Snapshots of a 14-hr Drive Down the West Coast

Snapshots of a 14-hr Drive Down the West Coast


The California and Oregon coastlines have a treacherous beauty to them because of the rugged coastline. Because of a little bit of driving procrastination,  I came to a bit of a predicament.

The Situation.

We had 1 day to get back to the Bay Area before the start of the week and had an important decision to make: Do we take the quicker, more boring drive down I-5 and get home in 10 hrs 20 minutes or do we fly by the seat of our pants and enjoy the California and Oregon coastlines (14 hrs 12 minutes)?  

Guess which one we took?


More reasonable titles for this post:

  • We still have a 5-hour drive ahead of us, but first, let's look at these redwood trees.
  • We must stop at every overlook.
  • Is there going to be a tsunami? There are an awful lot of tsunami evacuation signs.
  • OMG! You can drive through a redwood tree! Let's do that too.
  • 9 Things to do on your drive down the West Coast (this would have likely gotten me more views)

Keep in mind that 14 hours only includes drive time. It does not include the time you're spending trekking through redwoods and wandering sand dunes. The total trip time was closer to 18 hours.  

Was it worth it? Here are some things you can expect on your long journey.

Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters

When you do this road trip, it's hard to find a good latte. You'll mostly find diners that serve coffee that has been sitting on the warmer for hours. Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters has great coffee. It's worth the stop. 

Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters

Siuslaw River Coffee Roasters

Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area

There are sand dunes in Oregon? What country am I in?

You can actually rent dune buggies and ride around . Or you can try exploring the dunes on your own, which is VERY tiring.

Action shot.

Cape Blanco, OR

Here is Wikipedia's very confusing explanation of this site:

"Cape Blanco is a prominent headland on the Pacific Ocean coast of southwestern Oregon in the United States, forming the westernmost point in the state. Cape Blanco extends further west than any point of land in the contiguous United States (lower 48 states) except Cape Alava, in Washington."

So... basically it is the 2nd westernmost point in the contiguous states. I should write Wiki articles. Regardless, it's still beautiful.

Cafe Blanco

Can't go on a trip of the coast without seeing a lighthouse.

Cape Blanco

Take a Photo with the "Welcome to California Sign"

This is my subtle hint that the following sites are in California. At this point, you'll see scary signs warning you about the dangers of smuggling goods into the state.

Lost Coast Outpost

This is a brewery that had pretty decent food. I was surprised. Get the tacos.

Unfortunately to-go orders are charged extra. Please don't ask me why. I had no energy to argue this. It's located in a sketchy neighborhood, so just be aware.

Lost Coast Outpost

Lost Coast Outpost

Explore Jebediah Smith Redwoods State Park

People come from all around the world to this park to see tallest trees in the world. 

Go to the information booth. The rangers are knowledgeable and they'll tell you which drive to take. They won't tell you where the tallest redwood is because they don't want you to go carve your name on it. It's fun to drive around and try guessing.

Side Note: It's actually VERY difficult to guess which one is the tallest. If you really care, I would recommend doing some research prior to visiting.

Fun Fact

There are 2 types of redwoods: Sequoias (wide, short, and large) and Coastals (tall, skinny, and strong). The coastal redwoods are the tallest trees in the world and sequoias are the largest. Both these trees are located in California. Northern California, which is where these pictures are from, is known for its coastal redwoods.

Are you my mother?

Redwood trees are badass and people should never carve their names in them! This is from the Jebediah Smith Redwood State Park.

Jebediah Smith Redwoods State Park

Jebediah Smith Redwoods State Park


Drive down Avenue of the Giants

This street is the historic 101 freeway, which is lined with giant redwood trees. Most importantly, it is not a detour! It generally goes the same direction as the 101.

Avenue of the Giants

Drive through a giant redwood tree. 

Let's be real. This is definitely a tourist trap, but it's $5, so what the hell.

Chandelier Tree

Was it worth it?


 If you get the chance to drive down the West Coast, you should do it because there are many sites along it that you wouldn't normally go out of your way to see. It's a longer drive, but more interesting than I-5. 

Would I do it again?

All of it? Like driving 14 hours? No. This was tiring. I'll would only do this once.

If you like road trips & spontaneous adventures. you'll probably like these posts as well!

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