Check out these 8 Surprising Ways to Enjoy the West Coast by Emily of Coat and Coffee. Emily has been one of my favorite travel bloggers since I stumbled upon her blog last year. This is our second collaboration together (you can find our first one here) and again, I couldn’t be happier with the editorial she is providing today. Keep reading for the best tips on West Coast travel.
Living so close to the West Coast is one of my favorite things ever. Every time I visit the West Coast I am reminded of how much there is to do, and the beauty of each city. Taking yourself off the beaten path and exploring what the coast has to offer makes for great memories. After living in San Francisco for a few years, and frequently visiting Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, and Seattle, I’ve experienced the best ways to enjoy the West Coast. Most of these definitely aren’t your typical activities, which is what makes them so fun. So here are 10 surprising ways to enjoy the West Coast.
1. Drink The Coffee
Of course I have to mention the West Coast coffee scene! Short of New York City, the West Coast has the best coffee in the United States. Lots of coffee shops roast their own beans, and their cold brews are nothing short of amazing. You’ll find some amazing coffee in Portland and San Francisco. I suggest trying out a few coffee shops if you’re traveling to the West Coast. Pssst, don’t pass on an order of avocado toast either! You won’t regret it.
2. Brunch, HARD
If there’s one thing people who live on the West Coast know how to do, it’s brunch. Some of my favorite places in San Diego include Breakfast Republic and Snooze. The Tine Shed in Portland is really good, and I honestly couldn’t even pick my favorite brunch place in LA. Be sure to order bottomless mimosas or a nice bloody mary, something the West Coast cities particularly excel in. Trying to be healthy? No problem as the West Coast is traditionally pretty health conscious, and always has gluten free options.
3. Stay at a Boutique Hotel
Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco are all known for their trendy boutique hotels. Be on the lookout for The Line hotel in LA and the Ace Hotel in Portland. These are two seriously cute and trendy boutique hotels that offer amazing charm and a comfortable night’s stay. Lately the West Coast has been booming with minimalist hotels that offer the bare necessity, but are a gorgeous example of exceptional design. You’ll be able to snap some amazing photos!
4. Drive the PCH
Nothing is more perfect in the spring/summer than a drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. You will have loads of fun! Grab some friends and hit the road starting in San Diego, and ending in San Francisco. Along the way you can stop in all the beautiful West Coast cities, and even get in some hiking. Don’t forget your camera though, because there are some amazing sights along the way including Big Sur. Everyone should drive the PCH once in their lifetime. You’ll be really surprised at how much fun you’ll have!
5. Experience the Beaches
Beaches are abundant on the West Coast. While I do know a handful of people who aren’t about that beach life, you just have to visit a beach while you’re there . The great thing about the West Coast is that there is something for everyone. Washington, Oregon, and the bay area offer breathtaking views with their beaches that are often hike-able. San Diego and Los Angeles offer sunshine, surfing, and beach volleyball. For an amazing beach experience in LA, check out Santa Monica Pier or Manhattan Beach.
6. Eat Vegan
I am not vegan whatsoever, but the West Coast has some of the best vegan food. Seriously. You need to try some vegan affair while you are visiting. It’s surprisingly very good, and you’ll be double checking to make sure it’s not actually meat. The West Coast knows how to cook vegan, so you should definitely take advantage of it.
7. Be a Wino
West Coast wines are to die for. They make some of the best blends and cabernet sauvignons. Notable regions are Temecula, Napa Valley, and Southern Oregon. It’s always a great idea to book a wine tour if you’re visiting the West Coast. Not in to wine? Then make sure to check out some amazing gourmet cocktails in San Francisco or Los Angeles. They know how to make the freshest and most delicious cocktails. There are also some really great breweries on the West Coast.
8. Watch the Sunset
Being from Arizona, I have to say we do have the best sunsets in the United States. However, Los Angeles and San Diego come in at a close second. The dust from these cities make for some of the most amazing sunsets you’ll ever see. One of my favorite ways to enjoy a sunset is by taking a walk on the beach, or setting up a bonfire for the night. There’s nothing better than just relaxing with your besties on the beach and watching the gorgeous cotton candy skies. Wherever you want to enjoy a good sunset, just add wine and good company, and you’re golden!
9. Get Outdoors
The hiking on the West Coast is some of the best in the U.S. In California you have Yosemite National Park and in Washington you have Mount Rainer. These make for great camping trips to unplug, reset, and relax. You just can’t beat the beautiful weather in the spring time either. If you’re not a serious hiker, check out Big Sur for a fun day-hike with incredible views of the ocean. There are also several small trails in the bay area and in San Diego. Get outdoors and get some sunshine!
10. Eat In n Out Burger
I mean really. Did you think I wouldn’t mention In n Out? In n Out Burger is a staple of the West Coast and a must visit. A perfect lunch for a day drive up the PCH, it’s also cheap as well! Definitely check out their secret menu before you go, which really isn’t so secret anymore.
Visiting the West Coast is such a great time, and each city has something different to offer. It really is the lifestyle that sets the West Coast apart from the rest of the United States. If you follow some of these tips, you’ll be sure to have a great visit. So definitely get off the beaten path and surprise yourself with all the different ways to enjoy the West Coast.
All pictures above are provided and taken by Emily.
Emily is a part time travel blogger living in Phoenix, Arizona, who specializes in European travel and loves sharing tips and hidden gems. When she’s not in front of her computer, she’s out exploring the newest coffee shops around the world. Emily started her own blog Coat + Coffee to inspire others to travel smart with helpful tips, and non-touristy editorials about the best things to do in Europe.