Pacific Northwest Wines Tour California and Oregon Fly Drive
The USA is now the 4th largest global producer of wine, and majority of wine produced in the USA coming from the Pacific Coastal states. This itinerary takes in nine distinct regions in Northern California and Oregon, with diverse growing appellations and micro-climates to produce bold, varied and noteworthy wines. Starting in San Francisco, you will head up the Pacific Coast through Sonoma County and Mendocino to Florence before heading across to the Willamette Valley and back south through Umpqua Valley, Bear Creek Valley and Napa Valley to return to San Francisco.Print this itinerary
Here's a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by adding them to your wishlist, so we can give you the best price.
Take the opportunity to see this iconic city, whether shopping around Union Square, strolling along Fisherman's Wharf, sightseeing around Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge, or riding the world famous cable cars over the hills.
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San Francisco to Healdsburg
Pick up your car and head over the Golden Gate Bridge and up Highway 101 into Sonoma County, home to over 370 wineries and a number of Michelin and Zagat rated restaurants that make use of the farm-fresh local produce. This short but scenic drive will allow plenty of time for visiting some of the wineries of the region.
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Healdsburg to Mendocino
Continue up Highway 101 to the Mendocino County Line, home to one of California's largest and most climatically diverse wine growing regions. Take a tour of some of the wineries in this area before heading across to the artists' colony of Mendocino on the Pacific Coast. You may also like to make time to visit the Mendocino Headlands State Park from where you may be able to spot whales if the time is right.
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Mendocino to Eureka
Continue north up the coast and rejoin Highway 101 to Humboldt County. This 3 - 4 hour drive will also take you past the Avenue of the Giants, where you can see some of the tallest and oldest living trees on Earth, as well as more wineries to visit along the way to Eureka, noted for its charmingly restored Old Town region.
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Eureka to Florence
Today enjoy the coastal views as you travel up Highway 101 into Oregon. Break up the 5 - 6 hours drive to Florence with pauses at some of the charming small coastal towns along the way, some of the amazing state parks such as Shore Acres or Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, or just pause on some of the beautiful beaches that you will pass. Just north of Florence you can also visit the world's largest sea cave at Sea Lion Caves, home to hundreds of Steller sea lions.
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Florence to Eugene
Head inland along highway 126 through the forested Coast Range towards Eugene at the southern end of the Willamette Valley. Pause at some of the wineries on your way, although we recommend allowing a full day to venture further north into the Willamette Valley to admire this spectacular area and appreciate the local wines that rival those produced in France. Eugene is also the second largest city in Oregon, and the birthplace of Nike and the running shoe, as well as home to the oldest outdoor craft market in the country, Eugene Saturday Market.
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Eugene to Grants Pass
Leave Eugene heading south along Interstate 5, passing through Cottage Grove, the Covered Bridge Capital of Oregon and the southern gateway to Willamette Valley, to head into the Southern Oregon Wine Region. With dramatic landscapes, diverse geography and multiple micro-climates, this is the most diverse wine region in Oregon. The cooler parts of Umpqua Valley are prized for their Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Riesling, while warmer valleys provide Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, Tempranillo and Grenache. The region is also popular for hiking, mountain biking and white water rafting for the more adventurous visitors.
Continue through the Cascade and Siskiyou Mountain Range to the Rogue Valley and Illinois Valley Appellations to Grants Pass, the gateway to the Applegate and Illinois Valley wine regions. You may like to enjoy some of the river experiences on the wild and scenic Rogue River - the Hellgate Jetboat Dinner Excursion is a firm local favourite.
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Grants Pass to Jacksonville
Head south out of Grants Pass and take your time traveling through the Applegate Valley Wine Trail, where vineyards are planted to Bordeaux varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier and Zinfandel. You will be staying in Jacksonville, a true gold-rush town with dozens of carefully preserved, beautiful original buildings in the downtown area.
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With Crater Lake National Park only a 2 hour drive from Jacksonville, this makes for a perfect day trip to visit this amazing sight. A pure, deep lake surrounded by sheer cliffs almost 2000 feet high, and two picturesque islands amid Crater Lake, this sight has been fascinating and inspiring people for centuries. Enjoy the amazing views, learn about the volcanic history of the lake that formed this site, or even take a cruise on the lake. You might even find some time to visit some wineries in the Upper Rogue Wine Trail as you pass through back to JacksonvilleClose
Jacksonville to Medford
Spend the day sampling some of the wide variety of local produce from the Medford region, ranging from micro-breweries in downtown Medford to unique chocolate creations or award winning cheeses from Central Point's Artisan Corridor just north of Medford, and of course including a number of wineries in the area as well. Also visit the world's largest gourmet food mail-order company, Harry & David, where you can tour the factory and shop in the country store.
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Medford to Ashland
Leave Medford heading along Bear Creek Valley, home to a number of boutique wineries, to Ashland. Nestled at 2200 feet above sea level near the convergence of the Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains, you can enjoy the dramatic landscapes, along with some of the vibrant performing and visual arts hosted by Ashland. Ashland is also known for being the birthplace of America's oldest Elizabethan theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, founded in 1935.
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Ashland to Napa Valley
Head south along Interstate 5, passing the 14,162 foot peak of Mount Shasta as a highlight for the amazing scenery as you bid farewell to Oregon. We recommend you pause in Redding, the 'Second Sunniest City in the U.S.' with 250 days of sunshine a year, for lunch before continuing south to reach Napa Valley, one of the most famous viticultural regions in California with many vineyards offering wine tours.
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This is a selection of hotels for this itinerary. Some areas have many more choices; please use the search function above if you wish to find an alternative hotel.
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