A west coast road trip is one of the great American vacations. Our Los Angeles to Seattle Highway 101 road trip will take you through striking landscapes, fascinating places, and diverse histories over its 1,540 mile span.
Unlike a PCH road trip, you can cover a lot of ground on a Highway 101 road trip without a huge investment of time. We’ll be starting our trip at the beginning of Highway 101 in Los Angeles, and driving 165 miles to our first stop on California’s Central Coast. Of course, you don’t have to start where we did—and feel free to go off-course to where your interest takes you.
So no matter if you’re looking into road trips from Los Angeles in summer or dreaming of a Highway 101 road trip from Washington to California, use this guide as a source of inspiration. And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover your new favorite vacation spot along the way.
California road trips often start in the southland and opt to take the fast lane to the Bay area via the I-5. But staying on Highway 101 means you get to explore California’s serene Central Coast, a route that’s certainly worth the extra time.
After all that sunbathing and sipping, it’s time to reconnect with nature. And what better place than the humbling California redwoods, where getting lost in the thousand-year-old trees feels more like finding yourself? The offbeat beach towns peppering Northern California’s coastline are the perfect spot to pull over for a night or two.
Jump back on the 101 for about 450 miles and find yourself in Astoria. Once projected to be a major west coast city, fate had other plans for this sleepy, picturesque coastal town. Close to beaches, forests, and great restaurants, Astoria is the perfect spot to catch your breath for a few days and soak in the beauty of the Oregon Coast.
The northern end of the 101 wraps around the Olympic Peninsula, a natural wonderland brimming with otherworldly forests, challenging peaks, striking Pacific vistas, and even some unique vacation homes, too.
While it’s not technically on the 101, Seattle is only an hour away from Tumwater (where the highway ends), and is the perfect place to end your adventure. A bustling big city with stunning natural features, Seattle has something for every visitor (just be sure to bring your rain jacket).
The Pacific Coast Highway (otherwise known as Highway 1 or PCH) is not the same as Highway 101. Although they meet briefly in Central California, Highway 101 and PCH combine for good in Northern California and continue up through Oregon and Washington as Highway 101.
It depends on how many stops you’ll be making, and what adventures you’ll get up to. If you were to drive non-stop, the total time it would take to drive Highway 101 is 30 hours, or about 1,600 miles. When planning a road trip up Highway 101, budget at least five days to get from one end to another (though a week or more is better for sightseeing and exploring).
If you’re driving for speed, not scenery, it’s better to stick to I-5.
The Washington stretch of Highway 101 is one of the most beautiful—and exciting—parts of the road.
Things to do on Highway 101 in Washington include: