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driving on I-5

USA
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driving on I-5

I'll be driving from Sea-Tac airport to Portland, Oregon on I-5. Is this a difficult trip to make? I am from the east coast and wondering how crazy is 1-5? According to the map, it looks like a straight shot down but it looks kind of tricky around Tacoma. Any advise regarding 1-5 would be wonderful and is it a scenic trip? Thanks!!

Oregon/Washington
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for Portland, Sunriver
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1. Re: driving on I-5

I-5 is very easy. We have lived on the east coast, and I-5 from Seattle to Portland is a breeze. If you hit rush hour in the Seattle area, that can slow you down, but it is not a difficult drive at all. Straight shot, not tricky, you will be fine. Oh...not scenic at all though, sorry!

Oregon
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2. Re: driving on I-5

What time of day are coming in to Sea-Tac? And where you going in Portland? I-5 south of Olympia not bad to north of Vancouver,

Sea-Tac to Olympia , and Vanc to Portland not nice in rush hour

Sea-Tac to downtown Portland a bit over three hours in non-rush hour.

Why not fly on to portland?

Longview, Washington
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for Mount Rainier National Park
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3. Re: driving on I-5

I-5 from Seattle to Portland is an easy drive. If you have driven MassPike or any of the other New England toll roads, you will have no problems. Actually, Washington/Oregon/California freeways are much easier than many on the east coast, because the exits are numbered south to north according to the milepost number. So when you reach where I live (Longview/Kelso) Exit 40, you will know that it is only 40 miles to the Oregon border (Portland).

Seattle tends to be rush hour gridlock 24/7 and there is no way to drive around it. Hopefully you have someone travelling with you so that you can use the HOV lanes and you should be able to cruise right along.

Once you get past Tacoma and Fort Lewis (which is not at all tricky) the traffic will thin out. The freeway narrows to 4 lanes just south of Olympia until you get to the rest area just north of Castle Rock. But the only time that gets crowded is during evening rush hour between Olympia and Chehalis.

Even though I've driven it hundreds of times, if the weather is clear, it is beautiful trip. Leaving Seattle you see Mt. Rainier, then further south you will get a glimpse of Mt. St. Helens. (You might even want to take a short side trip at Castle Rock up Hwy 504 to the Mt. St. Helens Visitor Center--about 7-10 miles. You won't be really close to the volcano, but the Visitor Center is very interesting.)

Between Kalama and Woodland you drive along the Columbia River. Going on south toward Vancouver on good days, you can see 4 snow-capped mt peaks. (Rainer, St. Helens, Adams and Hood.)

Enjoy your trip!

Oregon
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4. Re: driving on I-5

I just had to add that there is so little craziness that you might get a little drowsy. I think Washington is a beautiful state but the drive down I-5 is not the most beautiful. However, when you get to Portland, you will know that you've arrived. If you hit seatac in the morning, it should be a breeze.

USA
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5. Re: driving on I-5

Thanks Kitters, Mtngrl, Phirl & Julauf…..

Phirl – To answer your question, I bought tickets to Seattle for $207.00 r/t..... That's a bargain!!

Right now flying from the east coast to Portland, OR is creeping up in price over $350 r/t and there isn’t much to pick from for itinerary.

I saw tickets to Portland 3 weeks ago for $189 round trip and unfortunately, I didn’t jump on it…

All of your advise was great and I can't wait to see Washington & Portland, OR. Take Care!!

6. Re: driving on I-5

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