10 days. 2,000+ miles.
** You can watch the speedy version of our trip in the YouTube video at the bottom of this post or at the link here! **
Our flight left the day after Mason finished his last final of the semester, and we moved to Austin for the summer the day after our return flight home. If we weren’t on such a time crunch, we would have stayed a few more days, maybe even another week, to take time to enjoy everything on our trip, but that’s just how our schedule worked out this time.
Several people asked me to share our itinerary, so I made sure to take notes for y’all! Some extra recommendations and tips are at the bottom of this post, so be sure not to miss them.
Day 1 | Vancouver, British Columbia
Arrived in Vancouver
Tandem bikes at Stanley Park – this was SO fun. We rented our bike from Spokes and rode around the Seawall.
The Airbnb we stayed at was in the suburbs, so we spent the afternoon resting and exploring that area.
Day 2 | Vancouver, British Columbia
Fishing at Trout Lake – it was incredibly calm out here, and actually started raining for a little bit, but stopped after few minutes.
Ate poutine at Belgian Fries – this is a MUST try!!!
We took the Amtrak train to Seattle instead of driving ourselves. They provided dinner and beautiful views along the way!
Day 3 | Seattle, Washington
Seattle was my favorite stop. We actually had beautiful weather while we were there, which everyone said was lucky. I definitely plan to go back!
Pike’s Place Market – they had the prettiest tulips and most delicious fruit. Imagine a giant farmers market, but better.
Space Needle – amazing views of the city, and the wait wasn’t terribly long.
Snoqualmie Falls – absolutely the most beautiful waterfall I’ve ever seen. It looked like a backdrop with a perfect rainbow coming out of it. The town of Snoqualmie was also super cute, so I’d love to come back here.
Dinner at Anthony’s Pier 66 – this was SO good, y’all. Get the crab cakes. We got to see Mount Rainier in the distance at sunset, which people said was rare that the sky was clear enough to see it, so that was cool.
Drinks at Hard Rock Cafe rooftop bar – I love me some Hard Rock, but their rooftop bar provided such a fun atmosphere.
Day 4 | Olympic Park, Washington
Hurricane Ridge – a stunning, picturesque view up in the mountains.
Lake Crescent – okay, this was my absolute favorite part of the trip. The water was so clear and sat perfectly between the mountains. There were cottages on the beach with canoes, and we will most definitely be coming back to stay here.
Marymere Falls – everything was so green and beautiful. It’s amazing that the mountains, lakes and rainforests are all just a small drive from each other.
We accidentally ran into Ruby Beach and the Big Cedar Tree, which apparently used to be completely standing up until a few years ago.
Day 5 | Portland, Oregon
Voodoo Doughnuts for breakfast!
Japanese Garden – this was beautiful! We also planned to go to the Rose Test Garden, but nothing had bloomed yet, so it was just full of bushes.
Even though we weren’t huge fans of Portland, 23rd Street was probably the place with the best vibe (that we went to, at least). It had a lot of similarities to Austin – they even had a “Keep Portland Weird” sign.
Ice cream at Salt & Straw – this place had the strangest flavors! Honey lavender and strawberry honey balsamic were two that we tried.
We finally reached the coast just north of Pacific City, although it was difficult to see through the fog. The wind made it pretty chilly, and we noticed that all the trees looked as if they were leaning away from the coast.
Highway 1 has tons of view points you can stop at, so we just kind of winged this part of the trip.
Thor’s Well – this was pretty cool! The tide was low, so we were able to walk right down to it.
Dinner at Harbor Light Restaurant in Reedsport, which was a small, delicious, mom & pop restaurant I highly recommend.
Stayed the night in Roseburg.
Day 6 | Napa, California
Throughout our drive to Napa, we were able to see where all the recent fires had burned trees up, it was crazy.
Frank Family Vineyards – it was very peaceful out here, and the only people in the tasting room with us was an older couple who was part of their wine club.
Lunch at Il Posto Trattoria – they make their own pasta every morning, which was delicious.
Alpha Omega Vineyard – these wines were definitely my favorite! We sat in front of their pond for the perfect setting in beautiful weather.
Dinner at Auberge du Soleil – this place was fancy shmancy and delicious with a stunning view.
Day 7 | Napa, California
Reynolds Family Winery – this was also pretty. Totally unrelated, but they had cowhide all over their lobby, so I was completely biased to love it.
Italics Winegrowers – okay, THIS was another one of the coolest parts of our trip. The winery was inside caves, and apparently Carrie Underwood was there right before we were, so obviously it’s pretty cool.
Walked around downtown Napa – it was super cute and not too crowded. We did some shopping and met a guy from Texas who owns a shop and started this secret cigar club that apparently Arnold Schwarzenegger’s a member of. Pretty neat.
Dinner at Cordeiro’s Steakhouse – this was EXCELLENT. Our waiter just kept on coming with complementary fondue dip, “after dinner drinks” aka shots, and bourbon chocolate.
Day 8 | San Francisco, California
Muir Woods – be sure to make reservations in advance! The trees are thousands of years old, and you can see where fires have burned some of them. It was pretty amazing to see the history behind them.
Alcatraz island – buy tickets in advance for this, too! It was very intriguing. The free audio tour included a story narrative from ex-officers and inmates.
Walked around Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39. It truly felt like a fun summer here.
Dinner at Fog Harbor Fish House – wow, amazing seafood. You probably can’t go wrong with any of these restaurants.
Pink Ladies & Full House houses – these were must-have photo ops.
Drove down Lombard Street, aka the curviest street in the world. Seriously, look it up on google maps.
Went to one of the Golden Gate Vista Points at sunset, which was BEAUTIFUL and very windy, so bring a jacket!
Stayed the night in Santa Cruz.
Day 9 | California Coast
We didn’t do anything in Santa Cruz, but pretty much stopped at any of the viewpoints or beaches we saw along the coast.
Carmel River State Beach was beautiful.
Big Sur has the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.
Pebble Beach – we actually completely missed it and had to drive back to Monterey for a detour anyways because Highway 101 was closed. We drove along 17 mile drive and saw the beauuutiful golf course.
Grabbed some treats at Olsen’s Danish Village Bakery and walked around Solvang, which was the cutest little Danish town.
Knapp’s Castle – the castle remains were really neat, and after looking up some history, we found out it’s 100 years old and burned down in a fire. If anyone remembers Aslan’s Castle in Narnia, that’s what this reminded me of.
Dinner at FisHouse – this was delicious. The lobster mac & cheese sold me.
Day 10 | Santa Barbara & Los Angeles, California
Ate at Boathouse at Henry’s Beach for breakfast – definitely recommend this.
Mission Church – this was the 10th Mission Church built one-day-horseback-ride apart along the entire coast from Oregon to San Diego. This is also the only one that continues to operate out of all 21.
Drove to Los Angeles
We didn’t care to spend time in downtown L.A. (Beverly Hills, Hollywood, etc., because I did this trip in high school, and it’s 100% not mason’s vibe), so if you’re looking for information on the city, you may need to find your info elsewhere!
Ate lunch at Malibu Farm on Malibu Pier – the menu was a little strange, but the food was delicious. Malibu was pretty quiet and had beautiful beaches. I’d love to come back here!
Santa Monica Pier – this was the opposite of Malibu. It was loud and touristy, but a lot of fun. We walked along the pier and beach, then drove to an AMC Theater to watch The Avengers (loved it, they’re my favorite) to end our trip on a relaxing note.
Ate at the Red O for dinner, which was very good. We were finally reunited with some great Mexican food.
Our flight back to Texas left early the next morning, so this was where we ended our trip!
The following list includes recommendations that people gave us and things that we found out about but didn’t get the chance to do. I just thought I’d share them with y’all.
VanDusen Botanical Gardens
Ferry to Whidbey Island
Olympic State Park –
Hoh Rain Forest
Cannon Beach & Haystack Rock
Latourell & Multnomah Falls
Silver Falls State Park
Napa Valley –
Bethel Church in Redding
California Coast –
Cypress Tree Tunnel
Seaplane Tour in San Francisco
Old Spanish Days Fiesta in Santa Barbara
- Don’t have a set plan. Prioritize the things you most want to do and leave wiggle room in your schedule, because road trip plans are bound to change, which leads me to my next tip…
- Don’t book hotels prior to your trip. You may end up loving (or hating) a place, and it could throw off your plan.
- Get a comfy car!!! You’re spending so many hours on the road, so make sure to get a car you’ll be comfortable in.
I hope this helps y’all plan out your own West Coast trip! If you read along just to live through our adventures, enjoy the video we made:
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