Interstate 5 is the lone Interstate connecting all three Pacific coastal states, and it connects all of the most important locales in those states, save for the San Francisco Bay Area. Interstate 5 runs between the points where the northern and southern borders of the United States approach the Pacific Ocean. That doesn't mean it stays along the Pacific Coast for its entire length, though; it stays inland for the majority of its journey. For almost all of its length, Interstate 5 replaced the former US Route 99, which no longer exists. The northern end is at Blaine, Washington, near the shores of Puget Sound, at a border crossing close to Vancouver, British Columbia. From there, Interstate 5 heads south, staying near Puget Sound, through Seattle, to bend westerly into Tacoma. Then, it straightens out to head south again, at Olympia. Interstate 5 crosses the Columbia River out of Washington into Portland, Oregon. Interstate 5 continues south across the rest of Oregon, providing access to Corvallis, Salem, Eugene, Grants Pass, and Medford. Then, it enters California, where it skewers down the middle of the state until it reaches southern California. That central pathing through northern California allows the freeway to reach Redding, Sacramento, and Stockton. In southern California, Interstate 5 exits the Central Valley to pass over some mountains; the descent from those mountains places Interstate in the Los Angeles metroplex. It passes downtown Los Angeles, bowing southeasterly through Orange County to a point where it starts to cut south toward the Pacific coast. Interstate 5 stays near the coast for the rest of its length, passing through Oceanside and Carlsbad to reach its final locale, the San Diego area. Interstate 5 ends at a border crossing between San Ysidro, California, and Tijuana, Mexico.
My photo of an Interstate 5 marker indicates the onramp to the southbound side of the freeway, for traffic leaving the Sacramento Airport. California installs these guide markers at every entrance to a freeway in the state. This photo was taken just after landing at the Sacramento Airport in April 2015. Back to the nationwide main page. Back to the home page.