Want to start organising your USA West Coast trip, but have no idea where to start? We don’t blame you – there’s so much to see in a country so intimidatingly massive that FOMO can become a real issue. And if you’ve only got a limited travel window, that’ll make things even more difficult! So to help you out, here are six of the must-see, do-not-miss, absolutely necessary stops you should make when cruising your way around this stunning part of the United States!
Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco
If you want to hang out in an uber-cool alternative district packed full of quirky galleries, vintage clothing stores, record shops, hip cafes and street art, you’ve come to the right place. Named for the intersecting Haight and Ashbury Streets, this was where thousands of youngins gathered in 1967, known as The Summer of Love. Hippie culture took off, and the vibes remain today, mixed with the urban hipster scene of San Fran that we know and love. You can easily spend a day wandering the shops and people watching with a cold drink. Don’t miss this district if you’re passing through the city!
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite draws in a huge amount of visitors each year – four million, to be more precise. Yep, you read that right. Four. Million. What could possibly be drawing such large numbers, you wonder? Well about 95% of the park is designated wilderness, and that’s perhaps what people love. Untouched natural beauty. You’re able to see it from all possible sides too, since the park features over 1,300km of hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty available to wander.
The Strip, Las Vegas
If you’re road tripping around the West Coast, of course a visit to Sin City has to be on the cards (no pun intended). And with that comes the famous neon glow of The Strip! Explore at night and see the sights that are quintessentially Las Vegas. The glitz and glamour of the towering 5-star hotels, the choreographed fountains, the massive restaurants and bars, and numerous music venues will leave you feeling a little overwhelmed, but in the best possible way. But don’t think it’s only worth seeing at night – wander The Strip during the daylight hours to see street performers and a tonne of other attractions. There’s always something going on here!
South Lake Tahoe, California
Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in America, and Mark Twain himself dubbed this area “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” Once you see it for yourself, you’ll see why. The water here is truly a tantalising blue-green, surrounded by stunning high green mountains. Emerald Bay should definitely be on your to-do list; this bay on the lake is a National Natural Landmark, and is one of the most photographed places on earth for a reason. Vikingsholm Castle was built here in 1929 and is just a stroll from the beach, while Fannette Island sits in the middle of the bay. This is a picturesque sight, and also an ideal location for those into hiking and outdoor activities.
Santa Monica, Los Angeles
You’ve no doubt seen Santa Monica and the famous pier in movies before, and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity for a visit on your trip! This is a coastal beach city, just west of downtown LA. Head to the pier to check out the Pacific Park amusement park and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Nearby is Muscle Beach, the outdoor gym established back in the 1930s; wander over to check out the action. Suns out, guns out! Santa Monica has the perfect beach to grab some food and a few cold drinks from one of the many seaside restaurants, and watch the sunset from the sand. Chilled vibes only!
Death Valley, California
Don’t be put off by the freaky name. Death Valley is located in the northern part of the Mojave Desert, and the landscape needs to be seen to be believed. This is the lowest, hottest, driest place in North America, with breathtaking desert scenery. In fact, the hottest temperature ever recorded was taken here in 1913, when the mercury levels hit a whopping 56.7 degrees celsius! But fear not, we’re sure it won’t be that bad when you pass through. Make sure you’ve got your camera, and take in the mountain-size sand dunes, below-sea-level salt flats, mysterious singing rocks, and colourful sandstone canyons.