West Coast Road Trip Itinerary: 10 Destinations that Will Blow Your Mind
With the fast approach of summer, many RV owners are making sure their motorhomes are road-ready for their upcoming travels. Of course, one of the biggest aspects of preparing for your summer vacation is planning the perfect road trip itinerary!
To help you prepare, we at Kirkland RV have created this West Coast Road Trip Itinerary of our favorite destinations along the Pacific Ocean.
The West Coast is a beautiful slice of America. With gorgeous landscapes, breathtaking beaches, and lush forests to offer travelers, it’s no wonder that many RV owners plan to drive down the West Coast during the summer months.
This itinerary starts in Seattle, ends in San Francisco, and features 10 destinations along the West Coast that will blow your mind and give you lots to talk about with your friends and family when you return home.
West Coast Road Trip Itinerary Day 1: The Olympic Peninsula
Our itinerary begins in Seattle, Washington. After filling up on a hearty breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe, drive north and take the Edmonds ferry to Kingston.
Now that you’re on the Olympic Peninsula, drive west on Highway 104 until it hits Highway 101. Turn right, onto 101 and drive north.
After 1 hour on Highway 101, you will arrive at your first destination — Lake Crescent. Lake Crescent is a long and incredibly deep lake nestled up against the Olympic Mountains. The water is a stunning blue and there is a variety of attractions around the lake for you to choose from. Options include the picturesque Marymere Falls trail, Pyramid Mountain, and the Devil’s Punchbowl (a shockingly-deep swimming hole).
A few other notable destinations on the Olympic Peninsula include:
- Gorgeous Rialto Beach, where you can walk north along the ocean to witness the famous Hole-In-The-Wall.
- Ruby Beach, where you can watch the sunset against rugged sea-rocks.
- Quinault Rain Forest Trailhead, for a short ½ mile hike and a taste of Washington State’s rainforest ecosystem.
Day 2: The Northern Oregon Coast
After a full day of exploring the national parks of Washington, day 2 of your West Coast road trip focuses on more developed tourist attractions along Highway 101.
As soon as you cross the border into Oregon, stop in Astoria for two famous tourist attractions. The first is a climb up the Astoria Column for stunning views of the Oregon coast from 126 feet, and the second — for something on the wild side — visit the docks on the north side of the city for views of the famous Sea Lions of Astoria (yes, actual sea lions).
Next, drive a short 10 minutes south of Astoria to visit the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Here you can explore a replica Fort Clatsop and witness how the Corps of Discovery spent their winter on the West Coast.
Get back on Highway 101 and drive 40 more minutes south to take photos in front of the massive Haystack Rock, a shoreline rock formation that offers incredible views and access to marine life in its tide pools.
Other notable tourist attractions along Oregon’s northern portion of Highway 101 include:
- The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, for a seaside ride on a historic steam engine train.
- Tillamook Creamery, for a delicious dinner meal and tour of the iconic cheese factory.
- Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, to learn about pioneer life in early Oregon.
- Devil’s Punchbowl Arch and Cobble Beach, for breathtaking views of the rocky Oregon coast and the Pacific Ocean.
Day 3: The Southern Oregon Coast
Start your day off at Thor’s Well — a seemingly bottomless sinkhole in the rocky shore that acts like it’s trying to swallow the entire Pacific Ocean. Then drive south on Highway 101 for 20 minutes until you reach Heceta Head Lighthouse. Spend an hour here enjoying the walk up to the lighthouse, the mind-blowing views, and conversation with the very knowledgeable park volunteers.
If you’re in the mood for wildlife, drive 5 minutes farther south to the Sea Lion Caves in Florence. Or, for some more exhilarating activities, drive 30 minutes farther to the famous Oregon Sand Dunes for some off-roading, sand-boarding, and hiking.
Other notable destinations along the southern Oregon coast include:
- Stillwagon Distillery, for some delicious craft rum tasting.
- West Coast Game Park Safari, a 21-acre zoo that features emus, Bengal tigers, snow leopards, and capybaras.
- Prehistoric Gardens, located in Ophir, this dinosaur forest walk will surprise you with guest appearances from the land before time!
Day 4: Northern California
Within 40 minutes of crossing the California border, you will reach Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. If there aren’t cars behind you, make sure to slow down as you drive through the park, or stop at one of the trailheads so that you can get out and appreciate the size of the giant redwood trees.
For a true “touristy” redwood experience, stop at the Trees of Mystery attraction for a tram ride and a sighting of giant Paul Bunyan, or drive a bit farther south to the Klamath Tour Thru Tree and pay $5 to drive or walk through a giant redwood tree.
Other notable attractions along the northern California stretch of Highway 101 include:
- Big Tree Wayside, a massive 1,500-year-old redwood tree that is 300 feet tall and 68 feet around.
- McKinleyville Totem Pole, at 160 feet, it’s said to be the world’s tallest totem pole and is carved from a 500-year-old redwood.
- Confusion Hill, an attraction that manipulates the laws of nature and gravity to mess with your mind and make you wonder if it is actually possible to walk on walls.
- One Log House, to see a tiny house constructed inside the trunk of a giant redwood tree.
- Frey Vineyards Winery, for some delicious organic wine tasting.
Day 5: The Drive Into San Francisco
Your last couple hours on Highway 101 shift away from the ocean and meander inland. Here you will find food and wine country.
Notable wineries and vineyards on this stretch of 101 include:
- Rivino, a boutique family winery, here you can taste small batch wine grown and produced along the Russian River.
- Jaxon Keys Winery & Distillery, for wine tasting on an open patio and views of the lush valley.
- J Vineyards & Winery, for delicious wine and cheese before arriving in San Francisco.
Before the end of the day you will find yourself crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and entering San Francisco. Your West Coast road trip itinerary may be done, but your exploring doesn’t need to be! Make sure to schedule a few days of sightseeing for San Francisco before beginning the journey back home.
Itching to get on the road but lacking an RV? Make this summer road trip itinerary come true for you by stopping by Kirkland RV and finding the perfect RV for you and your family. Contact our team of RV experts today to ask about the RV’s we carry.