Portland to San Jose Road Trip Guide


Portland, Oregon, is the starting point for an excellent RV road trip with coastal camping, interesting attractions, and lots of fun for the whole family. Portland is known for being a culturally unique city, sometimes referred to as the “City of Weird”! While staying in the Portland area, be sure to sample the diverse cultural opportunities, eccentric, and eclectic activities available here. Sample craft beer, enjoy a “cup of joe” at a coffee house, shop at “indie” stores, and take in art, theatres, and live music performances. Portland is known for its culinary wonders, so be sure to sample the dining experiences the city has to offer. Visit the Portland Saturday Market which features over 350 local artisans, and offers exotic foods, live music, and handmade products. Visit the Portland Art Museum, one of the oldest museums in the U.S., known for its wide variety of collections including Native American artworks, or browse the stacks in Powell's Bookstore, a famous bookstore with a huge selection of new, used and rare books.

During your Portland stay, camp at Tillamook State Forest, or if you're willing to head a bit further west, enjoy a beachside campground at Cape Lookout State Park on the Pacific Ocean. To start your trip down to San Jose, California, head south on Interstate 5 to Interstate 505 then continue to exit 1A where you will pick up Interstate 80 to exit 40, and then Interstate 680 to your destination.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 3-5 days
Recommend rig: any
audience: family

Point of Interest

Washington Park

A stay in Portland would not be complete without a visit to Washington Park. This 410-acre park is vast for an urban oasis and contains numerous attractions. You can try your hand at archery, at the first-come, first-serve archery range surrounded by wooded areas. Crossbows are not allowed and you must bring your own equipment.

Kids will love the Children’s playground and Elephant House and the Portland Children's Museum. The Hoyt Arboretum has 2000 species of living trees and 12 miles of trails. For more botanical discovery stroll the International Rose Test Garden with over 7000 rose plants representing 550 varieties or visit the Portland Japanese Garden. Discover wildlife at the Oregon Zoo, home to 2000 animals from 200 species.

There are numerous memorials and statues at the park including the Oregon Holocaust Memorial, Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial, and the Sacagawea Memorial. Play at the soccer fields and tennis courts, or participate in discovery at the World Forestry Center, an interactive natural museum that fosters learning about the forests of the Northwest, and forests around the world.

There are parking spaces for RV units at the park; however, narrow roads in the park can be challenging for larger units, and parking is often at a premium at this popular park. You may be better off to leave your RV unit or tow vehicle at an area campground and proceed to the park in a passenger vehicle, or using public transportation.

Siuslaw National Forest

As you head south on Interstate 5, through Oregon's beautiful wilderness areas, take a detour west about 80 miles through the Siuslaw National Forest and visit the coastal campgrounds situated in this national forest, which is one of only two US national forests situated on the coast.

There are tons of great recreational opportunities in this park. Enjoy typical activities like hiking, cycling, and fishing in the rivers and streams, with the added bonus of ocean fun at beaches, with swimming, surfing, beach-combing, sandcastle building, and sunbathing. The weather is warm in the summer, and cool although moderate in the winter, but fog and rain are common in the offseason. The park contains a large, coastal, temporal sand dune that is great for on-foot exploration, or off-highway vehicle recreation.

Coastal campgrounds that accommodate RVs include the Sutton Campground, which has sites for large vehicles up to 72 feet in length, and 80 sites, 22 of which have hookups, and Camp Perpetua Campground with 37 sites accommodating RVs up to 30 feet in length.

Crater Rock Museum

Located in Medford, Oregon, the Crater Rock Museum exhibits a huge collection of rocks, fossils, gems, minerals, petrified wood, and Native American artifacts. The museum has 12000 square feet of space and houses a gift shop, exhibit area, workshop, and meeting facilities. The museum's gift shop is stocked with the work of local artists, and guided tours are available by appointment.

Collections include the Fluorescent Mineral Display, where visitors can view fluorescent minerals in the dark, Fossil Fish From the Green River Formation, which houses fossil fish specimens from the Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, Green River Formation, dating back 50 million years, and numerous minerals, geodes, and thundereggs, which are unique agate filled stones.

Also exhibited at the museum are an assortment of artifacts from Native peoples including the Rogue Valley and Eastern Oregon people, and the Inca culture. These artifacts include ancient weapons and a variety of tools. A rare collection of ivory art and a collection of unique seashell specimens that include Nautilus, Horseshoe Crab, Triton, Conch, and Abalone shells can also be viewed.

Antlers Campground

Passing south through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, in California, on Interstate 5, you will find great RV camping at Antlers Campground. The campground is situated on the Upper Sacramento Arm, above the reservoir, and direct access to the water is difficult from the campground. There is a boat launch just south of the campground providing excellent access for boating, and a marina and private RV park north of the public campground.

There are 59 sites here that are surrounded with oak and pine trees which provide plenty of cool shade in the summer, a windbreak, and privacy from other sites. Each site includes a picnic table, fire ring, and bear box for safe food storage. Of the 59 sites, 41 are single, and 18 are double occupancy spots which are great if you are traveling with another family or some friends. RV sites here accommodate units up to 30 feet in length, and amenities include flush and pit toilets, an amphitheater, and drinking water supply.

The Shasta-Trinity Forest covers 2,210,485 acres of land with hundreds of mountain lakes and over 6000 miles of streams and rivers as well as 14000 foot high Mount Shasta. Enjoy hiking, fishing, and boating, as well as excellent wildlife viewing opportunities in the park.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord

Families traveling from Portland to San Jose will find wet and wild thrill rides at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Concord in Concord, California, on their journey down Interstate 680. The Six Flags amusement park is Northern California's biggest water park, with 35 water attractions, including waterslides, an epic lazy river, and a huge wave pool. The park features some of the tallest, fastest, and most thrilling water rides you’ll find anywhere, and is open every day, all year.

Hurricane Harbor Concord also has many food outlets, so you won't go hungry at the park. After you've worked up an appetite, enjoy a snack or a meal from a wide variety of selections. Remember, it is very hot in California, especially during the summer. Fortunately, there are shade cabanas to protect park-goers from the sun, and visitors are strongly recommended to bring plenty of sunscreen! Campgrounds with great RV sites are available in regional parks just outside of Concord.


Arriving at your destination in San Jose, California, RVers will find campgrounds and beautiful wilderness areas nearby to stay at while discovering the region at Portola Redwoods State Park and Sanborn County Park.

Bizarre attractions to visit in San Jose include the Winchester Mystery House and the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. The Mystery House is a mansion built by the Winchester gun magnate’s widow over a 40-year time span, with a rambling and peculiar structure featuring an ornate Queen Anne style complete with conical towers, finials, gables, and 161 rooms and is both eerie and fun to explore. The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is structured to resemble an ancient Egyptian town with a vaguely Moorish planetarium and is situated in San Jose’s Rose Garden neighborhood. The museum contains a Rosicrucian temple, labyrinth, alchemy exhibit and garden, mummies, and Egyptian artifacts including sculptures and jewelry.

Visitors to San Jose can also enjoy shopping, dining, park visits, and live performances. An excellent Children's Discovery Museum located here makes a great excursion for families with kids up to ten years of age and provides exhibits and programs to facilitate an understanding of the world through experience and interaction.

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