Motorcycles along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Brian Patterson/dreamstime.

Driving Tips for the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive

If you plan on driving Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive, the trip is made a lot easier—and simpler!—if you know ahead of time about the mile-marker system, when and where you can fuel up, speed limits, and how to effectively pull-off a one-way trip in either your own vehicle or a rental.

Portland, Oregon and Mount Hood.

PNW Road Trip: Driving to Portland

Portland offers a wealth of nature, and downtown—small blocks make the streets highly walkable—is crowded with food carts, independent boutiques, and live music venues. Make it an easy road trip destination with traffic tips and directions from Pacific Northwest resident Allison Williams.

At the tip of the Olympic Peninsula sits Cape Flattery, the very corner of the country and the most northwestern point of the contiguous United States.

PNW Road Trip: Driving to the Olympic Peninsula

You can’t drive across the Olympic Peninsula—a mountain range is in the way. Here your road trip route circles instead, caught between the shoreline and the slopes. Take your time on the peninsula’s large loop, and don’t forget to stop for the hot springs, the majestic old hotels, and—if you see him—Bigfoot.

Vancouver’s downtown is almost an island, bordered on three sides by False Creek, English Bay, and Vancouver Harbour, which encourages the buildings there to grow tall.

Driving to Vancouver, BC

Culturally rich with native history and international industry, and now with a growing culinary scene, Vancouver is poised to become the business, pleasure, and tourism jewel of Canada.

A sea stack on the beach at Port Orford, Oregon.

Driving to the Oregon Coast

Every town has a slightly different feel along 101, but there are constants along the entire northern half of the Oregon Coast—you’ll find saltwater taffy and clam chowder almost everywhere, and wildlife pops up in tide pools and along sandstone cliffs the whole way.

A barn in a field of pink tulips in Skagit Valley Washington.

PNW Road Trip: Driving from Vancouver to Seattle

The drive from Vancouver to Seattle is 141 miles and takes about 2.5 hours, though border delays can vary. This route takes you from the heart of downtown Vancouver to Seattle with a scenic detour to the towns of Bow and Edison. Each tiny town boasts bakeries, cheesemongers, and cafés.

Wildflowers grow beside a lake reflecting Mount Rainier.

PNW Road Trip: Driving from Mount Rainier to Seattle

The trip from Mount Rainier National Park to Seattle is only 85 to 95 miles from both the Nisqually and White River park entrances but takes close to two hours to complete thanks to some twisty terrain. Neither route is very straightforward, so keep these directions handy.

The Fremont is an arch framed bridge crossing the Willamette.

PNW Road Trip: Driving from Portland to Seattle

Seattle is 175 miles north of Portland along I-5, about 2.75 hours without traffic. Being a fairly easy drive, it lends itself well to including both cities on a road trip, and there are plenty of landmarks to keep an eye out for as you travel.