Driving the Scenic Pacific Northwest Coast in an Electric Vehicle

Take an Electrified Trip along the Coast

Note: Charging station addresses listed at end.

After enduring the challenges of 2020, you owe it to yourself to enjoy summer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! One of the best ways to do this is with a leisurely road trip along U.S Highway 101, which is consistently recognized as one of the most scenic highways in the United States. The Pacific Coast is still mostly wild, open and pristine where you can drive for miles and feel like you have the area all to yourself.

But even better … this trip is perfect if you have an electric vehicle since there are charging stations located along the highway in both Washington and Oregon. Thanks to the typically mild Pacific Northwest climate, air conditioning use can be kept to a minimum, which in turn lessens impacts to driving range.

Charging stations in Snohomish

Charging stations in Snohomish. Photo courtesy of SemaConnect.

One of the best starting points for your journey is Seattle where you have an endless selection of things to do and see, an esteemed food and drink scene, and the natural beauty of the Puget Sound, Cascades and Olympics visible throughout the city. This is especially true at some of the stunning parks throughout the city such as Discovery, Kerry, Volunteer and Interlaken Parks.

From Seattle, take the ferry to Bainbridge Island. The ferry terminal is located on the downtown Seattle waterfront. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery throughout the trip which lasts for approximately 45 minutes.

Once off the ferry, take WA-305 N, WA-307 N and WA-104 W to US-101 N heading towards Port Angeles. Depending on your specific vehicle, there are fast charging options available in either Sequim or Port Angeles. While your vehicle charges, take some time to explore either town or both. Sequim and Port Angeles offer a charming downtown area with many shops, restaurants, coffee shops and bars. There are also various lodging options in the area. Both towns are on the edge of the beautiful Olympic National Park and make a great overnight stop. Once in the park, one of the best hikes is a portion of the Pacific Northwest trail accessible from the Obstruction Peak trailhead near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Depending on your individual preference, you can either make this a day hike or an overnight adventure into the backcountry at a designated primitive campsite. If you decide to stay overnight, make sure to get a wilderness permit at Recreation.gov in advance.

The climb to Hurricane Ridge will likely result in a significant decrease in range, it is recommended to recharge your vehicle before leaving Port Angeles. To continue your journey, take US-101 W to Forks, the setting of the Twilight movie series. While in the area, a trip down WA-110 to the Third Beach Trailhead is a must for an amazing hike along the beautiful Pacific shore. The trail parallels the coast for many miles, however Third Beach is only about 0.5 miles from the trailhead.

After making your way back to Forks, consider one of the lodging options nearby as a home base for a visit to the Hoh Rain Forest or a hike along the Bogachiel River Trail. The Hoh Rain Forest is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the United States and has the distinction of being a World Heritage Site.

After exploring all this area has to offer, consider recharging at either of the charging stations in Forks before continuing down US-101 S towards Ocean Shores. Along the way, enjoy the beautiful surroundings! The coast will be visible for approximately 15 miles beginning at Ruby Beach. There is a charging station at the Kalaloch Lodge within Olympic National Park approximately 34 miles from Forks. To reach Ocean Shores, take WA-109 W from Hoquiam. You’ll find a charging station in Aberdeen approximately two miles from Hoquiam.

Highway 101 Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast. Photo by Chaitra Kukanur/Getty Images.

Upon reaching Ocean Shores, there is a charging station at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino which is free for guests. This would make a perfect place to spend the night before continuing across the border into Oregon to Warrenton via US-101 S. There is a fast charger located in Warrenton and a Tesla Supercharger in Seaside, which is approximately 13 miles further south along US-101. The Oregon coast is famous for the many charming towns along Highway 101 including Cannon Beach. Miles of pristine, sandy beaches have earned Cannon Beach the distinction as one of America’s best beaches. Parts of The Goonies were also filmed on location here! Cannon Beach boasts a wide selection of art galleries, shops, restaurants and bars making it a perfect place to stay and relax for a day or more.

Once you’re ready to continue your journey, take US-26 E where you will find fast charging options in Hillsboro or Beaverton depending on your specific vehicle. Continue on US-26 E towards Portland, otherwise known as the City of Roses. Portland is famous for its green spaces, coffeehouses and quirky vibe. Portland represents the last major destination of this electric vehicle road trip itinerary before returning to Seattle, an approximate 3-hour drive along I-5 N. There are fast charging options located in Chehalis and Centralia, WA, about halfway between Portland and Seattle.

This itinerary includes a diverse mix of city exploration, mountainous and rainforest hiking as well as a tour of the Pacific coast. Keep in mind this is one of many possibilities for a memorable road trip with your electric vehicle. What are you waiting for? Get out there and experience the magnificent Pacific Northwest!

To help map out your perfect Pacific Northwest road trip and others like it, visit AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner!

Charging Stations in WA and OR along route

Tesla Supercharger

  • Sequim, WA (Holiday Inn Express)
  • Forks, WA (Dew Drop Inn)
  • Aberdeen, WA (416 Wishkah St.)
  • Seaside, OR (Seaside Factory Outlet Center)
  • Hillsboro, OR (Target)
  • Centralia, WA (Centralia Outlets)

Electrify America Charging Station

  • Port Angeles, WA (Walmart Supercenter)
    7 CCS 350 kW or 150 kW
    1 CHAdeMO 50 kW
  • Warrenton, OR
    7 CCS 350 kW or 150 kW
    1 CHAdeMO 50 kW

SemaConnect Charging Station

  • Forks, WA (157151 US-101)
    4 J1772 6.2 kW

ChargePoint Charging Station

  • Ocean Shores, WA (78 WA-115)
    4 J1772 7.2 kW

EV Charging Station

  • Beaverton, OR (11850 SW Canyon Rd)
    4 CCS 50kW
    4 CHAdeMO 50 kW
    2 J1772 7.2 kW

EVgo Charging Station

  • Chehalis, WA (1701 NW Louisiana Ave)
    1 CCS 50 kW
    1 CHAdeMO 50 kW
    1 J1772 7.2 kW

–Written by Matt Lum, Automotive Technical Engineer, AAA National
–Top image of Highway 101 Rocky Creek Bridge by Jonathan Arias/Getty Images.

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