15-2015, 12:44 PM   #26
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