When is comes to scenery in North America, the West Coast is where it’s at. That’s why one spring my friend and I decided to do a West Coast road trip to truly appreciate it. It is an amazing drive along the coast and the scenery is constantly keeping your interest as it changes from ocean views, to sand dunes to forests.
We started our road trip in Vancouver, Canada and went all the way down to the beautiful Redwood Forest in California, U.S.A. This road trip consisted of 1 province and three states. We managed to do this whole road trip from Vancouver and back again in just 5 days. However, I would not recommend this because it consisted of us driving for 14 hours straight on the last day. The ideal length of time would about two weeks so that you can spend more time stopping and spending time in the amazing places along the way.
Driving along the West Coast is there were many adorable highway cafes and stores along the way- giving us a good excuse to stop and stretch our legs. I won’t tell you about every single thing that I saw but instead tell you about my the highlights and the main stops that are worth visiting when you go on your own adventure.
Province #1- British Columbia
To start the road trip spend a few days in this popular Canadian city- and perhaps the most beautiful. Everyone who comes here loves it. Vancouver is a big city yet you get the mountains and the ocean- so really what’s not to like?
You will notice that people here love the outdoors so head to the beach, go for a bike ride or take a hike in BC’s famous mountains.
State #1- Washington
Ahh Seattle, it is the American version of Vancouver (or vice versa). Home to the original Starbucks and the setting for Grey’s Anatomy, this sleepy town actually has a lot to do! I absolutely love this city; the people here are chill and the food is to die for. I would definitely recommend hanging out here for at least a few days. Read here for what to do for a fun trip in Seattle.
State #2- Oregon
Make a grand entrance into state #2 by driving over this massive bridge. It is an amazing bridge looking over the Columbia River. Because the bridge is so huge so you will have plenty of time to take in the view.
When I think of Portland I think of bridges, bikes and beer. So park the car and go for a bike ride around and then reward yourself with a few brewskies from the many microbreweries in Portland. You can even check out Distillery Row- which is essentially a neighbourhood packed with distilleries where you can go for tastings. If drinking isn’t your thing there are also a lot of great coffeehouses to check out that the city is famous for.
Seaside Turnaround and Promenade
This is a seaside town that is a great place to stop for a breather. You can choose to spend the night here if you want but it isn’t necessary as you only need a few hours to see it and to take a stroll along the beach. We chose to use this spot to grab some take-out sushi and had a lovely picnic on the beach.
If the weather is good and you have time to spare then you might want to spend a day lounging on the sand and splashing in the waves.
Sea Lion Caves in Florence
Another pit stop along the way is at the Sea Lion caves. You do have to pay a fee to enter but it is totally worth it to see these cool animals up close and to see the wicked cave that they hang out in. As well, you will get to go into a small museum that gives you a better insight about these slippery creatures.
A MUST do for Oregon is stopping at the sand dunes to ride ATVs. This was the absolute highlight of my trip! You can read about my experience here.
If you are not much of an adrenaline junkie you can also rent sand buggies or just walk along the beach and appreciate the beauty of this area.
State #3- California
Red Wood Forest
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is the last (or first) of the long line of Redwood Parks. It is home to seven percent of all the old-growth redwoods left in the entire world- making it a truly remarkable place.
We chose to pitch our tent here for a couple of nights to really enjoy and soak in the nature around us. You can make your reservation here. This forest offers 20 miles of trails so you can spend your days here hiking and exploring them. Along the way you will be in awe of how gigantic these old trees are.
Once you are missing a soft bed and a hot shower, you can head back up to Vancouver. On the way back you can check out the spots that you didn’t get to check out on your way here- or you can do what I did and drive 14 hours (not recommended). If you don’t want to stop the road trip in Vancouver, you can always continue driving to Whistler or check out Vancouver island