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Ultimate USA West Coast Road Trip: 7, 10 or 15 Days Itinerary Ideas

Are you looking for the best US west coast road trip itinerary to explore the most beautiful places along the Pacific Coast? Our 7 to 15 days USA West Coast itinerary will help you explore this part of the country from the stunning Grand Canyon to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Visit Hollywood in LA, the Space Needle in Seattle, and gamble in Las Vegas while you road trip the Western USA. Read our ultimate West Coast of USA road trip itinerary now. You may also like our post on Best Places to Visit in the USA.

Welcome to our West Coast road trip planner.

West Coast USA road trip is a grand adventure. This classic road trip has the ultimate Clint Eastwood Western meets Baywatch vibe.

Drive on lonely, dirt-caked roads and stumble upon mining ghost towns. Discover millions of years old landscapes and rock formations. Lose track of time in the utter stillness that surrounds you.

Fall in love with sleepy coastal communities and find your inspiration in Hollywood. Sunbathe in Malibu and take in the beauty of Big Sur’s rocky coastline. 

But that is not all this trip has to offer.

Unique geographic sites are littered throughout the West Coast road trip map and nature reigns supreme here. Visit the lowest and driest place in the continent at Death Valley.

Feel dwarfed by the 50 feet tall Saguaro cacti and 350 feet tall coastal redwoods. Hike in the prehistoric Fern Canyon and explore foggy cities along the Pacific Coast.

Climb up to active volcanoes and experience the earth’s geothermal activities along the Ring of Fire. 

Travel Tip – For a unique West Coast road trip, visit Alaska! Plan the ultimate Alaska road trip around Denali, Fairbanks, and Anchorage.

Walk-through history as it happened and discover momentous lands on the West Coast America road trip.

Explore the Lewis and Clark expedition. Honor the first pioneers on the California trail at Donner Pass and see the first settlement on the West Coast at Old Town San Diego.

Understand the military importance of the Presidio of San Francisco and the Klondike Gold Rush that led to the fortunes of Seattle.

The USA west coast tour itinerary is an educational experience and perfect for a family summer vacation with kids. 

Epic West Coast Road Trip Itinerary Planner

Planning a West Coast itinerary is not easy. And that’s why we have created this Ultimate West Coast road trip planner. Use our suggested road trip route to plan an epic West Coast American road trip. As always, we have included recommendations to customize this Western USA Itinerary based on your interests and the number of days you have. Whether you want to begin in Las Vegas or San Diego and end in San Francisco or Seattle, we can help you plan a memorable and epic road trip. We have linked this guide to our in-depth articles covering the region – Click on the names of cities and natural attractions to read more about them.

West Coast America Point Lobos Coast Usa Landscape

7 Day USA West Coast Road Trip

If you have just 7 days, you cannot see the entire West Coast. You have a few options to either see the southwest and California or plan a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway in the Golden State. Or see the highlights of the Pacific Northwest. We have outlined these suggested Western road trip itineraries in this section.

Vegas Grand Canyon LA San Francisco

This West Coast USA tour itinerary covers the most visited attractions of the West Coast from the Grand Canyon to the Golden Gate Bridge. If you can plan only one trip to the West Coast, then use this route. 

Las Vegas – 2 Days

Begin your West Coast driving trip in Las Vegas. Explore the attractions of the strip including the beautiful Fountains of Bellagio and the Eiffel Tower ride in Paris Las Vegas. Watch a concert or Cirque du Soleil show. Gamble and enjoy the nightlife in Las Vegas. See the scenic Valley of Fire State Park then head over to the Grand Canyon in the afternoon.

Las Vegas Girls Trip (30 of 42)

Grand Canyon National Park – 1 Day

Grand Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the natural wonders of the world. It is one of the essential attractions on a road trip to the West Coast. On a visit, you can see the exhibits about the formation of the canyon at the visitor center and admire the expansive views of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim Drive. Spot the wildlife in the Grand Canyon including mountain goats and buy Native American arts and crafts at Trading Posts. If you have time see the beautiful Antelope Canyons in Page. 

Photo of Grand Canyon National Park at sunset
Grand Canyon National Park at sunset

Los Angeles – 2 Days

Then head over to Los Angeles. See the Walk of Stars and the Oriental Theatre in Hollywood. Take behind the scenes movie studio tours and visit Universal or Disney. Visit Museum Row on Miracle Mile and admire the art at LACMA and fossils at La Brea Tra Pits. Walk on the beach and enjoy a sunset on the Pacific Ocean during your road trip on the West Coast. 

San Francisco – 2 Days

End your West Coast trip in San Francisco. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge and climb down Lombard Street. Take a ferry to historic Alcatraz Island and admire the San Francisco skyline from Twin Peaks. Enjoy delicious seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf and the dim sum in Chinatown. Conclude your trip by wine tasting and shopping in Union Square.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Franciscoo

Los Angeles to California via Big Sur

While this road trip is based only in California, it is one of the best west coast road trips. It has plenty of diverse attractions from world-class cities, stunning natural areas, and sleepy coastal communities. This road trip is said to be the most scenic in the world for its gorgeous views along the wild coast. 

Los Angeles – 2 Days

After exploring the urban attractions of Los Angeles, head up north towards San Francisco along the coast. Enjoy the beach life in Malibu and Ventura and admire the view of Santa Barbara from the clock house tower. Feel the trendy vibe in the college town of San Luis Obispo and climb the dunes at Oceano Beach. Go wine tasting in Paso Robles. 

Big Sur – 2 Days

Then comes the highlight – a drive through stunning Big Sur. See the elephant seals at San Simeon and visit the Lime Kiln State Park. Photograph the engineering marvel of Bixby Creek Bridge and see the stunning McWay Falls. Go antiquing in charming coastal communities like Pismo Beach and Carmel by the Sea and take a whale-watching cruise in Monterey. See scenic lighthouses along the foggy coast. 

Big Sur drive

The 90 miles of Big Sur is filled with beautiful beaches and coves. It has numerous hiking trails along bluffs and campsites right on the beach. You can see marine life including whales, dolphins, sea otters, sea lions, and a variety of tide pool creatures. Big Sur is also home to tall coastal redwood trees and blooms with beautiful wildflowers in the spring. This region is a delight for nature lovers and a delightful stop on road trip USA West Coast.

San Francisco & Yosemite – 3 Days

Get your urban fix in San Francisco and end your West Coast trip USA on a high note at the Golden Gate Bridge. Then explore the stunning Yosemite National Park and see the legendary granite faces of El Capitan and Half Dome. Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited in the country and worth a visit on a West Coast roadtrip.

To plan this road trip, read our post on the Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary

Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Explore the Pacific Northwest on an ultimate road trip through hip cities, scenic drives, and open spaces. See one of a kind geological landforms and eat plenty of seafood. Go from the mountains to the beaches and drive through river gorges. This road trip has plenty of hidden gems and underrated attractions. 

Portland – 2 Days

Begin your road trip in Portland and wrap your head around its ‘weird’ vibe. Visit attractions such as the Japanese Garden and the Shanghai tunnels. Eat the city’s famous doughnuts and visit the food truck pods. Take a photogenic view of the Portland skyline with Mount Hood in the background from Pittock Mansion. 

Beautiful View of Portland, Oregon
Beautiful View of Portland, Oregon

Columbia River Highway – 1 Day

Then drive along the historic Columbia River Highway. This scenic route has plenty of waterfalls and small communities. The scenery here looks stunning in fall. Visit the beautiful Multnomah Falls and admire the view from the Vista House Museum. 

Optional – Coastal Oregon & Washington

If you have more time, head to the coast and Cannon Beach. See the beautiful haystacks before heading up towards Astoria. Spend time admiring the seaport city from the Astoria Tower and understand about the Lewis and Clark Expedition at Fort Clatsop. 

Follow Highway 101 to Olympic National Park in Washington. The park is a UNESCO Heritage Site and has attractions such as the Hof Rainforest and Sol Duc Hot Springs. See the beautiful mountain views at Hurricane Ridge then tour the Washington State Capitol at Olympia as part of US road trip on West Coast. 

Also Read: Best Things to do in Washington State

Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park Washington
Hurricane Ridge Olympic National Park Washington

Mt. Rainier National Park – 1 Day

Mt. Rainier National Park is a beautiful paradise in the Cascade mountains. This active stratovolcano looks scenic when surrounded by wildflowers filled meadows in the summer. One of the most popular regions to visit in Mt Rainier National Park is Paradise and Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center. Sunrise road and the visitor center are also scenic and have beautiful trails. 

Tacoma – 1 Day

Then spend a day enjoying the cultural attractions of Tacoma. A must visit in the city is the Museum of Glass and the Bridge of Glass which connects the museum and downtown Tacoma. This bridge has Dale Chihuly’s artwork. Other good museums include the LeMay Car Museum and the Washington State History Museum which has a model railroad. Take a stroll at the scenic Fort Defiance Park in Tacoma before heading to Seattle. 

Seattle – 2 Days

In Seattle, drink lots of coffee and visit the original Starbucks at Pike Place Market. Visit the Seattle Center and climb up the observation deck of the Space Needle to see beautiful panoramic views of Seattle. See the Chihuly Garden & Glass and enjoy the exhibits at Pacific Science Center. Take a whale-watching excursion to the islands in Puget Sound before ending your road trip with a visit to the Museum of Pop Culture.

Aquarium Seattle and frontview, Seattle, Washington
Aquarium Seattle and frontview, Seattle, Washington

For more West Coast Road Trip Itinerary 7 days ideas, see our post on Best Road Trips to take along the West Coast

10 Day West Coast Road Trip

If you have 10 days to road trip the West Coast USA, then you can see many more attractions along the West Coast. Here are our favorite comprehensive West Coast road trip ideas for the first time US visitors. 

Vegas to San Francisco via SR 395

While this road trip sounds similar to the one we mentioned earlier, you will be taking the much more scenic route through the Sierra Nevada and eastern California. See the unique Death Valley National Park and reach Yosemite via the eastern entrance. Then visit San Francisco and Los Angeles to complete your road trip in USA west coast. 

Las Vegas – 2 Days

Explore the highlights of Las Vegas. Walk along the Las Vegas strip and see the famous casinos including Bellagio, Luxor, Ceaser’s Palace, the Venetian, etc. Explore the Freemont Street in downtown and take a photo with the Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Hike the trails in Red Rock Canyon and see the Hoover Dam.

Grand Canyon – 1 Day

Either head for Grand Canyon on your 2nd day in Las Vegas or If you want to make a day trip, see the Grand Canyon from the western rim. Grand Canyon West is not located in Grand Canyon National Park but on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. At the western rim, visitors can walk over the glass panels on the Skywalk and see the Grand Canyon spread out before them.  

Panoramic view of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona at dusk
Panoramic view of the Grand Canyon national Park in Arizona at dusk

Death Valley – 1 Day

Then visit Death Valley National Park. Death Valley is the aridest and hottest place in the country; it is also the lowest. See the salt flats at Badwater Basin and the panorama from Dante’s View. Hike along the Salt Creek trail and see the pupfish and sandboard the Mesquite Flat sand dunes. 

Then drive along SR 395 north towards Yosemite. The best time to drive this road is from summer to fall; the rest of the year you may encounter snow and/or attractions may be closed. See Alabama Hills, Manzanar historic site, Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake, and enter Yosemite National Park through the eastern entrance. This entrance is closed during winter and spring.

Yosemite – 1 Day

Drive along the Lee Vining Canyon Scenic Byway. The road will take you to the Tioga Pass entrance into Yosemite’s high country. This area is snowed over from late fall to spring but is incredibly scenic in the summer. See the attractions like Tuolumne Meadows and the panorama at Olmsted Point Overlook. Then check out the attractions in Yosemite Valley including Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, and Half Dome. 

View of the Yosemite Valley at dawn
View of the Yosemite Valley at dawn

San Francisco – 2 Days

After checking Yosemite, take the drive to San Francisco. Walk or bike across Golden Gate Bridge and see the attractions in the Presidio of San Francisco including Crissy Fields, Fort Point, Walt Disney Museum, and the Palace of Fine Arts. See the sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf and devour the chocolate at Ghirardelli Square. 

San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf

Big Sur – 1 Day

Take a short day trip through scenic Big Sur before heading to Los Angeles on this west coast of USA road trip. You will need to leave on day 2 from San Francisco and reach Los Angeles late in the day to get the time for this side trip but it is totally worth it. Explore Big Sur’s attractions including Bixby Creek Bridge, Pfeiffer Beach, Keyhole Rock, McWay Falls, the redwood groves, and Point Sur Lighthouse. 

Los Angeles – 2 Days

In Los Angeles, take a movie studio tour or walk along the iconic Hollywood Blvd. Snap a photo with the movie stars on the sidewalk and shop on Rodeo Drive. See the movie star homes in Beverly Hills and see the museums. Spend time on the Santa Monica Pier and people watch at Venice Beach. Enjoy the SoCal vibe to make the most of your West Coast America road trip. 

10 Day California Road Trip

Spend the entire time in California, driving down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego. Then explore the state’s desert region of Joshua Tree and Death Valley. Follow SR 395 through Alabama Hills and Mammoth Lakes to Lake Tahoe. 

Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Coast Highway

San Francisco – 2 Day

Explore the best attractions in San Francisco including the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Lombard Street, and Alcatraz Island. Take a ride on the historic cable car and dine in popular Fisherman’s Wharf. San Francisco is very diverse and has something for everyone, whether you are visiting for the first time or a frequent traveler to the city. Photograph the Victorian architecture and take a day trip out to Muir Woods. Then drive down south along Pacific Coast Highway towards Big Sur. 

Big Sur – 2 Days

From the urban skyline of San Francisco, the scenery changes quite a bit even before you reach Big Sur. Highway 1 will take you through communities such as Half Moon Bay and Pescadero before reaching beautiful Monterey. Spend some time in Monterey at the Cannery Row. See sea lions or take a whale-watching cruise. Visit the aquarium and hike in Point Lobos then head for Bixby Creek Bridge. 

Visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park which is home to the beautiful McWay Falls. Then visit the purple sand Pfeiffer Beach before checking out scenic landscapes in Garatappa State Park and Andrew Molera State Park. Enjoy surfing on the crescent-shaped Sand Dollar Beach. See the Point Sur lighthouse and the elephant seal rookery at San Simeon. 

Big Sur

Los Angeles – 2 Day

Then drive down California’s coast to Los Angeles. Experience the city’s beach and movie culture. Take a photo with the Hollywood sign and dine at Michelin starred restaurants. Relax on the sandy beaches in Malibu and see stunning art at the Getty Center. Visit the Griffith Observatory and see gorgeous views of the city from above. Buy fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market and take pictures for the ‘gram at the Broad. 

Death Valley – 1 Day

From Los Angeles, drive to Death Valley National Park. Located in California’s high desert, Desert Valley is a hostile environment. This is the driest, lowest, and hottest place in the country. It is home to stunning salt flats at Badwater Basin, mysterious moving rocks at Racetrack Playa, and unique geological landforms such as Artist’s Palette and Zabriskie Point. See the nearby ghost town of Rhyolite while leaving Death Valley for Yosemite. 

Yosemite – 2 Days

Take the SR 395 north towards Lake Tahoe. On your way, you will pass via attractions such as the alien landscape of Alabama Hills, the Museum of Western Film History in Lone Pine, and Bodie, a mining ghost town. Finally, arrive in Yosemite and take the Lee Vining Tioga Pass Road to Yosemite Valley. Explore attractions such as Yosemite Falls and Tuolumne Meadows before driving back via the same road to Lake Tahoe. 

Lake Tahoe – 1 Day

The scenic Lake Tahoe is California’s favorite outdoor playground. The lake is located on the Nevada California border and is stunning blue in the summer. Take the Lake Tahoe Loop Road trip to explore attractions along the lake. See Emerald Bay State Park and the Viking Castle. Bike the famous Flume Trail and enjoy South Lake Tahoe. 

To plan this road trip, read our post on 10 Days in California

Portland to San Francisco

Another awesome option is to follow Oregon Highway 101, California Highway 101, and Highway 1 down the Pacific Coast. You will be treated to stunning coastal views, rock formations, sandy beaches, waterfalls, marine life, coastal towns, whale watching, lots of history, and fresh seafood on this West Coast USA itinerary 10 days. 

Also Read the full post here: Portland to San Francisco Road Trip Itinerary

Portland – 2 Days

Start this amazing road trip down the coast in Portland. The city is best for foodies and you should sample local doughnuts and ice creams as well as food truck pods in the city. Visit the independent bookstore Powell City of Books and tour the underground tunnels. Visit Portland’s beautiful gardens including the International Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Lan Su Chinese Garden. See the beautiful views along the waterfront. 

Columbia River Gorge – 1 Day

Take a day trip to Columbia River Gorge via the Historic Columbia River Highway. The road is extremely scenic and has many attractions including waterfalls. The most popular waterfall by far is the stunning two-tiered Multnomah Falls. Walk up to Benson Bridge and see the iconic falls up close. Visit the Multnomah Falls Lodge Visitor Center before driving all the way to Mount Hood to enjoy your trip. 

Northern Oregon Coast – 1 Day

Then it is time to head down to the coast. Spend a day exploring the attractions of the northern Oregon Coast. Start at the beautiful seaport city of Astoria. See the Goonies filming locations. Then head down to Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach. Take the iconic photo of Cannon Beach sea-stacks from the state park. Have fun on the beach, then visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and try the fresh cheeses. 

Cannon beach, Oregon
Cannon beach, Oregon

Central Oregon Coast – 1 Day

There are many things to do on Oregon’s central coast. Visit the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and enjoy the stunning views. Hike through old-growth forests of giant Sitka spruce and see the Devil’s Churn. You can also whale watch from the shores. Explore the scenic towns of Yachats, Florence, and Newport, which is home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Visit the Devil’s Punchbowl area and see the unique geological formation. Tour the charming Yaquina Head Lighthouse and Heceta Head Lighthouse. 

Southern Oregon Coast – 1 Day

Continue the drive down Highway 101 through Southern Oregon. Take a short scenic road trip along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. This 12-mile long route has plenty of panoramic coastal views and pullouts to enjoy them. See the lighthouses at Cape Arago, Cape Blanco, and Pelican Bay. In southern Oregon, you can also see the giant coastal redwoods along the Oregon Redwoods Trail. The southern coast also has lots of breweries and is a great place to drink craft beer. 

Northern California Coast – 2 Days

Then cross over the border into northern California. Northern California is the best place to have a variety of redwood experiences including drive-through trees and single log cabins. Use the two days to explore attractions such as the Avenue of the Giants, the Fern Canyon hike, the Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, the coastal city of Mendocino, and Point Reyes. Eat the oysters at Tomales Bay and see the Birds filming locale in Bodega Bay. Read our North California road trip itinerary to plan your 2 days in North California. 

Avenue of the Giants

San Francisco – 2 Days

Make your way down to the northern California city of San Francisco. See the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and take the tour to Alcatraz Island. See the famous federal prison and know about the prisoners incarcerated here including Al Capone. See the oriental architecture in Chinatown and the murals in Balmy Alley. Drive down twisting Lombard Street and dine at the Ferry Market Building. See the city of San Francisco from the Marin Headlands and enjoy the laid back vibe of Sausalito. 

West Coast USA itinerary 2 weeks

If you have 2 weeks, then you are in for the treat of a lifetime. You are going to drive through ever-changing landscapes and explore the diversity of the West Coast. Start your road trip at the Canadian border near Seattle and go south till you reach the Mexican border in San Diego. This USA west coast itinerary 2 weeks is the ultimate road trip adventure. 

While you won’t get time to see all of the natural attractions including Mt. Rainier, Columbia River Gorge, Yosemite, Big Sur, and Coastal Oregon-Northern California coast, we recommend picking a few of the attractions you most want to visit and dividing your days accordingly for this West Coast road trip 2 weeks. 

Seattle – 2 Days

Start your 2-week West coast USA itinerary in the Emerald City of Seattle. It is known for its coffee houses, wet winter season, and the iconic Space Needle. Try out the city’s famous attractions and tour the Seattle Underground. Visit the Chinatown-International District and enjoy shopping for knick-knacks and souvenirs. Eat dishes such as pho, noodles, and Ramen. Visit the Seattle Museum of Art and the free Olympic Sculpture Park along the waterfront. Read our guide on Seattle to plan your trip. 

The ferris wheel on the waterfront of Seattle, Washington
The ferris wheel on the waterfront of Seattle, Washington

Optional: Mount Rainier National Park – 1 Day

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Pacific Northwest. The National Park is very close to Seattle and hence easy to see on a day trip. If you are visiting from July to September, check out the Sunrise Visitor Center and hike the Sunrise Nature Trail or Sunrise Rim Trail. During the rest of the year, visit the Paradise area and the Henry M Jackson Visitor Center. The views from the Paradise area are also equally stunning and you can see the active volcanic peak of Mt Rainier, wildflowers, wildlife, and glaciers. 

Portland – 2 Days

Then make your way south to the hip and trendy city of Portland. The Willamette River runs through this city and Tom McCall Waterfront Park is located along the river. Check out the park and its memorials before checking out Portland’s attractions including the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the Pittock Mansion. Take a hike through Forest Park and discover the Witch’s Castle! Go on a food spree and eat unique dishes all around the city. 

Optional: Historic Columbia River Gorge – 1 Day

It’s time for a historic trip down the Columbia River Gorge. Take the scenic Columbia River Highway from Portland to Mt. Hood and explore the attractions along the 75-mile long route. Start in the town of Troutdale and visit the historic McMenamins brewpub. Then stop at the beautiful Multnomah Falls Scenic area. Hike along the falls and other famous hiking trails in the area. See the panoramic views from Crown Point. At the end of the road, continue along the Mt Hood Scenic Byway. Return to Portland for the next part of the trip. 

This is a slow shutter shot of Multnomah Falls in Autumn colors.
Multnomah Falls in Autumn colors, Oregon

Optional: Coastal Oregon and Northern California coast – 2 to 3 days

You can either drive down the coast for which you will need at least one additional day without stopping anywhere or fly from Portland to San Francisco for a fly and drive West Coast itinerary. If you are driving, we recommend devoting 2 to 3 days to this stretch which is filled with redwoods, beautiful lighthouses, charming coastal cities, and more. 

In Oregon, must-see stops include Astoria, Cannon Beach, Tillamook Creamery, Yachats, Heceta Head Lighthouse, Devil’s Punchbowl, Cape Perpetua, and Samuel H Boardman Scenic Byway. Read our post on Coastal Oregon road trip itinerary to know more about these attractions and plan the trip. 

In Northern California, some of the must-visit attractions include Redwood National and State Parks, Russian River, Avenue of the Giants, Leggett drive-through redwood tree, Napa/Sonoma County, Point Reyes, etc. To see all the attractions, read our Northern California road trip guide. 

Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse

San Francisco – 2 Days

In the city, see the best things to do in San Francisco including the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Lombard Street, Palace of Fine Arts, the Exploratorium, California Academy of the Sciences, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and other attractions. Take a day trip to Napa or Sonoma wine counties and go wine tasting, see the geyser in Calistoga, check out the Bay area attractions in neighboring San Jose and Palo Alto, or see the redwood trees at Muir Woods in case you missed them further up the coast. 

Optional: Yosemite National Park – 1 Day

If you want to see the beauty of the Sierra Nevadas and the Sequoia trees, then go on a day trip to Yosemite National Park. This is one of the most visited national parks in the country and has amazing scenery. Start your visit in the Yosemite Village and see the valley. See the highlights of Yosemite Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, etc. Drive around the national park and see the famous views of Tunnel View, Valley View, Glacier Point Road, and Olmsted Point Overlook. See the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia trees and see the wildflowers on Tuolumne Meadows. 

Optional: Big Sur – 1 Day

Welcome to beautiful, bold Big Sur. The beauty of California’s unspoiled central Coast has inspired artists, poets, and writers. This is the place to visit for secluded beaches, lots of marine wildlife, tide pools, hiking trails on the coast, and waterfalls. Visit small charming communities like Carmel by the Sea, Pismo Beach, and Morro Bay to understand and appreciate the relaxed life here. 

Morro Bay
Morro Bay

Los Angeles – 2 Days

Then head down to Los Angeles and enjoy some of the best sunsets of your life. The city is pretty huge and most of the landmark tourist attractions aren’t concentrated in one place but you can easily get cabs and rideshares to get around the city. Start your day at Hollywood in Central LA and see the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, Kodak Theatre which hosts the Academy Awards, and the Hollywood Museum which has movie props, scripts, and costumes. See other attractions including Griffith Park and Observatory, Getty Villa, Rodeo Drive, and the museums. 

Optional: Anaheim – 1 Day

If you have kids or adults in your party that love theme parks, then make the stop at Anaheim. Our favorites are the Disney theme parks – Disneyland and California Adventure. Disneyland is perfect for younger kids who want to meet Mickey and friends and the princesses while California Adventure is more for older kids who like roller coasters and other thrill rides. You can also visit Universal Studios to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There are many other theme parks in Anaheim besides Disney and Universal and you are in for a fun day. 

San Diego – 2 Days

End your road trip in the sunny city of San Diego. It is known for its warm sun, mild weather, and inviting beaches. Explore Old Town San Diego and its historic buildings. Eat delicious Mexican cuisine and walk along the waterfront Embarcadero. Explore Balboa Park and its attractions. See the museums housed in historical buildings and take a day trip either to Coronado island or the sunny beaches in La Jolla. 

Balboa Park San Diego

USA West Coast itinerary 3 weeks

In 3 weeks you can cover a whole lot of the country. Drive from border to border along the Pacific Coast, then make a beeline for the southwest. Visit one of a kind attractions such as Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Monument Valley. Experience the best of Western USA on this epic road trip. 

If you look at the West Coast America road trip map, you will be covering an L shaped section of the western USA.  To plan this road trip, follow our suggested route for the 2-week itinerary up to Los Angeles. Then take the route to Las Vegas from Death Valley. From Las Vegas, embark on a week-long southwest road trip to the Grand Canyon and beyond. The itinerary will follow the route as follows:

Seattle – 2 Days

There is no better place than Seattle to start your West Coast 3 week road trip itinerary. You will begin near the northern border in Canada and explore the most vibrant city of the Pacific Northwest. See iconic attractions of the Greater Seattle area including the Space Needle, Museum of Pop Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pike Place Market, and Seattle Waterfront. Understand the history of Seattle and the Klondike Gold Rush at Historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. Read our Seattle itinerary guide to plan your trip. 

Needle Space at sunset, Seattle, Washington
Needle Space at sunset, Seattle, Washington

Optional Mount Rainier National Park – 1 Day

After seeing Seattle, drive to Mt. Rainier National Park which is located to the southwest of Seattle. The drive takes about 2.5 hours and is incredibly scenic. At the end is your destination, the iconic Mt. Rainier. This is an active stratovolcano in the Cascade ranges. At the national park visitor centers, you can see exhibits about the volcanic activity, plants, and animals in the National Park. Then enjoy hiking along the park trails and enjoy the waterfalls in the Paradise region. If the roads are open, drive to Sunrise Visitor Center to see Mt. Rainier from a different vantage point. 

Portland – 2 Days

Your next destination is Portland. Start your visit in Washington Park. This urban park is home to Oregon’s many attractions including the Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, and the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum. It also has expansive gardens including the International Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Hoyt Arboretum. See the famous Pittock Mansion and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Visit the local Farmers Market, hike in Forest Park, and walk across the beautiful historic St. John’s Bridge. 

 Portland Japanese Garden
Foggy Morning by Wooden Foot Bridge at Portland Japanese Garden in Autumn

Optional: Historic Columbia River Gorge – 1 Day

Today, you will be visiting one of the best places to see on the West Coast – the stunning Multnomah Falls. The falls are 620 feet tall and are the tallest waterfall in the state. The falls cascade from the basalt cliffs in two tiers. The charming Benson Bridge overlooks the base of the first tier and has an excellent vantage point over the falls. After seeing the falls, check out Hood River and other falls including Horsetail Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, etc. Then drive down to San Francisco. 

Optional: Coastal Oregon and Northern California coast – 2 to 3 days

As we mentioned before, spend 2 to 3 days on the course from Portland to San Francisco. Start at the Lewis and Clark Expedition Site in Fort Clatsop in Astoria. See the beautiful view from Ecola State Park and visit the Tillamook Creamery. Hi Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and the Devil’s Punchbowl near Yachats. See the cities of Newport and Florence before heading into Northern California.

In Northern California, hike in Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park and drive through the fog-covered Redwood Highway. Sport elks and the other wildlife and view the scenic lighthouse in Crescent City. Admire the Victorian architecture of Old Town Eureka and see the beautiful glass beach at Fort Bragg.

Read our Coastal Oregon road trip itinerary and Northern California road trip itinerary to plan a trip along this route.

Fern Canyon California
Fern Canyon, California

San Francisco – 2 Days

Meander your way down the coast to the amazing city of San Francisco. Enjoy its hip vibe. If this is your multiple visit to the city, then discover hidden attractions such as the Grateful Dead house in Haight Ashbury neighborhood, the 16th Avenue tiled steps, and Mission Dolores Park in Mission District. Eat your way around the egg tarts in Chinatown, Mission-style burritos, and sourdough clam chowder soup at Boudin’s Bakery. 

Optional: Yosemite National Park – 1 Day

Yosemite National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful places to visit on the West Coast. Take the scenic Highway 140 through Mariposa to Yosemite Valley. Visit the museum and take a stroll around Yosemite Village. Then explore the valley and its major attractions. You can also see the valley on a guided tour given by the park rangers if you have less time. Drive up to Tunnel View and see the beautiful panorama of El Capitan, Half Dome, and the Bridalveil falls. Hike in the valley and explore the park’s wildlife before coming back to the coast. 

Yosemite National Park

Optional: Big Sur – 2 Days

The drive through Big Sur is one of the most beautiful road trips in the world. You will be driving parallel to the rugged coast and have awesome views of the coastal cliffs and the blue water of the Pacific Ocean. There are many hiking trails and natural areas along the road including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Garatappa State Park, Lime Kiln State Park, etc. Beautiful waterfalls, hidden beaches, and coves surround this area. Stay at Big Sur village and enjoy the stunning beauty of Big Sur. 

Optional: Channel Island National Park

Channel Islands National Park is one of the least visited National Parks in the country. Located off the coast of California, the park comprises five islands in the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can either take a ferry or a plane to the Channel Islands, with the ferry being the more economical option. The trips depart from Ventura where the park visitor center is also located. 

Two of the most visited islands include Santa Cruz and Anacapa Island. On Anacapa Island, visitors can hike to Inspiration Point to get stunning views of the islands. The lighthouse on Anacapa Island is also worth a visit. In Santa Cruz, visitors can see sea caves including the Painted Cave. The Channel Islands are also popular for diving among the kelp forests and seeing wildlife including seals and sea birds. 

Potato Harbor in Channel Islands National Park in California
Potato Harbor in Channel Islands National Park in California

Los Angeles – 2 Days

From Ventura make the trip down along the Pacific Coast Highway to Los Angeles. This is the second-largest city in the country and a must-visit while road tripping the West Coast. Its many attractions include watching movie stars shop on Rodeo Drive, seeing their homes in Beverly Hills, taking a movie studio tour including Warner Brothers, Sony, and Paramount. The city is a top cultural destination and has many noteworthy museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the La Brea Tar Pits, the Getty Center, Getty Villa, and the Broad. Also must try are the several renowned restaurants in Los Angeles. 

Anaheim – 1 Day

Anaheim, located in Orange County, is home to California’s theme parks. The city also has sports stadiums as well as many free things to do besides theme parks. In Anaheim, you will find Disney Parks, Universal Studios, Knotts Berry Farm, etc. Foodies must visit the Anaheim Packing House, a renovated food hall. Other free things to do include taking a stroll through the historic district and seeing the architecture and famous buildings. 

Optional: Death Valley National Park – 1 Day

After seeing Los Angeles and Anaheim, make the trip towards the southwest to the Sin City of Las Vegas. Along the way, you can make the detour to Death Valley National Park. As we mentioned, this is a park of extreme landscapes and weather. It is the lowest, driest, and hottest place in the country. Death Valley is famous for its salt flats at Badwater Basin. Other things to see at Death Valley include the Harmony Borax trail, the Mesquite Flats sand dunes, Artist’s Drive, and the 360-degree panorama at Dante’s View. 

Death Valley National Park Salt Flats in California
Death Valley National Park Salt Flats in California

Las Vegas – 2 Days

Now it’s time to road trip the Death Valley Scenic Byway to Las Vegas. The city is most famous for its casinos and the strip attractions including Bellagio Fountains, the volcano at Mirage, the canals at the Venetian, etc. Other than the Las Vegas strip attractions, you can also check out hidden gems in Vegas including the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, Discovery Children’s Museum. Also, take the time to explore outdoor Las Vegas including Seven Magic Mountains, Red Rock Canyon, and Valley of Fire State Park. 

Zion National Park – 1 Day

From Las Vegas, visit the stunning Zion National Park. After checking out the Visitor Center, take the shuttle or drive along the Zion Scenic Drive. This drive is spectacular and has stunning views of the red rock canyon landscape. Hike along popular short trails such as the Emerald Pools, the Riverside Walk, and the Weeping Rock. Or spend half a day to more strenuous hikes such as the Narrows or Angels Landing. The hikes will show you stunning views of the Zion Canyon and the Virgin River through different vantage points. 

Optional: Bryce Canyon National Park – 1 Day

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of Utah’s most underrated National Parks. It is famous for its spire-shaped hoodoo rock formations caused by weathering due to wind and rain. In the famous area known as the Bryce amphitheater, you can see a variety of these hoodoo formations. Hike the rim trail to see the hoodoos from above and hike down into the canyon using the Navajo Loop Trail to see the hoodoos from below. Road trip the 21 miles long Bryce Canyon Scenic Drive and see the canyon from the lookout points. 

Bryce Canyon National Park_amphitheater
Bryce Canyon National Park_amphitheater

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend – 1 Day

Another must on an epic West Coast road trip USA! The Antelope Canyons in Page, Arizona are the most beautiful slot canyons in the world. The canyons are made of red sandstone and formed due to weathering. The floodwaters from millions of years ago have left beautiful swirling patterns on the canyon walls and seeing the Canyons just as the sunlight lights them up is a delight. Another popular attraction in Page is Horseshoe Bend overlook. Here the Colorado River forms a beautiful horseshoe-shaped meander. Visitors can see the scenic Horseshoe Bend from an observation platform. 

Optional: Monument Valley – 1 Day

If you have time, then venture into the beautiful landscape of Monument Valley on your road trip US West Coast. This red sand desert region located in Arizona is probably one of the most photographed spots in the country. Monument Valley has a fascinating landscape of red sandstone buttes that reach up towards the sky. You can see all of these buttes on a scenic drive through Monument Valley.  The views of the buttes are awesome and otherworldly. Monument Valley is also a popular filming location and the movie Forrest Gump was filmed here. 

Grand Canyon National Park – 2 Days

End your memorable adventure in the Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon is a majestic natural wonder and you will seldom see anything comparable to its vast scale ever again. The Colorado River formed the Grand Canyon over millions of years of weathering action. Visit the South Rim and enter the park through the popular Grand Canyon Village. Check out the visitor center exhibits about the geological formation of the canyon and its natural resources. Then go to Yavapai Point to see one of the most amazing viewpoints of the canyon. Hike the rim trail and drive all the way to Desert View Watchtower. 

Skywalk glass observation bridge at Grand Canyon West Rim
Skywalk glass observation bridge at Grand Canyon West Rim

Optional – Phoenix

After seeing the Grand Canyon, you can either drive to Las Vegas or Los Angeles for the return flight or to see even more of the country, drive to Phoenix. The route will take you through many attractions including historic Flagstaff on Route 66, the beautiful red rock landscape of Sedona, and the ghost town of Jerome.

In Phoenix, you can experience the beauty of Arizona’s deserts at the Desert Botanical Gardens. In spring and early summer, the cacti will be blooming with beautiful colorful flowers. Hike up to Camelback mountain for iconic views of the city. Take the kids to see the Phoenix zoo. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is also lots of fun for youngsters. See the OdySea Aquarium and enjoy learning science at the Arizona Science Center. 

Art lovers should visit the Phoenix Art Museum to see Renaissance-era art and the Heard Museum to understand the Native American culture. See the unique Musical Instrument Museum and the Hohokam Native ruins at the Pueblo Grande Archeological Park & Museum. Architecture lovers should visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in nearby Scottsdale. 

Route 66 sign amidst Red Rock mountains in Arizona
Route 66 sign amidst Red Rock mountains in Arizona

4 Week USA West Coast Road Trip Itinerary

If you have an entire month for the USA road trip on the West Coast, then we really envy you! Very few lucky souls have that kind of time and even we hope to go on such a grand adventure one day. 

With 4 weeks in hand, follow our same route as above except take time to see each and every optional attraction. Stop in cities like Bend in Oregon and Santa Barbara in California while coming down the coast. 

Drive south all the way down to San Diego before you venture into the Californian desert and American southwest. See Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park both before going to Las Vegas. 

In Las Vegas, see Lake Mead and Hoover Dam plus the area’s outdoor attractions. Spend two or more days in Zion and hike all its trails including the famous Narrows hike along the Virgin River. Make the detour to Grand Canyon north rim after seeing Bryce if the roads are open. 

Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam

See both the upper and lower Antelope Canyons in Page. Spend a day cruising on Lake Powell and see the Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Camp in Monument Valley to see its dark sky and the silhouette of the buttes at night. 

In the Grand Canyon National Park, hike all the way down via the Bright Angel Trail or go river rafting in the Colorado River. Get a permit and hike to the beautiful Havasupai Falls. Drive down to Phoenix and spend some time exploring the Grand Canyon State on an epic Arizona road trip through Saguaro National Park and Petrified Forest National Park. These are just a few ideas to make your road trip better!

The USA West Coast road trip is an adventure of a lifetime. This road trip is more American than any road trip could ever be. If you have any trip planning questions, let us know in the comments.

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