The West Coast is one of the most beautiful parts of the country and one of its most popular vacation destinations. If you are considering exploring the West Coast for your annual vacation, there are a few places that you do not want to miss.
1. Yosemite National Park
This national park is a nature lovers’ paradise. It has hikes for people of all different abilities. Tuolumne Meadows is an easy hike that is just a little bit over two miles. It is a quiet and peaceful trail that is surrounded by granite peaks.
If you are an expert hiker, try the Mist Trail, which goes over two waterfalls. It is a very dense trail, and it can get wet at times. There are a few cliffs along the way, so you have to be a surefooted person to hike this trail. You’ll see breathtaking views along the way, and you’ll gain access to many other trails.
You can stay in a cabin or camp in the mountains woods or along a stream. You’ll see breathtaking flora and fauna in Yosemite National Park. You can see dear, black bear, and bighorn sheep. You are also likely to see a few of the friendly and adorable marmots that roam the area.
San Francisco is one of the United States’ most charming and sophisticated cities. It is filled with historical sites, great theater, music, and some of the most delicious food you’ll ever taste. It is home to one of the most infamous prisons in the U.S. It has served as both a military fort and a state penitentiary.
You’ll see the ruins of the guard tower, the social hall, the officer’s club, and even the rose garden. You’ll hear stories about the famous prisoners who have been incarcerated there, including the Birdman of Alcatraz and Al Capone.
You can tour Alcatraz during the day or night by simply taking a ferry boat. The boats are run by the U.S. Park Service, but you must make your reservation several days in advance to take the tour.
In addition to the prison, you’ll see many different kinds of birds on the island. You’ll get a gorgeous view of the San Francisco skyline as well.
3. Orcas Island
Washington State is one of the most diverse places in America. It has oceans, forests, rivers, and mountains. It is home to Seattle, a city in which you’ll find innovative architecture, meet people from all over the world, and eat some of the best Asian food you have ever had.
When you visit Seattle, you should not miss a trip to the San Juan Islands. These are Islands that are located in Puget Sound. The most popular of these islands and the largest is Orcas. There are several villages on this island.
You can hike through forests where you’ll see Coast Douglas Furs and big leaf maple trees. You can take a hike up Mount Constitution If you are physically fit enough to climb a 2400-footer, and there are beautiful waterfalls all along the hike. You may also see deer, red fox, and bats along the way.
You can see Orca whales, as the name of the island would suggest. You’ll also see many different types of marine life on this gorgeous island.
Although it may seem like a rather cheesy way to spend a vacation, Hollywood, California is still one of the most entertaining places you can visit. No matter what kind of movies you like, you’ll be able to find a tour or museum that fits your taste perfectly.
If you love action movies and sci-fi, you can take a Universal tour where you’ll see how special effects are created. You can also visit the Warner Brothers Studio where “Batman” and “Harry Potter” were filmed.
If you are more of an old movie fan, head to Griffith Park Observatory, made famous by the film “Rebel Without a Cause.” You can take a photo of the Alto Nido Apartments at 1851 North Ivar Street, where Joe Gillis lived in the movie Sunset Boulevard. If you are nice to the security guard, he just may let you in to see the lobby, which is filled with photographs of the iconic film. When it is time for a drink, sit at Musso and Frank’s bar, where Hollywood screenwriters enjoy martinis and kibitz about their next projects.
5. San Diego
A week is barely enough time for everything you can see and do in San Diego. You can head to the beach to spend a day of swimming, sunning, and surfing, or you can go to the docks where you can sail around the harbor on a tall ship tour, a whale watching tour, or a simple harbor tour. Take a ferry to Coronado Island. There you’ll find five white sand beaches with crystal clear water and great views. You can take a tree tour at Spreckles Park, where you can learn about all the giant trees and fauna in the area.
If the beach isn’t your thing, you can always visit the Old Town area of San Diego. Old Town is a national park, and you’ll learn many historical facts about California. Take a ghost tour to learn about Southern California in the olden days. You’ll hear stories about the outlaws, sailors, and ladies of the evening who once called San Diego home.
If you want Mexican food, you can always walk right into Mexico. Grab your passport and head out for a day of fun in Tijuana.
6. Joshua Tree
No trip to the West Coast would be complete without experiencing the haunting beauty of the desert. Joshua Tree is the perfect place to relax and unwind, and it is one of the best places to see the stars at night.
The park is named after the Joshua Tree, which is a prickly agave tree that you’ll find in the area. The spiny leaves of the tree look almost like those found on a cactus plant. Native American people found these trees very useful. They used to eat the seeds and make the strong leaves into sandals and baskets.
Joshua Tree is where the Mojave and the Colorado deserts intersect. You’ll find majestic mountain ranges as well as challenging hikes to take. Remember to always take a guide when you go hiking in the desert. It is physically challenging, and it is also easy to get turned around.
You’ll see many exotic desert animals such as kangaroo rats, ground squirrels, and rattlesnakes.
7. Portland, Oregon
There’s no place in the country quite like Portland, Oregon. If you are a foodie, you’ll love the mini gourmet food carts found around the city. You can have a gourmet meal for the price you would normally pay at one of your better fast-food restaurants.
There are many places to go hiking around the city. Take the Mt. Hood Express transit up to Mount Hood in the summertime and enjoy hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. You’ll find many shops in Mount Hood Village. There are several furniture makers, and the gift shops all sell delicious locally made preserves.
If you prefer your outdoor activities to be in the water, you’ll find many boat tours on the Columbia River. You can also try kayaking or parasailing if the wind is strong enough.
Portland is one of the two cities where you may see an American eagle flying by. Forest Park provides 5,200 acres of forest preserve right in the middle of the city. You’ll see many different birds and other wildlife there.
The city of Portland offers a unique cultural experience. There are many concert venues where you can enjoy the latest up-and-coming bands. You can take a stroll through Northwest Portland and try a cup of the finest coffee you’ll ever taste. If you go downtown or to the waterfront, you just may see a group of kids protesting the latest form of oppression.
8. Santa Barbara
If you like wine, you’ll not want to miss visiting Santa Barbara, California. There are over 200 Wineries in the area. Every one of them has a tasting room where you can try any one of many different flights. Not only do they have red and white flights, but you’ll also find dessert flights, pear flights, and low-calorie flights.
There are several boat rides to take in town. You are likely to see whales, porpoises, and dolphins on all of them. There are also many serene walking paths in the area.
The Santa Barbara Zoo is one of the most famous in the country. They are known for keeping their animals in the best of conditions. Be sure to visit the famous penguin house when you are there.
What can be said about this iconic theme park that has not already been famously uttered? Everybody should go to Disneyland at least once in their life. The rides may be ever-changing, but the mood and the spirit of the place stay the same.
There are always many parades going through town and each one has a different theme. There is a fireworks display every night at closing time, and the employees are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
Stick to the classic rides like Alice’s Mad Tea Party or Peter Pan’s Flight, or take a ride with Captain Jack and the Pirates of the Caribbean. Avengers Headquarters is a new ride at the happiest place on Earth, where you can fly alongside the Avengers as they fight super villains.
10. Monterey, California
Monterey, California is a lovely and affluent coastal town. It is most famous for Pebble Beach, which is a golf course and resort for the very heavy of wallet.
You’’ll find lush and inviting forests in Monterey where colorful wildflowers grow. Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a great place to see local marine life, such as seals, otters, whales, and dolphins, all year round.
Monterey pop was one of California’s most famous music festivals. It introduced Janice Joplin to the public, and the town still has plenty of music today.
Although it is now one of the most expensive places to live in California, there was a time when Monterey was a humble factory town. Cannery Row was once a place where impoverished workers canned sardines for the masses. John Steinbeck even wrote a book about the town in the early days of its industrialization.
Today, the same buildings that were used for canning hundreds of thousands of dead fish have turned into luxury apartment buildings. There are also many upscale shops in the canneries, and they house restaurants that Mack and the boys would have to save for months to afford.
Enjoy your West Coast travels. And as always, stay safe.