best places to visit on the west coast

Traveler’s Paradise: 30 Best Places to Visit on the West Coast

Ready to embark on a west coast adventure? Discover 30 of the best places to visit on the west coast, a blend of unique cities, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural hotspots.

30 Best Places to Visit on the West Coast of America

1. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles

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Los Angeles, popularly known as the City of Angels, is a place where dreams come true. The city, globally recognized as the hub of the entertainment industry, hosts iconic attractions such as Hollywood, Universal Studios, and the Griffith Observatory. The lure of sunny beaches, including Venice Beach and Santa Monica, add to the city’s charm.

Dive into a cultural journey visiting the Getty Center and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. From high-end shopping on Rodeo Drive to flavorful Mexican cuisine on Olvera Street, Los Angeles promises a multifaceted experience.

2. San Francisco, California

San Francisco

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San Francisco, the jewel of northern California, is renowned for its eclectic architecture, steep rolling hills, and dynamic cultural scene. Iconic landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz Island are quintessential parts of any visit.

Explore neighborhoods like Chinatown and Haight-Ashbury for a cultural deep dive, or wander through the renowned museums such as the SFMOMA. The tech scene, with Silicon Valley at its heart, offers a peek into the future, while the diverse food scene sates the palate with a plethora of global cuisines.

3. Seattle, Washington


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Seattle, nestled between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, is a city with a view. From the stunning panorama atop the Space Needle to the hustle and bustle of Pike Place Market, Seattle offers a diverse urban experience. Outdoor enthusiasts can venture to Mount Rainier or sail on Puget Sound.

Music lovers will enjoy the city’s rich music history, with attractions like the Museum of Pop Culture and the Jimi Hendrix Statue. Visit the historic Pioneer Square district or indulge in the world-famous coffee culture at the original Starbucks.

4. Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway

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An epic road trip awaits you on the Pacific Coast Highway, a 655-mile long route stretching along some of California’s most stunning coastline. The journey unveils sweeping ocean views, rugged cliffs, and quaint coastal towns. Make sure to stop at Big Sur for awe-inspiring landscapes and visit Hearst Castle for a touch of history.

A visit to Monterey and Carmel offers art galleries, seafood restaurants, and charming boutiques. The PCH, with its combination of natural beauty and cultural attractions, is more than just a road; it’s a destination unto itself.

5. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park

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Encompassing part of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park is a spectacle of nature’s grandeur. Home to breathtaking landscapes like El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls, the park offers unparalleled hiking and rock-climbing opportunities. Wander through Mariposa Grove to marvel at ancient giant sequoias or experience the tranquility of Mirror Lake.

During winter, enjoy skiing and snowboarding at Badger Pass. Wildlife enthusiasts may spot black bears, mule deer, or mountain lions. The Yosemite Valley, with its immense cliffs and waterfalls, is a highlight that embodies the spirit of the American West.

6. Redwood National Park, California

Redwood National Park

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Redwood National Park, a network of protected forests, provides a sanctuary to the tallest trees on earth. The awe-inspiring ancient redwoods, some over 2000 years old, reach heights that rival skyscrapers. Drive down the scenic Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, or explore over 200 miles of trails ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes.

Spot Roosevelt elk grazing in prairies or enjoy a picnic by the beautiful Gold Bluffs Beach. Whether you’re birdwatching or star-gazing, Redwood National Park offers an intimate encounter with nature.

7. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park

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Olympic National Park is an ecological treasure, where distinct ecosystems coexist. It’s home to glaciated peaks, lush rainforests, and a rugged Pacific coastline. Hike up the Hurricane Ridge for panoramic views, or explore the moss-laden Hoh Rainforest with its emerald canopy.

The park’s vast wilderness hosts diverse wildlife, including black bears, mountain goats, and countless bird species. Discover tide pools teeming with marine life along the coastal stretch or soak in the soothing Sol Duc Hot Springs. Each corner of this park offers unique beauty and adventure.

8. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park

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Crater Lake National Park is a sanctuary of serenity, dominated by the deepest lake in the United States. Formed by a volcanic eruption, Crater Lake captivates visitors with its deep blue color and pristine clarity. Experience the Rim Drive, a 33-mile scenic route offering majestic views of the lake and surrounding landscapes.

Take a boat tour to Wizard Island or hike through the park’s vast wilderness. With activities like fishing, camping, and skiing in winter, the park is a year-round destination that’s sure to impress nature lovers.

9. The Channel Islands, California

The Channel Islands

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Just off the coast of Southern California, the Channel Islands offer a remote and unspoiled experience. Often referred to as “The Galapagos of North America,” this archipelago’s isolation has led to unique biodiversity. Kayak through sea caves, hike scenic trails, or snorkel in kelp forests teeming with marine life.

Camping on these islands, devoid of modern infrastructure, provides a true off-the-grid experience under starry skies. The Channel Islands, while just a stone’s throw away from urban civilization, feel like a different world.

10. Mt. St. Helens, Washington

St. Helens

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Mt. St. Helens serves as a profound reminder of nature’s power. The active stratovolcano, known for its catastrophic 1980 eruption, now provides a unique destination for exploration and education. Trek on the Eruption Trail with interpretive displays of the eruption’s impact, or climb to the volcano’s summit for a challenging adventure.

The Johnston Ridge Observatory offers spectacular views of the crater and insightful exhibits. Visitors may also encounter elk and other wildlife in the recovering landscapes. Mt. St. Helens is a testament to nature’s resilience and ability to renew itself.

11. Painted Hills, Oregon

Painted Hills

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Painted Hills, named for its striking, multicolored layers of earth, is a geological wonder within the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. These hills showcase past climatic changes, their vibrant hues varying with light and moisture levels, offering breathtaking views.

Trails like the Painted Cove and Carroll Rim provide opportunities to marvel at these colorful formations up close. Besides the hills, the monument hosts a wealth of fossils, narrating a history of plant and animal life spanning millions of years. Painted Hills is a journey back in time, wrapped in a spectacle of colors.

12. Napa Valley, California

Napa Valley

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Napa Valley, synonymous with world-class wines, is an epicurean’s paradise nestled amidst rolling hills and vineyards. The region boasts over 400 wineries, each offering unique tasting experiences and varietals, from robust Cabernet Sauvignons to crisp Chardonnays. Visit grand estates like the Castello di Amorosa or family-owned wineries for an intimate exploration of winemaking.

Napa’s culinary scene, with Michelin-starred restaurants and farm-to-table eateries, complements the wine experience. Attend events like the Napa Valley Film Festival or take a hot air balloon ride for breathtaking vineyard views. Napa Valley offers a delightful feast for all senses.

13. Willamette Valley, Oregon

Willamette Valley

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Willamette Valley, Oregon’s leading wine region, is a treasure trove for wine aficionados, particularly known for its Pinot Noir. Over 500 wineries dot this fertile region, offering tastings and tours amidst picturesque vineyard landscapes. The valley also hosts vibrant festivals like the International Pinot Noir Celebration.

Beyond wines, explore charming towns like McMinnville, or indulge in the valley’s burgeoning farm-to-table restaurant scene. Take a scenic bike ride along the vineyards or go bird watching at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge. Willamette Valley beautifully blends bucolic charm with sophisticated taste.

14. Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla

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Walla Walla, with its harmonious blend of small-town charm and sophisticated culture, is a delightful destination on the West Coast. Known for its boutique wineries and vineyards, Walla Walla offers tastings of award-winning wines, notably its rich, complex Cabernets and Merlots.

The town’s thriving downtown boasts exquisite dining options and hosts a lively farmers market showcasing the valley’s fresh produce. Visit the Whitman Mission National Historic Site for a touch of history or enjoy a performance at the Power House Theatre. Walla Walla offers a culturally enriching and indulgent escape.

15. Portland, Oregon


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Portland, the “City of Roses,” is a vibrant metropolis known for its eclectic food scene, bike-friendly streets, and environmental consciousness. From food carts offering international cuisines to craft breweries and coffeehouses, Portland is a foodie’s haven.

Explore unique cultural spots like Powell’s City of Books, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the quirky Voodoo Doughnut. Visit the serene Japanese Garden, take a walk along the Willamette River, or attend the city’s diverse music festivals. With its unique charm and innovative spirit, Portland offers a fresh take on urban life.

16. Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon,

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Antelope Canyon in Arizona is a slot canyon renowned for its wave-like structure and the light beams that penetrate through its narrow passageway, creating a magical and surreal atmosphere. The canyon is divided into two separate sections, known as Upper Antelope Canyon (or The Crack) and Lower Antelope Canyon (or The Corkscrew).

Explore these extraordinary formations under the guidance of Navajo tours and capture stunning photographs of this natural spectacle. Antelope Canyon is a testament to nature’s artistry, leaving visitors in awe of its beauty.

17. Sedona, Arizona


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Sedona, known for its vibrant art scene and spiritual retreats, is also a geological wonderland. Its red rock formations change hues with the sunlight, creating a stunning panorama. Explore trails leading to awe-inspiring sites like Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock, or unwind at one of the town’s many spas.

For the culturally inclined, there are numerous art galleries, performances, and festivals. Sedona, with its scenic beauty and enriching experiences, truly nourishes the soul.

18. San Diego, California

San Diego

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San Diego, known for its idyllic climate and beautiful beaches, is a city full of vibrant culture and natural beauty. Explore the historic Gaslamp Quarter or take a tour of the iconic USS Midway Museum.

Visit the renowned San Diego Zoo within Balboa Park, home to over 3,500 rare and endangered animals, or enjoy world-class surfing at Pacific Beach. From the picturesque La Jolla Cove to the lively nightlife, San Diego offers a range of experiences for every traveler.

19. Death Valley, California

Death Valley

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Death Valley, the hottest, driest, and lowest national park, is a place of stark beauty and extreme conditions. Traverse through its dramatically shifting sand dunes, navigate salt flats at Badwater Basin, or marvel at the multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary hills of the Artist’s Palette.

The park also offers an exceptional stargazing experience due to its remote location and lack of light pollution. Death Valley, in its harsh and desolate landscape, captures the transformative power of nature.

20. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Lake Tahoe

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Straddling California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is a gem of the Sierra Nevada, known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning mountain backdrop. In the warmer months, enjoy water sports, hiking, and cycling. Come winter, the area transforms into a snowy playground with world-class ski resorts.

Discover the region’s history at the Donner Memorial State Park or try your luck at Stateline’s casinos. Lake Tahoe’s diverse offerings cater to outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and adventure-seekers alike.

21. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park

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Joshua Tree National Park, where the Mojave and Colorado deserts meet, is a haven of surreal landscapes and rugged beauty. It’s famous for its namesake Joshua Trees and striking geological features like the Cholla Cactus Garden and Skull Rock.

Enjoy rock climbing, camping, or hiking along the park’s extensive trail system. With its dark skies, Joshua Tree is also an ideal destination for stargazing. Whether you’re seeking solitude, adventure, or spiritual connection, Joshua Tree has much to offer.

22. Big Sur, California

Big Sur

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Big Sur, a rugged stretch of California’s central coast, is defined by its winding turns, seaside cliffs, and misty vistas. Highlights include the iconic Bixby Bridge, Pfeiffer Beach, and the tranquil Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park with its stunning McWay Falls.

Hike through redwood groves, explore tide pools, or indulge in local cuisine while enjoying panoramic ocean views. Big Sur, with its breathtaking scenery and serene ambiance, is truly an escape from the hustle and bustle.

23. The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon

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The Grand Canyon is a testament to nature’s grandeur and power, carved by the Colorado River over millions of years. Experience its enormity from the South Rim or seek a more secluded experience at the North Rim.

Embark on a mule trip into the canyon, take a thrilling white-water rafting trip, or enjoy a sunset view at Hopi Point. From its historic Native American ruins to its diverse flora and fauna, the Grand Canyon offers an unforgettable adventure.

24. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara

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Santa Barbara, often referred to as the “American Riviera,” is known for its Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings with red-tile roofs, lush vineyards, and stunning beaches. Wander through the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara or explore the upscale boutiques and restaurants on State Street.

Visit the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, home to an impressive collection, or spend a day wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley. With its vibrant culture, diverse culinary scene, and unparalleled scenery, Santa Barbara offers a taste of the good life on California’s Central Coast.

25. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Bryce Canyon National Park, known for its crimson-colored hoodoos, or spire-shaped rock formations, offers a unique landscape that is both eerie and enchanting. Hike the Navajo Loop Trail through the surreal Bryce Amphitheater or enjoy a scenic drive along the 18-mile Bryce Canyon Road.

In winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland perfect for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. With its clean air and minimal light pollution, Bryce also offers one of the best night skies in the U.S.

26. Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park

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Zion National Park, Utah’s first national park, is a place of massive sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and unique wildlife. Hike along The Narrows, ascend the Angels Landing, or simply enjoy a scenic drive through the Zion Canyon.

The park’s diverse ecosystems host over 200 species of birds, making it a bird watcher’s paradise. Whether you’re seeking thrilling outdoor adventures or serene landscapes, Zion National Park offers an immersive natural experience.

27. Monterey, California


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Monterey, a coastal city in California, is a charming blend of natural beauty and cultural history. Visit the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium or take a stroll along Fisherman’s Wharf, known for its seafood restaurants and sea lion sightings.

Explore the historic Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck’s novels, or take a scenic 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove. From kayaking in the Monterey Bay to wine tasting in Carmel Valley, Monterey offers a memorable coastal experience.

28. Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park

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Sequoia National Park, home to the world’s largest trees, is an awe-inspiring destination. Marvel at the enormity of General Sherman, the world’s largest tree by volume, or explore the underground wonders of the Crystal Cave.

The park offers a range of activities from hiking and backpacking to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. With its towering sequoias, deep canyons, and rugged peaks, Sequoia National Park is an adventurer’s paradise.

29. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park

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Glacier National Park, known as the “Crown of the Continent,” offers pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, it’s a hiker’s paradise.

Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a scenic 50-mile drive that provides some of the park’s most iconic views, or spot a variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats. Whether you’re camping under the stars or exploring the trails, Glacier National Park offers an unforgettable experience.

30. Mendocino, California


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Mendocino, perched on the rugged northern coast of California, is a picturesque seaside town known for its Victorian-era homes and artistic spirit. Explore the Mendocino Headlands State Park with its dramatic cliffs and breathtaking ocean views, or visit the Mendocino Art Center, a hub for creative expression.

Take a ride on the historic Skunk Train through the redwood forest or savor local wines at Anderson Valley vineyards. With its natural splendor and cultural charm, Mendocino offers a refreshing coastal retreat.


Each of these 30 best places to visit on the West Coast presents its unique charm, ensuring an unforgettable journey. It’s time to pack your bags and head west.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.