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  1. Default How best to drive Vancouver to Anaheim CA

    Our family would like to take three days (two nights) and drive from Vancouver, BC, to Anaheim, CA, this summer. Does anyone have any advice on which cities/towns we should spend those two nights en route and any reasonably priced (but not too budgety) accommodation? I'd love to hear from people who have done this trip - we are clueless! Is it reasonable to think two nights en-route will be enough? We have four children ages 12, 10, 5 and 2. Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Generally Speaking

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Three days is certainly enough to make that trip, but not with a lot of time to spare. You'll need to cover well over 400 miles a day, especially the first two. Your third day will entail getting through the Los Angeles metro area in the evening, perhaps even rush hour!, and so you should not plan to cover as many miles that last day. As for well spaced overnight stops, I think you should be looking at somewhere around Roseburg, OR for your first night and Patterson, CA for the second, give or take. Both should offer the usual compliment of moderately priced motels near the I-5 exit ramps. For me, these include Days Inn, Comfort Inn, La Quinta and a host of others. If you use one of the many travel search engines to look for motels near those towns, you should find something in your price and amenity range. In your case, you might as well pre-book. You can generally save a little bit over rack rate and you won't have the concern of looking for a place on the fly with 4 kids ready for bed (even if they don't think so).

    Also plan on stopping every 2-3 hours during the day to just let the kids run and blow off steam. Know where the state and local parks are along your route. You will have time to spend a half hour a couple of times a day at some that are near the highway, and such stops will make the trip a whole lot more enjoyable.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Rush Hour Traffic Avoider here!

    I agree with most of what AZBuck is saying. I just have a tweak to suggest.

    We have done this trip numerous times. I live in Washington state and am about 150 miles closer to Anaheim. This route works well for us on several trips to Disney with the kids, but you will have to push it just a tad more than we have. I think it's still do-able.

    We always shot for Buttonwillow, CA, for our second night. The advantage is that it's only about 140 miles from Anaheim. We would usually then just sleep in the next morning and check out of the hotel mid-morning, breezing into Anaheim in the early the morning and evening rush hours.

    Yeah, we would be a bit tired from the long driving but this also, essentially, gave us a down day to check into the hotel, spend the afternoon swimming at the pool and plan our final assault on how to cram in the most rides at Disney. So it worked well.

    On the way home, we would play at Disney til closing and then hop in the already-packed car and head to Buttonwillow for the night. This meant we didn't have to deal with the LA traffic in the morning to get out of the city. Because we'd get in quite late (2-3am usually), we would again sleep in the next morning and start for home late morning.

    This always worked well for us so you might consider it. YMMV.

  4. Default

    Thank you so much Judy and AZBuck! I'll take some time to process all of your suggestions and chat with my man. Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my question.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Glad to help!

    Let us know if there's anything else we can help you with. Have fun with The Mouse!

  6. Default A slightly different routing...

    I've done the route sort of in opposite directions lots of times. (Orange County area to Bellingham, and back).

    My perference has been to do it in 2 days, not 3. The reason is it is very doable in 2 days, although they are long days -- which saves a day and an extra hotel bill on the road.

    Going north and south, a good overnight stop is in the Yreka to Redding area, which has several towns with a reasonable hotel selection. The largest town is Redding, with the most choice of hotels, although there are hotels in several smaller towns through that region. Redding is a reach though -- about 11-12 hours drive time from the border.

    Departing, my goal has been to get through Seattle either before or after rush hour, usually meaning departing from the US border region very early (typically in the 5 am time period, which puts you through Seattle at about 630-7 am), and through Portland about noon. This puts you into the hotel about 3-5 pm. Your alternative is to depart the border area about 7 am, which puts you through Seattle in the 8:30-9 am range, after rush hour -- and puts you into a hotel in northern California in the 5-7 pm range.

    The next morning, I'd sleep in a bit, and hit the road south at about 8-9 am (depending on starting point). It's roughly 10 hours to Anaheim from Redding, which puts you into the LA traffic at between 6-7 PM at the very end of rush hour. If we're coming into the Valencia area (near Magic Mountain) we'll sometimes stop for an early, light dinner for an hour to let traffic die down, and then continue through the LA basin after rush hour.

    (There's a route through the LA basin which also avoids most of the nasty traffic in downtown LA, where 5 freeways junction together. Coming down into the San Fernando Valley on I-5 at Sylmar, take the 210 freeway east through Pasadena, and then take the 57 freeway south through Brea to Anaheim. This puts you within about 3 miles of Disneyland and avoids the very congested I-5 corridor through downtown LA. This will add about 5-8 miles of distance overall, but its well worth it. )

    As a counterpoint to Judy's suggestion, for a 3 day trip, with 2 overnights, I would recommend a stop in about Eugene to Ashland (before you head up over the Siskiyou mountains into California).

    For a second night, rather than Buttonwillow, you might consider the Bakersfield area. The reason for this is while there are hotels scattered in several small towns along the I-5 through the southern Central Valley of California, there's nothing much along the I-5 other than freeway and scattered small clusters of roadside services for a long distance. Buttonwillow and Lost Hills are the two largest groupings of hotels in this part of the state, but there isn't a lot of choice. Bakersfield is the biggest town in the area, with the largest hotel selection, and is the same distance from LA.

    To get to Bakersfield you can either take I-99 south from Sacramento (I-5 and I-99 parallel each other there, about 1-2 miles apart), or you can cut over at Manteca (on the 205 freeway), or you can go across on one of the many california state routes between (CA 46 east of Lost Hills is quite a good and fast road). I-99 itself is a fast superhighway, and passes down the eastern side of the Central Valley, also heading from LA.

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