How to get from Seattle to Vancouver

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By David Em
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There are several ways to travel from Seattle to Vancouver. You can get there by car, plane, or ferry. Learn how to choose the best option.

Vancouver skyline with the harbor.

Ways to get from Seattle to Vancouver, BC

Vancouver, BC is 143 miles north of Seattle. The drive takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Although driving is the cheapest option, there are other ways to travel from Seattle to Vancouver.

Whether you live in Seattle or are visiting the Pacific Northwest, Vancouver is a city that you must visit.

It’s surrounded by mountains, water, and is just north of the U.S. and Canada border.

In Vancouver, be sure to check out the following attractions:

  • Stanley Park.
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
  • English Bay.
  • Granville Island and the Public Market.
  • Bloegel Conservatory.
  • Museum of Anthropology.
  • Vancouver Art Gallery.
  • Vancouver Aquarium.

To get to Vancouver, you can travel by car, train, bus, or take a flight. You also need to make sure you have a valid passport.

Related: 10 best hotels in Vancouver

The following are all of the travel methods and how long each one takes.

Go on a road trip

Driving is one of the best options for getting to Vancouver from Seattle because it’s relatively quick, cheaper, and you have flexibility.

If you want to make stops on the way, you can. Whereas other methods of travel won’t allow you to do that.

On the way, you can enjoy views of the Puget Sound, Cascade Mountains, and stop at different cities.

The drive is straightforward. You’ll take I-5 north, and without traffic, it’ll take 2 hours and 30 minutes. If there’s traffic on the way or at the border, it may take longer.

If you have a NEXUS membership, you can go through the expedited lanes to avoid the long potential wait times.

Once you cross the border, remember the speed is measured by kilometers per hour instead of miles.

Travel by train

One of the most scenic options is to ride the Amtrak Cascades train. You can sit back and enjoy the views without having to worry about driving.

To take the Amtrak Cascades train, you’ll get on the King Street Train Station in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, and arrive at Pacific Central Station in downtown Vancouver.

The train ride is about 4 hours, and it goes along the coast. If you sit on the left side of the train, you’ll get the best views because it’s closest to the water going to Vancouver.

There’s plenty of legroom and Wi-Fi, and each seat has a power outlet.

When traveling by train, you lose the flexibility of driving since you can’t make pitstops.

Also, it only runs from Seattle to Vancouver once or twice a day, which results in limited options.

The duration of the trip is slightly longer than driving, so if you’re pressed on time, it may not be a good option.

If you’re willing to spend a little more time traveling and can leave at the departure time, taking the Amtrak Cascade train is worth it because of the scenery.

The cost isn’t too much higher than paying for gas either. Tickets can cost around $30 to $45.

Ride the bus

Greyhound, Quick Shuttle, BoltBus, and Amtrak all operate daily buses from Seattle to Vancouver.

The average cost is $25, and the duration is about 4 hours and 30 minutes, which includes loading and unloading.

By taking the bus, you can relax and let someone else do the driving. Some of the routes have stops along the way. Be sure to check whether your trip will be direct or if it has stops along the way.

With BoltBus, you might luck out and score a $1 ticket. Each schedule will have a winner that’s selected at random.

Normally, it’ll go to one of the first seats that are sold, so book early, and maybe you’ll get to go for $1.

Take a flight

A roundtrip flight between Seattle (SEA) and Vancouver (YVR) can cost between $100 and $500, based on the time of year.

Generally, summer and autumn flights to Vancouver are more expensive than winter and early spring.

Air Canada, Alaska, Delta, and United Airlines are the most common airlines that operate Seattle and Vancouver flights.

The downside to flying is that you must factor in the time it takes to get to the airport, go through security, border control, and customs.

With a higher cost, and likely more time, flying can be the least desirable option. If you’d still like to fly, you’ll catch beautiful views from above.

Book a flight from Seattle to Vancouver.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the cheapest way to get to Vancouver from Seattle?

Driving is the cheapest option because you only need to pay for gas. It takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Is the train ride from Seattle to Vancouver scenic?

Yes, the train ride from Seattle to Vancouver is scenic because you get beautiful views of the trees, Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains.

How many days should you spend in Vancouver?

1 to 3 days is perfect for exploring attractions and the city of Vancouver, BC.


Seattle and Vancouver are two beautiful cities in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re taking a trip to, or live in Seattle, and have a few extra days for exploration, head up north to Vancouver, BC. It’s only a few hours away, and you can have many great experiences.

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Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder of Nola & Luna Travel, the destination for travel advice and inspiration. He launched Nola & Luna Travel to share expert advice, useful tips, unbiased reviews, and inspiration about destinations across the globe.