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Driving from Seattle to Vancouver in Rental Car

driving tips from seattle to vancouver

Seattle is a wonderful city with plenty of adventures and beauty around every corner. If you are heading north from the "Emerald City" towards Canada, you will find equally gorgeous scenery in Vancouver. For an incredible road trip, VroomVroomVroom has put together a quick guide to help you make the most of your time.

Can I take a rental car from Seattle to Vancouver?

Yes, you can. In fact, most car rental companies will allow you to drive your rental car from Seattle to Vancouver, but there may be restrictions. Be sure to read the  Terms and Conditions of our suppliers or contact them directly about your plans.

Where to drive your rental car between Seattle to Vancouver?

  • Downtown: There is more to do in downtown Seattle than tall buildings, historic museums, and Pike Place Market. With a rich history and vibrant culture, Seattle is a cool city to explore.
  • La Conner: This small town in Skagit Valley offers the opportunity to stroll along the beautiful waterfront while checking out original art galleries, fine crafts, home furnishings, and gift items.
  • Fairhaven: Situated just south of downtown Bellingham, the Historic Fairhaven Village has plenty of boutique shops and galleries. You can get a great selection of affordable and unique items at Gallery West, Artwood, and Renaissance Celebration.
  • Vancouver: Located on the west coast of Canada, Vancouver is an exciting destination with full of things to see and explore. Walk and cycle around Stanley Park, visit the Museum of Anthropology, shop in Gastown and travel the world-famous Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Driving tips from Seattle to Vancouver

  • Washington state has 13 border crossings between British Columbia in Canada. It is important to note that the busiest crossings are the four borders that serve the Seattle to Vancouver area with wait times of up to 4 hours.
  • Drivers are advised to check Canadian Border Traffic to see current waits at each crossing.
  • Note that commercial vehicles are not permitted to use the Peace Arch port.
  • Northbound traffic at the border is always busy during weekends from 6 pm and 10 pm.
  • Border crossing times are usually shorter when heading north from Seattle to Vancouver while crossing into the U.S. can be more time-consuming.

How is the drive from Seattle to Vancouver?

Going on a road trip from Seattle to Vancouver is a pleasant one and only takes two hours and 28 minutes. Interstate-5 North is the most direct route between Seattle and Vancouver in British Columbia. If you are not in a rush, the scenic Chuckanut Drive, which runs through farmland along the Puget Sound between the charming towns of Bow and Bellingham, is worth a visit.

What type of documents do you need to travel from Seattle to Vancouver?

You will need essential travel documents, such as a NEXUS card, a Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card, an enhanced driver's license, and your car rental documentation to pass through immigration. Read our  Driving Across the U.S. Border into Canada in a Rental Car to get more information.

Crossing the U.S./Canada Border

There are four primary border crossing options if you plan to drive from Seattle to Vancouver. These are the Peace Arch, the Pacific Highway (Truck Crossing), Lynden/Aldergrove, and Sumas/Abbotsford crossings.

Which border crossing is the best one?

Peace Arch is the main crossing and has the longest delays, while the Pacific Highway is usually faster in comparison. The Lynden/Aldergrove crossing is worth considering if you are traveling to the North Shore or to the east side of Vancouver. Please note that while the wait only takes less than 5 minutes, this crossing is not open 24 hours a day. The Sumas/Huntingdon are lower volume ports which have shorter delays and may be faster if they are not too far out of your way.

What are the peak traffic periods for Seattle to Vancouver border crossings?

July, August, and September are considered the peak months. Peak traffic periods tend to occur during the daytime on weekends and during commute hours on weekdays.

Are there tolls between Seattle and Vancouver?

There are no tolls if you take I-5 N between Seattle and Vancouver. However, if you cross further west and take Highway 1 into Vancouver you will need to pay a toll when you cross the Port Mann bridge.

Driving Distances

  • Seattle to La Conner: 1 hour and 13 minutes
  • Seattle to Fairhaven: 1 hour and 35 minutes
  • Seattle to Chuckanut: 1 hour and 15 minutes
  • Seattle to Vancouver: 2 hours and 29 minutes


  • Costco Gasoline: 4401 4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
  • Shell: 13001 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98125
  • Chevron: 1008 W Holly St, Bellingham, WA 98225
  • Petro-Canada: 2808 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K 2G7
  • Esso: 1205 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Z5
There are plenty of attractions to see in Seattle. Don't miss to visit the Olympic Sculpture Park, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Central Library, Space Needle, Smith Tower, and the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room. Check out outdoor attractions like Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden, or take a walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver.

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