13 Best Stops Along A Seattle To Vancouver Road Trip: And Vice Versa
*Featured image from Unsplash By Robert Ritchie
Looking for the best stops on a Seattle to Vancouver road trip? Then, you have stopped at the right place!
From charming coastal towns to beautiful mountain passes, there are plenty of unique places to explore on your journey up North. Whether you are looking for detours, scenic views, or fun activities, this blog post will provide an overview of some of the most popular stops from Seattle to Vancouver.
So buckle up and prepare for an unforgettable experience as I take you through the top spots on this epic road trip.
Seattle To Vancouver Road Trip Stops
Is Seattle worth visiting and worth a drive? Yes! These locations are along the Interstate-5 Highway from Seattle and Vancouver and will work vice versa.
Everett, Washington, is the perfect first stop on your Seattle to Vancouver road trip. Located only 30 miles north of Seattle, this charming coastal city offers a variety of activities for people of all ages and interests.
From outdoor activities like kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding in Port Gardner Bay to exploring local breweries and restaurants downtown, Everett has something for everyone.
2. Tulalip Reservation
The Tulalip Reservation (pronounced Tuh’-lay-lup) is a must-visit destination for those interested in exploring the rich history and culture of the Pacific Northwest.
The Tulalip Reservation is home to the Tulalip Tribes, which consists of several native tribes, including the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, and Skykomish.
One of the main attractions of the reservation is the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve, which showcases the history and traditions of the tribes. The center features exhibits on art, language, and religion, as well as displays of traditional artifacts and tools.
Visitors can also explore preserved natural history and learn about the local wildlife and ecosystem.
In addition to the cultural center, the reservation offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and fishing. For those interested in gaming, the Tulalip Resort Casino is a popular destination offering table games, slots, and entertainment. Seattle premium outlets are also located next to the resort, a popular shopping destination.
3. Mount Vernon (Skagit County)
Located in Skagit County, Mount Vernon is an excellent stop with lush green fields, rolling hills, and picturesque views of Mount Baker in the distance.
Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast looking for a day hike or want to take in some of the local cultures, there is plenty to do and see in Mount Vernon.
Mount Vernon is also known as “Tulip Town,” The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is an annual event that the county holds every April.
Bellingham is a picturesque coastal city with many outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and snow sports. It is also the last large county before the Canada and United States Border. Explore local shops and restaurants downtown or take in the stunning beauty of the view of Mount Baker.
5. Birch Bay
Birch Bay is another charming coastal town that offers stunning views of the Salish Sea and plenty of activities for all ages. You can try kayaking in the bay or exploring nearby parks and trails.
Hardshell clamming is a popular thing to do in Birch Bay, and it is also abundant for Dungeness Crab. The harvest starts in mid-August. However, you will need a proper recreational license to harvest in Washington State Parks.
6. White Rock
If you are going on a road trip from Seattle to Vancouver, visit White Rock in British Columbia. It is a charming coastal city just south of the US-Canada border with stunning views of Semiahmoo Bay and plenty of things to do for people of all ages. You can check out the galleries and shops downtown, kayak in the bay, or hike on the nearby trails.
There is a large rock painted white along the pathway and the beach. It is also close to the White Rock Pier, which is widely considered one of Canada’s longest piers.
Suppose you are heading towards your final destination, Downtown Vancouver; you will pass by the City of Richmond. There are many things to do in Richmond, such as eating Asian cuisine, checking out Steveston’s Fishermans Wharf, or the famous Richmond Night Market in the Summer.
Road Trip Detours
These are optional detours to take on your road trip. However, they will add extra time to your journey up North.
8. Whidbey Island
If you are looking for a scenic detour on your Seattle to Vancouver road trip, consider Whidbey Island. Located in Puget Sound, this large island is home to miles of stunning coastline and picturesque small towns. Explore downtown Coupeville’s quaint shops and restaurants or hike through Deception Pass State Park.
You will have to take a ferry from Mukilteo To Clinton, and from there, you can drive through the entire island. The end of the route will connect outside of Mt Vernon.
9. Chuckanut Drive
Chuckanut Drive is a scenic byway from Burlington to Bellingham, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty. The 33.8 kilometres (21-mile) stretch of road meanders through the Chuckanut Mountains and hugs the coastline, providing picturesque views of the San Juan Islands and the Salish Sea.
Along the way, you can stop at several trailheads for hiking, take a break at the scenic turnout points, or enjoy a picnic with your loved ones. However, the best time to visit Chuckanut Drive is in the fall when the leaves turn crimson and gold, blanketing the hills and road with a colourful display.
During this time, migratory birds flock to the area, making it a paradise for birdwatching enthusiasts.
The drive is an adventure, with occasional tight curves and steep inclines. However, the reward at the end of each sharp bend is a stunning view of the looming mountains or the vast ocean.
Larrabee State Park is one of the most popular attractions along Chuckanut Drive, which features pleasant trails, picnic areas, and a beach perfect for swimming, kayaking, or canoeing. It is an excellent spot to stretch your legs, relax and take in the natural surroundings of the Pacific Northwest.
10. Whatcom Falls Park
Another route trip detour you can take is to Whatcom Falls Park. Located just outside Bellingham, this park offers visitors stunning views of Whatcom Creek and its cascading waterfalls. The park has around 6.4 kilometres (4 miles) of trails that pass through tall trees, serene ponds, and plenty of picnic spots.
11. Mt. Baker
Mt Baker is a must-see destination for those taking the Seattle to Vancouver road trip. Located in the North Cascades, this 10,781-foot stratovolcano offers spectacular views of pristine alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks.
The mountain has breathtaking views and incredible outdoor recreation opportunities like skiing and snowboarding on its slopes during winter to camping in nearby forests during Summer.
Some hikes range from easy to hard. If you plan on not staying for an extended period, you can look at Nooksack Falls Trail, which will only take a five-minute walk to a waterfall.
In addition, the Huntoon Point Via Artist Ridge Trail is another easy but stunning hike to do while you are at Mt Baker. However, this trail is prone to be closed at certain times of the year because of weather and snow. Sometimes this trail does have snow, even in the Summer!
12. Cougar Regional Mountain Park
Cougar Regional Mountain Park, located in Renton, is an off-the-beaten-path location for those on a Seattle to Vancouver road trip. This park offers spectacular views of the Cascade foothills, surrounding mountains and many hiking trails.
It is a fantastic place for adventure seekers, visitors with children or dogs looking to explore miles of trails that pass through lush forests and meadows. The park also has plenty of picnic spots where visitors can relax and enjoy.
13. Olympic National Park
At 922,000 acres, the Olympic National Park is a must-see destination for anyone. The park is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington. It includes rugged coastlines, glacier-capped mountains, old-growth forests, and pristine alpine lakes.
The park also has three distinct ecosystems: the Pacific coastline, the temperate rainforest, and the alpine region.
One of the highlights of Olympic National Park is the Hoh Rain Forest. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the United States, with an average annual rainfall of 12 to 14 feet (3.7 to 4.3 meters).
As a result, the rainforest has towering old-growth trees, ferns, and mosses. Visitors can explore the miles of trails that wind through the forest and marvel at the unique ecosystems of this incredible place.
Another attraction in the park is Hurricane Ridge, which offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains. The area is accessible by car, and visitors can enjoy scenic drives, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elk, deer, black bears, mountain goats, and numerous bird species.
For those looking for a unique outdoor adventure, Olympic National Park has some of the best backpacking trails in the country. The Wonderland Trail (intermediate/moderate) is an approximately 150-kilometres (93 miles) trail that circumnavigates Mount Rainier.
The Ozette Loop (moderate) is a 15-kilometre (9.4 miles) loop trail that takes hikers through the coastal wilderness of the park. Dogs are not allowed and either of these hikes.
How To Get To Vancouver From Seattle
There are three best ways to get to Vancouver from Seattle.
The easiest way to get to Vancouver from Seattle is by car. The I-5 or the Interstate 5 Highway will take you directly to the Peace Arch Canada-US border.
Amtrak travels to Vancouver (Pacific Central Station) from Seattle (King Street Station). It is a beautiful scenic train ride on a sunny day.
A shuttle is another option for travel. However, the trip will be longer than taking the shuttle or by car because there will be multiple stops between the drive picking up and dropping off other passengers.
How Far Is The Car Ride From Seattle To Vancouver?
The car ride from Seattle to Vancouver is 229 kilometres (142 miles). It is usually a two-hour and 40-minute drive. However, border wait times and local traffic rush hour will prolong your travelling time.
Where To Stay In Vancouver
After your journey from Seattle, these are a couple of hotels you can stay in Vancouver.
💎 Best Luxury Hotel – Rosewood Hotel Georgia
✅ Excellent location
✅ Highly rated customer service
⚖️ Best Mid-Range Hotel – Hotel Blu
✅ Free bike rentals
📍 Best Budget-Friendly – Sandman Hotel Vancouver (Downtown)
✅ Indoor pool
Can I Drive In Seattle With A Canadian License?
You can drive in Seattle with a valid Canadian driver’s license. But double-check to make sure your license is not expired.
Suppose you are a British Columbia resident and have a novice license. In that case, your N must be displayed on the back of your vehicle.
Also, you do not need to remove the expired decal on the back of your license plate. However, since many Canadians travel to Washington State, they should know about the decal system on the back of our plates.
But always be wary if you get pulled over for your license plate “being expired.”
Do You Need A Passport To Drive From Seattle To Vancouver?
Yes. You must have a valid government-issued passport to cross the border.
Can You Do A Day Trip From Seattle To Vancouver?
Yes! Many Canadians and Americans do a day trip from Seattle to Vancouver or vice versa every day. It is not a long drive; it is about the same time as a Vancouver to Whistler drive without the border wait.
Conclusion: Seattle To Vancouver Road Trip
A Seattle to Vancouver road trip has many things to do along the way. Whether you stop at any of these locations or drive straight through, I hope this post was helpful for you.
Have a good day 🙂