Seattle to San Francisco Road Trip Guide


Although billed as the home of high tech because of some of the mega tech companies based there, Seattle is a city with much to offer the holidaymaker. Surrounded by both water and mountains, attractions are as diverse as the Space Needle through to the Pike Place Market.

The city has enough on offer to keep you entertained for weeks but you shouldn’t allow that to stop you from exploring more widely. One exhilarating way to do this is to take a road trip. The drive from Seattle to San Francisco offers such a diverse range of things to see and do that it is difficult to select those that are most appealing. Here we have offered you a few that you could try on a three to five-day journey but there are many others to consider.

This particular route is chosen with kids in mind, while at the same time trying to cater to options that will be enjoyable for parents as well. Whether it is a calm hike you are looking for or a thrill ride on a jet boat, this road trip will be sure to meet your requirements and perhaps just a little bit more.

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

Point of Interest


Portland is 174 miles from Seattle and will make a good place to end the first leg of your adventure. It is an old shipping port and many years ago it was not uncommon for drunks to be kidnapped and forced to become sailors on ships to China in a procedure that was called ‘Shanghaiing.’

Today, you are more likely to find yourself enjoying good food or wandering around one of the museums. The city associates itself strongly with the organic food movement.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has set out to bring science to life in a way that will get younger people interested. There you can experience numerous interactive exhibits, experience what it is like to be in an earthquake and spot the stars in the planetarium.

For something a little more outdoor orientated, the Oregon Zoo has more than two thousand animals on display. Famed for its conservation work and its elephant breeding program, this zoo also houses more than 20 different endangered species.

The Portland Fairview is an RV park that offers all the facilities you are likely to need as well as a pool and fitness center. Most useful of all is the fact that it is only eight miles from Portland and you can simply hop on the MAX light rail.


Situated on the Willamette River, Eugene is just over a hundred miles from Portland which makes for an easy second leg to your adventure. For a fairly small town, there is a surprising amount on offer here for a family. There is the Riverplay Discovery Village, Lone Pine Farms and several putting courses to choose from.

One adventure that all the family will be able to appreciate is the Amazon Pool. Here you can cool off in the pool while the kids take off from the diving boards or hurtle down the water slides. Something a little more sedate that harassed parents might like to enjoy is the hot tub.

After all that activity, a good meal is probably fairly high on your list of things to do next. The Tin Shed Restaurant is happy to cater to hungry kids. This restaurant has also decided to support up and coming local artists and so there is something more than just food for arty adults. Each month the restaurant exhibits works from artists throughout the area, and you are welcome to just enjoy them or purchase a piece if one takes your fancy.

On the food side, dishes include delights such as brisket and sweet potato hash or applewood smoked bacon. Their homemade buttermilk biscuits are said to be divine.


Medford is a town set in the heart of the Rogue Valley, 170 miles from Eugene. This town is an outdoor loving family’s delight as it provides a perfect place to base up and explore the dramatic countryside. You might want to park up at the Southern Oregon RV Park from where you will have easy access to all sorts of outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and even river rafting.

One of the best ways to appreciate this region is to get onto the water and Rogue Discovery Outdoor Adventures offers you quite a unique way to do this. This company offers jet boat rides but with much more thrown in. In addition to the high-speed thrills of a fast-moving jet boat, they also slow down and share their knowledge about the history of the area and their passion for the wildlife that associates itself with the Rouge River.

Their river runs take at least two and a half hours but you are able to tailor-make your own longer adventures if you want to include fishing or bird watching. Their normal run covers thirty miles from Rattlesnake Rapids to the old Gold Rey dam.

They suggest you book in advance and that you come prepared to get wet and with plenty of sunblock.


The next suggestion is a visit to the town of Redding some 150 miles to your south. Another one for outdoor enthusiasts, Redding boasts that there are more than two hundred miles of hiking trails within fifteen minutes of the city center and that it is one of the top ten trout fishing destinations in the country.

There is plenty to do in town as well, including taking in the renowned Sundial Bridge. Completed in 2004, at a cost of more than 23 million dollars, this bridge is highly unusual. It is a cantilever spar, cable-stayed bridge for use by cyclists and pedestrians crossing the Sacramento River. Its tall spars also act as a giant sundial.

Turtle Bay Exploration Park has something for all the family and makes for an enjoyable day out. This 300-acre park aims to interpret the relations between humans and nature with an underground aquarium, wildlife exhibits, and California’s largest North American butterfly house.

Included in the park but on the other side of the river is the McDonnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.


Sacramento is definitely a city that is on the up and up. On the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, it offers plenty of entertainment either next to, or on the water.

The Old Sacramento Waterfront is a national landmark and somewhere you won’t want to miss. Here you can catch a ride on a riverboat, participate in a bike trek or enjoy being paraded through town in an open carriage.

Food outlets and restaurants are everywhere so you will have plenty to choose from but one which might suit the kids is the Punch Bowl Social. Here they offer bowling, billiards, darts, and virtual reality games while also serving meals for both adults and children.

One very popular attraction is the California which seeks to show just how far-reaching an effect the arrival of the rail network had on the country. There are numerous exhibits including 21 locomotives, some of which date back to 1862. It is also possible to ride on either a steam or a vintage diesel train.


Concord is just sixty-seven miles away and as your children will probably inform you, this is the home of Six Flags Hurricane Harbor theme park. Here you can boost your adrenalin on rides such as the BreakPoint Plunge, Cliff Hanger, Hurricane Slide or Tornado.

If that seems a little too adventurous, there are more sedate rides and entertainment options as well as a plethora of restaurants and eating facilities.

A couple of useful tips are to try to visit on a weekday and to start at the furthest end of the park and work your way back toward the entrance to avoid waiting in long lines. Always take sun protection.


San Francisco is the final leg of this adventure and it is now a little over half an hour away. This city hardly needs an introduction as it is so famous, but if you haven’t been there before the kids will enjoy riding on the iconic trolley cars or touring Alcatraz Island. You will love the seafood and the scenery. This is a city that has something for everyone.

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