Highway 1, Northern California Coast
Stacker Connect

Road-tripping along the West Coast this fall? Here are 10 must-see stops from Seattle to San Francisco

Written by:
November 13, 2023
17 Living Art / Shutterstock
This story was produced by Way and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

Road-tripping along the West Coast this fall? Here are 10 must-see stops from Seattle to San Francisco

An autumn road trip through the towering redwoods and picturesque coastal towns of America's Pacific Northwest coastline sounds like a perfect vacation. Particularly from Seattle to San Francisco, there are many worthwhile sights to see as you traverse the fall foliage and enjoy the remaining temperate days ahead of the coming winter.

Way.com breaks down 10 road trip must-see sights from Seattle to San Francisco. 

Mount Rainier National Park Sunset mountain view
1 / 10
Charles Morra / Shutterstock

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

The best way to kick off a road trip from Seattle to San Francisco is via the magnificent Mount Rainier National Park, which features the Mount Rainier volcano as one of its main attractions. The massive volcano can be frightening to many. But seeing more than 25 glaciers adorning the flanks of this huge volcano is something that should be on everyone's list. The park's 236,000 acres of old-growth forest, waterfalls, and subalpine meadows surrounding it only add to its natural charm.     

In addition to its breathtaking views and beautiful wildflower meadows, the southern part of the park has some of the best hiking. The amazing skyline trail and Christine Falls Bridge are also nearby.  

Aerial panorama shot at approximately 350 feet above Cannon Beach looking towards Ecola State Park on a sunny blue sky day on the Oregon Coast
2 / 10
Chris Anson / Shutterstock

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach is an aesthetically pleasing destination and perhaps the most breathtaking rest stop on a road trip from Seattle to San Francisco. This spot, regarded as one of the world's most beautiful, never ceases to amaze visitors. You should not miss the opportunity to enjoy much-needed quality time with your loved ones on this stunning beach. From long lengths of sand that are gentle on the feet to the massive Haystack Rock, this beach has it all. If you're looking for a place to go on a retreat, look no further than Cannon Beach. 

Fall color along the Nehalem River in the Tillamook State Forest, Oregon,
3 / 10
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock

Tillamook State Forest, Oregon

This location is ideal for hikers and those seeking adrenaline-filled experiences. The greatest of the numerous great trails in Tillamook State Forest is the out-and-back Cedar Butte Trail, which is a 2.8-mile long roundtrip. You can reach the peak through a forest filled with tall cedar trees. Astonishing forest views are available at the summit.   

Jordan's Creek and the breathtaking Bridge Creek Falls are two other attractions in the park that are well worth your time. 

Stairway leading down to rocky beach at Coquille Point in Bandon, Oregon
4 / 10
B.A. Ballantine / Shutterstock

Bandon, Oregon

Bandon is a charming seaside town that has some of the most scenic beaches in Oregon. You'll be in awe of nature's awesomeness as you take in the sights and explore the rock sites here. The many sea stacks of an old marine terrace are one of the most distinctive aspects of this coastline. Tide pools are a popular attraction because they provide a safe haven for various marine organisms. 

Trail In Redwood National Forest - Boy Scout Tree Trail
5 / 10
Beaunified Footage / Shutterstock

Crescent City, California

The Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is Crescent City's main attraction. The half-mile Stout Grove circular route is the best area to take in the enormous trees that flourish in these forests. The Boy Scout Tree, whose trunk is 28 feet in width, is another landmark in the park that has its own devoted hiking trail (shown here)

Morning light shines historic downtown Eureka, California
6 / 10
Matt Gush / Shutterstock

Eureka, California

Northern California's coast is home to the beautiful town of Eureka. It is the largest coastal city in California north of San Francisco and about 80 miles south of the Oregon border. The massive trees in this area at the center of Northern California's Redwood Highway are reason enough to visit.   

The streets of Eureka's Historic Old Town, lined with Victorian-era buildings, set the stage for a lively and diverse encounter. The town's murals and other artworks enhance the area's visual appeal.  

Foggy Straight Redwood Highway in Northern California
7 / 10
Piotr Zajda / Shutterstock

Avenue of the Giants, California

This right here is reason enough to hit the road. The Avenue of the Giants is a beautiful roadway that winds through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The sight of the towering trees on each side of the road cannot be missed. 

There are interesting places to stop along this 31-mile long drive. Enjoy the 2,000-year-old Dyerville Giant and the famous Founder's Tree on a half-mile stroll through Founder's Grove. Drive your automobile over a fallen redwood log or right through a redwood tree at the Shrine Drive-Thru Tree, which will only cost you $10.

Colorful glass pebbles blanket this beach in Fort Bragg, the beach was used as a garbage dump years ago, nature has tumbled the glass and polished it making it a tourist destination
8 / 10
Wollertz / Shutterstock

Fort Bragg, California

The best way to begin your time at Fort Bragg is with a trip to the dazzling Glass Beach (pictured). You may walk on a beach made entirely of colorful glass, but glass collecting is prohibited in this state park.   

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens are well worth a look. Rhododendrons in the spring, heritage roses in the summer, and dahlias in the fall ensure that there is always something to look at.   

Visiting Fort Bragg might be the highlight of your trip. 

Vineyard outside Santa Rosa California
9 / 10
Bob C / Shutterstock

Santa Rosa, California

Santa Rosa is a great place to stop if you're on the road traveling from Seattle to San Francisco. The largest city in Sonoma Valley, it's surrounded by vineyards that are among the greatest in the state, and the city itself is a melting pot of California culture.    

Sonoma County is home to some of California's most recognizable redwood trees, so if you're daring, you might want to visit one. It will be a thrilling experience to zipline through the treetops.  

San Francisco skyline
10 / 10
IM_photo / Shutterstock

San Francisco, California

From Santa Rosa, road trippers can take the iconic Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco, where there are many exciting attractions in and around the city, including museums, concerts, and plays. Take a stroll along Golden Gate Park or head out to Alcatraz Island to tour one of the most infamous former prisons in the country. Or, if you're in the mood for a shopping binge, head for Union Square, the city's retail epicenter.

The Curran Theatre is a historic treasure located only a few steps west of Union Square. There are often three or four major shows yearly at this theater in the heart of downtown San Francisco. During the holidays and other noteworthy occasions, they often showcase spectacular performances.   

The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco holds around 30,000 items in its collection. The recently refurbished museum features works from Georgia O'Keefe, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera among a host of well-known painters, sculptors, and conceptual artists. 

This story was produced by Way.com and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.

Trending Now