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  1. #1
    sstone Guest

    Default Fastest Way from Vancouver BC to Cannon Beach

    Hi there,

    I would like to drive down from Vancouver, BC to Cannon Beach, as fast as possible. Altho I hear Astoria is pretty, I don't mind bypassing it if it gets me to cannon beach faster (I'm the type that would rather spend more time seeing fewer spots than make more stops seeing more places).

    Should I take the I-5 all the way down to Kelso, and then take US-30 past Astoria, and then the Coastal 101 South to Cannon Beach?

    The alternative is to take I-5 all the way down to Portland, and then the US-26 towards Cannon Beach.

    I am planning to depart from Vancouver, BC at 7 am.


  2. Default I think...

    Fastest route is I-5 south to Olympia, then US101 south to SR401, pick up US101 again at the bridge (Columbia R).

    If I remember correctly, that's the route my smart brother-in-law always takes.

    Perhaps Judy knows a quicker way? Bob

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


    Actually, on this one I don't. Since I live on the Washington coast, when I go to the Oregon Coast, I drive down 101 along the coast and don't even make it out to I-5.

    sstone's route is 143 miles from Olympia. MS S&T says it takes 2hr/45min

    Bob's route is 146 miles from Olympia. MS S&T says it takes 3hr/11min

    Bob, I believe your brother probably takes that route because it's much prettier and not because it's faster. 101/401/101 is a beautiful drive but it's 2-lane roads, sometimes quite windy, and it's easy to get caught behind slow-moving traffic. But, really, there's not all that much traffic on this road so you might also drive quite awhile without anybody sharing the road with you during the week. It's a bit more crowded on the weekends.

    sstone, if it were me, I'd still go the route Bob suggests. Even if it takes a tad longer, it's far more beautiful. You drive through amazing forests, funky little "blink and you miss 'em" towns, amazing stretches of sloughs/wetlands, and you get to cross the amazing bridge over the Columbia River into Astoria. At almost 5 miles long, and most of it just a few feet above the waterline, this is a real treat.

    While you're alternative to go down I-5 will surely be a bit faster, it's ugly. Billboards everywhere. It's getting quite congested. There's only a few short stretches without businesses lining the highway. You could be "anywhere USA" instead of enjoying the beautiful SW Washington rural areas.

    Anyway, Bob's suggestion is really one of my favorite drives once you get to Raymond/South Bend. We don't have a Costco near me. The closest is in Olympia, just over an hour away. On a nice day, I'll sometimes drive the 2 hours to the Costco in Astoria rather than the nearer one in Olympia just to enjoy the drive. (Of course, the fact there's no sales tax in Oregon is a bit more incentive but, unless I'm buying something pricey, it's not enough to make the trip just to save the tax.)

    If you do decide to take Bob's suggestion, I just want to clarify the route a bit so you don't get confused.

    * At Olympia, take the 101 Exit (Aberdeen/Ocean Beaches) for about 5 miles.

    * 101 veers off this road at this point (Shelton exit). Stay on the main road and don't take the exit to Shelton. 101 then becomes 8.

    * Stay on 8. At Elma, 8 becomes 12. Stay on it.

    * At Montesano, take the Raymond exit onto 107

    * 107 will meet up with 101. Go South on 101 towards Raymond.

    * About 26 miles south of the Raymond/South Bend, you will have the choice of staying on 101 or taking 4. They both end up at the bridge to Astoria.
    ******If you go on 101, you go nearer the coast, will drive along more of Willlapa Bay, and will be able to see the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge off in the distance.
    ******If you go 4, you will be more inland and see mainly forests and farmlands. At Naselle, you will need to take 401 until it meets back up with 101.

    Both routes are pretty. When I go down there, I usually take one route down and one back so I can enjoy both. If I had to choose, I'd probably stay on 101 to see more of the bay and the coast.

    * At Astoria, continue on 101 to Cannon Beach.

    Hope this helps a bit.

  4. #4
    sstone Guest


    Thanks for the quick replies. The detailed directions are really appreciated. It's my first time driving to Oregon so any advice is appreciated!

    Since I'm leaving Vancouver at 7 am, I'm hoping to be there by 4 pm, including rest stops.

    I'm looking forward to the Blue Heron Cheese Factory! :)
    Last edited by sstone; 06-26-2005 at 12:52 PM.

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


    The Blue Heron Cheese Factory has a nice product, low-key atmosphere. However, nothing beats the fantastic ice cream and cheese curds at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, imho. A must see!

    Driving time is probably about 7 hours from Vancouver BC to Cannon Beach via the 101/Coastal Route. So, it's probably do-able in your time frame but, of course, much will depend on how long it takes at the border and getting through Seattle. But you're hitting Seattle at the lull between rush hours so that should go rather smoothly.

    You might want to check out to get an idea of what border crossing you should take based on estimated times to get through. None of these are out of your way to speak of.

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