Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

Planning a road trip along the west coast?

The west coast is perhaps most popular for the beautiful Big Sur along the California Coast, which boasts so many attractions and beaches such as the popular beaches in southern California.  Having said this, you'll be glad to know that there are many more places to visit on the west coast of USA and stop along the way than meets the eye!

Places to visit along the California Coast
Besides the California coast, you have the beautiful Oregon coast and the dramatic coastline of Washington State, which offers one of the most scenic drives in the US!


Below we have listed fantastic places to visit on the west coast and natural attractions to see on the way!

Washington State

The drive on Washington State along the US 101 route (Highway 101) offers plenty of opportunities to explore Washington State attractions and natural wonders which include:

Kalaloch

Kalaloch is located within the Olympic National Park, just off highway 101, and it’s one of the best spots to enjoy beach hiking and observing coastal birds such as bald eagles and gulls from the bluffs.

Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA
Places to Visit along the Oregon Coast

Lake Quinault

Lake Quinault is located also off highway 101 within the enchanting Quinault Rain Forest, and if you love nature, Lake Quinault should be an absolute must place to stop along the way just to see the gigantic old trees and massive slugs!
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA
Northern California Beaches
Raymond

The town of Raymond is most certainly worthy of a stop, not only because of the Northwest Carriage and Willapa Seaport museums, but for the Raymond steel sculptures attraction. The Raymond steel sculptures include the sculptures of an elk and a logger and are basically 20 sculptures made entirely of steel (truly amazing craftsmanship!)

Cape Disappointment Light/ Willapa Wildlife Refuge

Both Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and Willapa Wildlife Refuge are a little off route (in the town of IIwaco) if you’re planning to stick on highway 101, but if you ask me, they're worth the small detour!
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA
Best Places to visit in California
Willapa Wildlife Refuge is a great spot to enjoy more wildlife viewing and see animals you wouldn't come across often such as the famed Roosevelt elk.
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is one of the few remaining west coast lighthouses built in the 19th century and seeing this gem up-close is quite remarkable!

Fort Columbia Park

Fort Columbia Park is located adjacent the Lewis and Clark Historic Park and is one of the top places to visit on the west coast of USA.
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA
US West Coast Tourist Attractions
Fort Columbia Park boats twelve beautifully constructed 19th century wood-frame buildings (see picture) which you can explore on guide-tours, as well as an interesting interpretive center where you can learn more about pioneer life on the Pacific Northwest.


Oregon

As you drive through the border into Oregon from Washington State, you’ll be entering the town of Astoria (along the Oregon Coast Highway). There are many places to visit along the Oregon coast, and many great attractions to visit and stop along the way to list them all, but a few worth mentioning include:

Astoria

The town of Astoria is another of the top places to visit on the west coast of USA simply because of Astoria’s 126-feet high column where you can enjoy marvelous views of the ocean and the town itself (see picture).
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

By the way, did you now that Astoria was the location for the blockbuster movies “Free Willy” and “Kindergarten Cop”.

Seaside

The town of Seaside is another worthy stop along the west coast, if anything, to see the wonderful Seaside Aquarium.
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

Seaside is also a great town to visit (especially in summer) because of its regular events and festivals such as Hood to Coast relay race, Miss Oregon Pageant and Artwalk.

Tillamook

The city of Tillamook is another of the top places to visit along the Oregon coast and worth a stop-over for two reasons:
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

1) Because of the famed Tillamook Cheese factory. The Tillamook Cheese factory has a visitor’s center open all year long where you can see how cheese is made, learn about the cheese making process, and enjoy tastings!
2) You’re only a half hour drive from Portland OR

Newport

Newport is another of the must-stops along the Oregon Coast Highway, so be sure to add to your list of places to visit on the west coast of USA.
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

Newport, not only boasts the fantastic Oregon Coast Aquarium, but also Yaquina Lighthouse (the tallest in Oregon), and the renowned Rogue Ales brewery where you can enjoy some great brew tastings!

California

There are truly lots of stunning places to visit along the California coast and hundreds of look-out points that you can stop along the way to enjoy the views. A few of my favorite places along Highway 101 (Redwood Highway) include:

Klamath

The town of Klamath California boasts the interesting attraction of Trees of Mystery, which is a cool place worth stopping by, just to see the massive statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox (pictured).
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg is another stop along Highway 1, which you can’t simply past by, as it is one of the best places to visit on the west coast of USA to enjoy absolutely picturesque vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Besides the views, the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens are also worthy of a visit in Fort Bragg to see its amazing collection of plants and gardens.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore Park is an absolute gem of natural attraction that the California coast is known for.
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

Point Reyes Park offers a great opportunity to enjoy breathtaking coastal views because of hiking trails such as Bear Valley Trail which run along the cliff. There is also a historic lighthouse within the park (see picture) where you can get memorable vistas.

Fort McArthur

Fort McArthur (pictured) is another great attraction worth adding to your list of places to visit on the west coast of USA..
Places to Visit on the West Coast of USA

The Fort is located in the Los Angeles district of San Pedro and it isn’t only a great place to learn and see old military displays, but also to enjoy events such as the Great Los Angeles Air Raid, which is a cool live re-enactment where people dress in period costumes to recreate the LA Air Raid event that happened on 1942.

See. Nice places in Hawaii to visit for the day
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Best Beaches to Visit in Hawaii
best places to camp in Northern California
Places to visit on the East Coast of USA
Best Places to Travel in October in the US
Top Places to go on a Road Trip
Top Ten Aquariums in the US
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Places to visit in Puyallup
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