The United States is easily one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In 2019 alone, nearly 80 million people visited this amazing place and were ready to explore this vast and incredible destination.
The West Coast of the United States in particular (aka the Pacific Coast) consists of three states, Oregon, Washington, and California.
And if you want to expand your definition of the West Coast a little further, it could also include Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii, and more.
as a result, this region is filled with stunning national parks, beautiful cities, delicious restaurants, and many other exciting places for visitors to explore – making it insanely difficult for me to narrow this list down to just 8 of the best places to visit on the west coast of the USA.
Because there are so many insanely beautiful attractions and activities in and around the West Coast of the United States that you’re sure to enjoy an exceptional array of scenery that includes vast mountains, stunning waterfalls, austere deserts, and magical old-growth forests.
However, if I had to pick just 8 of the best places to visit on the west coast of the USA, I think the region’s top attractions would include:
- San Francisco
- Los Angeles
- Napa Valley
- Yosemite National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Red Wood National Forest
However, before you plan your very own west coast vacation getaway, including stops at some of the best towns in Alaska, find out exactly what you should see and what kind of requirements you need to meet to cross the US border!
USA Visa and Passport Requirements
Every foreign visitor must have an appropriate entry permit to cross the US border. And the easiest way to obtain one is to apply for an ESTA.
Because if your country is taking part in the US Visa Waiver Program then you can get an entry permit quickly and easily online!
Trust me, it’s really quick and easy. All you have to do is use any electronic device, even your phone should suffice, and complete a 3-step, super intuitive application process.
Because applying for an ESTA really only takes minutes and can be done anywhere, at any time. But if you’re a bit unsure, you can find the ESTA application form here on applyforesta.com.
With an ESTA, holders are allowed to visit the US for up to three months for various tourism, business, and transit-related purposes.
Moreover, your ESTA will remain valid for 2 years from the date it’s issued and can even serve as a multiple-entry permit.
Because you can now enjoy numerous visits to the United States with one document that is electronically assigned to any valid passport.
Yup, the US government couldn’t really make it any simpler since your approved ESTA will arrive directly to your inbox (via the email address you provided on your application) in PDF form.
So, be on the lookout for it and make sure that you get yours at least three days before you’re scheduled to cross the US border. This way, you should have no issues with US immigration upon arrival.
Pro Tip: Double-check and make sure that your passport is valid for at least another 6 months from the time you’re due to enter the United State. Because having a valid passport and an approved ESTA is crucial for successfully entering the United States!
Top Places to Visit on the West Coast of the USA
Now that you have successfully gotten your ESTA and can legally enter the USA, here are some amazing places to visit on the West Coast of the USA that you and your whole family will love.
When you are considering the top places to visit on the west coast of the USA and one of the best things to do in Washington State, you can’t miss Seattle!
So, stop by Pike Place Market and enjoy a cappuccino at the very first Starbucks coffee shop in the country!
If you have some more time to explore the beauty of Seattle, you can also take a local ferry, join a whale-watching cruise, or visit the awe-inspiring Mount Rainier, a stratovolcano located about 59 km away from Seattle.
However, it’s still very much an active volcano so watch out for any potential eruptions during your visit!
2. San Francisco
San Francisco, California is another one of the best places to visit on the West Coast of the USA and is an extremely popular destination among many tourists who come to the United States. Some popular attractions here include:
- Haight Street
- Fisherman’s Wharf
- Lombard Street
- The beautiful Golden Gate Bridge
- And so much more!
Before you leave though, don’t forget to try some delicious clam chowder from the iconic restaurant at Fisherman’s Wharf or try some of the best vegan restaurants in San Francisco.
You can also sample a wealth of other delicious seafood dishes here too as part of any 3 day San Francisco itinerary.
3. Los Angeles
If you’re visiting California and looking for one of the best places to visit on the West Coast of the USA, then you can’t miss Los Angeles!
Because while you’re here, you can explore Hollywood Boulevard, check out the iconic Walk of Fame, and stop by the Huntington Library Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.
Also, don’t forget to take pictures with the Hollywood sign and admire all of the breathtaking views of the city from this unique vantage point
And If you’re into more cultural things, then that a look at some of the amazing art inside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
FYI, Broad, the Getty Center, and Griffith Observatory all showcase some pretty cool museum exhibits too.
You can also easily take a bus from Los Angeles to San Francisco, making this an ideal place to stop during any California itinerary.
4. Napa Valley
As you probably already know, Napa Valley is a mecca of sorts for wine lovers. That’s why many people who visit this region are interested in exploring the many stunning vineyards and sampling the wealth of high-quality wines here.
Napa Valley is also home to several vineyards that make some of the tastiest wines in the United States, including V-Sattui, Castello di Amorosa, Pride Mountain Vineyards, and St. Clair Brown Winery.
So, be sure to visit some of these delightful wine-makers, learn all about how they make their wines, sample some of their delicious products, and savor the stunning views all around you.
5. Yosemite National Park
This place is perfect for anyone and everyone who wants to reconnect with the great outdoors! Because as you probably already know, this fantastic national park is filled with gorgeous hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls, and stunning views that everyone will love.
Whatever you do though, you cannot leave with visiting Taft Point, Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and El Capitan – just to name a few.
In fact, you may even want to spend a few days exploring the oasis of beauty that is this natural landscape.
And, added bonus? Yosemite National Park also offers its visitors epic guided astronomy walks that you are sure to love.
6. Grand Canyon National Park
Easily one of the most famous canyons in the world today, the Grand Canyon is also a massive national park that covers an area that is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide.
And during your visit, be sure to hike to Horseshoe Bend so that you can enjoy one of the best views on the entire West Coast. Also, don’t forget to stop by Havasu Falls and take tons of photos of this magical spot.
Plus, and I know it’s hard, force yourself to get up early at least once during your visit so that you can see an amazing sunrise here. Yup, it’s easily one of the most awesome sunrises in the world.
Portland, Oregon is famous for a lot of things – and being weird is definitely one of them. So, while you’re here, channel yout inner weirdo hipster and explore the city’s many funky neighborhoods and delicious indie food stalls.
You can also stop for a latte at one of the city’s many indie coffee shops before devouring a doughnut from Voodoo Doughnut!
And if you want to get back into nature, then you can always take a day trip to Multnomah Falls since it’s a magical place to enjoy the serene beauty of the United States’ west coast.
8. Redwood National Forest
Are you looking for one of the best places to visit on the west coast of the United States? If so then check out California’s iconic redwood forest.
It’s here that you’ll find ancient redwood trees quietly sitting within a national forest. In fact, some of these trees are so old that they date back more than 2000 years – which is not all that surprising when you see just how big they are.
And once you’ve explored these forests, you can also try kayaking, going for nature walks, and exploring local tidepools since all of these activities are free for park guests.
You’ll also love that Redwood National Park is actually part of the larger Redwood National and State Parks, which include four different reserves that visitors can explore in northern California.
Historically though, as of 1850, the forests here actually covered an area of eight thousand square miles.
However, a gold rush in the region later attracted many gold miners and lumbermen who subsequently clear-cut the natural landscape.
As a result, California’s amazing redwood forest now, sadly, only occupy a one hundred and fifty-kilometer area of land.
As you can see, the West Coast of the USA has numerous scenic attractions that visitors will love. Because between awe-inspiring mountain ranges, exquisite waterfalls, unique cultural experiences, and amazing art galleries, this part of the country really does have it all.
So, get your ESTA online today, pack your bags, and plan your very own road trip through the Western Coast of the United States!