Short Weekend Road Trips
Seattle to Vancouver
Ferry to a Lush Island En Route to Canada
The Route (167 miles)
Canada is just a quick car ride from Seattle along I-5, but our more scenic route will take you through some of Washington’s more interesting natural offerings. Take I-5 to SR-525 and catch the Mukilteo ferry to Clinton on Whidbey Island, where SR-525 turns into SR-20. Once over the Deception Pass Bridge take SR-11 (Chuckanut Drive) into Bellingham, then I-5 to the Canadian border. Take tree-lined BC-91 into Vancouver. Get the Map
After you take the ferry onto Whidbey Island, you'll drive through Ebey’s Landing National Historical Preserve, where the land is still used as it was in the 1850s, making history come to life with historic working farms in glacial prairies, the rural seaside town of Coupeville, preserved forests and houses, and even a military fort. You'll leave the island surrounded by the evergreens and soon meet up with Chuckanut Drive (SR-11), which hugs coastal cliffs offering stunning views of the Puget Sound. Chuckanut runs right into the Fairhaven district of Bellingham, a great mix of Pacific Northwest granola culture and natural surroundings. This summer in Vancouver, enjoy the Royal BC Museum’s satellite location in Chinatown (June 14-September 3), the Vancouver International Jazz Festival (June 22-July 1), the Celebration of Light Fireworks Festival (July 28, August 1, and August 4), and the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival (August 5).
Stay the Night
The four-room Bee & Thistle Guest House, with incredible views of Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains, is outside the city center but right near the eclectic Commercial Drive shopping district. Rates from $155/night.
San Francisco to Mendocino, CA
Stop for Wine, Sober Up, Repeat
The Route (184 miles)
While your impulse might be to hug the coast between San Francisco and Mendocino, Northern California’s interior is worth exploring via U.S. 101 to CA-253 to CA-128 before finally reaching Highway 1. Get the Map
The town of Healdsburg in Sonoma County is only 70 miles from San Francisco on U.S. 101 and makes for a perfect first stop on your trip thanks to its abundance of wineries. Just be sure to designate a driver before indulging. From Sonoma, it’s less than 60 miles up U.S. 101 to Vichy Springs, a resort and spa that allows both guests and visitors to take advantage of the area's natural hot springs. Lovers of the outdoors will enjoy a hike through the giant redwoods in Hendy Woods State Park, which is only 35 miles from the hot springs. The weather at the park is typically warmer and far less foggy than its counterparts on the coast, which makes for a more enjoyable experience on the trails. From Hendy Woods, it's a quick drive into Mendocino, where you can let your limousine driver from Mendo Wine Tours take the wheel so you can safely enjoy the views and the drinks. Most tours visit four or five wineries and you can request specific destinations when you make your reservation.
Stay the Night
The MacCallum House Inn is located in the heart of Mendocino, offers sweeping ocean views, and runs deals on its website including dining credits to use in the restaurant and bar. Rates from $149.
Los Angeles to Santa Barbara
Hit Highway 1 With the Top Down, and Don’t Miss the Dolphins
The Route (100 miles)
The pragmatist in you will suggest taking U.S. 101 out of Los Angeles, but we prefer to keep an eye on the ocean along the drive to Santa Barbara by taking Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. The scenic ride is one of the perks of this road trip. Get the Map
Ventura, just 67 miles from Los Angeles, is a great place to stretch your legs. The San Buenaventura Pier is one of the oldest in United States; take a walk to the end of the pier to snap some photos and enjoy the ocean views. From there, it's a quick walk to Mission San Buenaventura, which was built in 1782. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the gardens and the artifacts housed in the museum. From Ventura, you can hop on a boat to Channel Islands National Park. Camping, whale and dolphin watching, and hiking are just some of the many adventures available on "the American Galapagos," home to several rare animal species. Once you're back on land, it’s only 27 miles to Santa Barbara, where you can take a self-guided Red Tile Walking Tour through most of the town’s major landmarks. Be sure to stop at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to enjoy their "Van Gogh to Munch" exhibit.
Stay the Night
Built in 1931, the 18-room Villa Rosa Inn puts you across the street from the beach and provides views of the ocean and nearby Santa Ynez Mountains. Take advantage of the complimentary breakfast, as well as the evening wine and cheese events. Rates from $169.