Travel down the United States’ West Coast from Seattle to Los Angeles and see jaw-dropping scenery and interesting cities and towns. You’ll drive north to south through most of Washington, Oregon and California. If you want, you can even drive the entire way on one interstate, although the more scenic routes involve highways going through forests and along the ocean. We go through some route options and interesting stops you can make along the way.
Tips for a One-Way Road Trip from Seattle to Los Angeles
The drive can be as little as 17 hours or much longer if you choose to take highways rather than the straightest route. You will allow you to travel along almost the entire Pacific Coast, through cities, towns, forests, and with a view of mountains in spots. It’s a great idea to drive on Highway 101 that runs down the coast in Oregon and California for at least part of your trip to take in the great Pacific Ocean views. Keep in mind that some roads during your journey may charge tolls.
Driving Directions from Seattle to Los Angeles
The fastest way to get from Seattle to Los Angeles is to get on Interstate 5 South, and it can take you all the way to Southern California in a couple of days of driving. If you want a break halfway through your journey, you can make a pit-stop in Redding, California, which sits between two national forests in Northern California. Here are some of the route options.
- I-5 S: Follow the signs to I-5 south from wherever you are coming from in the Seattle area. This route will take you through cities like Olympia, Portland, OR, and Sacramento.
- Highway 101 S: This route takes around 25 hours without stops, and it starts on I-5 through Portland, but then goes over to the coast and Highway 101 just after Salem, OR. You’ll continue south on this highway along the Oregon Coast and into California where it goes inland through San Francisco and then back over to the Pacific Coast and Highway 1 at Monterey. Then you’ll continue south, back on the 101, through towns like Santa Barbara, Malibu and Santa Monica before reaching LA.
5 Stops to Make Along the Way
Portland Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
Relax in nature and admire some beautiful flowers that come from all over the world in the Japanese Garden that is part of Portland’s Washington Park. There is a waterfall and teahouse to enjoy, and when you’ve seen everything in the garden you can check out the International Rose Test Garden that’s located alongside it in the park.
Sundial Bridge, Redding, CA
If you need to stretch your legs, stopping at the Sundial Bridge in Redding is a great option. Visit this landmark bridge and experience its glass walkway that provides a perfect view of the Sacramento River underneath. If you go after dark, you can admire the bridge walkway’s aquamarine lights.
Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park, Sacramento, CA
Sitting in central Sacramento is Sutter’s Fort, a trade colony built in the mid-1800s by Swiss immigrant John Sutter in what was then Mexico and abandoned less than a decade later after the California Gold Rush lured people elsewhere. You can take a self-guided tour of the adobe structures and grounds that have been restored to their original state.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA
It is worth your while to take a detour to San Francisco, no matter what route you take between Seattle and LA. If you take Highway 101 into the city from the north, you can drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and see the views of the city’s notorious fog doesn’t spoil it. You can also park near one end and walk or bike along the 1 mile-long bridge and take pictures if you have time.
Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, CA
When you reach the end of your journey and arrive in sunny Los Angeles, why not visit one of the city’s iconic landmarks? Hike up to the Hollywood Sign and take in the amazing view of the city that will leave you speechless.
SIXT Rent a Car in Seattle
We have multiple locations in Seattle for your to pick up a one-way car rental, as well as a delivery service. This includes downtown near Pike Place Market and at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. If you are planning to stop along the way for some hiking or snow sports, or just need ample cargo room, explore SIXT exotic car for rent and book an SUV for your trip. Or if you need something budget-friendly and good for city stops, choose an economy or compact car. Be advised that not all car categories are available for one-way rentals.