Originally Posted by nyf
As an aside, recommendations on fun stuff to do on the drive between Portland and the Redwood National Forest?
I assume you are taking the coast route, not I-5. Just did this in September. Lots of things to see on the drive - it all depends on how much time you want to spend doing the drive. We took 3 days to make it down to San Francisco.
Most important - take US 26 from Portland to Cannon Beach to get over the coast range. DO NOT take any of the lesser east/west state highways across the middle of the state. There is some crazy amounts of snow that the coast range receives since it is smack in the path of moisture-laden storm systems that roll in off the Pacific Ocean. Not too long ago, a CNET editor from SF died after losing his way in high snow in one of the smaller E/W highways across western Oregon. It might come as a surprise to a lot of people, but Oregon probably has the smallest cell phone footprint of any state in the lower 48 other than Nevada.
Once you are on 101, you can just follow it all the way down to California. If you have another 1/2 day to spare, you might want to head north to Astoria when you get to 101 - directly opposite to where you want to go but the detour is worth it to see Fort Clatsop, the final stop of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Otherwise, turn left at the ocean and head south.
Stop at Newport to catch the Aquarium if you are into that sort of thing - it is pretty good. Consider stopping somewhere around Florence at a place called the Sea Lion Caves. There is an elevator that takes you down to a glass window view of a sea cave where sea lions hang out. It is a bit of a tourist trap but I think worth seeing. Also, probably a highlight for me is taking a dune buggy tour of the Oregon Coast Sand Dunes, one of the biggest such geological formations in the world. I took a tour with an outfit called Ultimate Dune Tour Rides (Telephone: 1-877-271-0369) based in Winchester Bay, OR. DO NOT MISS the dunes. It is spectacular. One warning - it is COLD. Get bundled up like you would in Chicago in January - believe me, I froze my a** off in September. There are lots of beaches along the way that you can stop at, but winter in Oregon is no picnic. It is cold and wet but the coastline is spectacular, so I would recommend at least stopping in some spots along the way and doing some short hikes in the coastal forest if you can. Take rain gear. An umbrella just won't cut it. Once you get to California, spend time in the various coastal redwood forests. Google for Avenue of the Giants - there are some pretty spectacular drives in some gigantic old growth forests.
Clothing warning. It is wet and cold pretty much all the way down the coast. Take lots of rain gear and cold weather gear. There is nothing like being wet to mess up a vacation drive. Maybe you'll get lucky and catch a dry spell, but the odds are against you.
Also, check weather updates as well as highway closures. The Oregon Dept of Transportation (ODOT) has a good website with highway information. Landslides are not uncommon along the coast highway due to the high rainfall in winter and they can take days to clear by the road crews, so check before you go so that you are not stuck in some village on the coast.
Good luck and PM me if you want some specific information. Also, Google for Oregon Coast to Redwood drive and you will get a list of other stuff to see. There are lots of lighthouses worth seeing if you are interested, as well.