Scenic Route/things to do up the california coast?

I will be doing a road trip, from Oklahoma city--Grand Canyon--Vegas--Up the california coast and somehow back to OKC.

I will be visiting some friends in Visalia and Crescent city, and I was wondering if anyone has any route/recommendations for the drive up the California coast. Are there any "must see" type things? (Doesn't necessarily have to be on the coast).

How about any route recommendations/things to see on the way back? I have 16 days total to do this trip in.

Thanks in advance

3 Answers

  • Favorite Answer

    WOW, you have a lot of driving ahead of you and a lot of money for gas. There are a bunch of National Parks along your route and I do recommend stopping to see them. I have driven a good portion of what you have planned so here's what I suggest.

    Take I-40 west from OK; do stop and go in the visitor's center at the Petrified Forest National Park. Its worth a stop, but the drive through the park is not. Too little to see and too far between sights.

    When you get just about to Flagstaff, Az, take RT-89 north to get to the Grand Canyon; then take RT-64 west into the Canyon. That route allows you to see more of the canyon and you will take a different route out and back to I-40. After the canyon take RT-189/64 south toward Williams, Az. When you get to Williams take I-40 west to Kingman,Az and then pick up RT-93 north to Vegas. That road goes right over Hoover Dam and you may want to stop for a tour.

    When you leave Vegas take I-15 west to Barstow and then pick up RT-58 which will take you to Bakersfield, Ca. You will pick up RT-99 in Bakersfield and it will take you to Visalia.

    When you leave Visalia take RT-198 east toward Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. If you start eary in the day you can tour both parks in one day (unless you want to camp out and hike or something). The road into Sequoia connects with the road into Kings Canyon and when you leave Kings Canyon take RT-180 west and it will take you to Fresno and RT-99 again. On our trip we stayed the night in Fresco.

    From Fresno take RT-41 (the Yosemite Freeway) to Yosemite National Park. If you leave Fresno early you can tour all of Yosemite in a day. On our trip we left the park and drove to Sacramento. Take RT-120 out of Yosemite and it will take you back to RT-99 in Stockton. From there you can easily get to I-5 north to get to northern California.

    In Redding, Ca take RT-299 west all the way to the pacific coast Highway, RT-101. Take RT-101 north and stop at Redwood National Park before you get to Crescent City.

    When you leave Crescent City you can go back the way you came to I-5 OR, take RT-199 to Grants Pass, Or to pick up I-5 headed south.

    Now if you want to see more of the Pacific Coast when you get to Sacramento, take I-80 west to San Francisco and you can pick up RT-1. Now once you get on RT-1 you are pretty much going to be stuck on it until you get to San Luis Obispo in souther California near Santa Barbara just north of LA. RT-1 is a nice drive and I have done it twice but its very slow as the road winds with the terrain.

    From San Luis Obispo pick up RT-101 which will take you to I-5 in LA and then to I-15 north toward Vegas. But you will pick up I-40 east in Barstow ( about half way to Vegas).

    If you have a AAA membership you can have them plot your/this route, or do it yourself online. You can also plot it on . Or you can use Google maps: .

    I like Google maps because you can put in your route and it gives you driving distances and times, and you can alter your route by simply dragging the route line in a different direction and it will adjust the driving times and distance.

    You should also look at the National Park service web site: It will help with driving distances and times inside the parks and list attractions in the parks to look for.

    Have a lovely trip

    Source(s): have driven a good portion of this trip.
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Here's a few ideas most are free or cheap



    north rim grand canyon (enter through utah)



    Durango and Silverton


    indian ruins - walnut creek - montezuma's castle

    sunset crater


    Yosemite (a must)

    Hearst castle

    underground house in Fresno

    napa valley

    geyser - napa area

    petrified forest - north of napa

    redwoods on hwy1

    monterey bay aquarium

    fort bragg - glass beach - skunk train

    Lake Tahoe for the return home

    San Francisco

    golden gate bridge

    cable cars

    Santa Cruz

    white water rafting on the trinity, american or kern river



    la Brea Tar pits

    catalina island

    New Mexico

    Four corners

    route 66 neon - Albuquerque (i think)


    lake havasu - London Bridge

    Find some of these places on the map and

    just drive and have a blast. KOA camping cabins are a great way to save money when driving the US

    Source(s): Try for more ideas
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  • Awesome! I once drove to Key West & back from Oregon, taking different routes. unforgetable. I've done these all over the country, except in middle & southern Cal.

    I haven't done the Cal Coast yet, but the whole thing is great. I'll read some highlights from a great travel book I picked up (Reader's Digest: Travel Guide USA'), & I'll start from the south a bit & move north. (You jumped from Vegas to the Coast: Drive through Death Valley if you can, unless you've got a better idea). Everyone talks about the Hearst Castle, real close to Hwy 1 (coast). It's at San Simeon (Google it : ) ), looks like 20-25 miles north of San Luis Obispo. Look for blue jade maybe 20 miles north of there at Jade Cove (Cape San Martin) if you want. Big Sur is well known. Looks some 20ish miles south of Monterey. Cliffs I think, & surfing spot. The Monterey Bay aquarium is supposed to be great. Also there, 17-mile-drive: the coastal peninsula due west of Monterey (right off your path & supposed to be gorgeous). Pinnacles Natl Monument: looks around 30-40 miles east of Monterey: Tall pinnacles and trails (Google). - Moving north: not at SF yet... Half Moon Bay: Beautiful. historical surfing spot. - San Fran: Golden Gate Bridge, maybe an Alcatraz tour?, Acres of Orchids (south of San Fran), Marine World Africa USA (in Vellejo, looks like a city drive so takes time): combo wildlife park & marine park, apparently with roaming land creatures & dolphins/killer whales/sharks. - A little north of SF: Pnt Reyes Natl Seashore: Beach, wilderness area, walk San Andreas Fault, lighthouse. - Napa (valley): vineyards. - Obviously at Crescent City you'll go see the Redwoods (awesome awesome place. It deliberately gets 2 awesomes).

    Heading back:

    If you're willing to go north from Crescent City, there's the Oregon Caves (near Cave Junction: the caves are OK, but it's the drive & the historical house at the end that I thought were coolest). Crater Lake in SW Oregon is awesome (probably could do 2 awesomes here). The desert of eastern Oregon is kinda interesting; more interesting than Nevada anyway, but kinda out of the way. You could look up ghost towns, the Steens Mts, the wild horses, salt flats, & natural hot springs are worth seeing/doing, & the whole area is empty. There's Yellowstone & the Tetons if you're willing to go that far out of your way.

    But you'll probably be heading more southerly. So, you could try to drive past Mt Shasta and through the Mt Shasta Natl Forest (really cool). Through Reno I suppose. maybe check out Lake Tahoe. Across the middle of Nevada, past Area 51 (Hwy 50?). Across the middle of Utah (Hwys 6/50 & 70). East Utah there's Arches Natl Park (awesome, hot, worthwhile), and/or Canyonlands Natl Park (?). - You can go east from there & drive through Rainier Natl Park, or a little more southeast & through Montrose & Ouray (unforgetable old towns in amazing Rockie Mts). Mesa Verde Natl Park is right there (very cool, you can camp there & take a tour of one of the villages). Then across southern Colorado or northern New Mexico. Both would be great. Both would be different from OK, but maybe southern CO moreso. I'm a big fan of New Mexico myself. I can help you out quite a bit with New Mexico, but email me if you want that since you're already going through & may already know your path/sites.

    Have a blast. Email me if I can help further. I've been to many of these places.

    btw, if you have Excel, I could try to email you a crazy detailed itinerary I always use. It's not something a person should follow to the i or t, but it really helps piece things together realistically. It requires going to Rand McNally site & getting driving times/distances though, a lot of keyboard work. Some are into that, some aren't. I like the middle: do the research, get it organized, maximize your time, then allow time to do what you want in between getting up & laying down. Anyway, it's avail if you want it. Do it your own way though, then it's YOURS.

    I'd love to hear about it if you're one of those that puts it on the net.

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