No American is complete without a cross country road trip under their belt. And perhaps one of the funnest perks of U.S. travel is the ease of state-to-state exploration. Grab yourself a car, some junk food snacks, and a few friends and you’re on your way! In terms of road-trips, there are few more beautiful and exciting than the West Coast. Before you get too ambitious and pack your bags and your car up, let me spill a few secret locations to make your road trip even more memorable:
9 Secret Locations along the West Coast
Whether you are starting from Cali and moving north, or the opposite, there are a few places you cannot miss. Pick a highway, be it I-5 or its parallel SR99 along the Southern California Coast, and enjoy a few of these lovely areas:
La Jolla Seals (San Diego)
These adorable (albeit stinky and sassy) creatures are sure to provide only the best of free entertainment.
L.A. Prohibition Tunnels
A *technically illegal* hidden passageway via elevator leads down to the old “Prohibition Tunnels” where Americans as ballsy as yourself once quietly smuggled homemade alcohol and imbibed beneath the city
Old L.A. Zoo
While the cages are now empty, the Old Los Angeles Zoo is full of personality. Take a quick walk around the ruins of a generation ago
California: Sea Glass Beach (Redding/Northern Cal.)
In order to reach a beach made almost entirely of sea glass, you will need to detour from the main highway and take part of your road trip up Highway 1, the scenic Pacific Highway that stretches the entire coast.
Sloth Sanctuary (Rainier, OR)
This highly specialized animal sanctuary will leave you with a deeper appreciation for life’s slower moments. Take a quick pit-stop up near Portland for a short visit. Please read their website first. Because they are fully dedicated to their animals, they are quite different from a “Sloth Zoo”. This is totally something you would expect to find in Oregon!
Witches Castle (Portland, OR)
Have you ever heard of the Salem Witch trials? If you have the desire to experience a unique piece of history (without getting burned at the stake), take a short trip out to the Witches Castle and explore the creepier side of OR.
Here’s the address:
Lower Macleay Trail, Portland, OR 97210
Ape Caves (Mt. Saint Helens, WA)
Ginko Petrified forest (Vantage, WA)
A short drive east as you enter the Washington state border will lead you to Vantage, where you can experience one of the largest petrified forests in the nation. There are drawings on some of the “stones” from early indigenous peoples.
Ballard Locks Fish Ladder (Seattle, WA)
The only locks I have ever seen with a viewing unit for the fish ladder. Here you can see 4 different types of salmon as they return to spawn. There are also a plethora of seals and otters nearby, feasting and sunbathing. You can paddleboard out to the locks or kayak around the area and explore the Puget Sound. Check out the Ballard Surf Shop for rental gear.