Trip idea / USA

Tri-State Road Tripping

USA West Coast

Take a tri-state road trip from Washington, through Oregon and finishing in California.

The Lowdown

  • When To Go:

    May all the way up to end of September is a great time to visit the west coast of America for sunny days and warm nights. In August, enjoy long evenings with the sun setting at 9pm.

  • How to Get There:

    Fly directly from London to Seattle, returning from San Francisco to London.

  • Why We Like It:

    A mix of buzzy cities, wild beaches and coastal nature over three states of the USA give you a great flavour of the west coast.

  • Where To Stay:

    Depending on your group we can match you with retro motels, comfortable glamping, family-run hotels and cliffside resorts.

Start in Seattle and end in San Francisco on this neat road trip that heads directly south, hugging the coast, soaking up cool cities, seaside fun, national parks and ancient redwood forests, crossing through Oregon and finishing in the Golden State of sunny California.

Highlights

    • Appreciate the freedom of a carefully crafted road trip where the pace is set by you
    • Explore the nuance of three different states of America’s west coast
    • Uncover the buzz of the city in an itinerary bookended by Seattle and San Francisco
    • Immerse yourself in coastal nature and ancient redwood forests
    • Swim in or hike around America’s deepest lake at Crater National Park
    • Sample world-class wines at America’s renowned wine-growing region, Napa Valley
    • Enjoy the West Coast’s relaxed vibe at seafood joints, cafes, microbreweries and wineries

    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

    Found in the Pacific Northwest, start your journey in Seattle, Washington state’s largest city. A city whose economy was originally built from the gold rush of the 1890s, Seattle is the home of aviation and computer giants, global brands and a skyscraper skyline, and notably where grunge band Nirvana hailed from.

    Get under its skin and discover an easily likeable city with a thriving café-culture, a burgeoning micro-brewery scene and a strollable waterfront, surrounded by the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, backed by snow-dusted Mount Rainier. To get a great overview of the city, head up the Space Needle, an observation tower that stands at 184-metres high. A visit to Pike Place Market, one of the US’s oldest markets, is a must to sample locally made delicacies and produce on offer from farmers, crafters and small businesses.

    GLENEDEN BEACH, OREGON

    From Seattle, your road trip starts in earnest. Pick up your car and cross the state border and the gushing Columbia River into Oregon, and on to the coastal community of Gleneden beach. Discover Oregon’s scenic byways and densely wooded mountains en route to the sand dunes of the Pacific coast.

    Rugged sands, a wild ocean panorama and tufted cliffs greet you at Gleneden Beach, a natural paradise where the mountains meet the sea. Take in the briny air with walks along the blustery coastline or head inland to old-growth forests. Explore marine-protected Siletz Bay, an expansive estuary where the river mingles with the sea, creating a unique environment of salt marshes, mud flats, sandy bays and deciduous forestland, home to a host of aquatic birdlife. Hike nature trails or kayak up narrow channels in this tranquil backwater.

    CRATER NATIONAL PARK, OREGON

    For the next part of your journey, leave the coast and divert inland for a worthwhile detour to one of Oregon’s most enduring natural sights. Crater National Park encompasses the deepest lake in the USA, which glitters in inky blue. Formed after an eruption in 5700 BCE which then collapsed on itself, the lake is created from the volcano caldera.

    Due to its fertile volcanic soil, the area has become a hotbed of biodiversity and natural beauty. Wildflowers flourish and forests of fir and pine dot the caldera edge and within this pristine habitat, bears, deer, marmots and eagles live. There are plenty of trails that allow you to explore the ecosystem, taking in sights such as wildflower meadows and pinnacle-shaped volcanic outcrops. Board a boat for tranquil cruise on the lake, admiring the volcano within a volcano on Wizard Island. On a hot day you can even swim the crater lake’s beautifully clear waters.

    CRESCENT CITY & REDWOOD NP, CALIFORNIA

    A full day’s drive down the coast of Oregon takes you over the border and into California, the Golden State. Crescent City is a pretty harbour town that curves around a horseshoe stretch of sand, backed by lofty redwood trees. It’s a pleasant, laid-back place to soak up sea views, wander the waterfront and explore the town’s maritime history including California’s most northerly lighthouse, built in 1856. Wait for low tide to cross the causeway and climb the lighthouse for unsurpassed panoramic views.

    From Crescent City take a day trip into Redwood National Park – a protected forest for the mighty sequoia tree. Immerse yourself in the park’s nature trails, breathing fresh air, and appreciating the majesty of these lofty giants, some of which are more than 1,000-years old.

    MENDOCINO & NAPA VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

    Continue your way southwards and join California’s most scenic road – Highway 1, hugging the coast and passing pretty cliffside towns, picturesque bluffs and the endless North Pacific Ocean, always on your right. Stop at Mendocino, a former logging hamlet turned thriving artists enclave, to explore its plethora of galleries alongside microbreweries and artisan shops. It’s also blessed with natural beauty from wild beaches, ancient redwood forests and craggy cliffs.

    From Mendocino, it makes for a very natural stop at Napa Valley, California’s famous winelands and home to independent, family-owned wineries where you can tour vineyards, meet producers and taste delicious world-class wines. With over 400 wineries to choose from, talk to us about your wine preferences and we can direct you to vineyards that will be a good fit for your tastes.

    SAN FRANCISCO

    As your West Coast, tri-state road trip comes to a close, finish your final spell of ocean scenery and wind-in-your-hair freedom, driving from Napa Valley to San Francisco. Multi-cultural, laid-back and with a ton of things to see and do, welcoming San Francisco makes for a fantastic finale.

    Explore San Francisco and its cultural heritage including the ornate ‘Painted Lady’ houses of Alamo Square, the imposing Alcatraz island prison, the tasty cuisine of Chinatown and the liberal hippie allure of Haight-Ashbury. Pop on a bike to cycle over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge or sample seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf. For a thrill, jump aboard a sailing yacht for a fast-paced tack across the bay. Enjoy your final moments before your return journey home, directly from San Francisco to London.