West Coast Road Trip From Seattle To San Diego

West Coast Road Trip From Seattle To San Diego

Ever dreamt of an iconic American road trip that fuses the allure of vast coastlines with an iconic American itinerary? Set your sights on this legendary West Coast route.

In our travel expert’s most popular route, your adventure commences from Seattle’s thriving heart, navigating through pristine beaches, awe-inspiring coastal towns, and verdant terrains, culminating in the energetic pulse of San Diego. Holidays to America are so vibrant and diverse, what are you waiting for? Join us as we take you through our ultimate road trip itinerary across the West Coast of the United States.

Embark on Your Journey from Seattle

Seattle Space Needle

Embark on your American West Coast road trip by catching a flight into Seattle. Upon landing, dedicate a day or two to immerse yourself in the dynamic and diverse atmosphere of Seattle holidays. With its burgeoning culinary scene, Seattle offers the perfect starting point to kick back with a great meal and cheers to the start of an unforgettable holiday.

Pike Place Market

Delve into Pike Place Market, covering a sprawling nine acres teeming with lively food stalls, artisanal crafts, and unique local treats. Established in 1907, this waterfront market not only offers a shopping experience but serves as a cultural landmark, echoing the heartbeats and tales of Seattle throughout its century-old walls.

Space Needle

Ascend the iconic Space Needle, an emblem of Seattle’s skyline since 1962. Once you reach the observation deck, you’ll be greeted with panoramic views that stretch across the city and beyond. The sprawling urban maze unfolds beneath you, and on clear days, the majestic silhouette of Mount Rainier stands tall in the distance, offering a striking contrast to the urban vista.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Step into a world of vibrant colour and form at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Dale Chihuly, a master of his craft, showcases a breathtaking array of glass sculptures that intertwine seamlessly with the lush greenery surrounding them. Each installation, radiant and ethereal, captures both the delicate intricacy of glass and the boundless imagination of its creator.

Seattle to Port Angeles – Nature’s Tapestry

As you embark on your West Coast journey, the first road trip route we highly recommend is the drive from Seattle to Port Angeles, where you should consider spending your inaugural night.

Port Angeles serves as the gateway to the splendid Olympic National Park, a place truly deserving of unhurried exploration. Encompassing verdant temperate rainforests, vast stretches of pristine coastline, and the awe-inspiring peaks of Mt. Olympus, this national treasure stands as a testament to the raw beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Rather than simply passing through, seize the opportunity to momentarily pause from your drive. Lace up your hiking boots and traverse some of the park’s myriad trails, each offering its own unique perspective of this natural wonderland.

Newport to Crescent City – A Blend of Beauty and Adventure

As you leave Newport for the next leg of your journey, ensure you make a pitstop at The Devil’s Punchbowl, a renowned and intriguing highlight of the West Coast. Beyond its geological marvel, it’s a favoured location for whale watching. Consider taking along a breakfast picnic, allowing you to relish your meal while scanning the horizon for these gentle giants.

Navigating further along the Pacific Coast Highway towards California, a mosaic of pristine beaches will beckon—each more enchanting than the last. Yield to temptation and choose a spot for a brief respite; the coastline’s beauty warrants frequent pauses.

Your day’s journey end’s in Crescent City, nestled in Northern California. Once there, saunter over to Crescent City Harbor, a hub of marine life where you might spot sea lions, harbour seals, and pelicans. If you’re inclined, take a refreshing dip at Crescent Beach, and then treat yourself to a delectable seaside dinner, echoing the day’s coastal theme.

Crescent City to San Francisco – The Redwood Odyssey

As you resume your journey, brace yourself for the iconic vistas that embody the essence of a West Coast road trip. The California Coast unfurls before you, with its dramatic, jagged edges cutting starkly against the azure expanse of the Pacific. Each turn reveals postcard-perfect panoramas that will etch themselves into your memory. Soon, the road will bring you inland, introducing you to the towering majesty of Northern California’s Redwood forests.

Humboldt Redwood State Park

Journey through Humboldt Redwood State Park’s winding trails, enveloped by some of the planet’s most ancient coastal redwoods. As you walk amidst these colossal trees, there’s an overwhelming sense of being amidst living history, creating a feeling of reverence mixed with the thrill of discovery.

Shine Drive Thru Tree

Prepare for an encounter that defies the ordinary at the Shine Drive Thru Tree. This isn’t just any drive; it’s a passage through a living, breathing redwood. As your vehicle moves through its natural tunnel, it offers a palpable moment to appreciate nature’s vastness and resilience, putting our fleeting presence into perspective.

Fort Bragg Beach

At Fort Bragg Beach, the shoreline surprises with its unique sea glass mosaic, a captivating display of nature’s ability to transform and create beauty from the remnants of human activity. After soaking in this natural spectacle, set your sights on San Francisco, a city bursting with cultural vitality and awaiting your exploration.

San Francisco to San Luis Obispo – City Gems to Coastal Charms

Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco is truly a gem! You can’t miss the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the eerie yet fascinating Alcatraz, or the vibrant buzz of Pier 39. And for seafood lovers, the Fisherman’s Wharf is a must.

Once you’ve had a taste of the city life, it’s time to coast down to Monterey and the artsy atmosphere of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The drive over the Bixby Bridge is nothing short of breathtaking, and the Pacific Coast Highway, especially the stretch through Big Sur, is road trip gold. Wrap up the day in the relaxed atmosphere of San Luis Obispo.

San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles – Beach Bliss to Hollywood Glitz

Kick off your morning with a splash at Pismo Beach to rejuvenate you before your day of travelling. En route to LA, take a leisurely break in scenic Santa Barbara. It’s a blend of charm and beauty that’s hard to resist.

Once in Los Angeles, immerse yourself in its iconic scenes: get a glimpse of the Hollywood sign, stroll the starry Walk of Fame, experience movie magic at Universal Studios, and soak in the city views from Griffith Observatory.

Los Angeles to San Diego – Surf, Sand, and City Vibes

San Diego Holidays
The journey continues to Huntington Beach, where you can embrace the laid back surf culture. And as you approach San Diego, prep your taste buds for some truly incredible Mexican dishes. The city’s energy here is infectious, with a harbour-front that’s buzzing day and night. As your USA West Coast road adventure comes to a close, find a cosy spot along the beach to toast to an incredible and unforgettable journey!

Discover More…

Does this ultimate West Coast odyssey stir the wanderlust in you? Our curated road trip packages are crafted for avid travellers who are itching for some exploration. Speak with our seasoned travel experts today, and let us transform your dream journey into a real adventure.

By Kristin Skinner

Personal Travel Planner

Favourite Destination: California

The golden state of California, where I was lucky to grow up, is an incredible destination! Best time to visit would be May and October. May when the temperature is mild and the flowers are at their best. October is best to experience the amazing Sunsets.

I would suggest first flying into San Francisco, spending a few days in this awesome and walkable city, then drive up to Northern California to get a taste for the breathtaking National Parks – such as Yosemite, just a couple hours east of San Francisco. Then you could continue your trip back south, driving down the California coastline which boasts stunning scenery and some of the best beach communities in the world. Top things to do would be drop into Alcatraz, visit a winery on the central coast, and call into the original Disney and Universal Studios in LA.