Looking for an incredible adventure? Consider going on an 1-month West Coast road trip. You’ll love the stunning scenery, breathtaking views, magical landscapes, bustling wildlife, and — of course — incredible memories! And to help you out, I’ve put together this ultimate 1-month USA West Coast road trip itinerary that’ll blow your mind!
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There’s nothing better than the big open road, a car with a full tank of gas, good company, and the opportunity for endless adventures.
That’s exactly what Dan and I experienced when we embarked on our incredible 1-month USA road trip across the West Coast earlier this year. In just 30 days, we visited 14 different states, nearly hit 8,000 miles in our little van, and made incredible memories. It’s something I’ll never forget.
Within these 14 days, we experienced a good number of things — both good and bad…
✓ Camped out in numerous Wal-Mart parking lots, only to be woken up by late-night truckers and visitors.
✓ Ate one of the best vegan donuts ever, as well as my first vegan sausage McMuffin.
✓ Viewed the Mexico/US border from our car while driving to New Mexico from Dallas.
✓ Hiked in the Superstition Mountains near Phoenix.
✓ Drove through the darkness to find a good FREE camping spot and star gazed in the middle of nowhere near Sedona, AZ.
✓ Explored the nooks and crannies of Zion National Park.
✓ Experienced strange things on the Las Vegas strip (completely sober BTW).
✓ Got locked out of our van in Yosemite National Park (yep — we were those people!).
✓ Unlocked the van with a piece of string, a stick, and sheer willpower.
✓ Walked with the giants (Giant Sequoia’s that is) in Sequoia National Park.
✓ Camped on a desolate beach on the California Coast (only to be almost caught by the DNR when we woke up!).
✓ Saw endless ocean views along the stunning Oregon Coast.
✓ Drove through blizzard-like weather in Montana.
✓ Made a few Buffalo friends while in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.
✓ Safely made it back home to good ol’ Minnesota.
No doubt, it was an incredible adventure! In the end, this unbelievable west coast trip just made me realize how much the United States really has to offer in terms of amazing natural beauty and fantastic places to explore.
So, with that in mind, are you ready to explore the United States with this awesome 1-month West Coast drive that’ll completely blow your mind? I thought so.
Side Note: This itinerary can also be used as just a general outline and inspiration! Bend it to your will and use it for West Coast road trip ideas; tailor it to find the perfect adventure for you!
Psst, ever thought about renting an RV for your US road trip adventure? Click HERE to read my post on 5 reasons why you need to rent one (hint: these reasons are pretty awesome)!
Table of Contents
- 1 THE ULTIMATE 1-MONTH USA WEST COAST ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
- 1.1 Day 1: Phoenix, Arizona
- 1.2 Day 2-3: Phoenix, Arizona
- 1.3 Day 4-5: Sedona, Arizona
- 1.4 Day 6-7: Grand Canyon National Park
- 1.5 Day 8-10: Las Vegas, Nevada
- 1.6 Day 11-13: Death Valley National Park, California
- 1.7 Day 14-16: Sequoia National Park, California
- 1.8 Day 17-20: Yosemite National Park, California
- 1.9 Day 21-22: Sacramento, California
- 1.10 Day 23-27: California/Oregon Coast
- 1.11 Day 28-29: Portland, Oregon
- 1.12 Day 30-31: Seattle, Washington
THE ULTIMATE 1-MONTH USA WEST COAST ROAD TRIP ITINERARY
Since Dan and I nearly drove straight from Minnesota to Dallas, TX in the span of a day and a half, I definitely don’t expect you to start there.
So, because Arizona is damn near my favorite state ever, this mind-blowing west coast USA road trip starts in Phoenix and takes you through incredible national parks, breathtaking landscapes, and along spectacular coastal roads.
You’ll end in Seattle, Washington, where you can easily hop on another flight to get back to where you need to be!
- Day 1-3: Phoenix, Arizona
- Day 4-5: Sedona, Arizona
- Day 6-7: Grand Canyon National Park
- Day 8-10: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Day 11-13: Death Valley National Park
- Day 14-16: Sedona National Park
- Day 17-20: Yosemite National Park
- Day 21-22: Sacramento, California
- Day 23-27: California/Oregon Coast
- Day 28-29: Portland, Oregon
- Day 30-31: Seattle, Washington
Additionally, keep in mind that this is just a general itinerary! You can pick and choose how you’d like to go about it; like one destination more than you thought? Stay a bit longer! Not feeling the vibe of another destination? Peace out!
**One great thing about using Booking.com (which the accommodations are linked to) is that you can usually cancel last minute without being charged — which means you can be more flexible with your road trip!
Day 1: Phoenix, Arizona
Depending on how you arrive in Phoenix, whether it be by car or plane, the first day on your epic road trip adventure will no doubt be filled with fatigue and jet lag. Although, if you have the energy, it’s a great place to get out and explore.
If not, take that nap! You deserve it. We all deserve the naps.
If you’re looking for a great restaurant to eat in the day, depending on what time you arrive, check out my list on 10 fantastic vegan restaurants in Phoenix!
Day 2-3: Phoenix, Arizona
Once you’ve rested and you’re reading to go, head out into the bustling city, as well as the city surroundings. Phoenix is a fantastic base for those who love to hike and those who love to shop. Whatever you’re choice, there’s options for everyone!
I recommend researching some awesome hikes in the nearby mountains; Superstition Mountains, Camelback Mountain, and the Phoenix Mountains. You can find some really great hiking trail suggestions here!
Additionally, if you’re not into hiking, the city of Phoenix offers a plethora of things to do.
Things to do in Phoenix:
- Head into Scottsdale Old Town and explore the Wild West-looking buildings.
- Check out the incredible Desert Botanical Garden and view adorable succulents, beautiful flowers, towering cacti, and gorgeous greenery!
- Ready to view beautiful Phoenix from above? Go on a Sunrise Phoenix Hot Air Balloon Ride!
- Depending on how hot it is, have a picnic in one of the many city parks.
- Visit the Heard Museum, which is devoted to Native American civilizations.
- Check out the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.
- Admire the Pueblo Grande Ruin.
- Spend time outside at the Tempe Beach Park.
- Explore the the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, Ro Ho En.
- Ultimately, get outside because the weather is usually spot-on and there are so many things to do in parks, greenery, and mountains of Phoenix, AZ!
P.S. Check out these day tours and excursions from Phoenix if you aren’t into planning activities yourself!
Where to stay in Phoenix:
As in many cities, there are various neighborhoods which are better than others! A few of my favorite suburbs of Phoenix are Scottsdale, Chandler, and Mesa.
- The Gainey Suites Hotel is a highly-rated hotel located in Scottsdale — and it’s surprisingly affordable!
- The Comfort Suites Old Town is a more affordable option in Scottsdale that’s in an awesome location — right in Old Town!
- In Chandler, the Cambria Hotel Phoenix Chandler – Fashion Center is an affordable, highly-rated option and is a guest favorite.
- Mesa, Arizona is a nice suburb of Phoenix closest to some of the best hiking in the Superstition Mountains. You can find a list of great hotels here!
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Day 4-5: Sedona, Arizona
Out of all the destinations, I think Sedona, Arizona might be Dan and I’s favorite place.
The gorgeous red rock, non-existent light pollution, beautiful landscapes, and unbelievable star gazing won over our hearts. We spent one awesome night camping just outside Sedona’s city limits before heading up to the Grand Canyon and it was totally worth it!
Seriously, I can’t even tell you how many shooting stars we spotted. We spent hours outside looking at the crystal clear skies and crazy cool stars. It was an awesome night!
Plus, if you get to Sedona early, you can go on a tour through the awesome Red Rock State Park. Sedona is also a pretty cool town to check out, with its cute cafes, gift shops, and nice locals.
Things to do in Sedona, Arizona:
- Hike one of the many different trails (like the Broken Arrow Trail — highly rated!).
- Check out Oak Creek Canyon.
- Visit Cathedral Rock.
- Explore the Red Rock Scenic Byway.
- Make your heart skip a beat by hiking the Devil’s Bridge Trail.
- Check out one (or a few) of the many gift and specialty shops — the crystal shops are amazing here!
- Visit the Palatki Ruins (super cool!).
- Take a look at the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
- View Sedona from above and watch the sunset from the Airport Mesa.
- Marvel at the Palatki Ruins (Palatki Heritage Site), just outside of Sedona in the Coconino National Forest.
And if you want to stay in Sedona for a bit longer and make it your base, check out these awesome day tours and excursions which go from the city.
Psst, if you want a more detailed itinerary, click here to read a full guide on how to spend one day in Sedona!
Where to Stay in Sedona:
- The A Sunset Chateau is a great place for a relaxing and above-average stay.
- The Bell Rock Inn By Diamond Resorts is highly-rated mid-range accommodation.
- And the Sedona Village Lodge is for those on a budget but who still want to stay at a nicely-rated place!
Psst, want to camp out under the stars? Check out this post on how to find free RV camping around the US!
Day 6-7: Grand Canyon National Park
No matter which route you take while traveling the west coast of America, you cannot — I repeat, you cannot! — miss out on the Grand Canyon!
Full of wonder and beauty, Grand Canyon National Park is a spectacular site in Northern Arizona which attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors each year. And when you first see it with your own eyes, it’s no wonder why.
Seriously, you may think you understand the enormity of it when you view the Grand Canyon in pictures, but they don’t do it justice! Its vast valley, mile deep ridges, and huge walls filled with the colors of red, orange, purple, and yellow is unbelievable.
Things to do in the Grand Canyon:
- 45 minutes helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon from Tuyasan, AZ (the town right next to the Grand Canyon National Park).
- Drive to one of the many viewpoints throughout the park.
- Go on a Grand Canyon East Rim jeep tour.
- Check out the Grand Canyon Village (surprisingly, a LOT of vegan options in the grocery store!).
- Grand Canyon Hermit Road Bicycle Tour.
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Where to stay near or within Grand Canyon National Park:
Dan and I camped in one of the many National Park’s campgrounds — which I highly recommend! — but if you aren’t planning to camp, many accommodations are available.
- For those on a budget: Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel
- Mid-range hotel, yet high ratings: The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon
- Great location, good ratings: Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn
Day 8-10: Las Vegas, Nevada
The drive from the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim entrance to Las Vegas, Nevada takes about 4-5 hours, depending on how many stops you make to take photos of the surroundings!
When you get to Las Vegas and check-in to your accommodations, get your butt out onto the strip and people watch! Depending on how much time you have, you can spend 2-3 nights in Las Vegas. Dan and I didn’t drink while exploring Las Vegas but we had such a fun time just walking the strip, seeing what different places had to offer, and watching all the craziness!
Things to do in Las Vegas:
- Walk the strip and people watch.
- Admire the water fountain show at the Bellagio.
- View Las Vegas from above at the Stratosphere.
- Win (or lose) some money at the slot machines.
- Go on a night flight to view Las Vegas from above and have an incredible dinner for two.
- See one of the many, many entertaining shows.
- Go crazy at the Adventuredome Theme Park.
- Check out the Mob Museum.
- Go on a Las Vegas brewery tour!
- See some (fake) celebrities at Madame Tussauds!
Where to stay in Las Vegas:
As you can imagine, there are numerous places to stay in Las Vegas! You can spend your top dollar at one of the many high-class hotels right on the strip or go for a budget accommodation somewhere on the outskirts.
Here are my recommendations:
- If you want to go upscale and splurge, the Bellagio is the place to do it. With its beautiful interior, amazing fountain show, and excellent reviews, there’s no other hotel like it in LV.
- A more affordable, yet just as great option is The Carriage House.
- Into more of a condo style hotel? Try the Jet Luxury at The Vdara.
- At just $60 per night, The LINQ Hotel and Casino is a super affordable option with pretty good reviews.
Day 11-13: Death Valley National Park, California
Okay, okay, this might have been my most favorite part on Dan and I’s west coast road trip! Death Valley National Park looks and feels like another freakin’ planet and it’s the coolest thing ever. As the biggest national park in the continental US, Death Valley has a lot to offer.
No doubt, the best to see it all (or at least see part of it), is to rent a car and simply drive around. You’ll be blown away by the red rock, vast views, endless landscapes, and Mars-looking mountains.
Although, if you want to do a tour around Death Valley, there are a few that go from Las Vegas!
Things to do in Death Valley National Park:
- Visit Zabriskie Point.
- Check out the Artists Palette.
- Lookout at the landscape at Dante’s View.
- Visit the wondrous Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
- Explore the Mosaic Canyon.
- If you prefer to do tours, this Death Valley Day Trip tour goes from Las Vegas and is a full-day adventure filled with excitement.
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Where to stay in Death Valley National Park:
Unfortunately, there’s not many place to stay within Death Valley National Park, but there’s a few nice places on the outskirts. If possible, I highly recommend camping in the National Park. You can find a few great free campsites from this website.
- A nice hotel in the middle of Death Valley and Sequoia National Park: Panamint Springs Hotel.
- The Amargosa Opera House & Hotel is located in Death Valley Junction, near the California/Nevada border.
- The Longstreet Inn & Casino is the nicest out of the three, but it’s actually in Nevada, near the border. If you decide to leave Las Vegas early, this is a nice spot in between LV and Death Valley National Park.
Day 14-16: Sequoia National Park, California
Ready to see some giants? Giant trees, that is. Sequoia National Park is one of the most popular national parks in California and after visiting, it’s easy to see why. The Giant Sequoia and Redwoods, gorgeous views, breathtaking mountains, and incredible hikes are all worthy of the hype!
Things to do in Sequoia National Park:
- Visit the General Sherman Tree.
- Explore Grant Grove.
- Stroll the General Grant Tree Trail.
- Drive the Crescent Meadow Loop.
- Simply drive through this spectacular national park and take in the beautiful scenery!
Where to stay in Sequoia National Park:
Similar to other national parks on the list, there’s no real places to stay within Sequoia National Park unless you decide to camp. The best places to find accommodations near Sequoia NP is in Three Rivers, Badger, or Pinehurst.
- Stony Creek Lodge is the only accommodation actually within Sequoia National Park. It has a fantastic location (obvi) and good reviews.
- The Rio Sierra Riverhouse has raving reviews and is a mid-range hotel.
- The Sierra Lodge Three Rivers is a budget accommodations with good reviews.
- In Badger, The Hummingbird House has incredible reviews and is a mid-range hotel with lots to offer.
Tip: If you’re visiting Sequoia National Park in the summer or in its busy season, make sure to book well in advance. Accommodations book up quickly and you don’t want to miss out on this place!
Day 17-20: Yosemite National Park, California
Even if you’re not from the United States, you might have heard of a magical not-so-little national park in America: Yosemite National Park.
One of my favorite stops on this West Coast America trip, Yosemite boasts breathtaking views, incredible mountains, lush forests, awesome hiking, magical wildlife, and overall an unbelievable atmosphere.
Things to do in Yosemite National Park:
- Go hiking! One of the best things to do here, no doubt. You’ll find hundreds of trails; some are hard, some are easy but you’ll easily find one you’ll love!
- Visit one of the many waterfalls. Some of the best include Bridalveil Falls, Vernal Fall, Yosemite Falls, and Chilnualna Falls.
- Just sit back and enjoy the views! Yosemite National Park is incredible so don’t miss out on just taking everything in.
- Go on a hiking adventure with a knowledgable guide! Cross the Half Dome, El Capitan, and Glacier Point off your bucket list with this Yosemite Hiking Excursion.
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Where to stay in Yosemite National Park:
Yosemite National Park is one of the best national parks where you can actually stay within the national park itself. While camping here is also great, the accommodations are in abundance — and all are relatively wonderful.
- The Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite has excellent reviews and is in the heart of the national park.
- Yosemite View Lodge is one of the nearest accommodations near Yosemite Village and has some raving reviews. It’s also relatively affordable!
- Located on the outskirts of Yosemite National Park, the Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort is the budget accommodation on this list. At under $100 a night, it’s definitely affordable. Although, it’s not located in Yosemite itself.
Day 21-22: Sacramento, California
Even though Sacramento is the state capital of California, it’s not very big! And totally doable in one day. Additionally, this city is totally optional. Dan and I didn’t spend much time here, only going to the California Automobile Museum because Dan is totes into cool cars.
So, if you need a little stop between Yosemite National Park and driving to the coast (because yes, the coast is next up on the list), Sacramento is a great place to have it.
No doubt, this west coast road trip itinerary is packed full of things to do and awesome adventures, so if you need a little chill day, have it here.
Things to do in Sacramento, California:
- Like old and new cars? Check out the California Automobile Museum.
- Visit the California State Railroad Museum.
- Take a stroll through Old Sacramento.
- Marvel at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
- Admire the California State Capitol Museum.
- Walk through one of the many city parks (William Land Park is particularly nice).
- Wander about the Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park.
Where to stay in Sacramento, California:
- Love staying in hostels? You’ll like the HI Sacramento Hostel! Affordable AND awesome reviews.
- The Inn at Parkside is in an excellent location and has wonderful reviews at a great price.
- One of the higher-range hotels on the list, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Sacramento Riverfront Promenade is beautiful, has fantastic reviews, and is in the perfect location.
Day 23-27: California/Oregon Coast
One of my favorite destinations/regions on this west coast itinerary. The California and Oregon Coast is filled with endless ocean views, heart-stopping cliffs, beautiful wildlife, captivating scenery, and incredible adventures!
Even though Dan and I had to rush through the California and Oregon Coast, as we were running out of time, this particular road trip itinerary for the American West Coast focuses on spending 4 days meandering through the region.
Because, as one of the most beautiful parts of this itinerary, you need to spend time relaxing and admiring, rather than rushing!
Sample Itinerary for the California and Oregon Coast:
- Pull up Google Maps and find a route from Sacramento to Fort Bragg. (This will take about 4 hours, depending on how much you stop.)
- Fort Bragg has a beautiful glass sand that’s wonderful to explore. If you’d like, you can stay in Fort Bragg. There’s a good amount of affordable, nice hotels.
- Next, you’ll head up to the Humbolt Redwoods State Park from Fort Bragg.
- P.S. Make sure to venture off the 101 and go onto the Avenue of the Giants. A gorgeous drive through the massive redwoods! Stop off at one of the pull-offs and just walk around to feel the magic of this state park for yourself.
- (This will take about 2 hours to arrive at the Avenue of the Giants from Fort Bragg.)
- After the state park, you’ll hop back on the 101 towards Crescent City, which is near the California/Oregon border.
- Throughout this drive, there will be a number of pull-offs to stop at. The beaches are beautiful to walk amongst and the cliffside viewing areas are especially breathtaking.
- Lastly, you’ll want to make your way towards Lincoln City, OR, to stay on the 101. After Lincoln City, you’ll make your way inland towards Portland.
Where to stay along the California and Oregon Coast:
- In Fort Bragg, the Ocean View Lodge has awesome reviews and is in a great location.
- Crescent City is another nice stop along the California Coast. There are a number of fantastic hotels to suite your preference. The Lighthouse Inn has good reviews and breakfast is included!
- Go a little further than Crescent Bay and you’ll come to Newport, OR. A nice little coastal town with lots of hotels. The Landing at Newport Condominium Hotel is in an incredible location and is a guest favorite!
P.S. Want to see more photos of the Oregon Coast? Check out this post on 25 photos to inspire you to visit the breathtaking Oregon Coast!
Day 28-29: Portland, Oregon
Another one of my favorite cities in the United States, Portland is full of fantastic things to do and is a must-see stop on this US west coast itinerary.
And even better?
It’s chock full of incredible vegan eateries, restaurants, cafes, and shops. As a vegan food fanatic, I love it! In fact, this city kind of reminds of Berlin, Germany; it’s hip, trendy, totally vegan-friendly, and packed with cool things to do.
Things to do in Portland, Oregon:
- Wander through the most magical book store — Powell’s City of Books! One of my favorite things to do in Portland.
- Visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
- Walk through the Portland Saturday Market, the nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market.
- Take a stroll through the Pittock Mansion, a century-old symbol of Portland’s dramatic transformation from a small lumber town to a bustling city.
- Visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, one of the nation’s leading science museums.
- Grab a vegan donut at Voodoo Donuts (you won’t be disappointed!).
- Explore the International Rose Test Garden and take in all the gorgeous sights and smells of the place.
- Do a day trip to the Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls and MT Hood.
- Avid wine drinker? Check out this Willamette Valley Wine-Tasting Tour!
Where to stay in Portland, Oregon:
- Want to stay right in the heart of downtown Portland? The Hyatt House Portland/Downtown is perfect!
- At $85 a night, the HI – Portland Northwest Hostel is an affordable option with great reviews!
- The Oxford Suites Portland – Jantzen Beach is a mid-range option in a great location with awesome reviews.
Are you a Harry Potter fan like me? Take a look at this post on the best Harry Potter sites and attractions in Edinburgh, Scotland (the birthplace of HP!).
Day 30-31: Seattle, Washington
One of the more iconic destinations on this west coast itinerary, Seattle, Washington, is a cool city just begging to be explored. With its gum wall, Pike Place Market, Space Needle, and Museum of Pop Culture, it’s an incredible place to have an adventure.
Alas, I cannot tell lies… Dan and I didn’t actually visit Seattle. We bi-passed it completely to drive from Portland, OR, to Spokane, WA, to visit my sister. Although, it’s not logical to have you end in Spokane, am I right?
Thus, Seattle makes more sense, as it has a bigger airport if you’re planning to fly out.
Additionally, it has much, much more to do than Spokane. Overall, it just works out better as an ending point! Anyhow, without further rambling…
Things to do in Seattle, Washington:
- Take a ride up the Space Needle to see Seattle from above.
- Wander through the Pike Place Market.
- Stroll along the Seattle Waterfront and relax on some of the nice beaches (yes, they do exist in Seattle!).
- Explore Downtown Seattle and check out the restaurants, shops, eateries, theaters, and more.
- Take a photo in front of the infamous Seattle Gum Wall (just down the road from the Pike Place Market!).
- Venture down under and go on an Underground Tour!
- Relax in one of Seattle’s many parks.
- Get out on the water and admire Seattle from the sea on a boat tour.
- Head out to the field and go to a baseball game.
- Take a walk along one of the many trails surrounding the city.
Where to stay in Seattle:
- Looking to splurge on your last city? Check out the Paramount Hotel. Located in the heart of Downtown Seattle, it has raving reviews and excellent customer service.
- A more budget-friendly option is the Motif Seattle. At $197, it’s definitely one of the cheaper options throughout the city and has awesome reviews, as well as a great location.
- One of the most affordable accommodations throughout Seattle is the HI – Seattle at the American Hotel Hostel; great reviews, $99 per night, and in Downtown Seattle.
Can I just say one word… wowza.
What a monster of a blog post, amirite?!
Although, no doubt, this American West Coast road trip itinerary is packed with helpful information, an easy to follow route, and — of course — awesome experiences! If you want to discover what the best of the USA west coast has to offer, this itinerary delivers.
Have you visited the United States West Coast? Or have traveled around it? Additionally, let me know what you think of this itinerary in the comments!
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