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Planning an Epic I-5 Road Trip – Best Places to Stop Along the Way!

Need to drive between California, Oregon, and Washington? It’s all about the I-5! Don’t make the mistake of just driving through, there’s so much to see and do along I-5 that you can really enjoy your road trip. This post will reveal all our favorites and those must-stop attractions.

Traveling the I-5, for us, is like driving home after a long day’s work. Living on the west coast, we’ve done it so many times in both directions, and each time we find something new to love.

The I-5 begins in California south of San Diego, right on the border of Mexico, and continues through Oregon and on up to Blaine, Washington, on the Canadian border. From start to end, it measures a little over 1,382 miles, and one of the main reasons it was built is because it has always been a route used by local native Americans and traders.

Our article talks about all the fun things to stop and see along this iconic route. And what would a road trip be without amazing food? We’ve included all of our favorite, always-stop, food stops along the route. Many of the cities mentioned have the interstate going right through them, but for our purposes of having as much fun as possible, we’ve included amazing sites, towns, national parks, and more that you will enjoy that are only up to an hour off of the highway. Who said you can’t have any fun while you are trying to get from Point A to Point B?

In this articles, you’ll find:

Attractions along I-5 in California

A view of San Diego from the water. San Diego is a must stop on the I-5 road trip.

San Diego

Why visit: San Diego is one of those southern California cities that everyone must visit. It’s got great museums, and a vibrant downtown with the gaslight district. It’s on the water, where you can do all kinds of harbor cruises, whale watching, experience the navy ships, and even do some tide-pooling.

What will the kids think? San Diego is definitely a favorite for the kids. With one of the best zoos in the entire United States (maybe even the world), beautiful parks, and lots of water activities, they’ll want to go back again and again.

Best tip for visiting: It’s all about the water, so take one of the harbor cruises and really get a sense of what the city is all about.

Cabrillo National Monument is one of the main attractions to see off of I-5 in California.

Cabrillo National Monument

Why visit: Cabrillo National Monument, located in the city of San Diego, is a fantastic part of U.S. history that most people have never heard about. It’s named after the first European explorer to explore the west coast, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. His life story and explorations are interesting to learn about in the exhibits. Along with this fascinating history, the site also has a lighthouse, wonderful flora, and great tide-pooling. It’s well worth a few hours.

What will the kids think? The museum of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo is more interesting than you might expect. Reading his unique story, one that is largely unknown, was fascinating. If you are going with kids, make sure to do that part first, then hike up to the Loma Lighthouse to have a look, and finally head down to the tide pools. Your kids won’t stop talking about it.

How to get there from I-5: Depending on which way you are driving on the I-5, you can take two different exits. Driving north, take the Hawthorne Street/ Airport exit. It will take you about 25 minutes to get to Cabrillo. From the south take the Rosecrans St. exit. Cabrillo is located on a Navy base, so you must enter it through Catalina Blvd. The gate is not always manned, but if it is, the navy guards will let you through when you tell them your destination. If there is no one at the gate, proceed and make sure to follow all speed limit signs.

Best tip for visiting: Weekends tend to be super busy. It’s much better to go on a weekday. If a Saturday or Sunday is your only choice, go as early as possible. The road really starts backing up by about 11:00 AM. Also, there are no food or drink facilities. Pack a lunch, lots of water, and enjoy a picnic down on the beach.

Well worth a stop off of Interstate I-5 is the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Why visit: Mission San Juan Capistrano, located in the town of San Juan Capistrano, is one of the best preserved and most famous of California’s historic Spanish Missions. One of it’s big claims to fame is the miraculous “Return of the Swallows” which takes place every year on St. Joseph day, March 19th.

While the swallows don’t return in the same numbers as in the past, there is still a major celebration at the Mission. Regardless of when you visit, Mission San Juan Capistrano is a beautifully preserved part of California history with lush gardens and interesting exhibits.

What will the kids think? Of course, if you are able to time your visit with the Return of the Swallows celebrations, kids will love the festivities, dancing, music, and the parade. Other times of the year still offer plenty for the younger family members. Be sure and check out the Native American museum with its excellent interactive stations.

How to get there from I-5: Take exit 82 and follow the signs to the mission.

Best tip for visiting: Make sure to ask for the information for California students. It’s a workbook with lots of fun information and activities based on the California Missions. Even though it’s made for fourth graders in the California school system, kids of all ages from other places will love it, as well.

Best place to camp: Doheny State Beach Campground, only 10 minutes from Mission San Juan Capistrano, has camping on the beach, surfing, picnic facilities, tide pools, and aquariums.

One of the informational placards that mark the start of California's Highway 1.

Beginning of the Pacific Coast Highway

Dana Point is the official beginning of California Highway 1 or the Pacific Coast Highway.

How to get there from I-5: Take exit 79 and follow the signs to Dana Point. You will see a historical marker and some informational placards marking the site. We don’t expect you to just visit this site, but if you’re on a round trip and have the time, the Pacific Coast Highway is a great way to get back up the coast without driving I-5 both ways.

Disneyland Park

Why visit: Walt Disney’s vision for a family entertainment destination took shape in the form of Disneyland in 1955. It has been growing and growing ever since. Today the park has more than 80 attractions, shows, and exhibits scheduled throughout the day and night, and three major resort hotels right on the property. This is ground zero for all things Disney, and is easily capable of filling up two or three days of an I-5 road trip.

What will the kids think? Let’s face it, unless the children have never been exposed to any Disney movies or TV shows, they will be begging their parents for a stop at this world-famous theme park. And it is difficult to drive through Anaheim on the I-5 without spotting it right there along the road. Plan accordingly.

Best tip for visiting: Disney offers a special discount for park-goers with a military or Coast Guard affiliation. Active duty, retirees, and family members can purchase 3 and 4 Day Park Hoppers at the Tickets and Tours office on base for significant savings.

How to get there from I-5: Take exit 110 and follow the signs to Disney Parking.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, CA.
A guardian lion looks down smiling at Julie Andrews handprint in the forecourt of the stars in Hollywood, CA.
A guardian lion looks down smiling at Julie Andrews handprint in the forecourt of the stars in Hollywood, CA.

Los Angeles

Why visit: Hollywood! Actually, there is much more to Los Angeles than just Hollywood, although that probably is one of the biggest draws. From hipster beaches to the red carpet, there is so much to do in this city, it deserves at least a few days off of your I-5 trip to do it right.

However, if you just want to drive in and get a quick taste, you can easily stop at the Walk of the Stars and take a ride down Rodeo Drive at the very least. There’s so much to do, no matter what you love, you can find it in L.A.

What will the kids think? This will be a highlight on the kid’s list. If you really want to make their day, you can book a day at Universal Studios, especially if they are Harry Potter fans. A little further out of the city heading north, kids will fall in love with the animals at The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita.

Best tip for visiting: Los Angeles is just too big and too hard for a quickie in my opinion. However, we know that you are probably in a time crunch. I would recommend a 2 hour tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, where you can see some homes of famous people and get a feel for the city. Then I’d eat a great lunch or dinner and get out. Just plan to stay longer next time.

A girl walks through thousands of California poppies at the California Poppy Reserve in Lancaster, CA.
The hills come alive in brilliant color when the poppies bloom.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Why visit: If you are traveling in the spring, it would be a shame to miss the poppy bloom. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is the best place to get the best photos!

Make sure to check their website and see if you are hitting it at the right time. This detour will take you a couple of hours, but it’s something that you just won’t want to miss!

What will the kids think? They might think you are a little crazy at first, but I’ll bet as soon as they see the flowers, they’ll be ecstatic. There’s a wonderful interpretive center on site that is air-conditioned and interesting as well, so they’ll think it’s a good stop.

How to get there from I-5: Take exit 138 off of I-5, near the town of Gorman. It’s about a 50 minute drive to the poppy reserve, and it’s well worth it if the poppies are in bloom. After you are off the highway, turn right and follow Route 138 until you get to 170 St. (at the T junction). Take a right, and then turn left on Lancaster Road for about 2 miles.

Best tip for visiting: Be ready to walk, with good shoes, wide-brimmed sunhat, and lots of water!

The Channel Islands National Park is only about an hour off of the I-5, and is an iconic spot to visit in California.

Channel Islands National Park

Why visit? The natural marine beauty of this park is indisputable, and the guides are full of fun facts as well as the unique scientific and historical information you are bound to get on these types of tours. This stretch of the California coast is absolutely beautiful and the ocean around the Channel Islands is teeming with marine animals and birds.

What will the kids think? All kids love to ride on boats, and you can’t get out to the islands without taking the cruise, so they will really have a great time!

How to get there from I-5: From I-5, it’s less than an hour drive to Channel Islands National Park (about 50 minutes). Take exit 172 and follow Highway 126 west to Oxnard.

Best tip for visiting: While boating around the Channel Islands, make sure to wear a wide-brimmed sun hat and wear sunscreen. The boat is comfortable, but there’s not really any shade. You will want to be prepared.

Air Force One sits looking out at the Simi Valley in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
At the Ronald Reagan Presidential Libary, they have the Air Force One he flew on as he visited nations around the world.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Why visit: There’s so many reasons! Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and read and experience Cold War history like the fall of the Berlin wall, as well as walking through Air Force One; two of the best exhibits!

What will the kids think? There are plenty of interactive exhibits and it’s full of facts that are pretty recent history. One of the items the kids will love the best is Reagan’s love of jelly beans and his jelly bean portrait.

How to get there from I-5: The Ronald Reagan Library is only about a 35 minute drive off I-5. From either direction, take the Viewline Drive/ Simi Valley exit and follow the signs.

Best tip for visiting: Plan to spend at least two hours there, more if you want to eat in the café or have a picnic. There really is a lot to do, and it’s pretty well done.

In Old Sacramento, a quick stop off of I-5, you can see the sculpture of the Pony Express.
Sacramento, a city along Interstate I-5 in California, is well worth a stop. Pictured is the golden Tower Bridge.


Why visit: Sacramento is a great place to visit because it has a fun downtown area that harkens back to Gold Rush days. You can visit Old Sacramento and feel like you are in the Old West.

What will the kids think? Sacramento is a lively town, and there’s plenty for kids to do. It has all kinds of children-friendly activities from rock climbing to wildlife viewing and even petting. Kids will love the State Railroad Museum, so don’t miss it.

How to get there from I-5: Take exit 65A to get to Old Sacramento where you will want to start your exploration.

Best tip for visiting: Check out the rose garden downtown, near the capitol building. It’s a great place for taking family photos.

The Olive Pit sales shop, California.
Don’t drive by the Olive Pit without stopping in for a taste or a snack (exit 631)

Attractions along I-5 in Oregon


Why visit: Eugene is a great place to stop for a breather while driving I-5. As the state’s second largest city, there is plenty to do. We think you’d enjoy the Museum of Natural and Cultural History where you can meet an ancient ice sloth. For a great lunchtime stop head to the Eugene Oregon Provisions Market Hall where you will be spoiled for choice.

What will the kids think? Eugene has plenty of fun activities that kids will enjoy. Take them to the Cascades Raptor Center. With over 40 avian residents, the kids will learn all about the owls and eagles in the area. They’ll love it.


Why visit: The capital of Oregon, Salem is known for its many gardens with colorful flowers, as well as its proximity to many Willamette Valley wineries. If it’s history and old-world charm that you love, visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Gordon House (which is also in the Oregon Garden) and the gorgeous Gallon House Covered Bridge.

What will the kids think? Kids will love the fresh air and riding on the Riverfront Carousel. Other things to do with kids include Bush’s Pasture Park and if you have time, the Enchanted Forest theme park.

How to get there from I-5: Easy. Salem is right on I-5. Exit 253 will take you right downtown or get you on your way to the Oregon Garden.

Best tip for visiting: Being a city of flowers, late spring and early summer are the absolute best times to visit Salem. However, no matter what time of year you are traveling through, there will be lots of wines to try, so you’ll still love it.

Street art in Portland, Oregon.


Why visit? Oregon’s largest city is both quirky and fun. With its hipster vibe, penchant for great eats, and love of the arts, it is the perfect stopover. From visiting the famous Powell’s Book Store to searching out the kitsch in the multitude of antique shops, everyone loves this city.

What will the kids think? Food trucks and an aerial tram with fantastic views will get the kids on board, but add to it all the outdoor parks and tax-free shopping, and they will love it.

How to get there from I-5: You can’t miss it! You drive right through it and you can see much of the city right from the road, but don’t let that let you pass it by, you’ll regret it later.

Best tip for visiting: The coffee shops and craft breweries in this town will make you want to stay. Trust me!

The Columbia Gorge Vista House is one of the premiere attractions not far off of Interstate I-5 in Oregon.

Vista House and Multnomah Falls of the Columbia River Gorge

Why visit: Built specifically to inspire travelers, it’s almost a crime if you don’t stop to see Vista House. Don’t worry, though, Crown Point is a majestic overlook where you can enjoy amazing Columbia River views. Vista House, itself, is a great place to do a little souvenir shopping and savor a cup of coffee. It’s not a stop that will take long, and you know what? It’s worth it.

What will the kids think? Kids will love Vista House just for the run around and look at the great views options, let alone a well-timed snack.

How to get there from I-5: The easiest and fastest way to get to the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge is to follow the I-84 East and take exit 22 which will put you on the Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway. It will take you about 30 minutes to get to your first stop, then Multnomah falls is just another 20 minutes past there.

Astoria, a well-known city, in Oregon is the home of the Goonies.


Why visit: Astoria is a super fun city, with a laid-back vibe, about one hour off of I-5. It’s a great place to spend a few days or a few hours. It is on the coast, and therefore the views are amazing. Beaches are nearby, and the town is just quirky and fun.

What will the kids think? There’s so much to do in Astoria, but one of the most fun things is to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum where the kids can sail remote control boats. Another fun jaunt is to climb to the top of the Astoria Column.

How to get there from I-5: Take Washington exit 39 even though Astoria is in Oregon. It’s right on the border and this way is a shorter drive. Off of the exit go over the Lewis and Clark bridge following signs to Rainier, then Highway 30 the rest of the way to Astoria.

Best tip for visiting: Don’t cut your time short on this stop. The area is well worth a couple of days as there is so much to do. Make sure to eat some of the seafood that is on offer all over town. It doesn’t get fresher than this.

The Sacajawea and Pompey statue located in the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in Oregon, about an hour's drive from I-5.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Park

Why visit: One of the most interesting national parks, it has sites in both Oregon and Washington. It includes a fort, some beaches, a few museum exhibits, and of course great docent talks. It’s an all-around fun time.

What will the kids think? From learning about the Lewis and Clark expedition, especially where their dog was concerned, and romping around on gorgeous beaches. They’re going to love it!

How to get there from I-5: Lewis and Clark National Park is very close to Astoria, so follow those directions first. From Astoria, take Highway 101 south. There are plenty of signs. Your first stop should be Fort Clatsop.

Best tip for visiting: The Pacific Northwest can be cool and overcast even in summer, but don’t let that stop you from exploring the beaches and tide pools. There’s tons of marine life as well as driftwood to enjoy.

Attractions along I-5 in Washington

Mount St. Helens view, Washington.

Mount St. Helens Volcano and Visitor Center

Why visit: This is the site of the largest volcanic eruption in continental North America in the last 100 years and the views are amazing. The world class visitor center offers information about volcanoes, as well as the surrounding area.

What will the kids think? Who doesn’t love a good park and some views? Also the kids will enjoy the movie in the visitor center.

How to get there: Take exit 49 and follow along the scenic Washington state highway 504 (east). It will take just about an hour, except that the views are pretty stunning, so add some additional photo time.

Mt. Rainier peaking over a verdant valley, Washington.

Mount Rainier National Park

Why visit: Climbing to an altitude of 14,000 feet, Mount Rainier dominates the skyline as you drive along I-5 between Seattle and Olympia. There are two main entrances into the park, Paradise and Sunrise, and both offer stunning views, vistas, and hiking opportunities.

What will the kids think? Kids will be excited to be driving and hiking on an active volcano. But they will enjoy hiking through meadows carpeted with wildflowers even more.

How to get there from I-5: To get to Mount Rainier National Park, take exit 77 from Chehalis and follow route 12 east to route 7 north. In Elbe you will turn on the 706 east to the entrance of the park. It’s a little over an hour from the highway, and of course once you get there, you are taking the scenic drives. If this is on your agenda, plan on spending a night or two in the area.

Best tip for visiting: Even though it’s rated as one of the best places to visit in September in the US, we like to also visit in August to catch the wildflowers in full bloom. It’s a magical time.

Harbor in Olympia, Washington.


Why visit: Located at the southernmost end of Puget Sound, Olympia is the Washington State Capitol. The capitol building is in a gorgeous park like setting complete with cherry trees, fountains, and flower beds. As with many other state capitol cities, Olympia has a charming small town feel with a walkable downtown and harbor area that are both fun to explore.

What will the kids think? Kids of all ages love visiting the Hands On Children’s Museum in downtown Olympia. This is the Pacific Northwest’s largest, and most popular, children’s museum with loads of STEAM activities for children of all ages.

How to get there from I-5: For the state capitol and downtown take exit 105 (southbound or northbound) and follow signs for City Center.

Best tip for visiting: Visit Olympia during cherry blossom season, late-March through mid-April, for the most stunning views of the capitol building and grounds. Also, arrive on Thursday through Sunday (April – October) to make a trip to the Olympia Farmer’s Market.

The Old City Clock Tower, located in downtown Tacoma, is just one of the many attractions worth stopping for when taking an I-5 road trip.


Why visit: Tacoma has a beautiful historic downtown with an eclectic and vibrant charm. It is an old port city with a colorful past filled with odd characters from the old railroad and logging days. But that color can best be found nowadays in its thriving glass art community in the incredible Museum of Glass. Another reason to stop here is to take in a show in the venerable Tacoma dome where performances by International music stars like Elton John or Celine Dion take the stage.

What will the kids think? Kids will be fascinated by the glass blowing demonstrations at the Museum of Glass. Or if museums aren’t their thing, take them to the Point Defiance Zoo where they can get up close and personal with tigers, penguins, lemurs, and more.

How to get there from I-5: The highway divides the city in half with several exits to choose from. For the downtown, however, take exit 133 and follow signs to Downtown on highway 705.

Best tip for visiting: For a great place to get out of the car and stretch your legs, head to the waterfront. Park your vehicle in a spot along Ruston Way and walk along the 5 mile long paved path between Point Ruston and the Chinese Reconciliation Park. Keep an eye out for sea otters, seals, and other marine life.

Seattle skyline, Washington.


Why visit: Forever known for Sleepless in Seattle and grunge music (thanks to Tom Hanks and Nirvana), Seattle is Washington’s biggest city with so much more than houseboats and hippies in flannel and blue jeans. Yes, music is a big part of the scene here, and there are some incredible waterfront walks, but no trip to Seattle would be complete without a visit to the Fremont Street Market, or shopping for flowers at Pike Place Market.

Other noteworthy attractions include the Space Needle, the Museum of Pop Culture, and the Chihuly Glass garden all at the Seattle Center. At the waterfront, eat fish and chips and clam chowder at Ivar’s, ride on the seaside ferris wheel, or go back in time at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical park.

What will the kids think? Kid’s will fall in love with the sea otters in the Seattle Aquarium, that’s a given. If it’s hot out, take them to the Seattle Center to run and play in the International Fountain and splash area.

How to get there from I-5: For the Seattle Center take exit 167 for Mercer St toward Seattle Center. For the Waterfront take exit 164a and then west on Madison street (northbound) or exit 165a and then west on Columbia street (Southbound).

Best tip for visiting: Parking in Seattle can be very difficult and expensive. Choose one place to park and take public transportation around the city. If the Seattle Center is on your itinerary, park at the Republic Parking lot nearby then leave your car there and ride the monorail downtown after visiting the attractions at the center.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Washington.

Skagit Valley

Why visit: Skagit Valley is best known for its Tulip festival and acres and acres of gorgeous spring time flowers. If you’re driving through during the months of March and April, a drive through the daffodil or tulip fields is a must. Other times of the year, just take a drive through the idyllic farmlands, stop for some shopping at a local creamery or roadside farm stand, or enjoy some fantastic farm to table culinary treats.

There are a few unique and interesting small towns in the Skagit Valley, each worth at least a short visit. Our favorites are La Conner, Edison, and Mt. Vernon. La Conner is a quiet old waterfront town with a long history in the area, showcased in its resplendently restored nineteenth century buildings.

A little further afield, Edison is a quirky tiny little artist community with galleries and one of our favorite bakeries, Bread Farm. Finally, Mt. Vernon is the home of the Tulip Festival and a great town to use as a base during a visit to the valley or as a jumping off point for a scenic drive along the Cascade Loop.

What will the kids think? The Tulip Festival is packed full of fun, kid friendly activities like face painting and trolley rides through the flower fields. Other activities throughout the year include pumpkin patches, u-pick berry farms, and a petting zoo.

How to get there from I-5: Mt. Vernon is located right on I-5 at exit 226.

Best tip for visiting: Timing is everything. The best times of year to visit are April and October. In April the flowers are in bloom and the Tulip Festival is in full swing. In the fall, pumpkin patches and corn mazes are sure to entertain the whole family. Finally, take exit 224 northbound, or 225 southbound, and stop at the self-serve Cedardale Orchards cider store, for a gallon of the best apple cider.

Seagull sculpture, Bellingham, Washington.


Why visit: An underrated city, Bellingham has a colorful past and really has plenty to offer. With its fascinating historic downtown center, this is a great place to get out of the car and explore. There are a few world class museums, but our favorite was the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention. We really loved the interactive displays, demos, and intriguing history behind the War of the Currents (AC/DC).

Bellingham has beautiful parks, loads of good food, and, for those on a truly epic road trip, the Bellingham Cruise Terminal is located in the historic Fairhaven district. This is the starting point of the Alaska Marine Highway where you can catch a ferry to Alaska!

What will the kids think? Children will be amazed with the demonstrations and interactive exhibits in the Sparks Museum. Of course, they’ll also love the sculpture park as well as having lunch at one of the food trucks in Waypoint Park.

How to get there from I-5: Whether heading north or south, take exit 253 for Lakewood drive. Then travel west on Lakewood East Holly Street and into the downtown core.

Best tip for visiting: Make the most of your visit to Bellingham by going on a Saturday morning. Enjoy the snacks and shopping at the Farmer’s Market (also held on Wednesdays), then head over to the Spark Museum for the Mega Zapper show (2:30 on Saturday and Sunday).

Peace Arch, USA.

Peace Arch State Park

Why visit? Most American’s are at least a little familiar with the War of 1812 fought between the young USA and Great Britain, but most probably don’t know how it affected the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, the Peace Arch State Park provides the history and background of these historic times. Learn all about the treaties that established the US-Canada borders and enjoy a stroll around a beautiful park with lush gardens.

It’s a short walk on a paved path from the parking lot down to the monument, perfect for stretching those road weary legs. The park sits right on the border and you could even walk across the grassy lawn and into Canada, but don’t. Border patrols are sitting in the parking lot watching carefully. Don’t worry, though, it’s not scary, this is an undefended border after all.

What will the kids think? Going on a road trip with kids means planning stops to release energy. They need get out of the car and just run around and play. The Peace Arch State Park offers a chance to learn a little bit of history and burn off some of that pent up energy. There’s a small playground in the park, a short walking path down to the Arch, and clean bathrooms.

How to get there from I-5: To really get the most out of the park, take exit 276 off of I-5 and follow the signs to Peace Arch State Park. Otherwise, if you’re driving through the border you’re going to drive right through the park and within a few dozen feet of the Peace Arch Memorial.

Most of the time, there is a long backup at the border offering ample time for passengers to get out and get a closer look and take some photos. Just keep an eye on the car and be ready to jump back in if the traffic starts moving!

Best tip for visiting: Pay attention to the signs, sometimes some sections of the park are closed and people aren’t allowed out of their vehicles. Also, after visiting the Peace Arch, make sure to go into Blaine for some amazing ice cream at the Edaleen Dairy Story.

I-5 Tips

A rest stop along the I-5.

Rest Stops

Luckily there are plenty of rest stops all along I-5. The one pictured above is in California, but they are all very well maintained, clean, and have plenty of room for parking. Some have designated dog walking areas, information stands, and even vending machines. For safe driving, make sure to pull over and take plenty of breaks.

Mountain Passes

There are a couple of very high mountain passes along I-5, so you will want to keep that in mind as you plan. There can be snowfall on any of them from late October through April, and of course this will really slow you down. Plus it just becomes that much more dangerous. If you are hauling a trailer, or have a large RV, it might be a good idea to pull over and just stop until the road is completely clear.

Pro Tip: Make sure to check road conditions before planning too long a drive. The passes, especially, can get congested and the weather changes frequently because of the elevation. Roadnow has updated weather conditions.


Most of I-5 has temperate weather throughout the year. Even as you get further north, the road rarely freezes. The hardest part is the winter storms in the mountain passes. However, the storms usually do not last long, and doing tourist activities and beautiful views in the winter are just as great, so traveling all year long would still be a good option.


It seems that if you are going to be out west at all, at some time you will find yourself on I-5. This is great, because it’s an iconic highway, and there’s plenty to do all along the way.

Author Bio – Corinne is an avid camper and traveler. She’s been to all 50 of the US states and has four more Canadian provinces to visit. However, she’s not stopping yet. There’s always more to see of this great continent! Corinne loves local foods, getting outdoors, landscape photography, and road trips.

Author Bio: Jim Vail, is an avid traveler and explorer. He’s been to all fifty states and traveled around the world. He’s happiest shooting wildlife photography, camping, and hiking in the mountains, or fishing on the side of a river in Alaska.