This summer, we made a gorgeous, unforgettable trip with our family of four. We took two airplanes, several cars (including Ubers) and an RV to get from Seattle to San Diego. We've seen and done amazing things.
I'll describe our trip day by day, while highlighting important cities, lovely campgrounds, cool landmarks, great restaurants and of course fun things to do with kids. My boys are 8 and 12 and they are used to traveling long distances. Flying from Chicago to Seattle was very short, compared to the annual trip we make from Chicago to the Netherlands.
Of course I'll show you what it all looked like, because I am a relentless (hobby) photographer. I sometimes make my family crazy with my pics. Ha!
This part is about driving to San Francisco. How did we get there? What did we see on our way? Where did we stay? What did we rent? And how did we like all of it?
We left Oregon Dunes KOA and were planning on driving to about Eureka, California. Unfortunately more people were planning on doing that. We couldn't find a campground last minute. Everything was booked (that's the downside of not planning your trip, the upside is that you can stay somewhere longer if you like it there, that is, as long as it isn't booked).
The road from North Bend to Redcrest was stunning. We saw so many beautiful beaches. At noon we stopped at a beach and while my spouse prepared lunch, I went kiting on the beach with the boys. There was just one downside: the rotten smell of a sea lion on the beach.
I called Ancient Redwoods RV Park, and was so relieved when the kind gentleman on the phone said that they still had RV spots left. It was about 45 minutes further than planned (in total it took us about 6 hours), but we loved this RV park, it was part of 'Good Sam'. Located on the gorgeous Avenue of the Giants. It was small, clean and quiet. We even met Dutch people, who were basically making the same trip, but then the other way around. We exchanged some tips. It was fun because they were all working in education, just like me and they even knew a teacher I had in High School. One couple lived also in Brabant, close to where I was born and the other couple lived on Saint Martin (I am hoping they are not in to much trouble due to Irma).
The RV Park featured a beautiful gift shop, and we all bought something there. The kids bought handmade red wooden statues of animals and a wooden bookmark and I bought the best smelling incense sticks: Redwood Incense. Whenever I light one now, it reminds me of the relaxing atmosphere right in the middle of the Redwoods. I am happy we drove 45 minutes extra that day, otherwise we would have missed out on this experience.
They also had a stunning, 1000 year old Redwood tree, called: The Immortal Tree, at the entrance of the RV Park. It was so huge, that I couldn't even take a picture of the whole tree.
After one night there, we continued driving the Avenue of the Giants (sorry Highway 101, but it was definitely worth it). We stopped along the road to hug some giants and at Myers Flat and walked through the Shrine Drive Thru Tree (unfortunately that didn't work with an RV). We thought that would be more special. It was actually a death tree, not very alive anymore. We took a peek inside the treehouses, walked around for a bit and that was it. It took as about 15-20 minutes. They asked for a fee: vehicles $8, Motorcycles $4 and bicycles/walk-ins $3 e.a. There was a store too, but we didn't go in there.
After the Avenue of the Giants we continued driving highway 101. Our next destination was Manchester Beach / Mendocino Coast KOA, which was about a 3,5 hour drive. This was again a gorgeous route, next to the ocean and stunning beaches. The boys really loved the campground. They had a lot of amenities, such as: a swimming pool, a hot tub (just for grown ups, while the boys usually really enjoy a hot tub), 18 hole disc golf course ($), horseshoe pit, community fire pit (great to meet new people), table tennis, etc.
It was a nice walk to the beach (starting on the side of a quiet road). We didn't find the right path immediately, but because of that we saw deer very closely. The boys enjoyed jumping the waves. After walking back I took some fascinating pictures of my favorite birds: hummingbirds.
The next day, we drove to San Francisco. On our way to San Francisco North / Petaluma KOA we stopped for lunch at The Tides Wharf Restaurant in Bodega. The restaurant had a nice view on the water and good food. Funny fact was that the movie 'The Birds' (1963) from Alfred Hitchcock was filmed there.
And again the views on the ocean were stunning. The drive to San Francisco North / Petaluma KOA took us about 2,5 hours, there were a lot of bicycles on the road.
This KOA was our boys favorite KOA. They had a nice, big swimming pool, a hot tub (also for kids!), a snack bar, petting zoo and wall climbing. We tried to stay here a few nights longer (after our 2 nights stay), but they were completely booked.
That afternoon we went to San Francisco for the first time. I'll tell you all about that in my next blog.
Read my previous blogs about this Road Trip: part 1 (Seattle), part 2a (Seattle to San Francisco) and why Road Bear RV is much better than Cruise America.
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Filed under: Road Trip