Looking for the best places to see on the West Coast USA? You have come to the right place! The West Coast USA is one of our favorite regions in the world. From epic coastlines to lush forests and towering mountains, the West Coast USA truly has it all! If you’re looking for a nature getaway this is the perfect place to do it,
Despite The United States massive size, the West Coast USA is made up of only three states, Washington, Oregon, and California! Each of which has their own beautiful unique qualities. Washington with some of the most stunning mountains in the country surrounded by lush forests! Oregon, the home of the most impressive coastlines on the West Coast USA, and a plethora of waterfalls! And last but not least, California which contains pretty much every conceivable landscape you could ever want to see! From more famous locations to lesser-known gems these 10 beautiful locations will not disappoint!
10 Best Natural Sites You Must See On The West Coast USA
Point Reyes National Seashore Is A Hidden Gem Near The Big City
Point Reyes National Seashore is the foggiest place on the West Coast USA, and conveniently located just an hour outside of San Francisco! If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the Bay Area, Point Reyes is the perfect place! Point Reyes National Seashore is famous for the Cypress Tree Tunnel, which is often mistaken for the dark hedges in Northern Ireland. Having been to both, we actually think that the Cypress Tree Tunnel on the West Coast is better! For smaller crowds, make sure to visit in the early morning hours! The canopy of trees overhead, stretching a quarter mile, is a sight to behold. We were really impressed and spent a considerable amount of time taking pictures!
Once you leave the Cypress Tree Tunnel and continue down the long winding road, you’ll end at a parking lot, located near one of the better coastal overlooks on the West Coast USA. It looks like something out of Iceland with a beach for as far as the eye can see from on top of a cliff! On either side of the parking lot, there are great views. Prepare to spend hours here as there is so much to see! At this stop, there’s also a great hike to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, for even more views of the Pacific Ocean! Along the hike, you’ll notice all of the trees that have been carved by the wind, it looks like something out of a fairytale. We were lucky to see this majestic location a foggy day, which added to the mystery and lure of Point Reyes National Seashore. if you’re lucky enough to see this West Coast USA location on a foggy day, you’ll be in for a real treat!
Smith Rock State Park Is The Most Surprising West Coast USA Location
Smith Rock State Park is not what you’d expect to see in Oregon. When most people think of the Pacific Northwest, they think of lush greens and rushing waterfalls, but Smith Rock looks like something out of a western film! Located in Central Oregon, Smith Rock State Park is one of the more surprising places we’ve visited. With towering red rocks rising from the desert landscape, it’s a beautiful location you must see on the West Coast USA.
The most popular view of Smith Rock is an easy walk from the parking lot. We were shocked at how close it was, as we had expected to have to hike a good distance to see such an amazing view! There are many hikes in the park for all skill levels. If you’re looking for something more strenuous, Misery Ridge is the most popular hike in the park, and if you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded by some of the best desert views on the West Coast USA. Smith Rock State Park is also a great place for rock climbing, we saw a lot of climbers while we were there.
The Redwoods Are The Tallest Trees In The World
Depending on where you are in Northern California, you’ll have various options of Redwood forests to see! If you’re coming into California from Oregon, you’ll be greeted immediately by the Redwoods, and if you happen to be coming from the San Francisco area, they’re easily accessible as well! They’re all of Northern California! We always hear how big the Redwood trees are, but we can’t stress enough how big they actually are! Make sure to work out your neck before visiting! The trees are extremely impressive and are a true gem along the West Coast USA.
We highly recommend driving through the Avenue Of The Giants. It’s a great drive through the Redwoods, with plenty of opportunities to pull over and gaze in awe! If you are taking a California Road Trip, this is a great drive to add on your itinerary. We really enjoyed our time there. There are lots of hikes, campsites, and even picnic tables to sit and snack amongst the giants. There are even portions of the forest where it looks like it’s dark outside because of how thick and tall the forest is! The avenue of the giants is a 31-mile stretch, so for the best experience, we recommend spending between 1-2 hours taking in all of the sights!
Mount Rainer Is One Of The Best Mountains On The West Coast
On a sunny day in Seattle, Washington you’ll be able to see Mount Rainer towering in the distance. Located about an hour and a half outside of the city, Mount Rainer is an adventure lovers playground! There are various hikes, stunning views, and lots of wildlife viewing opportunities! If you’re into photography, this West Coast USA location should be a top your list of most photogenic places! It’s truly beautiful. If you are looking to beat the crowds, visit early in the morning to get a jump start on hikes. If you are into astrophotography, Mount Rainer is a great place to see and photograph stars and the Milky Way.
Standing at 14,411 feet tall, Mount Rainer is the tallest Volcano on West Coast USA. The volcano is considered active with the last eruption occurring in 1894! Not to worry though, it’s considered extremely safe to visit! The Mountain is covered with snow most of the year, and skiing is an option on the highest peak. If you are up for an adventure, make sure Mount Rainer is on your list for places to see on the West Coast!
Oregon Caves National Monument Is The Least Visited Stop On This List
Nestled in the northern Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon, The Oregon caves is one of the lesser known gems in the West Coast USA. It’s a great place for families looking for something different yet adventurous to do! Children particularly love the Oregon Caves because they love to explore the dark corners of the caves and look for small hidden animals that live there. The caves get rather chilly so make sure to dress warm and bring a jacket. The visitor center on property offers clothes you can pick up if you forget a coat during your trip.
There are free ranger-led tours every day at the Oregon Caves so you will get a tour and learn history and facts about the caves. There are different tours that are more strenuous or easier, depending on how you can climb stairs. Even if you go on a tour with a lot of stairs, you can always wait at the bottom if something gets too difficult. We really enjoyed our time visiting the caves and learned a lot about how it was formed. The guides do an amazing job telling you the history and everything you need to know about the expansive cave system. Most people come to visit Oregon and know nothing about this beautiful place, so take it from us and add it to your list of places to see in Oregon.
Yosemite National Park Is The Most Famous West Coast USA Destination
Yosemite National Park is definitely the most popular place on this list, drawing millions of tourists per year, but we feel we’d be doing you a disservice if we didn’t add it to this list! Furthermore, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t go! It is popular for a reason because it is an absolutely beautiful place. Its majestic scenery has been captured in paintings, early photography, and films through the decades and continues to inspire artists and travelers around the world.
Yosemite National Park is indeed an extremely busy West Coast USA destination, so we recommend visiting in the offseason to avoid major crowds! The best times are in the Spring (April. May, early June) and in the Fall (September, October, November) The weather is still great around these times and in the Spring, the waterfalls are raging, and in the Fall you’ll see Yosemite’s Autumn beauty!
Samuel H Boardman Is Our Favorite West
Coast USA Destination
Located on the southern coast of Oregon, Samuel H Boardman Scenic Corridor is one of the highlights of the entire west coast. It’s 12 miles of absolute beauty, with multiple hikes and lookouts along the way. Samuel H Boardman is best known for the Natural Bridges, it’s an incredible view and only a few steps away from the parking area. For those who are a little more adventurous, you can actually walk on the Natural Bridges, for even better views! It’s a well-trafficked path, but it’s not easy. It’s mostly downhill and there are lots of areas where you can slip. Please be careful!
Despite its name, Secret Beach is another popular location along this scenic stretch. There are no signs for it, keep an eye out for a slight pull out between mile markers 344 and 345! Once you’re parked, make sure to take the path on the right, it will take you straight to the beach. It’s an amazing view and you won’t be disappointed! The beach is accessible, but please be aware of the tides! You don’t want to be swept into the Pacific! There’s a reason Samuel H Boardman is our favorite West Coast USA destination, and we plan on visiting many more times!
Burney Falls Exceeded Our Expectations
Burney Falls was supposed to be a quick stop along our way, but a few hours later we were still there! The waterfall stands at 129 feet tall and is not the biggest in the state of California, but it’s widely considered the most beautiful! With that said, pictures still don’t do it justice! It’s one of those places that you just have to see with your own eyes. It’s definitely on the list of prettiest waterfalls we have seen.
Burney Falls is not nearly as visited as other popular West Coast USA tourist sites, but it does get busy! The traffic flow is fairly consistent all year, but the best times to visit are during the offseason, which spans from October to May. If you’re planning your trip to Burney Falls and want to have it, virtually all to yourself, make sure to arrive in the early morning! There are 3 different viewpoints of the falls, upper, middle and our favorite, the lower falls! Make sure to check out all of them. If you want to stay for multiple days, camping is an option as well!
Hoh Rainforest Is One Of The Only Rainforests In The Lower 48
Located in the stunning Olympic National Park is one of the few rainforests in the contiguous United States! Hoh Rainforest is an absolutely beautiful place and we really enjoyed our time there! Lush greens, huge moss covered trees, and a truly unique ambiance. Rainfall is quite common here, it is a rainforest after all! On average Hoh Rainforest receives about 14ft of rain per year, that’s an enormous amount of rain! These conditions help to make it one of the lushest forests in the world.
Hoh Rainforest is about a 4hr drive from Seattle, so we recommend getting the most out of your visit when you go! There are several hikes, and trails and enough beauty to make you want to stay for hours on end. Hoh Rainforest isn’t too far away from the coast, so after you’re done visiting, take a jaunt over to Ruby Beach!
Fern Canyon Was A Filming Location In Jurassic Park
Fern Canyon is one of the lesser-known West Coast USA locations on this list, and it absolutely shouldn’t be! It’s one of the prettiest places we’ve seen! Fern Canyon is located along the coast of Northern California about 60 miles south of the Oregon border. Once you see the first sign leading you to Fern Canyon, it’s 8-mile drive until you reach the parking lot. Half of which is spent on winds and turns on a narrow road, before you reach the pay station, and the other half spent on bumpy dirt roads and even a stream crossing!
It’s a slow journey getting to Fern Canyon, but once you finally reach the parking lot, it’s a VERY short walk until you reach the canyon! 0.1 miles to be exact, and once you reach it you’re immediately greeted by the lush green ferns covering the canyon walls! It’s quite the sight to behold. The canyon ground is mostly water, so make sure to bring waterproof shoes when you go! If it is warm out, feel free to go barefoot! Just be careful, as there are lots of rocks and the ground can be uneven. Wooden planks are added in the summer months, however, if you don’t want to walk in the water.
A lot of people don’t know this, but Fern Canyon was a filming location in The Lost World Jurassic Park (1997). Remember the scene where the unfortunate man, gets lost in the forest and is prayed upon by the Compies? This where it was filmed! Fern Canyon is a year-round West Coast USA location and it is great for families looking to see something a little different. You must put Fern Canyon on your list because it is not every day you get to see a place this unique!
Map Of West Coast USA Locations
If you are looking for a map of the best West Coast USA Destinations you can simply download it below! Our West Coast USA map has the Google Map locations of each and every location included in this article so you can easily find it during your trip. Some people are more visual so this map will help you see where they are all located around the West Coast USA so you can better plan your trip. Better still, it can help you see which locations are close together in case you are able to stop at more than one during your visit to the West Coast USA!
The West Coast USA is a beautiful region of the country, and you must visit it! There are tons of diverse landscape and adventure for everyone, no matter what you’re into! Let us know what you think of the West Coast USA destinations we have on this list and if you’ve traveled to any before, or if you have any more questions regarding any of the locations before booking your trip!
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