The Ultimate 2 Week US West Coast Roadtrip Itinerary

Ready to fall in love with the US West Coast? We’re going to take you on the adventure of a lifetime visiting bustling cities to areas of stunning natural beauty. This is the ultimate 2 week roadtrip.
Bixby Bridge Big Sur California
Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, California. Photo: Patrick Adcock | Unsplash

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The US West Coast is famed for its incredible scenery and natural beauty, making it one of the world’s most popular bucket list roadtrips. On this journey, we’ll take you through three American states with jaw-dropping coastal roads, extraordinary national parks, and vibrant cities. 

We’re going to take you from North to South, from Seattle all the way to San Diego with plenty of exciting stops along the way.

Day 1 & 2: Arrive & Explore Seattle

Start your US West Coast adventure in the bustling city of Seattle. Washington’s largest city is surrounded by water, forests and mountains, while downtown Seattle is a dynamic and vibrant city. There’s so much to see and do that we recommend spending two days here to get the most out of your trip.

Seattle, Washington
Seattle. Photo: Stephen Plopper | Unsplash

What to do and see in Seattle:

First up, to get unparalleled views of the city head up to the top of the Space Needle. This 605-foot-tall steel tower has a rotating restaurant and an observation deck where you can enjoy incredible vistas of the city and beyond.

You must also pay a visit to Pike Place Market to sample some incredible freshly-caught seafood. You’ll also catch street performers and over 200 artisan makers selling unique products and gifts. 

On day two you can visit attractions such as the Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle Art Museum, and The Museum of Flight. Plus, the city’s Pioneer Square gives you a real taste of Seattle’s history, as the city’s first neighbourhood. The area is filled with Renaissance Revival architecture, trendy bars, and coffee shops where you can relax and refuel.

What to eat:

You can’t come to Seattle and not try the seafood. There are some fantastic seafood restaurants around including Pike Place Chowder and Elliott’s Oyster House. Or, if seafood isn’t your thing then Uneeda Burger does incredible burgers and Taqueria la Fondita serves the best tacos around.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Grand Hyatt Seattle
$$ – Ace Hotel
$ – Hotel Hotel Hostel

Day 3: Portland

Travel time: 3 hours

Today’s destination is the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. The city offers plenty of outdoor activities as it is known for its parks, bridges, and waterfalls. It’s a lovely city to explore.

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon. Photo: Justin Shen | Unsplash

What to do and see in Portland:

Portland’s Forest Park offers miles of walking trails that will take you past beautiful lakes and ponds as well as providing spectacular views of the city skyline. 

Another way to stay active in the city is to join a guided bike tour. There are several bike tour companies that also run food and drink tours so that you can work up an appetite and get to enjoy some of the best food and drink Portland has to offer at the same time.

What to eat:

For amazing sourdough pizza go to Gracie’s Apizza or for great steak head to Ringside Stakehouse. For a sweet treat, Voodoo Doughnut has a crazy selection of inventive doughnut flavours to wow you with.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Hotel Rose – A Staypineapple Hotel
$$ – The Society Hotel
$ – Lolo Pass

Day 4: Crater Lake National Park

Travel time: 4.5 hours

It’s time to leave the city life behind for a while and head out to the stunning Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake itself is the deepest lake in America, at 1,943 feet deep. It is also one of the most pristine and beautiful landscapes in the country.

Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park, USA
Crater Lake National Park. Photo: Kal Visuals | Unsplash

What to do and see in Crater Lake National Park:

It’s all about exploring the park and its breathtaking scenery. Take the 33-mile loop of Rim Drive taking in the best views of the lake and surrounding scenery. There are around 50 stopping points along the route where you can step out of your car and take pictures. The loop takes about 1.5 hours to drive around due to the 35mph speed limit. You can also explore the lake by boat or on foot along the Rim Trail for stunning views.

What to eat:

There are a few places to eat near Crater Lake but it’s a good idea to plan ahead and pack some food for your trip. After all, the park is the perfect spot for a picnic. Following your visit to the park, you can head to Prospect Pizza Company about 40 minutes away for great pizza.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Hummingbird Estate
$$ – Crater Lake Resort
$ – Jo’s Motel & Campground

Day 5: Eureka

Travel time: 5.5 hours

The longest drive of the trip will take you from Oregon into the Sunshine State of California and the bustling coastal city of Eureka. On the journey to Eureka you will travel along the Redwood Highway, which has to be one of the most scenic roads in Northern California. Driving along this highway surrounded by 300 ft coastal redwood trees is a highlight on this adventure.

Redwood Highway, California
Redwood Highway, California. Photo: Artodidact | Pixabay

What to do and see in Eureka:

Eureka is a charming city, known for its Victorian architecture, historic waterfront, boutique shops, and hyper-local restaurants. The Old Town features over 150 well-preserved buildings from the Victorian era, with the vibrant waterfront running alongside the Old Town. The Eureka Boardwalk & Marina also form part of the Eureka Waterfront Trail, which makes for a lovely scenic stroll. 

But you can’t visit Eureka without seeing Carson Mansion. The Victorian mansion dating back to 1885 attracts visitors each year, keen to take photos of its impressive exterior. Eureka also has numerous parks and gardens ready to explore.

What to eat:

For great seafront views and fresh seafood, Jack’s Seafood is perfect. Gallagher’s Irish Pub is a lively spot with hearty food and the Surfside Burger Shack serves grass-fed burgers, hot dogs, and loaded fries in a laid-back setting.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Hydrangea Inn
$$ – Inn at 2nd & C
$ – Redwood Coast Cabins and RV Resort

Day 6: Napa Valley

Travel time: 4.5 hours

Heading further South but more inland, Napa Valley is best known for its vineyards producing some of the world’s finest wines. Napa offers the best of both worlds with hiking trails and outdoor pursuits as well as relaxation with world-class wineries and restaurants.

Napa Valley, California
Napa Valley. Photo: Sebastien Gabriel | Unsplash

What to do and see in Napa Valley:

In Napa Valley, you can go on a hot air balloon ride to take in the gorgeous valleys, hike in the rugged mountains and kayak in the Napa River. There are endless possibilities! There are also guided bike tours and walking tours, so you can learn all about the region and take in the stunning scenery at the same time.

Now, of course, many people want to visit Napa for the wine and there are many wineries in the area that offer tours of their facilities as well as wine tastings. In fact, combined wine and culinary classes are also available. So, you can grow your knowledge of wine tasting and learn some new cooking skills along the way too.

What to eat:

For exquisite steaks in impressive surroundings, Cole’s Chop House is a great spot. On the other hand, upscale Italian restaurant Allegria is housed in a former bank, and some seating is available inside the old vault. But, to be honest you can’t go wrong with the restaurants in Napa Valley, there’s amazing food on offer everywhere.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Anchor Hotel
$$ – DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa Napa Valley
$ – Motel 6-Napa

Day 7 & 8: San Francisco

Travel time: 1.5 hours

It’s time to head to one of the most popular cities in the USA, San Francisco. Here, you’ll need two days to take in all the sights. This diverse city with its thronging waterfront, winding, steep streets, and iconic landmarks offers a bit of everything.

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Photo: Romain Briaux | Unsplash

What to do and see in San Francisco:

There are so many sights to pack into your two days in San Francisco. You could start your first day by checking out downtown and Union Square, the most popular shopping district in the city. Downtown is where you’ll find an abundance of galleries and museums and you can get up close to the iconic Transamerica Pyramid building.

On day two you can take a walk over the Golden Gate Bridge, pay a visit to the island of Alcatraz and walk along the seafront, strolling along the piers and sampling some amazing seafood.

What to eat:

San Francisco has plenty of quality seafood restaurants such as Hog Island Oyster Co and Pacific Catch. You should also try Sweet Maple for a great breakfast or brunch. Rich Table is another good option for an evening meal, serving popular Californian dishes, using locally sourced ingredients.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Fairmont San Francisco 
$$ – Chancellor Hotel Union Square
$ – Hostelling International at Fisherman’s Wharf

Day 9: Big Sur

Travel time: 2.5 hours 

The next stop on this West Coast adventure is the epic Big Sur. It is one of the most picturesque places in the country, known for its magnificent coastline, unique geological formations, dense forests, and mild climate.

Big Sur California
Big Sur. Photo: Spencer Davis | Unsplash

What to do and see in Big Sur:

Big Sur has numerous hiking trails where you can enjoy the beauty of nature while getting some fresh air and exercise. There are many scenic drives in the area where you can take in all of the natural beauty of the area. Your drive over the Bixby Bridge will certainly be memorable.

You can also visit the Skyes hot springs, take a river rafting trip, sunbathe on the beautiful beaches, visit the local museums and go on a whale-watching trip. Take your pick!

What to eat:

Sur at the Barnyard is a beautiful restaurant with gorgeous food to match. There’s also a great restaurant called Nepenthe which is perched on the cliffside, serving delicious food with extraordinary views.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Big Sur Lodge
$$ – Glen Oaks Big Sur
$ – Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn

Day 10: Pismo Beach

Travel time: 2.5 hours

Pismo Beach is a quaint seaside town, famous for its beautiful sandy beaches that are gently lapped by the waves of the Pacific ocean. The town has a charming old-fashioned beach vibe that makes it a great place to relax and enjoy the tranquility of nature. 

Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach at Sunset. Photo: Stin-Niels Musche | Unsplash

What to do and see in Pismo Beach:

Pismo Beach has plenty of activities for people of all ages and interests. You can swim in the ocean or relax on the beach and take in the stunning coastal views. The town also has a thriving artistic community where you can check out the works of local artists. For a more thrill-seeking experience, you can go surfing or take one of the many kayaking tours offered in the area.

What to eat:

SeaVenture offers oceanfront dining, while the Cool Cat Diner gives you that classic diner experience with really great food.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Vespera Resort
$$ – Inn At The Pier
$ – Dolphin Cove Motel

Day 11 & 12: Los Angeles

Travel time: 3 hours

As the end of the two-week trip approaches there’s still plenty of excitement with two major stops still to come. The first is Los Angeles. LA offers tourists so much, from the urban downtown, to the rolling Hollywood Hills and the exquisite beaches such as Santa Monica and Huntington Beach. You’re going to have an action-packed two days in LA.

The view from the Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles. Photo: Ishan Khanna | Unsplash

What to do and see in Los Angeles:

Spend your first day in LA exploring the downtown area for a couple of hours. Then head up to Hollywood to experience the showbiz side to the city and look out for your favourite celebrity stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Your second day in LA can be spent enjoying the beaches that stretch all along the coast of the city. No trip to LA is complete without walking along the Santa Monica pier. Then jump in the car and head to Huntington Beach about 50 minutes away for family-friendly beaches and surfer culture.

What to eat:

Hollywood’s oldest eatery Musso & Frank Grill is an institution on Hollywood Boulevard. With a great varied menu there’s something to suit everyone. Pink’s Hot Dogs is another legendary Hollywood eatery and is great for grabbing something quick and tasty. If you’re wanting to dine out in Santa Monica then Tar and Roses is a fantastic restaurant serving inventive global cuisine.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Luxe Sunset Boulevard
$$ – Loews Hollywood Hotel
$ – Banana Bungalow West Hollywood

Day 13 & 14: San Diego

Travel time: 2 hours

The last stop of this epic adventure is San Diego. It is home to some of the most iconic landmarks and tourist attractions in the country such as the Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo. Its dynamic food and craft beer scene also make it a great place to visit. 

Balboa Park San Diego
Balboa Park, San Diego. Photo: Leslie Cross | Unsplash

What to do and see in San Diego:

You could spend your first day at the beach or cruising on a beautiful boat down the scenic San Diego Bay. Next up is San Diego Zoo, one of the most well-known zoos in the country because of its endangered species breeding programmes. Here you’ll see pandas, tree kangaroos, clouded leopards, gavials, and Tasmanian devils.

The Gaslamp area of San Diego is one of the most lively parts of the city due to its nightlife, so make sure you squeeze in some time to check it out.

Then, on your last day visit the fantastic Balboa Park. The park is known for its gorgeous Spanish-style architecture and incredible gardens filled with exotic plants from around the world. The park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the city.

What to eat:

The Cowboy Star Restaurant and Butcher Shop is a seriously good chophouse, if you love your meat. Alternatively, Top of The Market is a lovely high-end seafood restaurant with views over the bay. At the same time, CUCINA urbana is a stylish contemporary Italian restaurant with incredible pasta, wine and cocktails.

Where to stay:

$$$ – Pacific Terrace Hotel
$$ – Hotel Indigo
$ – Stay Classy Hostel

Final Thoughts

Now that all the planning is taken care of all you need to do is book your trip and hit the open road. For even more inspiration check out our Best Places To Visit In The USA By Month and Top 10 National Parks In The USA guides.


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