Road Trip from San Francisco to Seattle - 3 Day Itinerary

Hop on I-5 North, and you can drive from San Francisco to Seattle in around 13-14 hours. Since this is such a beautiful part of the country, with numerous national parks, scenic vistas, and iconic destinations, you'll want to spend some time at each location. Plan a 3-day trip to see the top sights in each city as well along the way. Looking to get the full experience? Take a weeklong road trip and truly enjoy the sights and unique attractions along this journey.

Drive Time from San Francisco to Seattle : approximately 13-14 hours
Distance from San Francisco to Seattle: approximately 900 miles

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  • 1. San Francisco

    Day 1: Because San Francisco is such a beautiful city, it's hard to decide
    which iconic spots to see. Even though Fisherman's Wharf is a popular tourist attraction, you should still take a few hours to explore the shops, museums, and restaurants. Pier 39 has over 60 specialty shops, fresh seafood restaurants, and the best views of the playful sea lions that bask in the sun on the floating docks.

    San Francisco is also famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, which you'll have a chance to drive over if you take US-101 out of the city. Although, if you really want to get the perfect picture, head to Battery Spencer. This old military outpost was in operation from 1897 to 1942, and it once held a gun battery to defend the entrance to San Francisco Bay. Today, the bluff offers some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city.

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  • 2. Medocino

    Day 2: While you'll add some time to your trip by choosing to take US-1 North instead of I-5, you'll appreciate the stunning coastal views along the way. To start your journey, travel approximately four and a half hours and 170 miles up US-101 and US-1 to Mendocino, California. The views along this scenic highway are just as amazing as this quaint coastal town. Once you arrive in Mendocino, take some time to explore Point Arena Lighthouse and Museum, where you can climb to the top of the lighthouse and take in the breathtaking views of the rugged cliffs and Pacific Ocean.

  • 3. Humboldt Redwoods State Park

    When you're done in Mendocino, continue north on US-1 and US-101 for two hours and 15 minutes and nearly 90 miles to Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Here you can walk among giants as you hike through one of the largest old-growth redwood forests. Many of the trees in the park are over 300 feet tall, and more than 100 trees tower over 350 feet in height. Take the 5-mile road through the park to explore a few of the over 100
    miles of hiking trails.

  • 4. Seattle

    Day 3: To finish your journey, continue just over twelve hours and 724 miles up I-5 North to Seattle. While the Space Needle has an observation deck that offers beautiful views of the area, if you head to Kerry Park, you can get one of the best views of the entire city with Mount Rainier in the background. To get a taste of history, make time to visit Pioneer Square, Seattle's first neighborhood. Here you'll find boutique shopping, unique dining establishments, and entertainment options. Additional attractions to consider include the Chihuley Garden and Glass exhibit located right next to the Space Needle, the Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour located just north of downtown and one of the many ferries that take commuters alongside visitors to the nearby islands.

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