Interstate 5 (I-5) is a United States interstate highway that starts at the border with Mexico in San Ysidro, California and runs 1381 miles (2223 km) north through the states of California, Oregon and Washington to the border with Canada in Blaine, Washington. It serves as an important north-south transportation corridor along the U.S west coast connecting the major cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Tacoma and Seattle; the three state capitals of California (Sacramento), Oregon (Salem) and Washington (Olympia); and two additional major cities in neighboring countries (Tijuana & Vancouver) just over the international borders.
There are no toll segments on the "Freeway".
By planeThe Interstate 5 corridor can be accessed by plane through San Diego, Santa Ana, Burbank, Sacramento, Medford, Portland, Seattle, Everett and Bellingham with airports next to or near the freeway. In other cities, such as Los Angeles and Long Beach the airport can be further away (20-40 mi/32-64 km) from the I-5 corridor on another highway. From outside the U.S. the I-5 corridor is also accessed from Vancouver International Airport and Tijuana's General Abelardo L. Rodríguez International Airport.
By trainAmtrak operates trains "more or less" along the Interstate 5 corridor serving the major west coast cities. Some segments are further away such as the segment from Emeryville to Oxnard in California while other parts of the route are practically next to the freeway such as the segment between Longview and Centralia in Washington state. The following routes operate along the I-5 corridor:
- Amtrak Coast Starlight runs once daily between Los Angeles and Seattle via Portland, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area, Salinas, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Simi Valley and Van Nuys. It runs parallel with the Cascades between Seattle and Eugene with the same stops (except Tukwila, Vancouver, Washington, and Oregon City) and between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles with the Pacific Surfliner only with fewer stops. (see below)
- Amtrak Cascades runs between Seattle and Portland four times daily serving Tukwila, Tacoma, Lacey (Olympia), Centralia and Kelso in Washington state. They run from Seattle to Vancouver via Everett, Stanwood, Mt Vernon & Bellingham twice daily and from Portland to Eugene via Oregon City, Salem & Albany twice daily. Additional service from Seattle to Vancouver and from Portland to Eugene are provided on the Amtrak Thruway Bus.
- Pacific Surfliner San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Los Angeles & San Diego. The segment of this route closest or parallel to the I-5 corridor is between Simi Valley and San Diego. Passengers continue south towards the Mexican border in San Ysidro on the SDMTS 'UC San Diego Blue Line' Trolley from the American Plaza Station, across the street the Santa Fe Station.
- San Joaquins Sacramento, Merced, Stockton, Fresno and Bakersfield. Some trains on this route will go west towards Emeryville and Oakland from Stockton instead of continuing north to Sacramento. This route is then connected to Los Angeles from Bakersfield and from Stockton & Sacramento to Redding by Thruway buses via I-5.
By busThere are several bus companies operating buses along the I-5 corridor with Greyhound serving the entire length while others operate buses along certain sections of the I-5 corridor in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon or Washington) or California to make the trip possible without a car:
Greyhound LinesTravels along the entire I-5 corridor between Tijuana, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle,Vancouver BC and several smaller cities/towns in between each of the above cities. Some of their schedules run contiguously between Seattle and Los Angeles while others break up the trip in Sacramento and/or Portland, requiring a longer layover or transfer. Cruceros USA is their cross-border shuttle connecting Tijuana with San Diego, Santa Ana and/or Los Angeles.
BellAir AirporterGoes up from SeaTac & downtown Seattle to Stanwood, Burlington/Mt Vernon, Bellingham & Blaine on one route and a separate route to Anacortes and the San Juan ferry terminal from Burlington.
Bolt BusThey serve the cities along the I-5 corridor between Vancouver, BC and Eugene, Oregon (via Bellingham, Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Albany) in the Pacific Northwest.
Cantrail & Amtrak Cascades Thruway Busaddress: (bus stops) Seattle's King Street Station & Vancouver's Pacific Station. Additional stops at Sandmans Signature Hotel and Pacific Inn in Surrey. No additional stops in the U.S.Operates direct express buses between Seattle and Vancouver, BC
phone: +1 855 626-8585Travels between San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Diego and several cities in the San Joaquin Valley along the I-5 corridor.
phone: +1 714 839-3500Travels between SoCal (San Diego, El Monte, Los Angeles, Westminster) and Sacramento along the I-5 corridor.
International Bus LinesBuses goes up from Tijuana to San Ysidro, Santa Ana, Los Angeles San Fernando, Bakersfield, Fresno, and San Jose/Stockton (route splits/joins in Madero) along the I-5/CA-99 corridor.
Oregon Point-Cascade Point Line & Amtrak Cascades Thruway Busphone: +1 541 484-4100Bus between Portland, Woodburn, Salem, Albany & Eugene.
phone: +1 541 883-2609Connects Brookings to Klamath Falls via Crescent City, Grants Pass, Gold Hill, Medford and Ashland, etc.
Quick ShuttleRuns between Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Stops in Downtown Seattle (outside the Best Western at 200 Taylor Ave N) and SeaTac Airport (at the main terminal near south end of baggage claim, outside door 00, bays 11-16. Provides affordable and reliable transportation from Seatac Airport, Downtown Seattle, Bellingham Airport to Vancouver Airport, Downtown Vancouver and Cruise Ship Terminals.
phone: +1 559 442-3000Buses goes up to Sacramento via San Fernando, Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Stockton and several other places along SR-99; and down to Tijuana via Santa Ana and San Ysidro.
phone: +1 213 489-8079Connects Los Angles to Sacramento (via Bakersfield, Fresno, etc); to Salt Lake City (via Barstow, Las Vegas, St George, etc); to Hermosillo (via Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales); San Francisco Bay Area; and to Tijuana (via Santa Ana, San Diego/San Ysidro).
Mile markers are statewide mileposts, starting with "0" at the south border of each state which increases as you go north and then starts over at "0" when crossing the state line into the next state. So going south the numbers on the mileposts will decrease and then start over at the highest number (276 in Washington, 308 in Oregon & 796 in California) when crossing a state line. The exit numbers correspond with the mileposts so some numbers may be skipped if the exits are further apart from one to the next. Other exits that are one next to the other or "2 in 1" may have the same exit number followed by an "A", "B" or even a "C" such as "Exit #100A" to get on A St, "Exit #100B" to get on B St and so forth.
CaliforniaThe maximum speed limit is 70 mph (112 km/h) for cars & 55 mph (88 km/h) for large trucks on rural stretches and 65 mph (104 km/h) in urban areas or lower if posted otherwise.
San Diego area
San YsidroBorder crossing
Chula VistaThere are five exits for Chula Vista.
National CityThere are four exits for National City.
San DiegoThere are over thirty exits for San Diego.
EncinitasThere are four exits for Encinitas.
CarlsbadThere are eight exits for Carlsbad.
OceansideThere are seven exits for Oceanside.
Aliso Creek Rest AreaClosed for maintenance Restrooms, water, picnic tables, phone, vending machines and RV sanitation station.
Basilone RoadThere are a handful of fast food restaurants, a commissary, and a single gas station on the east side of the interstate, but these lie behind a gate to Camp Pendleton Marine Base and are thus off-limits to non-military travelers. Less than a mile south of this exit, San Onofre State Beach is publicly accessible and is a popular surfing spot that also offers camping. A short distance further south, the now-decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is visible just west of the interstate; the station's twin spherical containment buildings famously inspired Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun to lament that "everywhere I look something reminds me of her".
Orange County and Los AngelesPast the Camp Pendleton Marine Base the interstate enters the large conurbation of cities in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. This section is multi-lane (3 to 8) in both directions and is busy with traffic at nearly all times of the day. If at all possible avoid driving at peak commuter times. Some drivers may be tempted to take Interstate 405 as an alternate route, but check traffic conditions before doing so as it is often even worse for traffic congestion.
San ClementeThere are five exits for San Clemente. El Camino Real runs almost parallel to the highway and has a number of restaurants, many of which are Mexican.
Dana PointThere are two exits for Dana Point.
San Juan CapistranoThere are three exits for San Juan Capistrano.
Mission ViejoThere are four exits for Mission Viejo.
Laguna HillsThere are four exits for Laguna Hills.
IrvineThere are eight exits for Irvine.
Sand Canyon, Old Town, East IrvineIn addition to the chance to have a Knowlwood Burger in a building built in 1900, check out the 19th-century Irvine Bean and Growers Association Building.
TustinThere are four exits for Tustin.
Santa AnaThere are five exits for Santa Ana.
AnaheimThere are seven exits for Anaheim.
SR-39 / Buena ParkOn Beach Blvd there are a number of chain hotels and restaurants such as Fuddruckers.
Santa ClaritaThere are eight exits for Santa Clarita.
Magic Mountain ParkwayThe famous Magic Mountain amusement park is along the western side of the freeway and is home to roller coasters that have held world records for height and speed; freeway travelers will have an excellent view of thrill seekers taking the plunge over one of the many terrifying hills on the park's iconic rides. There are gas stations, chain restaurants and hotels at the exit that cater to park visitors, but expect heavier than normal traffic in the area during the summer when the park is busiest.
Tehachapi MountainsThe road climbs out of the San Fernando Valley,which although multi-lane will have slow-moving traffic before entering the Santa Clarita Valley. Oddly, at one point the north and south bound carriageways cross and run for a number of miles separate from one another.
Tejon Pass Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables, phone, vending machines and RV sanitation station.
Lebec RoadThe highway descends at a sharp six percent grade through a curving path within Grapevine Canyon from Lebec down to the Central Valley. The original route was infamous for its accidents until being straightened and widened between 1933-34. This stretch of road is known as The Grapevine and is often closed during storms when driving conditions become treacherous.
Central ValleyMost of this section is two-lane carriageway in both directions, running straight with only small rises though sparsely populated areas.
Laval RoadThe Laval Road exit has undergone dramatic development by the Tejon Ranch Corporation and now offers significant amenities for travelers. The Outlets at Tejon have over 70 outlet stores. Food options include Chipotle, Subway, Starbucks, In-N-Out, Panda Express, Black Bear Diner, and Carl's Jr. Gas options include Shell, Travel America, Chevron, Mobil, and Petro.
SR-58 / Buttonwillow / McKittrickThe town of Buttonwillow is actually five miles west of the interstate, but more than enough gas stations, fast food restaurants and even a couple of motels are clustered just off of the east side of the highway. For those heading north, services start to become sparse, so this is a stop worth considering if your gas tank is heading towards empty. Chevron, Mobil, Arco, Shell, and Travel Centers of America are all fuel options, while food options include Starbucks, Denny's, Carl's Jr, McDonald's, Taste of India, and Tita's Pupuseria.
Buttonwillow Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables, phone and vending machines. No RV sanitation station.
Lost HillsJust off the highway are a number of gas stations and fast food establishments. The town further down the road only really caters for local agricultural workers.
Twisselman RoadThis exit lacks services, but may be worth a stop between October and March to visit the Kern National Wildlife refuge. The refuge is about seven miles east of the interstate. It is a winter home to herons, cranes, hawks, ducks, and many, many other species of birds.
SR-41 / Kettleman City
Coalinga/Avenal Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables, phone and vending machines. No RV sanitation station.
SR-198 / Lemoore / HanfordIt is in the midst of a long stretch of empty highway; this exit has the Harris Ranch Complex, which sells fuel and food, and has a farm stand, a Tesla Supercharger, and lodging. The main ranch building offers a pretty good bakery, and those seeking out a steak won't be disappointed by the restaurant. If long drives aren't your thing, the location is approximately halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco and thus offers a good place to stop and spend the night. The town of Coalinga is 13 miles southwest of this exit and has additional amenities.
John "Chuck" Erreca Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables, phone and vending machines. No RV sanitation station.
Highway 33 and 152 / Los BanosCA-152 west is the main route through the hills to Gilroy and onward to either San Jose (via 101-N) or Monterey Bay (via CA-156). Los Banos, 6 miles east on CA-152, offers amenities for travelers. One exit west (at CA-33) is a Petro station with reasonable restaurant.
SR-33 / Santa NellaThis exit has several gas stations and a handful of motels. Food options are plentiful and include a Starbucks and an In-N-Out, and for those who have been seeing the many billboards during hours of travel, this is the northern half of the Pea Soup Andersen's chain and its namesake soup.
Westley Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables, phone, vending machines and RV sanitation station.
Junction Interstate 580 (northbound only)I-580 takes northbound drivers to San Francisco via the East Bay.
Junction Interstate 205 (southbound only)I-205 takes southbound drivers to San Francisco via the East Bay.
StocktonThere are eleven exits for Stockton.
SacramentoThere are fifteen exits for Sacramento.
Junction Interstate 80Interstate 80 is the second longest interstate in the country, traveling approximately 2900 miles from San Francisco in the west to New York City in the east. It is the most convenient route to San Francisco for southbound travelers, or for travelers going east to Lake Tahoe.
Elkhorn Rest Area (southbound only)Restrooms, water, picnic tables and phone. No vending machines or RV sanitation station.
Junction Interstate 505Connects I-5 to Vacaville along the I-80 corridor. I-505 ends at Exit #56 of I-80 in Vacaville. If coming from Dunnigan or anywhere north and going west towards the San Francisco Bay Area on I-80 this would be the route to take without going through Woodland or Sacramento.
Dunnigan Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables and phone. No vending machines or RV sanitation station.
Maxwell Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables and phone. No vending machines or RV sanitation station.
Willows Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables, phone and RV sanitation station. No vending machines.
Lt. John C. Helmick Rest AreaClosed for maintenance Restrooms, water, picnic tables and phone. No vending machines or RV sanitation station.
Herbert S. Miles Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables and phone. No vending machines or RV sanitation station.
Red BluffThere are six exits for Red Bluff.
Shasta Cascades Region
ReddingFor anyone visiting, Redding and the surrounding has numerous outdoor and indoor activities. Including two lakes and an inactive volcano within close driving distance. Plus many parks, hiking trails, and adequate shopping. There are seven exits for Redding.
SR 44 Lassen National ParkSR 44 goes east towards Lassen National Park and west into downtown Redding. Connects to SR 299 at Pine & Eureka in downtown. Sign from northbound side suggests this is the exit to take to go west on SR-299 towards Arcata & Eureka. Mt Shasta Mall is located off this exit and is surrounded by various other retail stores, restaurants, hotels and gas station for supplies, food, fuel and or a night's stay off the freeway.
SR 299 Lake BlvdGoing east SR-299 goes up through Modoc National Forest in Modoc County, towards the Nevada state line near Cedarville. Going west SR-299 goes into downton Redding and then go west towards Arcata in the coast.
Bridge Bay RoadThe interstate crosses Shasta Lake, California's largest reservoir, just north of Bridge Bay - the lake level at the crossing provides a quick way to judge the health of the state's water supply. The Bridge Bay Resort is just off of the exit at the marina and offers a restaurant and lodging, but the beautiful scenery will be of more interest to most travelers. Houseboats are a popular rental option on the lake, and over one hundred of them can sometimes be seen docked in Bridge Bay.
O'Brien Rest Area (northbound only)Restrooms, water, picnic tables and phone. No vending machines or RV sanitation station.
Lakehead Rest Area (southbound only)Restrooms, water, picnic tables, phone and vending machines. No RV sanitation station.
DunsmuirThere are three exits for Dunsmuir.
Mount ShastaThere are three exits for Mount Shasta City.
WeedThere are three exits for Weed.
Weed Airport Rest AreaRestrooms, water, picnic tables and phone. No vending machines or RV sanitation station.
YrekaThere are two exits to Yreka. Pin is at the W Center St at Exit 773 which is the most direct access to downtown Yreka from the freeway. Exit #773 is labeled as "SR 3 Yreka" from the northbound side and "SR 3 Ft Jones Etna" from the southbound side.
SR 3 MontagueGoes east to the town of Montague and south through Yreka as Main St. Road continues south from Yreka through Coffee Creek & Trinity Center to SR-299 in Weaverville. So if going towards Eureka, Arcata or anywhere that direction from Yreka this another route to take.
Randolph C. Collier Rest AreaClosed for maintenance Restrooms, water, picnic tables and phone. No vending machines or RV sanitation station.
SR 96 Willow CreekSR 96 cuts through the Klamath National Forest to SR-299 in Willow Creek. If going towards Arcata, Eureka or anywhere in that direction this would be the short cut without going all the way down to SR-299 at Exit 680 in Redding (over 100 miles away).
Hornbrook. Hornbrook can be accessed from Exits 789 (Henley Hornbrook) and 790 (Hornbrook Hwy-Ditch Creek)
Hilt RdLocal access road to the nearby communities of Hilt, Cole and the surrounding areas.
OregonThe maximum rural speed limit is 70 mph (112 km/h) & 60 mph for large trucks which is more relevant along I-84 corridor between The Dalles & the Snake River (Idaho border). The I-5 corridor remains at 65 mph (104km/h) in rural areas and 55-60 mph in urban areas. The stretch of I-5 between Portland & Eugene is also at 55-60mph (88-100km/h) too. Interstate travelers in Oregon should be aware that it is illegal to pump your own gas in the counties through which I-5 passes (although Oregon law changed in 2018 to allow stations in certain counties to offer self-service, I-5 doesn't pass through any of them). When you arrive at a filling station wait for an attendant to come to your car rather than attempting to get out and fill up your car on your own.
Siskiyou Summit (SR 273)SR 273 (Old Hwy 99 S) winds alongside of I-5 as a two lane highway in the mountains from Exit #1 to Ashland. Crosses I-5 at Exits #6 and 14 (as SR 66). Accessible from the northbound lanes only, no return to freeway going north. Southbound traffic can only merge into I-5 going south from SR 273, no access from southbound lanes of I-5 (only from Exit 6)
Ashland Summit (SR 273)SR 273 (Old Hwy 99) crosses over I-5 between Exit #1 and Ashland.Accessible from both directions of I-5.
AshlandA small town that is home to the Tony award winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival that has productions from February to October. There are three exits to Ashland
SR 99 Siskiyou Blvd AshlandBeginning of OR Hwy 99 which runs parallel along I-5 through Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford and Grants Pass. Intersects I-5 at Exits 35 and 55.
SR 66 Ashland Klamath FallsSR 66 goes west into town as Ashland St towards Southern Oregon State University and east and then south, parallel, along I-5 as Green Springs Hwy (Old Hwy 99) to SR 273 south of Emigrant Lake. From Emigrant Lake SR 66 continues east towards Klamath Falls while the Old Hwy 99 (SR 273) continues south towards the state line at Exit 1.
MedfordSouthern Oregon's largest and most diverse city, brimming with historical and cultural attractions while offering regional tax-free shopping. Medford is the county seat of Jackson County, and is the commercial and medical hub of southern Oregon. Its autumns tend to be very mild, and dry when compared to the rest of the state.
SR 238 & 62 North Medford Crater LakeAccess to Rogue Valley International Airport, Rogue Valley Mall and the surrounding retail stores, restaurants and hotels for supplies, food and/or a night's stay. SR-62 continues north and east towards Crater Lake. Immediate left (north) on Biddle Rd from SR-62, follow signs to Airport Rd to reach the airport.
Central Point Eagle PointAlso another way to access the airport. Go east on E Pine which become Biddle Rd. Follow signs to the terminal
Grants PassGrants Pass is the county seat of Josephine County and is famous for its white river rafting in the Rogue River. It is also the gateway to the nearby Oregon Caves National Monument located 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of the city. I-5 goes east-west from Central Point (Exit #33), through Grants Pass, to Merlin Rd (Exit #61). There are two exits to Grants Pass.
US Hwy 199 S Grants Pass Crescent CityConnects the I-5 corridor to Crescent City in the northern California coast. From Crescent City one can go north on US Hwy 101 to reach the Southern Oregon Coast. Locally US Hwy 199 accesses the local neighborhoods in south Grants Pass as Grants Pass Pkwy and Redwood Hwy.
SR 99 to US Hwy 199 Grants Pass City CenterAccess into downtown Grants Pass via NE Scoville which becomes NE 6th St. From downtown go north on NE 7th St to return to the freeway. SR-99 passes through downtown Grants Pass as NE 6/7th St and east towards Medford as Rogue River Hwy.
Merlin RdLocal road to the town of Merlin.
Wolf Creekunincorporated town.
RoseburgThere are 5 exits to Roseburg
Eugene-SpringfieldThe second-largest city in Oregon, home to the University of Oregon Ducks.
SR-34 Corvallis & LebanonCorvallis is west from the I-5/SR-34 junction while Lebanon is east.
AlbanyThe town is know as the "hub of the valley" as it sits at the confluence of the Willamette River and Calapooia Rivers. Albany's streets are lined with historic homes and a carousel museum. Its location in the Willamette Valley, known for its wine, allows the town to offer locally made wine, as well as cider and beer.
SalemThe capital city of Oregon, traditionally known for being low-key, the downtown area is showing the early signs of rejuvenation.
Yamhill Valley Wine CountryA world-renowned wine tasting destination. cities in the area include McMinnville, Dundee, and Newberg.
Portland Metropolitan Area
I-205I-205 goes north to Oregon City, Gladstone, and the Portland International Airport; reconnects with I-5 north of Vancouver, WA at Exit 7 (Washington).
Tigard,Lake Oswego and Southwest Portland
SR-217Connects to Tigard (SR-99W); Beaverton and ends at US-26 west. Serves as a partial western bypass for northbound drives to connect with Hillsboro (via US Hwy 26 & SR-8) and the Northern Oregon Coast (US Hwy 26). SR-217 ends east of I-5 where the same road becomes SW Kruse Way leading into Lake Oswego a wealthy suburban enclave.
SR-99W (Tigard & Southwest PortlandSR-99W crosses over I-5 on its way between Tigard to the west and Southwest Portland to the east. In Tigard it becomes Pacific Hwy while it is Barbur Blvd in Southwest Portland. If you are coming from Southwest Portland or anywhere north and going west towards King City, Sherwood, Newberg and McMinnville, this is the route to take.
PortlandThe largest city in Oregon, and a cultural center for the region. Known for its food and music scenes, and counter-cultural attitudes. Thousands of acres of gardens, parks, and trails to explore, as well as a multitude of shops and restaurants spread across several neighborhoods.
I-405 north / US 26 west (Marquam Bridge)Connects to the City Centre & Southwest Portland. I-5 crosses the Willamette River on the Marquam Bridge with a view of Downtown Portland. Going southbound (lower deck of bridge) the left two lanes goes into I-405 with access to downtown Portland and US Hwy 26 while the right two lanes continue as I-5 south towards Salem and Eugene. From the northbound lanes the left lane goes into I-405 north (Exit 299B and then Exit 1A) while the right lane continues onto the Marquam Bridge as I-5 north towards Seattle. The middle lane splits in two, so you have two lanes going towards I-405 and another two continuing as I-5. If going I-405 northbound you will have to exit again at #1A after 299B otherwise this segment of the freeway ends at SW Clay & Front/Pacific Hwy (Hwy 99W) in downtown Portland.
I-84 east / US 30 eastI-84 passes through Portland's Eastside and through the Columbia Gorge to Hood River, The Dalles, Pendleton and Boise, ID.
I-405 south / US 30 west (Fremont Bridge)Connects to the Northwest Portland; I-405 provides northern access to downtown Portland, while US 30 continues along the Columbia River through the northwest industrial area to Scappoose, Saint Helens and Astoria.
Hayden Island ODOTS PermitsAccess to Jantzen Beach Shopping Center on Hayden Island. There are other restaurants, hotels and retails stores surrounding the Jantzen Beach mall for food, fuel, supplies and/or a night's stay. Exit is signposted "Hayden Island ODOTS Permits" from both directions. ODOTS permits are for commercial truck drivers to travel through the state.
WashingtonThe maximum speed limit is 70 MPH (112 km/h) for cars & 60 MPH (100 km/h) for large trucks on rural stretches and 60 MPH (100 km/h) in urban areas or lower if posted otherwise. Some of the highway rest stops in Washington are also staffed by volunteers from different local religious and fraternal organizations such as the Lions Club or Elk's Club to offer free coffee, tea, water and cookies to travelers. Some even offer home baked goods such as brownies too. A donation of any amount is appreciated in the can provided on the counter. Rest stops in Washington state do not have exit numbers but rather marked with a blue sign rather than the green sign.
VancouverFourth largest city in Washington and oldest permanent settlement in the Pacific Northwest; not to be confused with Vancouver, BC, Canada.
SR-14Goes through the Columbia River Gorge along the Washington side of the Columbia River to Exit 131 of I-82 in Eastern Washington, north of Hermiston. In town the highway ends at Washington & W 5th St in downtown Vancouver. Exit 1B goes from the northbound lanes to E 6th St & C St. This is also another way to reach the airport. Go east on SR 14 to I-205 and then south on I-205 to NE Airport Way (Exit 24) on the other side of the Columbia River.
SR 501 E Mill Plain BlvdMajor east-west road through town. Access to the Historic Ft Vancouver and the adjacent old military base of the same name just east of the freeway. Going the other direction Mill Plain goes into downtown Vancouver. Exit 1D continues north to 4th Plain, another local east-west road.
Old Hwy 99Old Hwy 99 crosses I-5. Going north past I-205 Old Hwy 99 becomes NE 20th Ave, NE Union Rd and NE 15th Ave and ends at NE 179th at Exit 9. Going south past I-5 the same road becomes Main St ending at E 5th & Main in downtown.
NE 78th St (Hazel Dell)Local east-west street with multiple places for Lodging, fuel, restaurants, supplies/groceries (Costco, Fred Meyer, O'Reillys Auto Parts, etc) surrounding the I-5/Trosper Rd Jct.
I-205I-205 goes south to the Portland International Airport (via NE Airport Way at Exit #24 from southbound lanes & 24A of the northbound lanes of I-205), East Portland, Gladstone, and Oregon City; reconnects with I-5 at Exit 288 (Oregon) south of Portland.
NE 179th StLocation of Clark County Fairgrounds at west side of freeway. The Old Hwy 99 is NE 15th Ave running along the eastside of the freeway from NE 179th St. The same road becomes NE Union, NE 20th, NE Hwy 99, crosses I-5 at Exit 3 and becomes Main St.
SR 502 BattlegroundThe town of Battleground is 6 miles (10km) east of the freeway along NE 219th.
Gee Creek I-5 NBRestrooms, water, picnic tables, visitors info, vending machines and RV sanitation station.
Gee Creek I-5 SBRestrooms, water, picnic tables, visitors info, vending machines and RV sanitation station.
La Center Cowlitz Reservation
SR-503 at WoodlandSR-503 goes east through Woodland and connects to FR-90 in Cougar along the southside of Mt St Helens. It is also another way to access Mt St Helens from Portland and Southwest Washington. There are a series of gas stations, restaurants, motels and a couple of groceries stores to stock up.
KalamaExit 30 goes into downtown Kalama while Exit 27 access the industrial areas south of Kalama (Port of Kalama). Pin is at Exit #30.
Kelso & LongviewThree exits to Kelso; SR-432 (Exit 36) and SR-4 (Allen St at Exit 39) provide access to neighboring Longview west of the Cowlitz River. SR-4 continues west along the Washington side of the Colombia River to US Hwy 101 north of Astoria, Oregon. Likewise travelers can also cross the Columbia River from Longview into Rainier, OR and continue towards Astoria on US Hwy 30.
SR-504 Castle RockSR-504 goes east to the Johnston Ridge Observatory in Mount St. Helens. There is a Visitors' Center closer to the freeway, only east.
Toutle River I-5 NBRestrooms, water, picnic tables and visitors info. No RV sanitation station.
Toutle River I-5 SBRestrooms, water and picnic tables. No RV sanitation station.
Jackson HwyJackson Hwy is the segment of old hwy 99 through Toledo, Chehalis and Centralia in Lewis County. Exit is signposted as "Jackson Hwy Barnes Dr" from the southbound lanes. Intersects with I-5 at Exits 82 and 88.
SR 506 Toledo Vader RdLocal road to access the town of Toledo. The other exit for going towards Vader is at Exit 59.
SR 505 Winlock ToledoSR 505 goes across I-5 connecting Toledo to Winlock.
US Hwy 12 East to Morton YakimaUS Hwy 12 goes east through the Cascade Mountains between Mount Rainier and Mount St Helens to Exit 31 on I-82 north of Yakima. Travelers can get to Mt Rainier from US Hwy 12 via SR 7 at Morton or SR 123 in Packwood and to Mt St Helens on SR 131/FR 25 in Randle. Going westbound, US Hwy 12 goes north along I-5 from Exit 68 to Exit 88.
SR 508 Napavine OnalaskaW Forest Napavine Rd/Main Ave connects Napavine in the west and Onalaska in the east
ChehalisChehalis is a small town and the county seat of Lewis County. There are three exits to Chehalis. The pin is at SR-6 / W Main St at Exit #76 which connects I-5 to downtown Chehalis.
NW Chamber of Commerce WayA local NW/SE street in Chehalis where there are multiple places for fuel, restaurants, a strip mall (Grocery Outlet, O'Reilly's Auto Parts, Dollar Tree, Taco del Mar, Starbucks, Wendy's, etc); Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc for supplies.
CentraliaFounded as a railroad town, Centralia's economy was originally dependent on such extractive industries as coal, lumber and agriculture. It was named in reference to the midway point between Tacoma and Kalama (which were originally the NP's Washington termini), but proved to have longevity when it became the midpoint between Seattle and Portland after I-5 was built. There are two exits to Centralia
SR 507 Mellen St City CenterAccessible only from the northbound lanes. From the southbound lanes exit at Harrison Ave (Exit #82) and follow the parallel side road past Harrison, past the merging lane (do not re-enter freeway) to Mellen St. Follow signs.
Harrison Ave Factory Outlet WayAccessible from both directions. Harrison Ave is the segment of the Old Hwy 99 going into downtown Centralia where Old Hwy 99 go north-south as Pearl St (SB) and Tower Ave (NB). Going west from the junction, Harrison Ave goes north alongside I-5 to Grand Mound by Exit #88. There are multiple places for Lodging, fuel, restaurants, supplies/groceries (Safeway, Centralia Outlets, Goodwill, etc) in the immediate areas.
US Hwy 12 Aberdeen-TeninoUS Hwy 12 goes west towards Aberdeen through Rochester and Elma. US Hwy 12 ends at SR 8 in Elma. If coming from Centralia or anywhere south and going west towards Aberdeen this would be the route take without going through Olympia. If Going eastbound, US Hwy 12 goes south along I-5 from Exit 88 to Exit 68. Old Hwy 99 goes northeast from here towards Tenino and south along the west side of I-5 to Centralia as Harrison Ave (Exit #82).
Scatter Creek I-5 NBRestrooms, water, picnic tables, visitors info, vending machines and RV sanitation station.
Maytown I-5 SBRestrooms, water, picnic tables and visitors info. No RV sanitation station.
Seattle Metropolitan Area in The Puget Sound RegionNorth of Olympia the interstate enters the large conurbation of cities in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. This section is multi-lane (3 to 5) in both directions and is busy with traffic at nearly all times of the day. If at all possible avoid driving at peak commuter times. Some drivers may be tempted to take Interstate 405 through Bellevue as an alternate route, but check traffic conditions before doing so as it is often even worse for traffic congestion than Interstate 5.
TumwaterSouthernmost city of the Puget Sound Region and the Olympia conurbation. There are four exits to Tumwater from I-5.
Trosper Rd SWCapital Blvd runs parallel east of the I-5 corridor which becomes Old Hwy 99 going southeast towards Tenino and back towards I-5 and Rochester at Exit #88 through rural areas. There are multiple places for Lodging, fuel, restaurants, supplies/groceries (Costco, Fred Meyer, Albertsons, etc) surrounding the I-5/Trosper Rd Jct.
US Hwy 101 & SR 8US 101 goes west to SR 8, where one can either continue north (third exit going west from I-5) on US 101 towards Shelton and around the Olympic Peninsula or continue west on the freeway which becomes SR 8 to Aberdeen. There are two additional exits to Olympia along US Hwy 101 between I-5 and where US Hwy 101 goes north towards Shelton.
OlympiaThe capital of Washington offers an unusually large and active arts and music scene for a city of its size, and its identity as a city remains distinct despite strong influences from Seattle, Tacoma and Everett to the north and from Portland/Vancouver to the south. Olympia is somewhat of a breeding ground for Pacific Northwest alternative culture having spawned or influenced many of the region's better-known personalities.
LaceySuburban city northwest of Olympia. I-5 goes east-west through Lacey, from Olympia to the Nisqually River at the Pierce/Thurston County line.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM)a U.S. military installation home to I Corps and 62d Airlift Wing located 9.1 miles (14.6 km) south-southwest of Tacoma under the jurisdiction of the United States Army Joint Base Headquarters, Joint Base Lewis–McChord. Joint Base Lewis–McChord is a training and mobilization center for all services and is the only Army power projection base west of the Rocky Mountains in the Continental United States. Its geographic location provides rapid access to the deep water ports of Tacoma, Olympia, and Seattle for deploying equipment. The visitors center is located off of Exit #120 and another one at Exit #125. A valid DoD ID card or visitor pass is required to enter the installation and is checked for by military police on the roads going into the military base. ID is also checked for those going into the military base by public transportation. There is a gas station and a series of restaurants lined up along Berkeley Ave in Tilicum, outside the military base, and are accessible from Exit #122
Gravelly Lake Dr SwOld Hwy 99 goes parallel west along I-5 from the intersection of Gravelly Lake Dr & Pacific Hwy SW (Exit 124) through Tacoma as Pacific Hwy SW, S Tacoma Way, E 26th & Puyallup Ave.
TacomaWashington's second largest city and formerly all industrial. The city center has been beautified, and the city now offers attractions such as the famous America's Car Museum, Museum of Glass, Point Defiance Park, and the Washington State History Museum. There are seven exits to Tacoma from I-5.
SR-512/South Tacoma WaySR 512 goes east towards Puyallup home of the Western Washington State Fair. Second exit from I-5 going east is SR 7 which is the road leading down towards Mount Rainier. Going west SR-512 ends at South Tacoma Way/Pacific Hwy (Old Hwy 99).
S 72nd St / S 74th StA local east/west street in South Tacoma where there are multiple places for Lodging, single Valero Gas Station for fuel and Tacoma Place for Food and supplies/groceries.
SR 16 west & S 38th StSR 16 provides additional access to Tacoma before crossing the Tacoma Narrows to Gig Harbor in the Kitsap Peninsula and continues north to Bremerton. There is a toll to cross the Narrows Bridge coming into Tacoma from Gig Harbor (south-east direction) but NOT north-west into Kitsap Peninsula. Access to S 38th St, the location of Tacoma Mall and the surrounding retail venues, is also the same as SR-16 from both directions. Follow signs closely.
I-705/SR 7I-705 connects downtown Tacoma and Tacoma Dome to I-5 at Exit 132/133. Going north of downtown Tacoma the road becomes Schuster Pkwy (40 mph) which goes into Old Town Tacoma (N 30th St & Schuster Pkwy) where it becomes N Ruston Way along the waterfront at much slower speeds (20 mph) going towards Point Defiance Park and Point Defiance Ferry Terminal to Vashon Island. Going south SR-7 ends at S 38th St to access the south and east neighborhoods. SR-7 continues along Pacific Hwy which parallels I-5 along the east, going towards Mt Rainier. Old Hwy 99 goes by the Tacoma Dome as E 26th (first exit from I-705) which becomes S Tacoma Way, running north-south, parallel along I-5, and ends at Pacific Hwy SW & Gravelly Lake Dr by Exit #124.
FifeSuburban city northeast of Tacoma. I-5 goes east-west from SR 16 in Tacoma, through Fife, to the Pierce/King County line at the "Fife Curves". There are two exits to Fife.
54th Ave ESR-99 Begins from 54th Ave E & Pacific Hwy which runs parallel north and west of I-5 from Fife through Federal Way, Des Moines, SeaTac (and airport) and ends north of Tukwila at SR-518 as Pacific Hwy & International Blvd. There are numerous stores, strip malls, restaurants and hotels/motels along the SR-99 corridor which can be accessed from multiple exits along the I-5 corridor. Pin for Fife is located at this exit on the map.
SeaTac Rest Stop I-5 NBRestrooms, water, picnic tables, visitors info, vending machines and RV sanitation station
Federal WayFederal Way is a suburban city of 90,000 inhabitants and is home to World Vision and Weyerhaeuser. There are three exits to Federal Way. The marker for Federal Way is at S 320th which is the location of the Federal Way commons and the surrounding retail venues and restaurants as well as hotels (core area of Federal Way and the closest thing to a 'downtown') .
SR 18Connects I-5 to Auburn, Maple Valley and Covington in the southeast part of King County. SR 18 ends at Exit #25 of I-90 in North Bend. If coming from Federal Way or anywhere south and going east towards Spokane on I-90 this would be the route take without going through Seattle and Bellevue. SR-18 continues west to Pacific Hwy (SR 99) in Federal Way (accessed from 142B from both directions towards S 348th St). The same road continues west of Pacific Hwy as S 348th St at slower speeds.
SR-516 Kent-Des Moines HwyLocal east-west highway, crossing under I-5, connecting Des Moines in the west to Kent in the east.
S 188th StAnother way to access the airport in SeaTac. There's a gas station to fill up the tank before returning a rental car and a Motel 6 near the airport. Additional hotels are further in along International Blvd.
I-405/SR-518The off ramp splits going west into SR-518 towards Burien and Seattle Tacoma International Airport and east into I-405 towards Renton and Bellevue. The airport can also be accessed from S 188th St from Exit #152.
Seattleis by far the largest city in the region. It is the heart of a vibrant metropolitan area and a major tourist destination. There are 18 exits to Seattle proper from the I-5 corridor.
SR 599/99 & Interurban in TukwilaSR 599 goes north to Tukwila International Blvd where it continues as Hwy 99, going through Sodo/Georgetown along the Duwamish River and under downtown Seattle through the Viaduct Tunnel. From north of downtown Seattle Hwy 99 goes up through Ballard and North Seattle as N Aurora Ave. It's also another way to reach West Seattle and Whitecenter from the south at the SR 99/509 junction via Highland Park Way SW. From the southbound lanes Exit 156 goes into Interurban Ave, a local street through Tukwila
Airport Way / E Marginal WayAccess to Boeing Field/King County Airport and The Museum of Flight and to Rainier Valley in South Seattle on Ryan Ave.
I-90 & James St & Deerborne St in Downtown SeattleInterstate 90 is the longest interstate in the country, traveling approximately from Seattle in the west to Boston in the east. It is the most convenient route for travelers going to Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho and another way to cross Lake Washington (without toll) from Seattle to Bellevue and Mercer Island locally. The off ramp from the northbound lanes is at Exit #164A. From the southbound lanes the freeway splits with the two left lanes (Exit #164) going towards "Bellevue & Spokane" via I-90 while the two right lanes continue south towards "Tacoma & Portland".
Downtown Seattle & Capitol HillThe Seneca St exit is a the left (#165) while the Olive St exit is to the right (#166)
SR-520SR-520 crosses Lake Washington into Kirkland & Redmond (Home of Microsoft). There's a toll to go across the bridge in both directions. Rather than setting up toll booths to collect toll cameras are installed to read the "Good to Go" tags on the windshields and the license plates of passing vehicles and deduct the toll from the pre-paid account behind the "Good to Go" tag. If there's no money on deposit or no tags installed a bill (for the toll) is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.
NE 45th StAccess to University District (to the east) the home of University of Washington and Fremont-Wallingford (to the west)
Edmonds/SR-104SR-104 goes west into the Edmonds Ferry Terminal with ferries going to Kingston
LynnwoodThere are three exits through Lynnwood
I-405/SR-525Jct I-405 from Exit 182 to get to Woodinville, Bothell, Kirkland, Bellevue and Renton east of Lake Washington. Rejoins I-5, 30 mi south at Exit #154. I-405 becomes SR-525 west of I-5 going towards the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal via Paine Field .
Silver Lake Rest Stop I-5 SBRestrooms, water, picnic tables, visitors info, vending machines and RV sanitation station
EverettEverett is home to the largest public marina on the west coast of the United States and the assembly plant for the large Boeing 747, 767, 777 and the Dreamliner (787) jumbo jets which is open for public tours. Everett is accessed from exits #186 (128th St SW) through #198 (WA-529 West Broadway) along I-5, there are 6 exits to Everett.
SR 526 to Mukilteo-Whidbey Island Ferry/SR 99 Everett Mall WaySR-526 goes west from here towards Mukilteo and the Paine Field Airport & the Boeing Factory tours (go south on Airport Rd from SR 526). SR-99 begins from its intersection with SR-526 and Broadway, going southwest through Everett Mall, south Everett, Lynnwood, Aurora Village, Shoreline and into North Seattle as SE Everett Mall Way, Evergreen Way, Pacific Hwy & Aurora. There are numerous stores, strip malls, restaurants and hotels/motels along the SR-99 corridor which can be accessed from multiple exits along the I-5 corridor. Going north from the SR-526 interchange, SE Everett Mall Way becomes Broadway (old Hwy 99) which is a major north south corridor through Everett.
US Hwy-2US-2 goes east to Leavenworth and Wenatchee in the North Central Cascades or go west into downtown Everett on Pacific Ave.
SR 529Going north SR-529 enters into Marysville as State St. Going south SR-529 goes into Everett and spurs around Everett along the waterfront as W Marine Dr and re-connects to I-5 as E Everett St at Exit #193. Old Hwy 99 runs along SR-529 through Marysville (State St), across the Snohomish River to its junction with Broadway in north Everett. Old Hwy 99 continues south through Everett as Broadway, a main north-south corridor, and connects into SR-99 at its intersection with SR-526 off of Exit 189 north of Everett Mall.
Smokey Point Rest Stop I-5 NBRestrooms, water, picnic tables, visitors info, vending machines and RV sanitation station
Smokey Point Rest Stop I-5 SBRestrooms, water, picnic tables, visitors info, vending machines and RV sanitation station
SR-532 westSR-532 heads west to Stanwood & Camano Island
Mt VernonCounty seat and primary city of Skagit County, Washington that been voted "#1 Best Small City in America" in 1998 by the New Rating Guide to Life in America's Small Cities and is known for its annual Tulip Festival in April.
BurlingtonThere are three exits in Burlington.
SR-20SR-20 goes west to Anacortes, the San Juan Ferry Terminal and Whidbey Island through Deception Pass and east to Okanogan through the North Cascades National Park (also be sure to see more on The North Cascade Loop itinerary article as to what else is there to do and see there).
BellinghamIs the home for Western Washington University, the departure point for the Alaska Ferry going up to SE Alaska and the largest city in this part of the state. It was an industrial town based on coal mining and timber and is now more environmentally conscious culture with environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and the gateway to outdoor activities. Activities range from skiing on nearby Mt. Baker to whale watching near the San Juan Islands. The Bellingham International Airport is next to the freeway and can be accessed from Airport Rd at Exit #258 while the Alaska Ferry Terminal at the Fairhaven Transportation Center can be accessed from Old Fairhaven Pwky at Exit #250. There are 9 exits in Bellingham.
SR-539Connects directly to the Lynden-Aldergrove border crossing, where it becomes BC-13 in Canada. Also provides access to SR-546 near Lynden, which gives access to the Sumas-Huntingdon border crossing. See Northwest Cascades#By car for more Canada-United States border crossing information.
FerndaleTwo exits to access Ferndale from both directions.
BlaineTrucks & buses exit off at SR-543 (Second to the last at Exit #275) and cross through a separate checkpoint, 5mi (8km) east of the I-5/BC-99 crossing at Peace Arch Park for going in both directions. SR-543 becomes BC-15 after crossing into Canada. There are 4 exits in Blaine.
- Vancouver, BC is the next stop along I-5 for northbound travelers
- Tijuana and the rest of Baja California border the I-5 corridor to the south.