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LA - Vancouver

Sao Paulo
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LA - Vancouver

I'd like to do a road trip from LA to Vancouver, but I'm not an American and I have a couple questions:

- Which roads I'll use?

- Which cities are on the road that I can (should) stop on the way?

- How long should I reserve for the travel?

- How easy is to find a place to stay on the way?

- How many days should I reserve for LA and for Vancouver?

- Will I have problems crossing the border with a rental car not being American or Canadian?

Thank you

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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74,031 posts
94 reviews
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1. Re: LA - Vancouver

Hi JWin82;

3) How long should I reserve for the travel?

Vancouver is approx. 1277 miles / 2055 km. from Los Angeles. How long will depend on how long you wish to drive each day, how often you stop for breaks and how many cities you choose to visit and sop at along the way.

5) How many days should I reserve for LA and for Vancouver?

I would suggest a minimum of 5 days for Vancouver.

6) Will I have problems crossing the border with a rental car not being American or Canadian?

No, you shouldn't have any problems as long as you have your passport and visa in hand.

Are you planning to return the rental car in LA or leave it in Vancouver ?

Best Regards

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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2. Re: LA - Vancouver

Hi JWin82. Welcome to TripAdvisor forums.

When you add a new topic, there are some requests to the side of the box.


"To get the best advice, include:

Your budget

Your travel companions

Your part of town

Your likes, dislikes"


I would add.... time of year, reason for travel, and time planned. You'll get much better suggestions if you can share more. Do you love nature? Are you prefer mountains or nature? Are you looking for small breweries or wineries? Do you like to poke around in little shops? Will you be taking long hikes? Is photography a passion?

If you'd like to get a taste of a few cities along the West Coast, you won't really need to have a car at all. Take the train from Vancouver to Seattle. If you want to include Portland, take another train or a flight. Fly down to San Francisco. The Hwy 1 coastline is lovely, so you could rent a car for the drive or just take a tour from SF. You could fly to L.A.

If you want to see the beautiful Oregon coast, take your time for the drive. If National Parks/Monuments are your thing, then visit Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, maybe Crater Lake, Lava Beds, Redwoods, Lassen, Yosemite, Death Valley,....

What do YOU want to do and see?

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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3. Re: LA - Vancouver

Hi and welcome to tripAdvisor. You should not have any problem crossing the border, but make sure your rental car company knows that is what you are doing. You may get charged a big drop-off fee if you are leaving it in Canada . . . are you driving this one-way?

An alternative would be to drop the car in the state of Washington, then take a bus across the border to Vancouver. If you think you want to do this, post on the Washington forum for help.

There are many, many hotels / motels / campgrounds and a few hostels along the way to Vancouver, no matter which route you choose.

Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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4. Re: LA - Vancouver

The most scenic route would be to leave LA on Highway One, moving to the 101 when the two highways become the same, and leaving off the part of Highway 1 above Santa Barbara (near Lompoc), staying on the 101 until you get to around San Luis Opisbo/Pismo Area, then taking Highway One again.

Places to stay and explore along that stretch would include Santa Barbara, Solvang/Santa Ynez/Los Olivos Wine Country, Pismo itself, or the charming little town of Cambria (at Moonstone Beach, preferably). San Simeon/Hearst Castle is a frequent stop on people's itineraries, along with Nepenthe, for a meal and its views of the Pacific.

Stay somewhere near the south end of this stretch of Highway One so you can spend one full day driving between Cambria and Carmel (which includes Big Sur, where Point Lobos, Garrapatta State Beach, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Andrew Molera State Beach and many other sights beckon). Maybe spend an extra day in the Carmel/Monterey region, as there is a lot to see.

Santa Cruz, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, San Francisco are obviously next points on this journey (although you could continue on the One, if you want to see more of other things, see some Redwoods - and then see some more Redwoods!) That would take you to the 17 to the 280 and then into San Francisco.

There are several different ways to see the enormous stretch between SF and Vancouver. Redwoods National Park, I'd think, is a must-see, maybe Half-Brit can suggest some places to stay in that area. We like the Russian River area ourselves, and then a night at Arcata before heading into Oregon, where taking the coastal route is probably what most will recommend.

Portland, Oregon has quite a few reasons to spend time, I'd give it a couple of nights.

Olympic National Park is amazing, I'd allow two days for seeing that part of the Puget Sound region, aside from Seattle itself.

Do you want to see LA itself? This can be done in a variety of ways, 3-4 days would be enough for a lot of people.

So, 3-4 nights LA, 1 night Santa Barbara, 1 night Cambria, 2 nights Carmel, 4 nights SF, at least 2 nights between SF and Oregon border, at least 1 night between Oregon border and Portland, 3 nights Portland if arriving late after just 1 night traveling through Oregon, 1 night between Portland and Seattle (at least), 3-4 nights Seattle, 4-5 nights Vancouver/Victoria area.

28 days should do it - and though that may sound like a long time, those extra days beyond the bare minimum are virtually necessary to make this a vacation road trip rather than a marathon drivefest. You could surely take way more time to make this trip, and you will likely miss many, many interesting, even amazing sights, by doing it in 28 days. You might want, for example, to see Crater Lake or Mt. Rainier or Mt. St Helens, Muir or Anderson Redwoods, Sonoma or Napa or the Russian River area, take a sailing boat or kayak excursion somewhere, do some shopping, see Alcatraz (book ahead), go to the many museums in those major cities, etc., etc.

OTOH, if you like the grueling, drive-all type of road trip (as some of my relatives do), you can do this trip much more quickly. You could, for example, skip Highway One in California entirely, in which case you could be in SF from LA (easily) in 1 day. It's still scenic, in a foothills/scattered oaks kind of way. Or you could do Highway One quickly and not stop for any hikes or to sip a beer overlooking the ocean, going for a walk afterwards, etc. You could skip Santa Barbara/Solvang/Los Olivos Wine Country and just go straight to Cambria from L.A., and then make it to SF the next day without taking pictures along the coast and planning to arrive after dark (the last hour of the drive to SF is not particularly scenic, some would say the last 2 hours don't have much reason to slow down for).

What's your driving style?

As for LA - do you really want to SEE LA or just get a quick snapshot in front of the Chinese Theater?

western WA
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14 reviews
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5. Re: LA - Vancouver

If you are a citizen of Brasil you will need a visa to get to Canada. They are available in Seattle for $75, available in the morning only with quite a wait. Try to get it in advance.

This is a trip that could take 3 days as a rush drive, or a month or three to sightsee.

The time of year is very important, as well.

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59 reviews
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6. Re: LA - Vancouver

It is about 24hrs of straight driving on the I-5 highway between the two cities. This could be done in 2 days if you can drive 12hrs a day or have a second driver. I would suggest limiting your driving to 4-6hrs a day to be able to enjoy the trip. Also you will have trouble returning the car in Vancouver so I would follow the recommendations and drop it in Seattle or Bellingham.

7. Re: LA - Vancouver

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