The West Coast of the U.S of A: a playground for the adventurer. It’s such a massive area to discover so we’re going to help you out and give you our list of must-see’s … all 21 of them.
The Hollywood Walk of Fame
You can’t take a trip to Hollywood and NOT talk a walk down this famous street. Find your favourite celebs and snap some iconic photos, just like this one. Maybe you’ll even catch a star ceremony! The newest addition to the walk of fame is the ever so dreamy Adam Levine from Maroon 5.
Wanna see how the other half live? Then head on over to the wealthy suburbs of Beverly Hills on the ultimate mission to find celebs. Maybe you’ll see someone like Betty White walking her dog, or you’ll be able to stop Jennifer Lawrence for a chat and become BFF’s? That would be the dream.
The Hollywood Sign
This needs no words. Ok maybe it needs a few: this is a classic iconic photo opportunity, enough said.
Santa Monica Pier
The pier that’s got everything, fun, food and history. Go for a ride on the historic carousel, jump on the ferris wheel, listen to some live music, get some shrimp from Bubba Gump’s, and soak up all the coastal vibes that the West Coast has to offer.
Cruise along Orange County
Old Town San Diego
Image: Gaslamp Quarters
If you’re into your history then Old Town in San Diego should be at the top of your list. Head to the Downtown district to check out tons of historical sites, old school buildings, the most haunted house in America (Whaley House) and the cool and quirky live music venues and bars of the Gaslamp Quarter’s.
San Diego Zoo
Image: San Diego Zoo
Where Ross sent his monkey friend Marcel (in Friends – and if you aren’t aware of this, or you aren’t a Friends fan … well, we won’t even go there). It is home to 4,000 animals and the zoo is well-known for their conservation efforts to save endangered species such as the Rhino and the African Elephant.
“Valley of the Sun”
Image: Hot Air Ballooning across Sonoran Desert
From the cool city of San Diego to the beautiful Phoenix, and the Sonoran Desert to be more precise. This huge desert spans around 100,000 square miles of land, so what better way to get a birds-eye view of this impressive place than jumping into a hot air balloon?! Imagine the views – and also the champagne breakfast.
A red-rock desert town in Arizona, deep into the Wild West. Conde Nast ranked it as one of the most beautiful towns in America – and that says it all really. Hop in a jeep, driven by real-life cowboys (cowboys who drive jeeps, who’d have thunk it?) and cruise around, taking in all of the magnificent views.
The Grand Canyon has definitely been my favourite stop on my #LAtotheBay #Contiki tour so far. The route was/is: LA – San Diego – Phoenix – Grand Canyon – Las Vegas – Yosemite – San Francisco. Just 3 days left. Some of the group left today, which was really sad, as you can do the trip in different sections. Very excited to see Yosemite – just have the 8-hour road trip ahead of me. Beautiful views right now though, of the Mojave Nature Reserve. #grandcanyon #sunrise
Of course the Canyon has to be on this list, because look at it! Whatever time of day you go, you’ll be impressed by the landscape, but we recommend either taking a helicopter ride to really appreciate the full site OR go check it out at sunrise … or both if you’re really feeling it. Once in a lifetime right?
Seligman on Route 66
Image: Seligman Town
A historic stop-off that was on the original Route 66 and is considered the birthplace of the famous route. With 1940’s shop fronts and motels, you’ll be transported back in time when you visit this quaint little town, where you can take away some “old west” souvenirs from the saloon. If you’re feeling hungry, maybe stop off here for lunch at the Roadkill Café … buffalo burger or highway hash anyone?
Gamble in Vegas
After the photo it’s straight into the neon lights and crazy nightlife of Vegas. What better way to do that than a trip to one of the many casinos, try your hand at poker or black jack, or even just the slot machines if you’re not entirely sure how to play like a pro. Visit Caesars Palace or the Bellagio and see where ‘The Hangover’ took place…and maybe even be hungover the following day. Unleash your wild side!
The Elvis Chapel
A photo posted by Ricardo Accioly (@raitec) on
If you’re not quite feeling the whole eloping to Vegas and getting married vibe, maybe just go there and see what it’s all about. Elvis-themed weddings – what’s not to love? Maybe you’ll even meet ‘Elvis’ himself.
The highest observation wheel in the world
Want a proper view of the city? Then hop on the observation wheel for some magnificent 360 degree views – all those lights make for a very vibrant view (and another great photo opp!)
Image: Bass Lake Chalet
A beautiful expanse of water in the Sierra Nevada Mountains; take time out after your mental visit to Vegas and unwind in a lakefront chalet overlooking Bass Lake. Total bliss and relaxation.
Yosemite National Park
Spend a day discovering the stunning nature of Yosemite by hiring a bike or hiking around the waterfalls, forest, mountains and wildlife. Make sure you remember your camera in case you manage to see black bears, deer or coyotes – and for the magnificent scenery of course!
Another classic visitor spot on the West Coast – a National Historic Landmark. You need to see it to appreciate the effort and work that went into this construction, built during the Depression. It’s definitely not depressing to see the Dam in real life though.
Golden Gate Bridge
Next up we’re in the city of San Francisco, and you can’t journey to San Fran without taking a trip to the beautifully orange Golden Gate Bridge. Sit back and watch the sunrise or the sunset over this iconic three-mile-long structure.
Row houses on Alamo Square
Want to see what San Fran looked like at the end of the nineteenth century? Why not. ‘The Painted Ladies’ are actually a Victorian row of houses on Alamo Hill. They’re painted in different pastel colours and would make for a great Instagram photo – no filter needed!
If this list has fired up your wanderlust and you just NEED to get to the West Coast immediately, then why not check out our LA to the Bay tour, which takes you to ALL of these places? Talk about action-packed adventure!