San Diego to Seattle Road Trip Itinerary with Stops

Apr 18, 2024

Tags:rentertravelsan diegowaseattleCA

san diego to seattle road trip itinerary with stops with a motorcycle rental from Riders Share

Planning a road trip from San Diego to Seattle? This classic route stretches approximately 1,401 miles and takes about 23 hours of driving time, offering a fantastic way to see the West Coast from the beaches of Santa Barbara to the forests near Crescent City, all the way up to Seattle. Whether you're driving from San Diego to Seattle or heading back south, you’ll find plenty of great stops along the way. If you're wondering how far Seattle is from San Diego, the direct drive is quite the adventure, packed with beautiful views and interesting places to visit.

San Diego to Seattle Road Trip

san diego to seattle road trip map

The Seattle to San Diego drive shows the great diversity of the Pacific Coast. This road trip guide, starting from San Diego and heading north to Seattle, covers iconic cities and beautiful landscapes, promising an unforgettable journey. Let’s take a look at the core stops you’ll be taking. 

1. San Diego to Santa Barbara

Route: Start from San Diego, taking the I-5 North and then transition to CA-1 North (Pacific Coast Highway) as you approach Dana Point. This will take you through coastal cities like Newport Beach and Santa Monica.

2. Santa Barbara to San Francisco

Route: Continue on CA-1 North passing through Solvang (a short detour inland for its Danish-style architecture and wineries), then back to the coast towards Big Sur through Pismo Beach and Monterey.

3. San Francisco to Crescent City

Route: From San Francisco, follow US-101 North. You'll pass through the wine country of Sonoma and Mendocino, and then into the dense forests of Humboldt.

4. Crescent City to Seattle

Route: Continue on US-101 North into Oregon, passing through the Oregon Coast with its rugged cliffs and scenic views, then into Washington, eventually transitioning to I-5 as you approach Olympia.

Keep reading below for an example of a 4-day itinerary Riders Share put together so you can have the best road trip possible. 

4-Day San Diego to Seattle Road Trip Itinerary

Now that you have a clear understanding of the route and the key stops from San Diego to Seattle and how you should prepare for this trip, let’s lay out a detailed itinerary to further prepare you for the journey. This plan will keep your trip within a clear timeline, while still covering all the highlights mentioned in your road trip guide.

NOTE: We’ve split this trip up between four days. As a whole, this motorcycle ride totals 23 hours, which is a lot for anyone (even the most experienced riders). We’ve purposely split this trip up to ensure you’ll have more than enough time to experience the road trip’s greatest adventures.

Day 1: San Diego to Santa Barbara

  • 5:00 AM - Departure from San Diego
    Start your journey early by heading north on I-5, transitioning to CA-1 North as you approach Dana Point.
  • Pit Stops for the Day:
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  • 2:00 PM - Arrive in Santa Barbara
    Spend the afternoon visiting the Santa Barbara Mission and exploring downtown. Enjoy dinner here before settling in for the night.

Day 2: Santa Barbara to San Francisco

  • 8:00 AM - Departure from Santa Barbara
    Continue on CA-1 North, making a short detour through Solvang for its Danish-style architecture, then pass through Pismo Beach towards Monterey and Big Sur.
  • Pit Stops for the Day:
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  • 6:00 PM - Arrive in San Francisco
    Explore the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and perhaps have a quick stop at Fisherman’s Wharf. Settle down for the night in San Francisco, ready for the next leg of the journey.

Keep in Mind: As of early Spring 2024, the area around Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway is closed, and is known to close periodically. For updates on this area, please visit the official As of early Spring 2024, the area around Big Sur on the Pacific Coast Highway is closed, and is known to close periodically. For updates on this area, please visit the official Highway 1 Highway Conditions page. 

Day 3: San Francisco to Crescent City

  • 8:00 AM - Departure from San Francisco
    Head north on US-101, passing through the wine country of Sonoma and Mendocino and into the dense Humboldt forests.
  • Pit Stops for the Day:
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  • 7:00 PM - Arrive at Crescent City
    After a long day of driving and scenic stops, check into your hotel and rest for the night.

Day 4: Crescent City to Seattle

  • 8:00 AM - Departure from Crescent City
    Continue on US-101 North through the beautiful Oregon Coast to Washington, transitioning to I-5 as you approach Olympia.
  • Pit Stops for the Day:
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  • 6:00 PM - Arrive in Seattle
    Conclude your road trip with stops at Seattle’s Pike Place Market and the Space Needle, enjoying the vibrant energy of the city.

Start Your San Diego to Seattle Road Trip with a Motorcycle Rental from Riders Share

Kick off your epic San Diego to Seattle road trip with Riders Share. Offering a wide selection of motorcycles, Riders Share allows you to choose the perfect bike for your adventure. Start with a motorcycle rental in San Diego and find the same extensive options with a motorcycle rental in Seattle. Experience the Pacific Coast your way. Book your ride today and turn that road trip dream into reality!

Preparing for the Trip

Before you hit the road for your San Diego to Seattle road trip, a little preparation can go a long way to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Vehicle Readiness: Make sure your motorcycle is in top condition. Check the oil, tires, brakes, and fluids. It’s also a good idea to have a small tool kit, tire repair kit, and spare key.
  • Weather Forecast: Check the weather for the time of year you’ll be traveling. Conditions can vary greatly along the coast, so be prepared for sudden changes.
  • Route Planning: While the main route is straightforward, think about whether you want to make any detours for additional sights. Have a GPS or map app ready to help navigate.
  • Accommodations: Book your hotels or campsites in advance, especially in busier towns or during peak travel seasons. This ensures you have a place to rest each night without stress.
  • Emergency Kit: Pack a first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, and basic emergency supplies. It's better to be safe and prepared for any situation.

What to Pack

  • Clothing: Pack layers for the changing temperatures, especially if you’re riding along the coast. Include waterproof gear just in case.
  • Riding Gear: Essential for protection and comfort. This includes your helmet, gloves, jacket, and riding boots.
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses will protect you from UV rays during long days outdoors.
  • Snacks and Water: Keep hydrated and energized. Pack healthy snacks and a few gallons of water.
  • Cash and Documents: Carry your ID, motorcycle license, insurance information, and some cash for places that don’t accept cards.
  • Camera or Smartphone: For capturing photos of scenic views and memorable moments.
  • Chargers and Power Banks: This is a pretty long ride, so it’s important to keep your devices charged throughout the trip.

Last Stop

As you set off on your road trip from San Diego to Seattle, you'll discover a variety of landscapes, cities, and stunning views along the Pacific Coast. Each stop offers something new, from sunny California beaches to the green forests of Washington.