Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Especially through scenic routes, playing good music, munching on yummy snacks, sipping on hot drinks (or cold if it’s summer), and exchanging long talks and ab-hurting laughs with good company. Personally, it’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s not for everyone, many are too impatient to sit in a car for hours on end, but if you’re a road-trip lover like me, then you’ll want to take this four-day trip; from Northern California to Southern Oregon, and back down through the coast. Did I mention that you can do this for less than $500, TOTAL?! Yup. And that price is for TWO persons! Here’s how my boyfriend and I made this possible:
We woke up around 6am, loaded the car with our luggage that we packed the night before, ten blankets, three pillows, and a reusable grocery bag full of snacks. We then proceeded to fill up the gas tank, and finally took off around 8am.
- our starting point was Los Banos, California
- gas: $55 to fill up the tank
- snacks: we packed a loaf of bread, almond butter, strawberry jam, oatmeal, almonds, bananas, apples, oranges, tea bags, coffee, utensils, vegetable soup, almond milk, and breakfast burritos. All of these items were already in our pantry so no extra spending was necessary.
We drove seven hours to Roseburg, Oregon and refilled the gas tank in Weed, California by Mt. Shasta. We booked an Airbnb room in Roseburg because we were planning on visiting Umpqua National Forest and hiking to its natural hot springs. The national forest is an hour east of Roseburg so it was super convenient to stay there. Once we arrive to the town, we checked in to our Airbnb cabin and then went out to grab some dinner. We then headed back to our little cabin to relax, rest, and prepare for our big upcoming adventures.
- we had our breakfast burritos for brunch, got hot water from Starbucks to make our own coffee, had a slice of toast with almond butter and banana as a snack, and heated up our vegetable soup at a gas station’s microwave. FREE
- second gas tank refill: $45
- our Airbnb was $55 plus fees and tax: $66 total.
- day 1 dinner: falafel wraps and French fries, $23.
Total Spent on Day 1: $189
We woke up super early and had breakfast at our Airbnb. We usually look for “super hosts” and places that offer a kitchen or complimentary breakfast. Our host had coffee, cereal, fruits, tea, and milk available for us. But she also had a microwave and a water dispenser that came in handy. After a light breakfast and some delicious coffee, we started heading to Umpqua National Forest. On the way there, we stopped by Subway and ordered a veggie warp to go. We were going save it for when we got hungry.
An hour later, we arrived to the hot springs trail and started our 3 mile hike. It was so much fun hiking through the snow and through challenging trails. It took us about 40 – 50 minutes to make it to the hot springs. And when we reached our destination, we immediately changed into our swimsuits and jumped in. The view was amazing! The hot springs were on a cliff, overlooking the river and it was all surrounded by tall, green pine trees. Imagine taking a hot bath tub out on the open, in the middle of a forrest. Ahhh! Having major withdrawals, right now. While we were out there it started snowing and took this experience from amazing to magical! 0 to 100, real quick! Do people still say that? Haha!
After hours of soaking in the warm water and before our wrinkly fingers fell off, we started heading down, back to the car. We were definitely ready for some food so we ate our veggie wraps and had another slice of toast with almond butter and banana. It was getting late so we drove back to Roseburg for some Thai food and then to catch I-5, once again. We started driving north and stopped in Eugene, Oregon to fill up our gas tank and then we headed over to 24 hour McDonalds’s to use the restroom and sleep in the car.
- hot springs in Umpqua National Forest: FREE
- Subway wraps and water: $7 (we shared one)
- third gas tank refill: $55
- Thai dinner: $23 including tip
- we slept in the car to save on lodging. Luckily, I own a Toyota, 4Runner and the back is super spacious. We folded the seats, which created a flat space, and we extended and layered 10 blankets over each other. It was super cozy, and surprisingly comfortable. I know a lot of people who road-trip purchase spacious vans, but man this really worked!
- if you’re interested in an extra activity, there’s a safari a few miles outside of Roseburg and tickets are only $20. You can purchase your tickets, here!
Total Amount Spent on Day 2: $85 ($125 if you do the safari and purchase two tickets)
The following day, we woke up early again and grabbed some Starbucks. Yeah, you guessed it, hot water, again! Haha. but this time we also got oatmeal and blueberry bagels. And off we were, on I-5 again and heading to Newport, Oregon, which is on the coast, along highway 101. The plan was to drive to Newport and then start making our way down the entire southern Oregon Coast. Newport hosts the largest light house in Oregon so we stopped there for some pictures, of course.
We also stopped at Seal Rock, Searose Beach, Dunes City, Lakeside, and North Bend. The coast is gorgeous so you’ll want to stop everywhere. Just make sure you’re being time-efficient so that you make good use of your day. If you do have extra time, stop by Dunes City! Literally named Dunes City because of the large sand dunes everywhere. ATVs anyone?
On the way down the coast, we munched on some snacks, mainly fruits and almonds, listened to good music, and finally stopped in North bend at a pizza parlor. After dinner we headed over to the nearest Walmart. I had no idea, but my boyfriend told me that apparently Walmart welcomes anyone to stay overnight in their parking lot. Walmart definitely earned some points that night, haha! To end our day, we got some hot water and made ourselves a tea while my boyfriend and I chatted, star gazed, and eventually fell asleep.
- Starbucks breakfast: $13
- entrance to Newport’s light house: $7
- Oregon’s coast scenic views and photo ops: FREE
- pizza and fries: $30 including tip
- lodging: FREE
- and for those who want to rent ATVs: $60 per person for a 30 minute ride.
Total Amount Spent on Day 3: $50 ($170 if you include two ATV rentals)
Last day on the road!! We got an early start on our day again and immediately headed over to a breakfast restaurant. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t that good so I’m not even going to recommend it. After breakfast, we refilled our gas tank before continuing our road trip down the Oregon Coast. Our last two stops were Gold Beach and Brookings.
Our main focus was Brookings because I was so inspired by a picture posted by a travel blogger that I admire, Renee Roaming, and I wanted to see this place for myself — the photo was taken at Samuel H. Boardman State Park. I had also seen a photograph on the Instagram account, Beautiful Destinations, and I was so determined to see it myself. Once we arrived to the park, we started looking for the natural rock bridges shown in the picture. It took the majority of the day to find the exact spot because there were so many trails and we had no idea where to start. We ended up hiking through most of the trails before finding the right one. Of course, this would happen to us. Ha! By the time we found it we were exhausted and we realized it was a dangerous hike down. So we did it anyway. It was quite the adventure but definitely worth it!
And that’s it, we finalized our trip with some dinner in Eureka, California and started heading back home.
- breakfast: $30 including tip
- Samuel H. Boardman State Park: FREE
- scenic views: FREE
- dinner and coffee: $28 including tip
- last gas tank refill: $55
- road-trip snacks: FREE
Total Amount Spent on Day 4: $113
Total for the Entire Trip: $437 ($597 if you include extra activities, and if you’re paying for two).
There you go guys! A four day road-trip from California to Oregon for under $500. And these were the costs for me and my boyfriend. If you go with friends and you’re paying only for yourself , the costs will basically split in half and you’ll end up spending around $300; that’s including the extra activities (safari and ATV dune riding).
Also, there’s no need to point out that this was a budget trip but I just want to emphasize on how much you can save if you are willing to make sacrifices. Like a bed to sleep in and eating out for every meal of the day. I often come across people that believe travel is expensive and out of reach. Well, not in my books. As much as I love luxury trips, budget trips are always a great way to remain humble and challenge yourself to be frugal and resourceful.
*Please note that Oregon does not tax and all prices listed have been rounded up to the nearest dollar.
*Additionally, I realize the price of gas can vary and the size of the gas tank will also vary depending on your vehicle. For reference, my car gives me 380 miles with a full tank and it costs $60-$65 to fill up.