The Ultimate West Coast Road Trip

West Coast Road Trip Tips

The landscape found along the West Coast of the United States between Seattle and San Diego is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the world. The various environments between the two cities include volcanoes, high deserts, ancient redwoods, forested-coastline cliffs, massive rivers, and untamed wildlife. Depending on the time you travel and how you want to experience the journey, such a road trip can be conquered anywhere from one to five days. Starting at the northwest tip of the United States at Olympic National Park and driving all the way south to the Mexican border, this 1,650 mile (2.655 kilometers) stretch can be broken down into sections for you to start and stop as you wish during the best road trip of the year.

Olympic National Park

The park spans 1,442 square miles (3.734 square kilometers) and features snow-covered mountains, a temperate rainforest, and the rocky Pacific coastline. Olympic National Park is perfect for almost all outdoor activities due to its undeveloped and untouched environments. Camping, hiking/backpacking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fishing, soaking in hot springs, wildlife watching, skiing, snowshoeing, and surfing are a few activities you can take advantage of in this outdoor playground

Distance from Los Angeles: 1,243 miles/1.812 kilometers: (17 hours)
Distance from Portland: 162 miles/260 kilometers (3 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 1,124 miles/1.808 kilometers (19 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 112 miles/180 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 796 miles/1.281 kilometers (13 hours)

Joshua Tree

With its desert landscape, dry air, and “anything-goes” vibe, many consider Joshua Tree to be a very magical place. There are areas designated to walking trails and rock climbing found throughout the park. Here you will come across a variety of great stores and restaurants each with their own unique personality. Make sure to visit the Hicksville Trailer Palace and grab a drink at the famous Pappy & Harriet’s Bar & Grill.

Distance from Los Angeles: 128 miles/205 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from Portland: 1,080 miles/1.738 kilometers (15 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 160 miles/257 kilometers (2 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 1,249 miles/2.010 kilometers (19 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 500 miles/804 kilometers (7 hours)

 

Big Sur

The drive to Big Sur is known to be one of the best in the country. The road zigzags along the ocean making it a fun and beautiful drive. The beauty that you will see along the way will only continue to expand upon your arrival. Redwoods tower over cafes, hiking trails, and modern businesses. The area is booming with artisans from around the world.

Distance from Los Angeles: 352 miles/566 kilometers (6 hours)
Distance from Portland: 757 miles/1.218 kilometers (12 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 462 miles/743 kilometers (8 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 928 miles/1.493 kilometers (14 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 140 miles/225 kilometers (3 hours)

 

North Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe offers something for everyone with its ski slopes, boat rentals, camping, fishing, gambling, and nightclubs. It is considered one of the best pit stops for road trippers. Grab a drink at the historic lakefront Cambers Landing Bar, or make have some Tex-Mex from the legendary Caliente, also known as “The Stop.”

Distance from Los Angeles: 500 miles/804 kilometers (7 hours)
Distance from Portland: 581 miles/935 kilometers (9 hours)
Distance from San Diego: 559 miles/899 kilometers (9 hours)
Distance from Seattle: 752 miles/1.210 kilometers (12 hours)
Distance from San Francisco: 199 miles/320 kilometers (3 hours)