Oregon-California Family Road Trip: 11-Day Itinerary

We recently embarked (and returned all in one piece) on our first {family of four} multi-day road trip.  The journey was eventful to say the least, and to my surprise, a whole lot more enjoyable than I anticipated.  I’ll admit that I expected wild tantrums occurring in the backseat along with piercing baby cries that would be impossible to quiet.

And while there was some of unpleasantness, it certainly wasn’t the norm.  More often, we found ourselves enjoying the scenery, having the luxury of researching possible lunch and rest stops, and actually engaging in grown-up conversation! The one thing that did cut into our travel time (and sometimes sanity) was the amount of bathroom stops required for a 3.5 year old!

We’ll dive into more specifics of each of our destinations (and even pit stops) in the coming weeks and months (we covered a lot of ground!), but first we want you to see the bigger picture, and a few statistics for fun.

Day 1: Salem, Oregon

A good distance away (but not too ambitious) from our home in Seattle for the first leg of our trip, and also the home of my husband Slaed’s aunt, uncle and cousin.  Here we visited with family and took some time to explore the capitol.

Salem, Oregon | WildTalesof.com

Salem, Oregon | WildTalesof.com

Day 2: Jacksonville, Oregon & Lake Shasta, California

While headed down to Lake Shasta (our planned stopping point for the day), we received a text from a friend suggesting that we stop in Jacksonville for lunch.  We were so appreciative of his advice.  Jacksonville is a 10 mile detour off of Interstate 5, but well worth the extra time and mileage for the chance to explore a charming small town, enjoy a delicious lunch, and sip a good cup of coffee while Bergen burned off some energy at the local playground.

After the pitstop in Jacksonville, we motored down to the our accommodations on Lake Shasta where the drought in California was glaringly obvious.

Jacksonville, Oregon| WildTalesof.com

Lake Shasta, California | WildTalesof.com

Day 3, 4 & 5: Geyserville, California (Sonoma County)

Here we spent time with Slaed’s brother and his family celebrating Easter and exploring wine country.  After our two quick 1-night stops, it was so nice to unpack a bit, and feel settle for a few days.

Geyserville, CA (Sonoma County) | WildTalesof.com

Geyserville, CA (Sonoma County) | WildTalesof.com

Day 6: Oakland, California

A speedy drive down from Sonoma brought us down to Oakland, where Slaed’s sister and her husband call home.  We were supposed to be visiting our brand-new niece as well, but she was being stubborn and decided not to cooperate with our schedule.  She was born several days later–so you can probably guess I’m plotting my next adventure down to the Bay area. 

Oakland, California | WildTalesof.com

Day 7, 8 & 9: Truckee, California

From the Bay area, we traveled east to Truckee, California near Lake Tahoe where my brother and his family live.  My mom also coordinated a visit here to make the trip even more special and complete.  Without a lot of snow to play in, we took to the hiking and biking trails with trips along the Truckee Legacy Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Truckee, California | WildTalesof.com

Truckee, California | WildTalesof.com

Day 10: Lava Beds National Monument & Crescent Lake, Oregon

Knowing our trip was quickly coming to an end, we reluctantly started making our way north with a planned stop at Crescent Lake, north of Crater Lake.  Suckers for our National Park System, when we saw a mileage sign for Lava Beds National Monument, we knew we just had to add it to our itinerary, even if that meant we arrived at Crescent Lake a little later than expected. We really only had an hour our so, but getting to explore a cave with a 3.5 year old? Priceless.

When we finally arrived at Crescent Lake where we’d rented a cabin, it was snowing!

Lava Beds National Monument | WildTalesof.com

Lake Crescent, Oregon | WildTalesof.com

Day 11: Drive home to Seattle

The journey from Crescent Lake back to Interstate 5 made such an impression on us (the clear blue skies didn’t hurt either) that we know we will be back to explore (and hopefully camp!) more.

11-day Oregon-California Road Trip | WildTalesof.com

By the Numbers

  • 1 motel stay
  • 1 cabin rental
  • 1 vacation house rental
  • 1 family guest house
  • 2 hotel stays
  • 6 overnight destinations
  • 7 driving days
  • 12 packed bags
  • 29 cups of coffee
  • 2300 miles

Have you traveled to any of the areas of our 11-day journey? Tell us about your experience! Also, if there’s a place in particular you’d like to read more about, let us know!

*Head to our California and Oregon pages to read about some of our past adventures in these states!

Come join the conversation! We’d love to have you join us on all of our adventures by “liking” our facebook page and following us on twitter! You can also keep up to date with each and every post by subscribing to the blog via email.


14 thoughts on “Oregon-California Family Road Trip: 11-Day Itinerary

    • Both great spots! 🙂 We went to Preston, Pedroncelli, Sbragia & the Coppola winery–all great in their own way, although we didn’t actually taste at Coppola.

      • Even though I lived 20 minutes away I have never been to those wineries. It’s regrettable really, especially with the choices of wine here (if you can even call it wine). 🙂

    • We loved Lava Beds, but really didn’t get to spend much time there–just veered off on a whim & only had an hour or so. I would love to get back & spend more time exploring the many caves there–kids would love it. Just make sure to bring flashlights and headlamps! Happy to answer specifics as they come up. Happy planning! Where are you guys based?

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    • Thank you! Yes, we weren’t sure what to expect with so many days on the road, but the kids really did well! Loved getting to see so many family members too.

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