While you can drive from San Jose to Portland in less than 12 hours, there are many beautiful places in between that you wouldn't dare miss. The route stretches from Interstate 5 and includes a host of towns like Sacramento, where you'll want to feel inspired at Crocker Art Museum, and Redding with its iconic Sundial Bridge. Medford is the perfect destination to tingle your taste buds to the internationally prized cheese of Rogue Creamery. It would be a shame to drive by the popular Avenue of the Giants in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Of course, you'll want to make pit stops now and then to admire the stunning coastline. As you can tell, with so many fun places to visit, it could easily take you more than a week to make the San Jose to Portland road trip.
As you'll see on RVshare's exclusive guide to national parks, there are several awesome picks that you'll want to add to your road trip itinerary from San Jose to Portland.
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is a great option to check out if you don't mind taking a side excursion from your trip. Explore a spectacular fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, including the 1915 steam schooner Wapama and the 1891 scow schooner Alma. You'll also want to spend time to see the museum artifacts on Fisherman's Wharf.
Channel Islands National Park
Located just three hours off the Southern California coastline, Channels Islands National Park is home to endemic plants, lovely scenery, and plentiful wildlife. One of America's most distinct assets, this park consists of wild coastal trails that you can climb if you fancy an adventure. You can also go wildlife-watching in any of the five islands: Anacapa, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz. Channel Islands National Park also has sea caves that you can hike through as well. If you're lucky, you may spot a California sea lion or an island fox.
Crater Lake National Park
If you want to enjoy the majestic view of one of America's deepest lakes, ensure that Crater Lake National Park is on your bucket list for your San Jose to Portland RV road trip. The lake in this park is surrounded by cliffs almost 2,000 feet high and boasts a volcanic past. Crater Lake National Park is also known for winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Consider stopping at Lassen Volcanic National Park if you want to see the exquisite mountain scenery. This park consists of thermal wonders similar to those found in Yellowstone but with no crowds. Adventurers will especially want to stop as they can bird-watch, stargaze, snowshoe, and enjoy the trails. Still, others will enjoy skiing on these mountains, accessible from the north off of I-5 and CA-44, 64.2 miles east of Redding.
Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is arguably the most famous national park to add to your road trip itinerary from San Jose to Portland. This forested region in Northern California is ideal for camping. If you like seeing redwood trees that are up to 800 years old, you should add Redwood National Park to your must-visit list. You can also enjoy hiking the James Irvine trail, driving through scenic parkways, or sipping a flight of hoppy brews.
There are a host of gorgeous state parks that you will want to tour on your San Jose to Portland RV road trip. You can learn more about them in RVshare's state park guide.
Old Sacramento State Historic Park
Old Sacramento State Historic Park is the first detour you want to make after starting your San Jose to Portland road trip. This 28-acre district is home to California's oldest concentration of buildings. The Gold Rush-era atmosphere, Sacramento History Museum, and the taffy saltwater aroma make it ideal for a lovely evening stroll. Also, you will not want to miss the Old Sacramento Underground tours to see the long-buried doorways as well as listen to tales from costumed docents.
Valley of the Rogue State Park
Valley of the Rogue State Park is another park on your San Jose to Portland RV road trip. It is an excellent location for overnight camping. While at this state park, you can easily take trips to Oregon Caves National Monument and Crater Lake National Park. It also has day-use picnic areas as well as a 1.25-mile designated trail. Campers can enjoy boating, rafting, and fishing.
Shasta State Historic Park
Located just 25.8 miles off I-5 along Highway 299, Shasta State Historic Park in California is another park on your route. You can stroll around the famous Gold Rush era's stunning grounds and watch great artifacts unfold below. You will love the gallows, too. If you're an avid photographer, make sure you capture the informational plaques set up along the walkways.
Oregon State Capitol State Park
Consider stopping at the Oregon State Capitol State Park if you're an architecture and a history enthusiast. This state park features cherry trees as well as three archaic fountains. Travelers can also enjoy the historic murals, photo gallery, and a peek into the history of Oregon state.
Government Island State Recreation Area
Government Island State Recreation Area in Portland is a good place to camp during the summer and spring months. Bird-watchers and adventurers will love this place. Government Island is also a great spot to enjoy fishing and trailing in your road trip itinerary from San Jose to Portland.
You'll reach Antlers Campground in just under five hours after leaving San Jose. This unique campground is located in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California and is home to 59 sites surrounded by pine and oak trees. It offers plenty of cool shade in the summer months. You can also enjoy boating, fishing, and hiking as well as superb wildlife opportunities.
Crater Rock Museum
Another point of interest in your San Jose to Portland RV road trip is the Crater Rock Museum in Medford, Oregon. The museum has over 12,000 square feet of open space. You can also view the wide collection of fossils, gems, rocks, minerals, and Native American artifacts in the exhibit area. It is the only museum in Oregon that showcases unique seashell specimens, including conch, triton, and horseshoe crab.
Washington Park is a 410-acre park situated in Portland. It hosts various attractions, including the Portland Children Museum, the Elephant House, and over 2,000 tree species inside the Hoyt Arboretum. If you like a botanical discovery, take a stroll on the Portland Japanese Garden or tour the International Test Rose Garden with over 7,000 rose plants. Discover beautiful wildlife at the Oregon Zoo. You'll also see numerous memorials and statues on your San Jose to Portland road trip, including the Sacagawea Memorial and the Oregon Holocaust Memorial.
While going from San Jose to Portland along Interstate 5 may reduce an hour or two from your trip, you might miss out an all the gorgeous coastline scenery. Instead, drive down Highway 101. Plus, the coastline is home to several dump stations and campgrounds perfect for keeping your RV equipment sanitary.
Often nicknamed the "Jewel of Northern California" and the second sunniest city in the U.S., Redding is a great place to visit. There are many nearby campgrounds where you'll find spacious places to camp.
Mount Shasta, California
With crystal-clear alpine lakes and exquisite mountain vistas, Mount Shasta is an excellent place to stop. Consider staying at one of the mountainside campgrounds.
Explore the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Mt. Ashland ski area, and the award-wining art galleries when you stop in Ashland. Gorgeous campgrounds are available nearby, so you can easily spend a day or two here.
Medford is known as a global destination of vintage sparkling wine. After making a trip to a nearby wine store, you'll know how this town got that name. Take time to enjoy this place by staying in one of the nearby campgrounds.
With a renowned Saturday Market and vibrant nightlife, Eugene is a lush metropolis with lots of exciting things to do. Of course, there are plenty of beautiful campgrounds nearby where you can stay overnight.
When planning for a San Jose to Portland road trip, it's best to create a detailed city-to-city itinerary. Driving a recreational vehicle will allow you to take side excursions without having to worry about lodging. If you do not own a family RV, consider renting an RV in San Jose on RVshare. Sure, you can also make this trip backward and rent an RV in Portland on RVshare.com. No matter which way you decide to make this trip, you'll travel through some of the most breathtaking scenery that the U.S. has to offer.