One of the best and cheapest ways to travel and see the world is taking a random – or planned road trip. If you live in America, road trips are life! There is nothing more fulfilling and therapeutic than packing up simple belongings, a handful of dollars in the wallet and hitting the road for a wild, mad fan road trip! The best ones so far, including going off for the weekend with your boys or your girlfriends on a west coast road trip. This is one of America’s perfect trip routes before you hit your 90’s!
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West Coast Road Trip Itinerary
You can make a random weekend road trip or take a few weeks off to drive on the west coast of the US and experience some of the best refreshing and stunning views, magical cities and wild country life on this coastal road trip. From the business-like attitude city life in Washington to the relaxed beauty of California, and the unforgettable extensive National Park in Oregon this is a road trip you do not want to miss.
We have come up with an ideal itinerary for you to experience the Perfect West Coast road trip with your loved ones. We have compiled some of the best sites for you to traverse and experience hoping you will do it over and over again because the coastline is so extensive you cannot exhaust it within a few weeks of traveling and sightseeing.
Prepare Adequately for your West Coast Road Trip
- Have your car serviced, and buy all the necessary spares, including a handy car tool kit for unforeseen emergencies.
- Have a first aid kit with necessary OTC medicine, sanitizers and enough band-aids
- Carry your camping bags (if you plan on camping), flashlights and
- Pack an extra pair of mountain boots, hats, scarfs, warm clothing for the nights
- Your favorite playlist
The itinerary involves two routes; the inland route comprising of stunning terrain and mountainous roads and beautiful extensive national parks complete with wild animals and amazing sites to see.
It is best to start your adventure from the North as you drive down towards colder, more temperate South along the South coastline.
1. Washington State
Washington is a magnificent, snow-capped State with beautiful mountains, and the vibrant Seattle town full of technocrats always in a mad rush to god-knows-where. While in Seattle, visit the Space Needle, a glorious vestige of the early 60’s World Fair. Head down to the famous original Starbucks, take pictures, pack up enough snacks for your long road trip, and a few drinks to spice up the fun.
From Seattle, take the ferry to the San Juan Islands and immerse yourself in the scenic forested islands. There’s lots of site-seeing, hiking, kayaking and watching wildlife. Pick an activity that you’ll all enjoy and maybe stay for a night or two along with the islands.
Drive through Olympic National Park where you can have a romantic picnic or a family picnic and later enjoy the scenic views, stunning beaches including the beautiful Long Beach Peninsula – a 30-mile expansive land with dazzling white beaches near the Oregon border.
As you head south towards Oregon, you’ll find more beaches, mountains and the most stunning waterfalls in the US. Head down Tillamook and take an educational tour of the Dairy Factory in Tillamook where they process and pack delicious milk products including ice cream. You can replenish your food and snacks at the factory shop for more supplies to last you a couple of days on your west coast road trip. Your next stop is Portland; drive-through for amazing Donuts and tasty food in the local restaurants.
Once you get to Bandon, Oregon, throw your boots and pants, and head down to the beautiful beaches, walk along the beach and laze around as you wait for the great storms to watch from a safe distance. Once you’ve had enough of Oregon, time to head further south towards the State of California– where entertainment dreams are valid, and everyone’s a star!
You’ll be spoilt for choice in California. Perhaps you can start with more outdoor thrills and head towards Redwoods National Park. Drive through the protected park and have a look at some of the most protected indigenous trees, some nearly 5,000 years old! Fort Bragg is a must-see; it is located along Mendocino County Coast. Stop by and let your feet do the talking as you walk on the famous glass beach with thousands of brilliant colorful stones strewn along the shores.
As you head further down towards the south, drive through Point Reyes National Seashore and perhaps replenish your food and snacks, stay the night, rest or take a look at the pictures you’ve made so far.
If you’re up to a wine tasting experience, drive to Napa Valley where you can tour local chateaus and do some wine tasting.
4. San Francisco
You can tour Nevada, but on this trip, we insist on San Francisco. You’ll be spoilt for choice in the beautiful city packed with adventure and countless outdoor activities. But whatever you do drive down to the beaches and soak up in the amazing sun, play some beach volleyball to stretch your legs, make new friends and mingle in the local chic restaurants. Whatever you do in San Francisco, take lots of pictures along the Pacific Highway, including a leisurely drive on Monterey for breathtaking coastal views.
Drive down to Lake Tahoe, the ultimate destination for a road trip stopover. If you’re up for a physical challenge, you’ll be spoilt for choice, with hiking trails, beach activities and plenty of historical sites to see at Donner Memorial State Park as you drive along the bends. If you’re into water sporting, try the Lake Tahoe kayaking and scuba diving experience and later take a rest in the afternoon lying on the gorgeous beaches.
5. Los Angeles
Wind your way to Venice Beach, Los Angeles, and drive toward the Hollywood sign, climb up the hills and take a photo of the famous sign. Drive through Beverly Hills, and savor in the vibrant atmosphere while taking more pictures to remember as you head down towards the mother of all magical adventures and dream cities, Disneyland! If you brought your kids along, this is the ultimate gift for the perfect west coast road trip. Let your kids enjoy the fantastic gigantic kids’ theme park; eat heaps upon mountains of popsicles, ice cream and marshmallows.
6. San Diego
Once you have had enough of Disneyland drive towards San Diego and spend the night in a budget guesthouse, or a cozy hotel – complete with room service, oysters for dinner and a heavy breakfast to face the long day ahead. Gear up for an adventurous day at the Balboa Park and multiple museums to muse your senses. The Balboa Park is considered the best in the United States complete with magical experiences with fun-filled bus rides and trams, you can never have enough of this perfect enchanting beauty, with magnificent Spanish Colonial Architecture. Stroll the old town State Historical Park, and later on visit the Gaslamp Quarter for amazing delicacies. You can head down to one of the San Diego beaches for surfing, swimming and sunning all day long.
Conclude your trip with Multnomah Falls in Portland. You can secure a strategic parking spot for the best angle from where to view the magnificently beautiful falls; or strap on your boots for a hike at the bridge, for a better view of the waterfalls.
Head back to Seattle and check into one of the social bars to reminisce on the just-concluded trip?
Share your West Coast Road trip with us, with your best pics. We’d love to hear from you.