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drive from Seattle to San Francisco

Palo Alto
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drive from Seattle to San Francisco

My husband and I need to drive from Seattle to San Francisco in late August. We do not have a specific itinerary but we would like to do in 3-5 days. We would like to hear recommendations for routes, acommodations and places to see. Also, we will not be leaving Seattle until 3-5 PM and do not want to drive more than a couple of hours that first evening. Any recommendations on where to stop for the first night?

Destination Expert
for Seattle
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1. Re: drive from Seattle to San Francisco

this has been asked many times. A search on this forum putting in SF will bring up multiple itineraries. Here is a link


You might make Longview or Kelso your first nite as that is 100 miles from Seattle. If not Centralia or Chehalis has a concentration of motels right off I-5

Longview, Washington
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for Mount Rainier National Park
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2. Re: drive from Seattle to San Francisco

Leaving Seattle between 3-5 p.m. means you are going to hit the rush hour traffic all the way to Fort Lewis (south of Tacoma). Even driving in the HOV lane it's likely to be slow going for the first hour. Longview/Kelso is about 2 1/2 hours drive if the traffic is moving well, otherwise it could be 3 1/2 hrs.

The Kelso exit has several hotel chains, Comfort Inn, Super 8, Motel 6, Red Lion, Guesthouse Suites.

Kelso is a 45 minute drive from Portland. You can head west from Kelso on Oregon Hiwy 30 to Astoria and down the Oregon Coast, or continue on I-5 through Portland and then head over to the Oregon Coast on any of several highways. I would suggest that you start your coast drive at least as far north as Lincoln City/Newport. The Oregon and Northern California coast is really beautiful.

Keep in mind that if you start down the coast further north, many places (other than Astoria) have a two night minimum stay in the summertime.

Bellevue, WA
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529 posts
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3. Re: drive from Seattle to San Francisco

Yes, you would sit in traffic all the way through Olympia. Here's an alternate route...

Take the ferry to Bremerton and drive to Westport.

Spend the next day seeing the lighthouse (tallest in WA), the maritime museum (whale bones and lens from the Destruction Island lighthouse), the South Jetty, the blue observation tower, the beaches, the harbor, and take the seabird tour (if the dates work):


That might be four hours of traveling, depending on waiting for the ferry.

From Westport you can continue your trip down the coast an on into Oregon.

4. Re: drive from Seattle to San Francisco

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