Pacific Coast Highway Stops In Washington
Washington is not all rain and gloom!
While the movies portray this evergreen state in a constant shroud of clouds and moodiness , its nothing farther from the truth.
Here, you can find powerful waterfalls, secret coves, and lush green forest, and amazing hikes in every corner of this beautiful state.
Keep on reading to read about some highlights along the Pacific Coast Highway in Washington!
Utah West Coast Usa Road Trip
ROUTE: Moab Arches National Park Bryce Canyon National Park Zion National Park
- Arches National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park 246 miles
- Bryce Canyon National Park to Zion National Park 75 miles
MILES COVERED: 634 miles round trip
ABOUT THE ROAD TRIP :
Zion, Bryce, and Arches are three of my favorite National Parks in the world. Take it from a Park Ranger who has worked and camped in her fair share of parks, these Utah gems are frankly perfection. If you have not yet fallen in love with the fiery allure of the red rock desert, oh boy, get ready to fall hard.
That said, these three beauties are still deeply unique in their own ways. The starting point of the trip is Moab, Utah.
Arches National Park: Arches, on the East side of the state, is the most like a desert, but with a jungle of towering red slabs and bizarre arches everywhere you look. Arches are in the coolest area, in my opinion its gateway town of Moab is rad and full of fun adventure activities. The Moab Brewery has great food and even better beer.
Bryce National Park: Bryce, in between the two, is known for its eerily human-like hoodoos, feels almost like the Grand Canyon with its rim hikes and pine forests.
Zion National Park: Zion, famous for needing a shuttle bus most of the year because its just that popular, is named for paradise for a reason.
Id spend the most time in and around Arches, and in and around Zion. Bryce is lovely, but smaller and more easily appreciated in a day or so.
Best Time To Visit West Coast
Depending on what you want to do on your road trip and what kind of climate you like, the West Coast can be visited at any time of the year. With temperate winters, sunny summers, and few extreme weather patterns, the West Coast is relatively pleasant no matter what time of the year it is.
The West Coast of the United States is a huge region with many distinct climates. The northern areas are well-known for being wet, dreary, and grey while California is famous for being warm, sunny, arid, and smokey.
Note that these are generalizations and that individual climates are, in reality, far more complex .
Summers on the West Coast are usually bright, warm, and dry, and depending on the latitude and proximity to the sea, summers can be more or less very long and very dry.
While this means that you can be guaranteed good weather, it also means higher prices. Wildfires also start in the dry summers, which have become an enormous problem in recent years.
Winters on the West Coast are very mild and most of the yearly precipitation falls during this time. Snow is not very common for West Coast cities located near the sea.
Portland and Seattle may see a few snowy days in the winter while San Francisco and Los Angeles may only see snow once in a lifetime. Both the Cascades and the Sierra Nevadas receive plentiful snow and skiing is a very popular activity in these mountains.
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Honey Bear Campground And Rv Resort Ophir
This campground offers wooded sites with beautiful ocean views. The owners have built a huge, authentic chalet, which contains a German deli, a recreation area, and a big dancefloor so campers have plenty of options. On summer nights it holds dances with live music, and an on-site restaurant has wonderful German food. The nearby pond is fully stocked with trout and perfect for fishing. 34161 Ophir Road, +1 541 247 2765, honeybearrv.com. Reservations are accepted, and pitches from $18 a night. Open all year round, weather permitting
Camping On The East Coast Gear Checklist
The East Coast has some of the finest camping in the whole country. You could sleep in your car or an RV while traveling on the East Coast but sleeping outside under the stars is way more fun. Having a good tent will keep you comfortable on those chilly nights and give you lots of flexibility when it comes to finding a place to sleep.
Check out our full road trip packing list for more information!
Here are some other essentials that we recommend if you plan on camping out
1. Backpacking stove: If you want to cook your own food, either because youre sick of takeout or want to save money, then youll need a cooking stove. Some campgrounds have fire pits with grills but I find these very inefficient. Campfires also may be outright banned as well if the fire season has been particularly bad that year, in which case youll definitely need your own stove.
I like the MSR Pocketrocket because its affordable, reliable, and very convenient.
2. Sleeping Pad: I really cannot sleep without some sort of camping pad. Ive slept in some pretty rough campgrounds, full of rocks and roots, and my sleeping pad saved my life many times. The self-inflating sleeping mats, like the Thermarest Prolite, are my favorite, though people often settle for the foam ones.
4. Microfibre Towel: ts always worth packing a proper towel, mainly to clean up but also for those impromptu swims. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.
Recommended Reading: Free Camping Blue Ridge Parkway
Los Angeles To Yosemite
From Eden of Rock a Little Travel
A Los Angeles to Yosemite road trip makes an excellent choice for those who love the big city, but also appreciate some quality time outdoors.
During your time in Los Angeles, I recommend getting an early start to hike the citys famous Runyon Canyon trail in Hollywood. After your hike, make your way towards Melrose Avenue to grab brunch and maybe do a little vintage shopping. Spend your afternoon in Santa Monica enjoying the beach before heading into downtown LA for dinner and drinks in the Arts District.
From Los Angeles, youll head north to Paso Robles, one of Californias favorite wine regions. The wineries here are fun and affordable, and most are family-owned. Paso Robles is known for being down to earth and friendly, so even if you dont know a lot about wine, youre guaranteed to feel welcome and have a good time.
After enjoying the wineries of Paso Robles, its time to head to Yosemite. Once inside the park make your way towards the Tunnel View lookout. This lookout offers some of the best views in the park with Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan, and Half Dome off in the distance.
From Tunnel View, youll make your way down into Yosemite Valley. From here you can ditch the car and begin exploring this beautiful park on foot or bicycle. Youll find trails and waterfalls all around you, so take your time and see it all.
Recommended Road Trip Length
Mount Rainier National Park 2 Or 3 Days
Gosh, we could say so much about Mount Rainier National Park, but well keep it to this: go for a day or a week and youll have an amazing time. Check out our articles about the waterfalls of Mt Rainier National Park as well as our guide for easy hiking with kids for some ideas. Its really easy to make a home base on either the north or south side of the mountain and then switch to the other side.
Mount Rainier is all about hiking though, so if youre looking to spend a few days just relaxing, this may not be the stop for you. True, you can do some great porch sitting at either of the National Park lodges, but for the waterfalls and amazing views, youve got to do some hiking.
Highlights: the Grove of the Patriarchs and Silver Falls are our two favorite hikes, and both have fewer visitors than Paradise. Theyre located very near each other on the southeastern side of the park.
Note: the south side of Mt Rainier National Park is the busiest, but its also the most developed with the most notable sights. The north side is much more remote with fewer tourists. Its 90% hardcore hikers.
Allotted time: 2-3 days per side, or just 3 days on the south side
Where to stay at Mt Rainier National Park
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Day 12 13 And 14 New Brunswick
New Brunswick is Canadas only officially bilingual province and is best known for its coastal attractions. The Bay of Coast experiences the highest tides in the world and is simply awe inspiring. On Day 14, leisurely drive back to Halifax to finish your epic East Coast Canada road trip.
Things to Do in New Brunswick
- After crossing the Confederation Bridge from Prince Edward Island, check out the Giant Lobster in Shediac and have a swim at beautiful Parlee Beach, home of the warmest saltwater in Canada.
- Cape Enrage is your next stop. Take in the panoramic views of the Bay of Fundy and visit the light station that has been in operation since 1838.
- Just a little further south is Hopewell Rocks, where it is easy to see the power of the huge Bay of Fundy tides . Time it right, and you can walk on the ocean floor next to the unique flower pot rocks.
- Fundy National Park is something of a condensed version of New Brunswick, offering both dramatic coastal scenery and dense forest landscapes to explore. Take a day hike in the woods or along the beach. Check out the cute coastal village of Alma and cross an iconic covered bridge at Point Wolfe.
Where to stay in New Brunswick
1854, the Maplegrove Inn Great location half way between Hopewell Rocks and Fundy National Park
The Artisan Suites Close to Hopewell Rocks, highly rated on Booking.com
Fundy National Park Choice between four front country campgrounds plus wilderness campsites
Recommended Reading: Best Portable Battery For Camping
Crater Lake National Park
Where to stay: Golden West Motel
The only national park in Oregon and home to the deepest lake in the United States , Crater Lake National Park is another less visited west coast national park.
The cobalt-blue Crater Lake, the parks namesake feature was created about 7,700 years ago by the eruption and collapse of Mount Mazama. Over time, the volcanos basin was filled with water and turned into a lake.Since there are no inlets into the lake and its water comes from water and snow, the water in the lake remains crystal clear and maintains its amazing color. There are several designated areas for swimming throughout the area, however the water is usually very cold.One of the top activities at the park is driving long the scenic Rim Road that has over 30 overlooks of the lake as well as scenic areas such as Videa Falls, Pinnacles Overlook and Pumice Castle Overlook. Crater Lake National Park is covered by snow for about 8 months out of the year, as the area gets something like 43 feet of snow per year, giving travelers only a small window to visit it. Its common to see snow at this national park as late as June and even July.
Top things to do: Rim Drive, Wizard Island, hiking up Garfield Peak, hiking Mount Scott, camping at Mazama Campground.
Wizard Island, the top of the dormant volcano sits in the middle of the lake and is home to ancient trees. To see it, you can get a boat tour of Crater Lake.
Los Angeles To Death Valley And Joshua Tree National Parks
ROUTE: Los Angeles Death Valley National Park Joshua Tree National Park Los Angeles
DAYS: 4 6
ROUTE STOPS: Los Angeles to Death Valley to Joshua Tree to Los Angeles
MILES COVERED: 650 miles round trip
ABOUT THE ROAD TRIP:
California has no shortage of National Parks or road trip itineraries. If you are visiting Los Angeles, you can easily take a road trip to Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park before circling back to LA.
While you can make this journey in as little as four days, spending five to six days along this route works best. If you want to see more of Los Angeles, plan to spend an extra few days there before or after your road trip.
Los Angeles to Death Valley: The drive from Los Angeles up to Death Valley takes about four hours. Since Death Valley does not have many accommodations within the park, make sure to plan your visit ahead of time to stay at one of the few hotels inside the park or to stay outside of the park.
Staying outside of the park can mean an hours drive into the park again, so try to arrive in the evening if you plan to stay outside the park. Then you can spend the entire next day inside the park itself before moving on. Browse hotels in Death Valley here
Joshua Tree: From Death Valley, the drive to Joshua Tree takes about four hours. Joshua Tree has plenty of accommodations nearby, and most of the popular spots to visit are near the north end of the park where the namesake Joshua Trees abound.
ABOUT THE ROAD TRIP:
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Day : San Francisco To Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park In Big Sur
Distance: 165 miles + Drive Time: 3.5 hours
After a night and shower in San Francisco, hopefully with a good meal to go with it, continue south through Silicon Valley to Monterey. Stop for lunch along the bay either in Monterey or the quaint seaside town of Carmel-by-the-Sea before continuing on Highway 1 and the Big Sur coastline. The road twists and turns with the ocean always to the west and Big Sur’s forested mountains to the east. You’ll want to take your time on this road and use the many pullouts to appreciate the amazing ocean views. There are many campgrounds in Big Sur, but if you can find a place near , you can choose to head into the mountains or watch the sunset over McWay Falls.
Panther Beach to the north of Santa Cruz, along Highway 1. Photo by John Cody.
Sunset along the Big Sur coastline at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Photo by Aron Bosworth.
If you make an early start and want to avoid the congestion of commuters shuttling between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, stick to Highway 1 for the whole day’s drive. It’s a much longer journey along the ocean road, but it is worth it for the scenery. If you don’t plan to camp, there are a number of options for hotels in Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea for the budget-conscious traveler, while the resorts of Big Sur are generally expensive.
Utah Road Trip National Parks West Coast Usa Road Trip
ROUTE: Zion National Park Bryce National Park Capitol Reef to Arches/Canyonlands
- Zion National Park to Bryce National Park 72 miles
- Bryce National Park to Capitol Reef 112 miles
- Capitol Reef to Arches/Canyonlands 136 miles
MILES COVERED: 494 miles round trip
ABOUT THE ROAD TRIP :
If youre a fan of visiting national parks, then youll love this Utah road trip to visit all 5 national parks in the state.
Zion: Start the road trip at Zion National Park and spend 2 days exploring the parks hiking trails. Drive along Highway 9 and Kolob Terrace Road to get away from the crowds in Zion Canyon.
Bryce Canyon: Next drive to Bryce Canyon National Park and spend one day. Youll pass through Red Canyon on your way which gives you a sneak peek of what youll see at Bryce. Take the scenic drive road to the end at Rainbow Point without making any stops.
Spend half a day to drive from Rainbow Point to the Amphitheater and the other half walking the Rim Trail or Navajo Loop Trail to really experience all Bryce has to offer.
Capitol Reef: Drive toward Capitol Reef National Park via Highway 12. Youll find some Utah State Parks along the way, so take your time on this road. One full day at Capitol Reef includes the scenic drive, hiking, and picking fruit in the orchard.
Another 1 or 2 days can be spent at Canyonlands biking, hiking, off-roading, and river rafting. Be sure to visit Dead Horse Point State Park as a side trip near the entrance to Canyonlands Island in the Sky.
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