HOME > Chowhound > Pacific Northwest >


Roadtrip to Seattle (thru Oregon) from So. Cal

We are embarking on a roadtrip to Seattle from Southern California the second week of August. Google Maps say that we'll be on the 5 Fwy most of the way before ending in Seattle.

We would love to go picking blueberries and/or blackberries and would appreciate any suggestions of farms/U-Pick along the route through both Oregon and Washington.

Also, any suggestions as to what to eat along the way? Some terrific country kitchen for breakfast perhaps?

We'll be Seattle for four full days. What must we not miss? All suggestions from cheap eats to fine dinning to snacks and sweets are welcome. We love it all and can't wait to sample what the great Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Much obliged.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Are you sticking with I5 because time is short, or because of sights? There are a lot of sights along the coast, though it will take longer. US 97 along the east side of the Cascades is also interesting. Even better, cross back and forth between the three, following rivers like the Rogue and Umpqua in Oregon, and passing by mountains like Hood, St Helens and Rainier.

    Anyways, it you stick with I5, threads about Ashland, Medford, Eugene, and Portland will give you lots of ideas. If driving US 97, Cousins in The Dalles looks like a good country kitchen (see the Stevenson thread).

    In August, roadside blackberries are an option. In the NW the large Himalaya blackberries grow like a weed, taking over any neglected patch of ground. In the lowlands, wild huckleberries are starting to ripen now, and will be gone by August. But at higher elevations they should be in season.


    2 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      Thanks, paulj for the suggestions! We are not in a rush on this trip, so definitely will traverse to see the sights as suggested. Wow, free roadside blackberries. Certainly will keep an eye out for those.

      1. re: schuylar

        When I first moved here from the midwest, I was amazed that blackberries were considered a weed, but now after owning a house and having to pull our the vines constantly, I can believe it.

        If you're really up for a drive and want to get huckleberries, consider going to a national forest to harvest them. Here's a page from the Gifford Pichot forest in Washington (Mt St. Helen's area):

    2. Research Sauvie Island. It's not far off from the main drag, just NE of Portland. Lots of farms, several with U-pick.

      Also, there's a berry farm at the Aurora exit, I believe, that advertises, about halfway between Salem and Portland.

      If you were to take 99E from Salem to Canby, there are LOTS of farms as well.

      There are also great roads to and from the coast all the way up the Willamette Valley that have plenty of farms, but 99E doesn't slow you down much and doesn't take you far off I-5. Neither does going to Sauvie Island.


      1. You won't find much fruit east of the Cascades.
        here's our Rogue Valley market:
        there were currants today. nice.
        check back in the 1st or 2nd week of August right before you go and I'll post a current list of u pick places.
        (most don't have websites
        ) We're finishing up blueberries and cherries and heading towards apricots right now.
        If you can drive like
        Hell up the Central Valley, you'll reach the Mountains just north of Redding. Consider staying in Mt. Shasta or Dunsmuir for your first night.
        Sengthong's awaits.

        Sengthong's Trading Co
        5855 Dunsmuir Ave, Dunsmuir, CA 96025

        1 Reply
        1. re: bbqboy

          True, the east side of the Oregon Cascades is mostly pine forest in the south, and high desert further north (see threads on Klamath Falls and Bend). However once you reach the Columbia River, and further north in the Yakima area of Washington, you hit orchard country - apples, cherries etc. I don't know if there are many UPick opportunities in these areas.


        2. A good first timer trip north would be:
          I5 north to Calusa (but this misses Napa)
          20 west to 101
          101 and 1 N through Redwood country to Crescent City
          199 to Grants Pass (Summer Jo's)
          62 through Medford (Rogue Creamery) and up the Rogue River to Crater Lake
          138 or 58 back across the Cascades (with a waterfall guide in hand)
          backroads up the Willamette Valley (farms and wine country)
          20 or 22 to the coast
          101 north to the Columbia River at Astoria
          (unless something in Portland catches your attention, Voodoo Donuts?)
          101 in Washington to 12, then east to Olympia
          3 through Shelton (Xinhs Clam & Oyster House) to Bremerton
          ferry to Seattle

          5 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            Now that's exactly the type of suggestion we love. Complete and thorough for the novice. Don't mind missing Napa at all as we've done that many times. Our focus is really after S.F./Bay Area

            Assuming we can drive on with our car on the ferry to Seattle?

            1. re: schuylar

              I would head down beyond Rogue Creamery to the rest of the RV, then head up to CL the back way on Dead Indian. I'll explain when time gets closer. Paul means US 199, by the way. Very worthwhile. Taylor's Sausage is in Cave Junction too. 2nd the Summer Jo's rec,
              + plenty of Mex in GP.


              1. re: schuylar

                Yes, nearly all Washington ferries are drive on.

                Here's nice overview of the routes

                1. re: schuylar

                  If you're doing this redwood country route, and you want an old-time country breakfast, then don't miss the Samoa Cookhouse, just outside Eureka. It's a former lumber mill cookhouse that serves basic American grub, in quantities that would fuel a hungry logger for a day's work in the woods. They do three meals a day, not just breakfast, each an array of old-fashioned American comfort foods in huge portions. The food is quite good but not spectacular, but you really go for the total experience. Kids especially love it.


                  If you do come up I-5 through Redding, and you're there around dinnertime, try Jack's Bar & Grill. It's a true dive (as it has been for almost 70 years), but they serve the best steaks I've ever had, period.


                2. re: paulj

                  Ooooh, Xinhs in Shelton. It's been a few years but was worth a side trip then.

                  And if you opt for the Astoria route, search for the Astoria recs. The restaurants there are much better than one would expect for that out of the way area.

                3. I also live in SoCal now (but grew up on the Olympica Peninsula) and did that very drive just last week. There are two things commonly found in Seattle that I cannot get in San Diego or even L.A.: great Thai food and Seattle-style teriyaki. Ask the locals for suggestions, but in my experience, I can pick a teriyaki or Thai place at random and it is always better than what I get at home (with a couple Thai exceptions in OC or L.A.). On the other hand, don't bother with any Vietnamese in Seattle. Ours is much better.
                  If you enjoy perusing grocery stores, I recommend Central Market (in Shoreline) and the PCC markets. I picked up some great chocolate bars at both places last time.
                  Trophy cupcakes in Ballard are awesome, if you're into desserts. I will be dreaming about the mini chai cupcake for months to come.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: maestra

                    Maestra I kind of have the oppisite experience than you. I find Southern California to have the overall best thai food in any city I have found (Thai Nakorn, Renu Nakorn, many of the places in thai town) and find seattle's thai scene to be lacking. On the other hand I find the best vietnamese in seattle to be comprable if not better than the best vietnamese in Little saigon. Places like Tamarind Tree, Green Leaf, Lemon Grass, and Pho Bac are just as good as Pho Thanh, Quan Hy, Quan Hop, Banh Mi & Che Cali and Brodards in Little Saigon. While little saigon has more quality places I think the top notch places in Seattle are as good as I have had outside of vietnam.

                    1. re: dagrassroots

                      I can see your point about top-notch places. I just find that in Seattle, I will have a good to excellent experience if I walk cold into any Thai restaurant. Likewise Vietnamese in SoCal. If I want Thai in SoCal or Vietnamese in Seattle, I have to do my research. Could be I've just been both lucky and unlucky. Thanks for naming specifically your favs in both areas. There are a few I'll still have to check out.

                    2. re: maestra

                      No Trophy Cupcakes in Ballard unless you pick them up in Wallingford and transport them there.

                    3. NPR Spendid Table just had a segment on food road trips in the Seattle area

                      1. A treat for us is to stop at an ice cream place at the Rice Hill exit in Oregon. It's not the nicest looking place, but serves the delicious Umpqua brand ice cream. It's located oat the southern end of the exit on the west side.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: valerieca2

                          west side?

                          We stopped at Peggys' for ice cream and pie two weeks ago but that was on the east side of the exit at Rice Hill. I wasn't aware of ice cream on the east side.

                          And FYI, aside from burgers and ice cream, I would eat elsewhere. I felt that Peggys--though the staff was VERY nice--had declined.

                          but the Umpqua ice cream was lovely. You can eat it in the restaurant or buy it from the stand at the side.

                          1. re: jenn

                            The drive in is on the southbound side of the freeway. You have to use the tunnel if you are heading northbound. Sad to hear that about peggy's.

                            1. re: jenn

                              The one that we stop at is not Peggy's (east side) but the place on the WEST side of the freeway--the sign has a picture of a hamburger and an arrow, and there are no bathrooms or indoor seating. There are generally big lines of people getting Umpqua ice cream.

                              1. re: Nettie

                                It actually has a name -- the K&R Drive-Inn. It's a real classic place. The malts and shakes can't be beat. Check it out.

                                1. re: Amecameca

                                  My family often stops at K&R Drive-Inn, the Umpqua ice cream is absolutely delectable, they also have a wonderful food menu, there hamburgers are famous. Best thing there open year around. I keep there phone number for when were getting close we can call our order in 541-849-2570

                          2. If your in Seattle why not drive 2hrs and visit Vancouver, Canada if you havn't been there before. Beautiful city with plenty of blueberry / blackberry and strawberry picking. Mind you I think strawberry picking is just about finished but lots of blueberry picking in Richmond which is 15 min from Vancouver and 20min from USA / Canada border. If you decide to go check out western canada board for good eats

                            1. We just did that trip. Honestly, if you haven't done it before, the 5 through northern CA, Oregon and Washington is not bad. Its the part from LA to Fresno that will have you dying of boredom.

                              You say you are not on a rush---define, "not on a rush." A few years back we drove north and detoured over to the Oregon coast around mid Oregon. Between traffic and windy roads, it took a lot longer than I had guesstimated. On this last trip, we were only in Seattle for five days and by the time we got back, we were wiped. I would suggest that you do a bit of research and pick the are where you want to do the most wandering. For starters, you can check this board for other posts on this very issue.

                              That said, I concurr fully with the side of the road picking comment---all the way north, I could see the dratted berries but alas, we were at least a month out from harvest.

                              As for other stops, in southern Oregon/Ashland, I found a place called the wild goose cafe [they have a tasty website] but alas, we didn't end up stopping there---kids were hungry, hit the Black Bear diner/cafe on the other side of the border instead. Not bad food--especially the corned beef hash---but if its a weekend, you can end up with a nasty wait.

                              In Oregon, we stopped in Rice hill--ice cream yes, food, eh.

                              On the way back south, just below Rice Hill, we stopped for coffee at a place called something like "Next to Heaven"--sorry notes aren't handy. Place is on the east side of the freeway and they also sell homemade apple butter. Personal opinion, bit heavy on the religon BUT the pie [we had marionberry] was ever so tasty and they gave me a free espresso [it was around 10pm]. They also sell gigantic cinnamon rolls which we didn't have a chance to try. For good pie and good service, i can cope with the other. They are a bit hard to find coming south but going north, they are just above the Wolf Creek exit.

                              We stopped somewhere else in Oregon that had a great espresso stand with excellent service.

                              Outside of Bremerton--as in outside the main downtown after you go over the bridge not the one that goes to Tacoma but north of town in a shopping mall--we found a wonderful and tasty brew pub called Toad House. Very good pub food and pizza from a big stone oven, nice selection of beers and two different sampler plates of all the beer. We thought it was very good and if we were ever around Bremerton looking for a place to grab food, we would definitely stop in.

                              Other plus for Oregon and Washington---the state rest stops on the 5 all seem to have free coffee and cookies. Such a contrast to the barren broken vending machines at the California end of the road.

                              Enjoy the trip!

                              1. If you are hungry right before you reach Seattle on I5, get off at the Fife exit, just past Tacoma, turn left and head back S. a bit on old Hwy 99 and you'll soon see this place on your left. I you are into fresh berry shakes, this is the place:


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Amecameca

                                  way cool, thanks. sounds like a place one could argueably drop in to if one were driving from Seattle to say Bremerton and felt a strong need for sustainance.....

                                2. http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs....
                                  ....and sugar plum acres , a u pick orchard on Pioneer rd. just west of Colver, between Talent and Phoenix has wonderous peaches right now.
                                  I'll call a few more RV orchards to get a handle on what's ripe for next week.

                                  1. Once you get to Seattle, you must go to Pike's Market. This is a fantastic open market place that makes Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco pale in comparison. While there go to Matt's On The Market. The best food !!! You must also take the Bainbridge Island Ferry (30 min. crossing ) and walk 2 blocks to The Streamliner Diner for the best breakfast / lunch of your whole trip.