Are you trying to plan a road trip on the West Coast of the USA but not sure where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Since the pandemic, many have opted to travel by private vehicle rather than catching commercial flights or public transport. This has brought about a rise in the popularity of road trips, and with so much to see in the United States, it’s not hard to see why!

On the West Coast alone, you can enjoy epic coastlines, mountain areas, deserts and picturesque wineries and vineyards.

Here we’ve made a list of the best road trips on the West Coast, to help inspire your own travel plans. From the iconic Pacific Coastal Highway to Highway 101 Oregon Coast there are plenty of routes for you to explore!

The Best Road Trips On The West Coast

1. Pacific Coast Highway

Also known as California State Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the best road trips on the West Coast. The route goes on for about 500 miles (800 kilometres) from San Francisco to San Diego. 

Usually, it takes about 3-4 days to complete the trip but you can also extend this for up to a week, depending on how many stops you’d like to make.

The 10 Best Road Trips On The West Coast
Bixby Creek Bridge | (@tothewonderblog)

The coastal views along this route are simply amazing. It’s not hard to get distracted by the scenery while driving so be sure to stay focussed and keep your eyes on the road at all times. It’s a good idea to regularly swap with your road trip partner so you each get a chance to admire the views.

Big Sur, is a must-see along the Pacific Coast Highway while other notable attractions include: Half Moon Bay State Beach Park, Bixby Creek Bridge and Hearst Castle.

2. Cascade Loop Scenic Highway

The Cascade Loop Scenic Highway stretches about 440 miles (704 kilometres) from Sedro-Woolley to Twisp in the Methow Valley, and Mount Vernon. 

The landscape changes drastically as you move from town to town. The green scenery of Twisp shifts into rugged mountain peaks in Leavenworth before revealing alpine villages on Stevens Pass. 

Cascade Loop Scenic Highway | (@seattlenorthcountry)

On average it takes about 3-4 days to complete the road trip on the Cascade Loop Scenic Highway.  One of the most popular things to do is play cowboy in Winthrop. 

Other attractions worth checking out are Bavarian Village, Lake Chelan, North Cascades National Park, and Skagit Valley.

3. Yosemite to Death Valley National Park

If you’re all about exploring exotic national parks, hiking scenic trails, and appreciating mesmerising landscapes, this is one of the best road trips on the West Coast.

Most people take about four to five hours to complete the trip between Yosemite to Death Valley National Park, but this can vary depending on the exact route you choose to follow.

The 10 Best Road Trips On The West Coast
Cascade Loop Scenic Highway | (@the_lost_coast)

For example, if you choose to travel via Highway 395 it will only take around four hours. This route is 300 miles (480 kilometres) long you will be rewarded with lovely mountainous views. 

The best time to visit Yosemite and Death Valley National Park is from May to September because of the absence of snow. Large sections of each national park is inaccessible during the rest of the year due to heavy snow cover.

Don’t forget to check out attractions like Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, Glacier Point, Yosemite Museum and Indian Village, Sand Dunes near Stove Pipe Wells, Twenty Mule Team Canyon, and Rhyolite Ghost Town while traveling along this route. 

4. San Juan Islands Scenic Byway

The San Juan Islands Scenic Byway features both the San Juan Islands and the Orcas Islands and allows visitors to travel by ferry through the incredibly scenic byway. 

It is not exactly your typical road trip but the byway is still an awesome route to drive. Stretching about 30 miles (48 kilometres) in the San Juan Island Loop, the route will offer you some incredible ocean views.

San Juan Islands | (@seekingthenow)

Most will stay about 2-3 days, allowing enough time to explore the two islands. You can also combine this journey with a day trip to Lopez Island. 

While here you should check out Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, Jackson Beach, San Juan Island National Historical Park, Pelindaba Lavender Farm, and San Juan Vineyards.

READ MORE