The west coast of the United States is immersed with dense city centers, golden beaches, mountainous skylines and everything in between. Travel down the 1,500-mile coastline and discover the natural beauty the US has to offer. Here are the 11 must-see places to stop along the way:
- Seattle Harbor
Seattle is the natural starting place for a west coast road trip. Visitors should climb the Space Needle (in an elevator, don’t worry) and catch a view of the city from new heights. Make sure to stop at Pike Place Market, the country’s oldest continuously operating farmers market. As the starting point of the trip, you can spend as much time as you want to explore all the urban center has to offer.
- La Push Beach
If you prefer beaches to a city center, then you must check out Washington’s La Push Beach. It is a series of three beaches which remain relatively seduced, even after their claim to fame, appearing in the Twilight films.
- Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach is one example of the many beautiful beaches that make up Oregon’s coastline. You might recognize the town from the 1985 film The Goonies. Cannon Beach has a quaint town filled with tiny art galleries and a shoreline that is home to tidal pools full of majestic sea creatures.
- Portland, Oregon
Portland has become known for its craft beer, vegan treats and hippie attitude. If you’re a foodie, it is a must-see stop on your road trip. Get a locally roasted cup of joe while scarfing down a VooDoo Doughnut.
- Redwood National Park, California
Snap an obligatory tree-hugging picture in Redwood National Park. The ancient Redwood trees dominate Northern California in both size and stature. These stunning giants predate the Roman Empire and grow over 350 feet tall.
- San Francisco
San Francisco is known for its hilly geographical features blended with its vibrant urban atmosphere. You can drive across the Golden Gate Bridge or catch a ferry into the city, while making a pit stop at Alcatraz, the now vacant prison, along the way. Book a room at Inn at Union Square (http://www.unionsquare.com/) for a centrally located spot in the heart of the city. The city’s diversity offers something for everyone.
- Big Sur
Think rugged mountains that drop into secluded coves. Big Sur’s dramatic coastline is something out of a movie set. The city’s winding roads that overlook a stretch of beaches engulfed with fog are truly enchanting.
If you need a break from the ocean-front views, travel to the Yosemite. The National Park is located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. No matter what landscape you’re seeking, Yosemite has it all within its 1,200 square miles – deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoias, a vast wilderness area, and much more.
- Beverly Hills
Walk a mile in the shoes of the rich and famous. Shop, or least window shop, on the palm tree-lined Rodeo Drive. Take a star-line tour of the city, see some of the world’s priciest real estate in the hills and learn a thing or two about Hollywood’s biggest celebrities. While you’re at it, you might as well live like royalty for the night. Book your stay at the luxurious Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel (http://www.luxehotels.com/rodeodrive/)
- Santa Monica
One of Los Angeles’ many beaches, Santa Monica is the perfect spot to experience many facets of the city’s unique culture. The beach haven is filled with surfers and street performers, Hollywood’s elite and the Hollywood’s up-and-coming. You can rent a bike to travel down to Venice beach and discover a boardwalk like nothing you’ve ever experienced before or walk down Santa Monica pier and take a ride the Ferris wheel for spectacular views along the coast. The options are limitless.
- San Diego
End your trip in San Diego, the Spanish influenced city known for its surfing, restaurants, and most importantly, its zoo. From the self-proclaimed best fish-taco-town in the world, to the sandy beaches, to the perfect weather, you’re in for a relaxing end to your trip. Did I mention the craft beer scene is amazing? After the long week(s) of driving, treat yourself. Check into the Bristol Hotel (http://www.thebristolsandiego.com/), kick your feet up and relax.