A travel guide with everything to see on the US West Coast in 15 days of travel ( a month at most). A drive through places as spectacular as the Grand Canyon of Colorado or this wonder seen in the photo, in Yellowstone, one of the treasures that I was able to visit on the west coast of the United States.
Note 1: this article is completed with the guide with everything to see in the United States.
Note 2: how to enter the United States is a bit intricate, in this article I explain all the requirements to travel to the United States: visa, ESTA, vaccination certificate…
What to see on the West Coast of the USA in 15 days : basic route
I’m going to start by putting a Google map of the West Coast for you to take references. As you will see in it, the distances are quite large, so a trip to the West Coast of the US in 15 days is the minimum (minimum) recommended to get the most out of the expedition.
What are you going to find in this post? Images and words. That is what works best when I decide to go to a new place and that is what you will find in this article.
I am going to describe the most important things to see on the West Coast of the USA in 15 days as follows: I have traced a route from the northernmost area I visited, Yellowstone (1) to Los Angeles (13), to the south. It is a long journey. Very long. I spent 25 days in the car and driving a lot.
I also leave you a table with the days that I consider necessary in each place to be able to take advantage of it minimally (later we will have to decide where to cut based on the number of total days we have):
USA west coast trip: route and tips
Every trip along the west coast of the United States is a route of great beastialities , both natural (with the National Parks) and urban (with its three main cities: Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, these two in the incredible State of California ).
I am going to talk about the different points to see on the west coast of the US in 15 days (and even a month). There are different ways to trace the route, depending on the number of days, the options are as follows:
- Circular route starting and ending in the same city (the usual ones are Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas). This has pros and cons:
- the flights are cheaper;
- you can split the visit to the city of arrival;
- You can take advice from other travelers you meet who have been in that city to visit places that you may have missed at the beginning of the trip.
- Car rental can be cheaper (I explain it in «non-circular route».
- Forces to make a circular route (which means that some places cannot be reached, especially if you travel for a short time).
- Non-circular route, starting in one city and ending in another.
- It allows you to visit much more places on the route and more flexibility within them (trekking routes etc).
- Cons :
- The car rental may be more expensive (some companies charge an extra if it is picked up in one State and returned in a different one).
Next I am going to establish a table with the different places to see on the route along the West Coast of the USA, with the days necessary for each one.
Travel along the US West Coast, what to see on the route and necessary
This is the table with the days that I consider necessary in each place to be able to make the most of the trip along the west coast (later we will have to decide where to cut based on the number of total days we have):
|3-4 days||The Angels|
|Day of passage|
(possibility of spending the night
on the route)
|California Route State 1|
|3-4 days||San Francisco|
|3-5 days||Yosemite and Mariposa Grove|
|day of passage||Death Valley|
|1-2 days||Las Vegas|
|2 days||Zion Canyon|
|2 days||Bryce Canyon|
|1 day||Page, Horseshoe bend y Antelope Canyon|
|1 day||Monument Valley|
|1-2 days||Grand Canyon of the Colorado|
|day of passage||stretch of route 66|
|1-2 days||Teton Park|
(This table, by the way, you have in this other more extensive article on the route along the West Coast ).
What to see on the West Coast of the USA in 15 days of travel:
1. Yellowstone Park
Yellowstone is one of the most BEAST things you’ll find in America. It is not a very common place on a trip along the west coast of the USA, but I have decided to include it because it is what impressed me the most during my route.
Due to its location, to the north and almost in the midwest, reaching it implies deviating from the usual route (which on the map is between points 3, Bryce Canyon and 13, Los Angeles).
It is one of the largest dormant volcanoes on the planet and its caldera extends over an area of 55 x 72 km².
To find out how to get to Yellowstone, click here . And if you ask me if it’s worth the detour… I’ll tell you that it was the most brutal thing I saw on my visit to the West Coast. To find out what there is to see in Yellowstone, click here .
2. Teton Park
Teton National Park is dwarfed by its neighbor Yellowstone. But this «small» space of natural park south of the megavolcano has as kings the peaks of more than 4000 meters of the Grand Teton mountain range . If you drive to Yellowstone, opting for Route 89, which allows you to enter through the south gate, you will pass through Teton Park, in which I recommend spending at least one night.
3. Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon is a magical place in the middle of the state of Utah.
It is a rock formation of red, orange and white rock , with characteristic stone formations that are called «fairy chimneys». Located in the amazing Utah, it is one of the most popular parks in the United States and has some of the purest air in the entire country, being able to see up to 140 kilometers from its highest point on the clearest days. The reddish color of its rocks is simply captivating. One of the essential places to see on the West Coast of the USA.
The ideal towns to establish a base for a visit to Bryce Canyon are Panguitch or Hatch (on Route 89, which is circulated to follow the classic route of the West Coast, Page road and the Antelope canyon). There are also lodges within Bryce Canyon National Park itself, but they fill up easily in high season.
To know more, you can read it in this article on how to visit Bryce Canyon in one day
4. Zion canyon
Zion Natural Park is one of the least known to foreigners who come to the United States, but one that offers the most spectacular experiences .
This is a canyon of considerable dimensions with wide and open areas, with its reddish and orange rock and areas of high and narrow precipices where you have to walk directly through the water .
Here I leave you the adventure that Noe and Rafa from Un Millon de Elefantes experienced when they were trekking the Virgin Narrows and a “flash flood”, an instantaneous flooding of the canyon by a storm, surprised them. scares.
5. Monument Valley
Monument Valley is possibly the icon of the West Coast along with the Grand Canyon of the Colorado . These whimsical rock formations in the middle of the Arizona desert have been immortalized numerous times in American Western movies and are located on the Utah-Arizona border, within the Navajo State .
6. Antelope Canyon y Horseshoe Bend
The closest city and the reference point to visit Antelope Canyon and Horshoe Bend is Page , Arizona, following the classic West Coast route, either coming from the west, from the Grand Canyon, or from the north, from Bryce Canyon.
– Antelope Canyon
Like Monument Valley, the Antelope Canyon or Antelope Canyon belongs to the Navajo State. This is a slot canyon, whose characteristics are narrow corridors (sometimes very narrow) and quite deep . It is one of the most magical images that can be seen on the west coast of the United States, especially when the sun shines perpendicularly and shines through the canyon . To visit it, you can hire a guided tour of the Antelope .
– Horseshoe bend
The horseshoe bend is a little «gift» that the Colorado River gives us. This « horseshoe bend» is a meander that you have surely seen in a few photos, an almost impossible turn that the river makes at the height of the town of Page , giving rise to a spectacular image.
7. Grand Canyon (one of the essential things to see on the West Coast of the USA)
The Grand Canyon is the main protagonist of what to see on the US West Coast in 15 days . This huge gap, up to 1,470 meters deep and 29 kilometers wide, is one of the great natural wonders of the Earth .
The Grand Canyon, eroded over millions of years by the waters of the Colorado River , is so huge that visitors cannot conceive it with their eyes alone. In it you can do different trekkings descending to the edge of the canyon, as well as the spectacular helicopter visit (which I highly recommend).
To complete the information on how to visit the Grand Canyon, what to do and its different areas (apart from the National Park) I have also created these articles:
- Here I tell you a few tips to visit the Grand Canyon in one day.
- Here all the activities and what to see and do in the Grand Canyon National Park during your visit.
- And in this I talk about all the areas that make up the Grand Canyon of Colorado (Indian reservations and Grand Canyon West)
I have to be honest: I don’t love Las Vegas , but it is a place that should be in a travel guide for the West Coast of the United States . Live the experience of this aberrant city of waste and blinding lights in the middle of the Nevada desert , where each of the hotels that make up the most touristic area compete to be the most enormous and trickster.
There are the Bellaggio, the Flamingo, the Venice… And they can be found from the Statue of Liberty to the small canals of Venice, passing through Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge. Besides, it is the ideal stopping place between the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park.
Note: For those who want to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, these two articles may be useful:
- How to get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon tours and excursions from Las Vegas
9. Death Valley
The valley of death or Death Valley is one of the hottest places on the planet. With a desert landscape, arid, whitish and grayish, it seems that it does not contain many attractions for the visitor who crosses it to go to the Tioga Pass and access Yosemite Park.
But this is America: contrasts, places where survival is pushed to the limit . Observing how the car’s temperature gauge rises degree by degree every minute is something that few places can experience.
10. Yosemite and Mariposa Grove
Yosemite National Park is another of the wonders to see on a route along the West Coast of the USA .
Especially known by climbers and mountaineers, this glacial valley surrounded by an immense forest is simply a pleasure for the eyes.
Waterfalls of nearly 1000 meters, semi-domed rock formations that leave you spellbound, ancient forest routes , green meadows that invite you to lie down and lose track of time enjoying nature.
Here you can see all the information about what to see in Yosemite, how to get there and other necessary things (or, for those who want to go from San Francisco with a guided tour , you can take a look at this activity ).
– Butterfly Grove
This is one of the most spectacular things to feel up close and see on the US West Coast.
Mariposa Grove is a forest of Giant Sequoias near Yosemite. In it you can find trees of such a size that they even have a tunnel built inside them (which I am not very happy about on the other hand).
11. San Francisco
The city of luminous decadence. San Francisco is one of those cities that you have seen and imagined so many times in books and movies that when you are there everything seems familiar . For me it is one of the essential «must» that the traveler has to see on the West Coast of the United States.
A city of great contrasts, with a Chinatown second only to that of New York in size and population; Castro, a core neighborhood of the gay movement and social activism for decades; the infamous Alcatraz prison ; the eternal trams ; the small bookstores of the Italian quarter… This city contains so much and so interesting life that… you need to return to it to enjoy it. Undoubtedly, an essential in any trip along the west coast of the USA (which, in addition, can be seen from the air with a seaplane activity 🛩)
12. California Route 1 (Big Sur)
One of the most spectacular highways in the world , Route 1 that borders the entire West Coast, connecting San Francisco with Los Angeles , is another of the mythical highways of the United States along with Route 66. This Pacific highway is a constant surprise and a danger for those behind the wheel, because the incredible landscapes magnetize your sight making you take it off the road. Halfway along the route, near Piedras Blancas, you can find a colony of Sea Lions quietly stationed on the sand.
13. Los Angeles
I finish the route in another of the great cities of the United States. Compared to San Francisco, this city, despite its mammoth size, has fewer attractive things to see than its neighbor .
Even so, Los Angeles has a special claim for being the mecca of cinema in the United States and you can not miss visiting Hollywood with its famous stars on the ground . You also have to leave some time for a guided tour of the Warner film studios or Universal Studios (the links lead to the purchase of tickets) or stroll along one of its beaches such as Santa Monica, immortalized by David Hasselehoff in the Baywatch . For basketball and NBA lovers, a visit to the Lakers’ Staples Center to take a photo with Magic Jhonson or Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
How to get around the West Coast route in 15 days
My most usual way of traveling is usually by public transport or hitchhiking. But on the West Coast what I strongly recommend is to have your own vehicle , for several reasons:
- Because public transportation doesn’t go everywhere and the United States is huge.
- For the feeling of freedom and creating your own road movie .
- Because it allows you to stop at many points to shoot photos that you couldn’t otherwise.
Where to rent a car to travel to the West Coast?
One of the rental websites I work with (because it is the one that gives me the most options in the search) is Rentalcars. You can take a look at the prices by clicking here below.
In short, there are many things to see on the West Coast of the USA on a 15-day trip , both in terms of nature and civilization, and throughout the tour you will be able to understand things about the way of being of the Americans, such as their lack of knowledge of geography more beyond your own country…
Where to sleep on a trip to the West Coast
Depending on the West Coast route chosen, accommodations will vary. Below I will put the links to the states that are visited during the route:
Accommodations in California
Arizona’s hotels and accommodation
Accommodations in Utah
Accommodations in Nevada
Discountin your travel insurance for USA:
I have been traveling with insurance for a long time, but for places like the United States it becomes a ESSENTIAL . Not because it is dangerous, but because any health care , no matter how small , costs a lot (a sprain, gastroenteritis…).
Besides, due to Covid-19 , many countries are requesting compulsory travel insurance to enter the country (USA one of them).
Therefore, I tell you that, through my blog you can have the following discount with the Mondo company 👇
Characteristics and coverage of Mondo insurance
- Coverage : from 500,000 euros (up to 5,000,000 in Premium coverage).
- Covid coverage , which includes:
- Medical expenses, health transfer and repatriation due to Covid-19 disease .
- Travel PCR test : expenses derived from the test if it has been prescribed by a doctor.
- Expenses derived from extension of stay due to medical quarantine .
- Discount previous PCR test .
- Travel assistance app , which has:
- 24h medical chat
- Free assistance call through the App.
- Management of incidents.
In addition, Mondo has the option of adding cancellation insurance , which seems essential to me today due to the instability that exists due to Covid (in recent months I have had to cancel up to 6 trips…)