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Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

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London
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189 posts
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Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

During my vacation to Vancouver from UK in June I plan to drive a hire car to Seattle for the day. Can anyone give me some advice on how long it it likely to take, the best route and what should I expect at the US-Canada border? I have an itinery of things to do in Seattle so I'd like to know how early I need to leave Vancouver so I dont miss any of the reservations I have made. Thank you. This site is fantastic as I have received some great advice on previous postings!

england
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1. Re: Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

i was going to do the rive to seattle from vancouver in a day but when i posted it the advice was it wasnt worth the journey time so i'm interested if you do it june, post it ,as im going in august

North Vancouver...
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2. Re: Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

The drive takes approximately 3 hours but may be longer, depending on the day of the week, etc., and the congestion at the border. If it's a weekend the wait at the border can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. The most popular border crossing is the one at the Peace Arch; there is also a truck crossing called the Douglas border - sometimes that can be a little quicker, but it's difficult to predict.

If Seattle is an absolute must, and you have commitments there, I suggest you drive down the night before and stay overnight -- that way you won't miss any of your appointments. But as Trouble said, you may want to consider changing your plans and visiting Seattle at another time.

seattle
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for Seattle
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3. Re: Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

I'm a tour guide and go back and forth frequently. They have added a hiway sign giving you the border crossing times for 'truck' customs and for Peace arch. Cars can go thru either. I try to listen to the radio station 1130 am before leaving town as they have border crossing info every 10 minutes. You have to time leaving Vancouver as there is a tunnel under the Delta that can back up southbound as the lanes reverse to come into Vancouver. If you take the Amtrak bus you will only have to stop once at the border and it makes no stops till downtown Seattle. If you let me know where you need to be in Seattle I can help you. The bus is $24 US.

Seattle, WA
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4. Re: Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

davidgmg gives good advice about listening to radio station 1130 am for border crossing delays. If there are substantial delays at the Peace Arch and the Truck Crossing (which is also OK for passenger cars), you should try going further east on Hwy 1 to Aldergrove/Lynden. Once through the border crossing, drive south to I-5, which will take you to Seattle.

seattle
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5. Re: Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

thats good advice also, but you have to make that call before leaving downtown, and to find Hwy 1 is harder to find, and the right border exit is also confusing even for me, who doesn't like to ask directions. My experience is the wait times can change quickly. I've left Vancouver when the said 45 minutes, and by the time I got closer it was down to 10 minutes.

Southampton, Uk
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6. Re: Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

Scott,

I have done the trip a couple of times and it's always taken longer than three hours.

My advice would be to travel down late evening the day before and just book yourself a room for one night downtown and then get up and attack your itinery. Seattle has lots to do and see so give yourself the whole day after a good nights sleep.

Last time we were in Seattle we stayed at the Ramada near the airport and it was only US$44 for the room.

Have a good trip

Diamark

London
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7. Re: Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

thank you all for your advice

London
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8. Re: Driving to Seattle from Vancouver

I've now done this trip twice! It took about 3 hours and I went the speed limit the whole way. I would certainly do it again and would say it is feasible for anyone to do. I started out on both days at about 7.30am and returned leaving Seattle about 6pm. There was no queue at the border (Peace Arch) but be prepared to get out of the car to fill in the forms, to get photographed and fingerprinted and for some tough questioning (this depends on the officer however). Suggestions for Seattle are Boeing (book in advance) Microsoft, Space Needle restaurant, and the duck ride around the city.