A road trip through the States is on nearly everyone’s bucket list. The United States is an enormous country, so the possibilities are endless. One of the classics is a West Coast USA road trip through the western United States. We take you to the top 8 destinations in this part of the United States.

8 best things to see along West Coast USA road trip

1. San Francisco highlights

There are numerous routes for your West Coast USA road trip, but most of them start or end in San Francisco. If you have time, it is a great idea to stay a few days in this beautiful city on the San Francisco Bay. Take it easy and adjust to the time difference while discovering the most important San Francisco highlights.

You should not miss these highlights:

  • Alcatraz: This prison is located on an island off the coast, and once was the most heavily guarded prison of the United States. One of the most famous prisoners was Al Capone. The prison closed in 1963 and it is now a museum and National Park. A visit to Alcatraz is an absolute must. As this is the most popular attraction in San Francisco, it is best to book your tickets beforehand.
  • Golden Gate Bridge: The peninsulas of San Francisco and Marin County are linked by this beautiful bridge. Visit the bridge in the evening and you can experience the magical atmosphere that the lights conjure up. Definitely one of the San Francisco highlights.
  • China Town: San Francisco has the oldest China Town in the United States. Book a tour of China Town and visit the Fortune Cookie factory. 
  • Fisherman’s Wharf: This used to be the area where the sailors would hang out, these days it is one of the most touristy destinations of San Francisco, with countless restaurants, shops, and attractions. And if you want to spot some seals, wander over to Pier 39.

And, of course, you haven’t been to San Francisco unless you’ve taken a ride in one of its legendary trams.

San Francisco Tram

2. Yosemite National Park

The next stop on your West Coast USA road trip is Yosemite, one of the legendary National Parks in the west of the US. The park is over 3000 km², and borders the Sierra Nevada. It is mostly known because of the Yosemite Valley, a glacial valley with walls of granite rock. The park has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984, and is one of the top destinations of the western United States. 


3. Death Valley

Death Valley is a desert-like valley in the Mojave Desert, a stone’s throw away from Las Vegas. It is known to be one of the hottest places on earth. In July and August, the temperature here often rises to 50°C and more.  Your tour of West USA must include a stop over here.

4. Las Vegas

A tour of West USA is not complete without a stop in Las Vegas. Stay in one of the spectacular hotels, and take a chance in the casino.

Las Vegas

5. Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is not so much a canyon as more of a collection of naturally formed amphitheaters. The most beautiful viewpoint is Bryce Amphitheater. If you do not have a lot of time, just visit here during your West Coast USA road trip. If you do have time and like a challenging hike, you can choose from a dozen walking trails. One even more challenging than the next.

Bryce Canyon

6. Monument Valley

This National Park with its strange rock formations absolutely belongs in this list of top destinations for your road trip through western USA. The area forms the backdrop for many films, and it is the ultimate location for your Instagram pics.

Monument Valley

7. Grand Canyon

This deep canyon lies in what is probably the best-known National Park in the western United States. About 500 Native Americans call the Grand Canyon their home, and it is one of the top locations for spotting pumas. It can be very busy at the most popular viewpoints.

Plan your visit for just before sunrise or sunset for the most beautiful photographs.

Grand Canyon

8. Los Angeles

Many West Coast USA  road trips start or end in Los Angeles. Take a tour of Hollywood to see where the rich and famous live, go (window) shopping on Rodeo Drive, and visit the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

You need at least two weeks to visit all 8 top destinations in the Western United States. If you have more time, you can extend your stay and visit Mammoth Lakes, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Moab, Lake Powell, or Palm Springs.

What's your favourite USA roadtrip?

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