Road Trip to Anaheim from Vancouver – Drive the I5 to Anaheim 2013

The Heathman Lodge reviewA

Instead of driving the I5 to Los Angeles this time, we took a few detours. Here’s a quick look at how we managed to get here:

  • Days it took to drive the I5 to Anaheim this trip  – 4
  • Hours it normally takes to drive I5 to Disneyland – 19 hours from the Peace Arch border crossing in Vancouver
  • Gas for a 2010 Dodge Caravan – $300 (It would have cost about $60 less if we went straight through)

First stop on our drive down the I5  – Vancouver, Washington & Portland

Driving time from Vancouver- Approximately 5 hours

Portland is a beautiful place, full of eclectic art work, street buskers, and a bustling downtown core. Because I like to visit downtown cores but not necessarily sleep near them, we opted to stay in Vancouver, Washington at The Heathman Lodge.

I wrote up a review of The Heathman Lodge for The Vancouver Province, so take a peek at that for full details. It truly was the perfect place to stop and stay while we explored Portland, and it’s far enough out to feel cozy and family-comfortable. A major plus is the jacuzzi tub. All four of my kids fit in it and they had a wild and crazy bubble bath that was the highlight of our time there.

Stops you must make in Portland if you’re just passing through:Voodoo Donuts in Portland, OR

  • Powell’s Books – Floor after floor after floor of books. My idea of nirvana.
  • Voodoo Donuts – Fresh, crazy looking, and so tasty. Just watch out for the menu if your kids can read.

After Portland, we were on the road again:

Second stop on our drive down the I5 – Red Bluff, California

Driving time from Portland – Approximately 7 hours

Visit Oregon sign There isn’t much to see in Red Bluff, or at least I don’t know what there is to see other than the Hampton Inn Red Bluff that we always stop at. This place deserves a mention though, because it’s possibly the nicest Hampton I’ve ever been in.

Just off the I5, Red Bluff is about 1/2 hour from Redding. We used to stop in Redding and always struggle to find a room, but soon discovered it was far better to drive the extra 1/2 hour.

The pool at the Hampton Inn Red Bluff is beautiful, and you can sit on the deck and look out at the sunset over a farmer’s field. It’s amazing to me that a busy highway is right nearby, because you can’t hear it. It’s just peace and quiet.

The two queen suites are nice, big, and so very clean and new. It’s really the perfect place to stop and recharge.

Tune in tomorrow for part two of our 2013 road trip from Vancouver to Disneyland, then check out part three of our road trip to LA.


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  1. Hello Shelly,

    My wife and I are driving to Disney with our 4 kids, leaving this Friday and planning in arriving in Anaheim Sunday. Would you recommend staying on I-5 for a first time family making this trek?

    We live in Bellingham and I’m wondering about where to stop and stay along the way. We’re planning on two hotel stays before we make it to Disney. Any pointers 😉



    • I’ve done this trip many ways, and I think if I was planning on two stops I’d do one at a half way point like Redding and one close to the ocean (if you like that sort of thing). You can easily do the trip from Bellingham with just one stop over, but my favourite overnight is in the area of Pismo Beach or even Ventura if you’re OK driving for that long in between.

      I usually stick to the I5 because it’s faster, and if it’s your first trip you might want to do that. I found that taking the 101 was much more scenic and I’d do it every time but for the fact you feel as though you’ll never get there. It’s gorgeous, but slow going.

      If you do take the 101, there is a lot to do. You can stop on any stretch of beach and it will be all yours, and there’s Hearst Castle to visit too. We did a day at Pismo Beach to ride the dune buggies one year, and that was a lot of fun.

      It’s a great trip and my kids look forward to hitting the road every year, so I hope you enjoy it! Watch out for crowds at Disneyland. I hear it’s crazy with Halloween and the 60th.

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