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5-Day Road Trip from Vancouver to San Francisco

vancouver to san francisco road trip

For the ultimate weekend getaway, head out on a road trip from Vancouver to San Francisco and explore the west coast of America in all its glory. VroomVroomVroom will show you how to experience an abundance of great attractions, impressive gardens, buzzing food scene and cultural happenings in this 5-day road trip itinerary.

Vancouver to San Francisco Itinerary:

  • Day 1: Vancouver
  • Day 2: Seattle
  • Day 3: Portland
  • Day 4: Sacramento
  • Day 5: San Francisco

Day 1: Walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge

aerial view suspension bridge

Vancouver Highlights

  • Open all-year-around, drive your rental car and take Highway 99 north across the Lions Gate Bridge to Exit 14 on Capilano Road to get to the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. While at the park, visitors must stay on the designated trails and walkways. Running, jumping or intentionally shaking the bridges are strictly prohibited. 
  • Other amazing must-see outdoor attractions in Vancouver include the Beaver Lake in Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, Queen Elizabeth Park, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver Lookout, Vancouver Aquarium, Spanish Banks, Nitobe Memorial Garden, Malkin Bowl and Yaletown. 
  • Of course, no trip to the city would be complete without seeing the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre located at Vanier Park. If you are looking for lesser-known attractions in Vancouver, these hidden gems such as Dude Chilling Park, Habitat Island and the Shameful Tiki Room will leave you in awe. 
  • The drive from Vancouver to Seattle will take three and a half hours along the most direct route, Interstate 5. Prepare all important papers before crossing the border into the U.S. Besides valid travel ID, a valid driver's license, cross border fee and proof of insurance, be sure to seek permission from your supplier.

Day 2: Take a selfie at the famous Gum Wall

chewing gums on the theatre's wall seattle

Seattle Highlights

  • Right before you go Seattle. you can stop in Bellingham. There are plenty of things to keep you busy in Bellingham. The SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention and Whatcom Museum are among the many great must-see museums to visit during your time in Bellingham.
  • Home of the first Starbucks and the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden & Glass, Museum of Flight and Olympic Sculpture Park are some of the top sights in Seattle. Not to be missed is the colorful Gum Wall or the Wall of Gum under Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. You can add your gum to this masterpiece but make sure you don't get too close!
  • Eat like a local in Seattle. Dine in at Elliott's Oyster House for a plate of freshly shucked oysters. Have coffee and visit the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market or head to Seattle Coffee Works, which is just a few steps away from Starbucks. Pepperoni pizza from Veraci in Ballard is a must-try.

Day 3: Get lost in the City of Books

pioneer square courthouse portland, oregon

Portland Highlights

  • Seattle to Portland is only a three-hour drive via I-5 S. Popular tourist attractions in the city include Washington Park, International Rose Test Garden, Pittock Mansion, Forest Park, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Zoo and Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.
  • The Pioneer Courthouse Square, also called as "Portland's living room" is one of the most-visited public spaces in Portland. The brick plaza hosts numerous concerts, festivals, farmers market, including Friday-night movies aka "Flicks on the Bricks".
  • Known as the largest used and new bookstore in the world, Powell's Books is a must-visit for book lovers. Open 365 days a year, every room at Powell's is color-coded. Its main entrance can be found at the corner of 10th and Burnside.

Day 4: Tour the historic State Capitol

california state capitol building

Sacramento Highlights

  • Learn about California history at The California Museum and all things science and space at the Discovery Museum Science & Space Center. Tour the historic California State Capitol located on 10th Street between L and N streets in downtown Sacramento.
  • Head to the historic Tower Theatre for an art house flick or check out the Crest Theatre for movies, concerts and other special events. You can also visit the Guild Theater for the same.
  • Known as one of the best places to eat breakfast, don't forget to visit the Tower Cafe and try their award-winning French toast (a custard soaked slice of Heaven). 

Day 5: Ride a cable car

historical cable car san francisco

San Francisco Highlights

  • Known for its cable cars, steep rolling hills, eclectic mix of architecture, and landmarks, San Francisco has plenty of attractions suitable for all ages. The famous Golden Gate Bridge is definitely a must-see.
  • Want to ride the iconic cable cars? All three San Francisco cable car lines: Powell-Hyde, California and Powell-Mason start around 6am and run until around 11pm. Tickets may be purchased directly from the conductors on cable cars or you can pay at the ticket booth. Note that they only accept exact change.
  • Union Square is the perfect place if you want to shop. You can take a hike to Twin Peaks to see the best views of the city or be a child again and visit the hidden slides of Seward Street.

Map of Vancouver to San Francisco Road Trip

Do you know that you can download this map directly to your phone? Press the box symbol located on the top-right corner of this map to open in your Google Maps app. Now you can easily access this map on your next road trip adventure from Vancouver to San Francisco.

Travel time and distance: 15 hours and 18 minutes / 1,528.2 km via I-5 S

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