The United States is an incredibly large country, with so much to see, do and experience, especially in the west coast states. One of the greatest things about the west coast of the United States is the pretty dramatic change in landscapes and vibrant cities that are not just on its shoreline but the whole of the western states too.

Take a look at some of the very best place you should definitely consider visiting on your next trip to the west coast states.

8 Must See Places To Visit On The West Coast of America

1.) San Francisco

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One of the best things about San Francisco is how vibrant the city is. Each day in the city can be completely different, with new things happening every day – it’s the joy of being is such a buzzing place. One day, you might be exploring Fisherman’s Wharf and visiting the infamous Alcatraz to the next, where you’re wandering around Haight Street and having brunch in the Castro District – it’s a city that is welcoming and warm, making it the perfect place for us travellers to explore.

For a little break away from the city, take a short drive over the Golden Gate bridge to Muir Woods to see some of the absolutely massive redwoods which call this park home.

See our list of the full things you should do in San Francisco, right here.

2.) See Death Valley

The Ultimate California Road Trip: 19 Places To Stop, Eat, See and Explore!

Death Valley is one of the hottest places on earth… literally! This scorching desert landscape is perched on the border between California and Nevada and well worth a visit but only if you have enough water and supplies to enter.

Explore its iconic landscapes and experience a little of why this place is called Death Valley. As with all extreme environments, make sure you always act with sense and safety in mind – it really is a challenging environment. Water will be your friend here!

Visiting California? Make sure to check out our ultimate road trip map, right here.

3.) Experience Lake Tahoe The Ultimate California Road Trip: 19 Places To Stop, Eat, See and Explore! (25)

Lake Tahoe is one of those places that changes quite a bit between summer and winter. In the winter months, you can actually head out skiing and snowboarding on the slopes nearby, whilst in the summer you can chill out and relax in the piping hot sun soaked shores of the lake itself.

Whatever time of the year you visit, I’m almost positive you’ll love this place ⚓️

Want to see more of America’s impressive landscape? Check out these must-see National Parks, right here.

4.) Enjoy a tipple in Napa Valley

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If you’re a wine lover (like me) – you’re just going to love Napa Valley! Filled to the brim with wineries and vineyards, Napa Valley has become known as one of the most famous wine regions in the United States. 🍇

Make sure you visit some of the smaller wineries and really try some bespoke blends and ages that are grown in the region. Just make sure you designate a driver before having a tipple! No one likes a drunk driver. 🍷

Thinking of driving across the USA? Check out our full road trip route across the whole country, right here.

5.) Hike the trails in Oregon

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Oregon is a relatively rural state, with lots of beautiful nature, stunning scenery and gorgeous coastlines to enjoy. Make sure to pack your hiking boots and check out some of the very best hikes that are well worth an explore, especially around Abiqua Falls and Opal Creek. 

As with all hikes, prepare in advance, check weather conditions and always tell others where you’re going. 

6.) Immerse yourself in Seattle

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Seattle is one of the most amazing cities in the USA (shhhh, don’t tell the others). With the famous sites like Pike Place Market and the true home of Starbucks, Seattle is much more than many people realise. This diverse city is a buzz and a cultural heartland for the west coast!

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Enjoy the amazing art scene, discover the natural beauty that’s a stone throw from the city itself (via the ferry) and chow down on the most amazing sourdough and clam chowder. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

See more on what to do in Seattle, right here.

7.) Find Salvation Mountain

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Salvation Mountain is a pretty unique site when it comes to places to visit. Located at the southern tip of California, Salvation Mountain is an artistic exhibition that’s been around for a few decades. It’s a great place to stop and marvel and a completely surreal landscape that is truly unique.

See more about planning your trip to Salvation Mountain, right here.

8.) Drive the Big Sur

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No west coast trip can be complete without Big Sur. Drive the California coast and discover some of the state’s most impressive natural sites. You’ll quickly realise why so many people love this area – it really is a beautiful landscape and pretty close to Monterrey if you want a little city living too! 

See our complete road trip route for California, right here.

Image via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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  • A bit sad San Diego is not on the list! We see ourselves as a laid back hybrid of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Definitely good recommendations here though! Many I haven’t made it to even though I’m a local 🙂

    • HandLuggageOnly

      You’re so right about San Diego – it’s an incredible city ins’t it! We will be publishing a full post on San Diego really soon. We’ll need some tips on where to eat for our road trip this year too. Any suggestions for the city?

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Danielle Theriault

    So many beautiful places on the west coast! Thanks for sharing! |

    • HandLuggageOnly

      The west coast is beautiful isn’t it! 🇺🇸

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Thank you for taking the time to create and sharing this! Definitely looking forward to (finally) visiting the West Coast!

    Love from Singapore,

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s an amazing area of the USA, Yeeling! 🇺🇸 You’ll love it! 😍

      Lloyd & Yaya 🤗

  • Lake Tahoe’s high on my US list! My boyfriend used to go snowboarding out there quite a bit – I’ve heard great things about it!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s such an amazing place – I’m itching to go back too -especially to try the skiing which I didn’t do last time.

      Lloyd ⛷ xx

  • Oooh I met some people from Seattle and after what they told me about it, it’s now on my wish list. I’d never thought of going before!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      Angie, you’ll love it! Visit Bainbridge Island when you’re there too. It’s paradise! 🌅

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • Oui In France

    I’d love to discover more of the West Coast. I’ve only done 1 & 8. So beautiful!

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It really is an amazing area in the US isn’t it! We love the west coast and can’t wait to return 😍

      Lloyd & Yaya xx

  • robert

    I think U.S.A. are not New York, Miami, L.A.. The hearth of North America is not in the big cities, all now equalized by chasing the fatuos “American dream”. The soul of the continent is hidden in the streets of Des Moines, in the boundless horizons of the Midwest plains, in the stormy sea of Big-Sur, California. Travel the lost continent. I think you share the same point of view..I read one book, called Atlas Oscura, and this changed my can find it here

    • HandLuggageOnly

      It’s an amazing area of the USA isn’t it! You’re right… it’s so beautiful! 🌊

      Lloyd & Yaya 😊

      • robert

        You didn t get a fuck of what i wrote