How to plan a road trip from los angeles to washington d. c

Travel Tips

How to plan a road trip from los angeles to washington d. c

The California redwoods are one stop on a road trip to Washington. (Photo: redwood sun image by Dennis Carrigan from Fotolia.com )

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With choices such as the Pacific Ocean coastline and neighboring redwood forests, northern California wineries, the spectacles of Mount Shasta and Crater Lake, and popular cities — including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle — deciding on points of interest on a road trip from California to Washington may be tough. The determining factor will likely be time, but from there the road is wide open.

Border-to-Border California to Washington Route Options

Travelers can barrel up the Interstate 5 corridor and whiz through the drive, hitting San Francisco and Portland along the way. In Redding, veer onto Highway 97 from I-5 to see Shasta and Modoc National Forests and Crater Lake State Park. For ocean views, take Highway 101 and hug the coastline from Los Angeles to Port Angeles, Washington. Inland, Highway 395, a former American Indian trading route, leads to side roads and hot springs, trailheads and trout streams in California’s eastern Sierra. This route also snakes past Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite National Park, then dips briefly into Nevada before winding through eastern Oregon and Washington and ending at the U.S.-Canada border.

California to Washington Travel Tips

Half the fun of planning may be hovering over a map with your traveling companion to pick out sights and destinations. Once the plan is set, chart coordinates and miles on your GPS unit or with an online trip planner like Roadtrippers. Pack paper maps or an atlas to use when you’re without network coverage or power.

The trip from Los Angeles to Seattle covers 1,135 miles on Interstate 5, approximately 19 hours of drive time depending on speed and traffic conditions. Alternate routes and numerous stops can add several days to the trip. Deciding how many hours you can safely drive determines where to spend the night.

Make reservations at hotels, motels or campgrounds before setting out. Getting off the road after a long day and searching for a place to lay your head can be a drag, and popular tourist destinations do fill up, particularly along the coast during the summer and in state parks. Both California and Oregon state parks take reservations online.

Keep an eye on weather and road conditions. In some areas, the mountains of Oregon and California can be snowy until late May or June. Before taking a side road, check with the State Highway Patrol or ask locals whether the road is passable. Many smaller highways, like Highway 96 between Highway 101 and I-5 in northern California, are prone to washouts from winter storms.

  • Road Trip USA: Pacific Coast
  • Tripit: Pacific Coast Highway
  • California State Parks: Visitor Information
  • Oregon: Parks and Recreation
  • Wine Country Getaways: Winery Guide
  • US 101: Pacific Coast Highway Information

Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.

A couple weeks ago, we took a road trip from LA to Seattle as part of reliving a childhood road trip.

Along the way there are so many amazing stops to make that can become an entire trip in itself. Not to mention all the detours you could take to some of our favorite spots in the US.

How to plan a road trip from los angeles to washington d. c

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: June 23, 2020

Road Trip from Los Angeles to Seattle

This is the year of road trips for us. We’ve taken some pretty epic cross-country road trips over the past two years. Three of them were Atlanta to Los Angeles. Now that we’ve done so many, it’s hard to believe, but it no longer seems like such a long drive.

Our all time favorite road trip was when we drove along the southern border of the US to San Diego, up to Seattle, then beelined it diagonally across the US back to Atlanta. It took us a month and a half, and I still feel like there’s a lot that we missed in between!

There really is so much beauty just within the States that we have yet to explore. I think we need to take a full year off and just rent an RV. 😉

To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together a list of the best stops and some of their highlights. If you plan on spending more time in any of the locations, or want to see what else there is to do there, be sure to click through to our more details guides.

A couple weeks ago, we took a road trip from LA to Seattle as part of reliving a childhood road trip.

Along the way there are so many amazing stops to make that can become an entire trip in itself. Not to mention all the detours you could take to some of our favorite spots in the US.

How to plan a road trip from los angeles to washington d. c

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: June 23, 2020

Road Trip from Los Angeles to Seattle

This is the year of road trips for us. We’ve taken some pretty epic cross-country road trips over the past two years. Three of them were Atlanta to Los Angeles. Now that we’ve done so many, it’s hard to believe, but it no longer seems like such a long drive.

Our all time favorite road trip was when we drove along the southern border of the US to San Diego, up to Seattle, then beelined it diagonally across the US back to Atlanta. It took us a month and a half, and I still feel like there’s a lot that we missed in between!

There really is so much beauty just within the States that we have yet to explore. I think we need to take a full year off and just rent an RV. 😉

To help you plan your trip, we’ve put together a list of the best stops and some of their highlights. If you plan on spending more time in any of the locations, or want to see what else there is to do there, be sure to click through to our more details guides.