Road Trip Plan: San Francisco to Port Orford, Oregon

Road Trip Plan: San Francisco to Port Orford, Oregon

Lexi profile pictureLexiMay 10, 2024

Road tripping to Orford, OR from San Francisco, CA involves a straight shot up the Pacific Ocean coastline. On the way, you’ll get to enjoy some terrific scenery. You can also stop at destinations that will make your journey memorable!

Start: San Francisco

San Francisco has lots of things to see and do. Before you set off on your trip, you can enjoy the culture of Chinatown, get some sweets at Ghirardelli Square or browse the shops at Haight Ashbury. Be sure to check out the fantastic bars, restaurants, and venues in the area.

1st Stop: Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods Monument is a part of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is located just North of San Francisco. Hop out of the car to explore trails that lead you through towering old-growth redwoods and to the Cathedral Grove and Bohemian Grove. Climb the Ben Johnson and Dipsea trails for magnificent views of the ocean and treetops.

2nd Stop: Up and Away Hot Air Ballooning

The Up and Away Hot Air Ballooning company is located in Sonoma County. It offers daily flights over the scenic wine country regions. Flights depart at sunrise making for a terrific full-day adventure.

3rd Stop : Barra of Mendocino

 Your trip will take you through wine country, so you won’t want to miss out on visiting at least one winery. Barra of Mendocino is right along your route. Their facility is located on 50 acres of scenic land and includes a 500-square-foot tasting room with 40-foot ceilings, a circular tasting bar, and an indoor fountain. Come by for a relaxing lunch or if you have an airstream you can park and spend the night.

4th Stop: Richardson Grove State Park

You will pass plenty of terrific state parks on your journey, but Richardson Grove is one that's worth venturing out of your car for. Established in 1922, it is one of California’s first Redwood Parks. It began with only 120 acres and has since grown to 1800 acres. Explore to see the redwoods that span over 300 ft. tall and take some time to wade in the “wild and scenic” river.

5th Stop: Humboldt Redwoods State Park

This state park spans 53,000 acres making it almost twice the size of San Francisco. About one-third of the park is old-growth redwood making it the biggest expanse of redwoods left on the planet. You can travel its 32-mile-long Avenue of the Giants to see its many redwoods. Stops along the way include Founder’s Grove and the California Federation of Women’s Clubs Hearthstone.

6th Stop: Humboldt Botanical Gardens

Nature lovers won’t want to miss out on a visit to Humboldt Botanical Gardens in Eureka. The garden’s mission is to inspire, educate and grow. It provides a botanical garden accessible to anyone who lives in or visits the northern California region.

7th Stop: Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse

The Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse is located in Trinidad, CA. It was established by the Trinidad Civic Club in the early 1970 to pay tribute to those lost at sea. It started out as a simple marble slab engraved with the words “Lost at Sea”, but it has since expanded to include a four-sided monument inscribed with the names of those lost and buried at sea. When there was no more room for additional names, inscribed plaques were hung adjacent to the monument.

8th Stop: Humbolt Lagoons State Park 

There will be many state parks along your journey, but the Humboldt Lagoons State Park will give you a taste of something unique. It was formed by two tectonic plates and sits between the ocean and forest. It includes the Big Lagoon, the Stone Lagoon, and the Freshwater Lagoon. You are sure to see a variety of wildlife including trout, salmon, pelicans, woodpeckers, elk, and if you catch a migration: whales.

9th Stop: Redwood Trails Horse Rides

Nature lovers won’t want to miss out on a Redwood Trails horse ride in Orick, CA. Rides depart from the Rodeo Grounds. Their experienced guides will make sure you have a safe and exciting adventure. While it is possible to get same-day rides, it’s recommended that you make reservations in advance. While in the area, you can also stop off at Humboldt County Lagoons where you can enjoy scenic heights and walks on the beach.

10th Stop: Smith River Kayaks

You’ve just reached the California border. Why not celebrate by enjoying a kayak ride on the Smith River? Smith River Kayaks offers a wide range of eco, fishing, and self-guided tours. You can head out for full or half-day adventures or choose the Wild Rivers Coast option.

11th Stop: Harris Beach State Park

Harris State Park is in Brookings. OR. It offers a variety of trails, seaside scenery, and sandy beaches. It is the location of Bird Island, a Natural Wildlife Sanctuary, home to a variety of rare birds. It is a great destination for hiking, picnicking and taking in nature.

12th Stop: Jerry Rogue’s Jets: Oregon’s Only Mailboat Tours

Located in Gold Beach, OR, this tour will take you through the rugged scenery and abundant wildlife of the Pacific coast. The company’s fleet includes 15 U.S. Coast Guard inspected vessels. Tours are available from May 1 through October 15. Be sure to check out the Rogue River Gift Shop and Museum while you’re there. 

Finish: Welcome to Port Orford, Oregon!

This quiet coastal town is a great place to fish, hike, and take in nature. Be sure to try at least one of its many seafood restaurants. You can also enjoy exploring nature in its state parks. Check out this blog post for more ideas!

You could complete this journey by plane, but a car ride will allow you to stop and see so many fantastic sights. You might even consider staying the entire weekend to fully enjoy what the coastal town has to offer, and Wander Orford Cliffs is the perfect luxury vacation rental for that!

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