Seattle to Boise Road Trip
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People don’t talk about it much, but eastern Washington is beautiful enough to blow you away. While you could finish the route from Seattle to Boise in under eight hours, you can also turn the drive into a killer road trip.
If you’re wondering where to begin planning a trip through America’s northernmost desert, don’t stress—Jerry has the scoop on how to make the most out of the drive.
Jerry is an app that uses AI to compare car insurance quotes from over 50 insurers, helping people quickly find the best possible deals in seconds. Not only does Jerry have your back on insurance, but our roadside assistance program can give you peace of mind while you’re out on the open road.
Membership includes everything from towing and fuel delivery to Uber credits.
Before you rev your engine, let’s make a plan.
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Day One, Seattle to Umatilla
Estimated driving time: 4 hours
If you don’t already live in Seattle, then you should definitely spend some time in the city before heading out. Apart from the Space Needle (which is a given), we recommend dropping by Pike’s Place Market. The fishmongers there are famous for putting on a show and hurling fish to customers across the shopping area. It’s definitely worth seeing (but watch your head).
As far as breakfast goes, there’s plenty of great places nearby. Sound View Cafe is a good pick if you want to have salmon benedict while enjoying an incredible vantage point of the Puget Sound.
Seattle to Yakima
About an hour out of the city, you’ll reach Snoqualmie Pass. We know it’s only been an hour, but this is a great place to stop and stretch your legs. The 30-minute hike around Gold Creek Pond is a great way to get your fill of traditional PNW majesty before your journey into the desert.
Now buckle in and get ready for a whole lot of beautiful nothing. Drive another hour and you’ll be in the Washington desert. There’s not a whole lot to do or places to stop, but the grand, sweeping views should be more than enough to keep you entertained.
Once you’ve reached Yakima, look for a sign that says “Espresso | Greek Pastry” and follow it to St. John’s Bakery. The bakery is part of a Greek Orthodox Monastery established in Yakima in 1995. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better spanakopita for the rest of your trip, so make the stop count.
Additionally, if you want to check out their beautiful monastery, the nuns at the bakery are happy to give you a tour.
Rest up in Umatilla
Eventually, you’ll reach the Columbia River. Cross over, and you’re in Umatilla, Oregon. There are a handful of options for passing the time once you’re here. Here’s a couple of suggestions:
- Visit Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. This park features a “trailside museum” that takes you past more than 20 petrified logs, all right next to an awesome view of the Columbia.
- Check out Hat Rock. Hat Rock is a huge basalt column and the first landmark noted by Lewis and Clark on their expedition down the Columbia. The nearby park offers access to a lake shaded by cottonwood trees.
After your final day trip, get something to eat at Doñitas Tacos, Rae’s Days Diner & Cakery, or The Bridge Bistro & Brews. For a comfortable stay with a view of the river, settle in to Stokes Landing Bed & Breakfast.
Day Two: Umatilla to Boise
Estimated driving time: another 4 hours
Good morning, you’re halfway there! Wake up, greet the sunrise over the river, and hit the road.
Got time? Hit the hot springs
Drive through austere eastern Oregon for around an hour and a half until you hit La Grande. Once you do, get off Highway 84 at Highway 203 and drive for a couple of minutes to reach Hot Lake.
Hot Lake features a bathhouse with private mineral hot spring bathing areas located right on the edge of a lake. Private bathing experiences go for just $25 an hour.
Keep on truckin’ til lunchtime
Now that you’re super relaxed, have a lovely little drive on down to the border—it’ll take about 2 hours. Once you’re there, soothe your hunger by visiting Ogawa’s Wicked Sushi, Burgers, and Beers in Ontario, Oregon. If none of those three things sound appealing, Bert’s Growler Garage is another local favorite.
See some nature before the final leg of your trek
While you’re at the border, there are a couple awesome options for checking out some beautiful scenery:
- Jordan Craters features a massive lava flow with plenty of fascinating rocks and a quick trek around the Coffeepot crater.
- If you’re a birder (or if you just want to see some cool birds anyway), visit Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Keep an eye out for Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Burrowing Owls, Golden Eagles, and more.
Now that you’re full and you’ve seen some birds, it’s time to cross the border into Idaho. You’re finally actually Boise-bound.
You’re in Boise, now what?
You’ve done it. You’re in the City of Trees (or Bobo depending on your preference). If you’re itching to get out and do something, check out the Boise River Greenbelt. It’s a beautiful paved walk that takes you along the Boise River for 25 miles— through a series of fantastic parks called “The Ribbon of Jewels.”
Go downtown for dinner, it’s a good time
When you think of Boise, you probably don’t immediately think of nightlife, but downtown Boise has an awesome couple of blocks that are closed to vehicle traffic, creating a fun atmosphere for people to walk around and visit local shops and restaurants.
You’ll probably encounter a street musician or two as well.
When it comes to picking a place to eat, we’d recommend simply walking around in the area of Mississippi Avenue and Idaho Street and picking something that leaps out at you.
Restaurants in this stretch are notoriously tasty. If you don’t like the guessing game, definitely check out Mai Thai, a hip Asian-fusion restaurant with a 5-star chef that’s been voted the best of Boise for 12 consecutive years.
After dinner, hit the bars (if you’re feeling it)
If you’ve got energy left after your big road trip, downtown Boise’s bar scene is a fun way to wind down the night. Here are a couple good options for a drink:
- SpaceBar Arcade offers a wide range of pinball machines, classic arcade games, and local craft beer.
- Barbarian Brewing Tap Room is a beer nerd’s paradise. With over 20 original beers on tap and even more in bottles, Barbarian is the top choice to order a flight, and a pint.
- The Balcony Dance Club, voted Boise’s best dance club for 25 years in a row is destination number one for Boise nightlife. With Live DJs every Friday and Saturday night, Karaoke on Sundays and Mondays, and special events throughout the month, it’s almost always a party.
Why you need roadside assistance
The trip from Seattle to Boise is just shy of 500 miles—that’s a lot of time for something to go wrong.
You might not think much about running out of fuel on the road, locking your keys out of your car or paying for a hotel for an extra few days while your car is in the shop between destinations, but when it happens, it can feel dire.
Jerry’s roadside protection program saves you from suffering the harsh consequences of a road-trip breakdown.
Not only that, but Jerry can also help you make sure you’ve got the right insurance coverage for a long-haul trip (for the best price).
A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding the cheapest quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even cancel your old policy for you.
And to ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price. This level of service is why Jerry earned a 4.6/5 rating on the App Store and made it the top insurance app in the country.
“I was struggling because I wanted great insurance for my new car. Jerry was so helpful, and the team answered all of my questions. Now I have the policy type I was looking for!”––Avery W.
Should I road trip from Seattle to Boise in Winter?
It’s possible, but take caution. Some of the higher-elevation areas get snowy. If you don’t have snow tires, make sure to bring along a set of chains.
Can I get from Seattle to Boise by train?
If you don’t really want to drive from Seattle to Boise, there’s a daily Amtrak train that runs between the two cities. The trip takes about 23 hours in total.