West Coast Road Trip
Have you always dreamed of a west coast road trip through the United States? So had we! Route 101 is absolutely breathtaking and considered one of the best drives in the world. This phenomenal coastline will let you experience a variety of climate and scenery as you make your way through Washington, Oregon, and California. Keep reading for everything you need to know including accommodation, budget, food, and the best stops along the way.
For information on currency, vaccinations, best time to travel, budget tips, and more visit our page on Traveling America.
How To Get There
When choosing a start and finish point for your west coast road trip, there are honestly endless options. You can explore the whole Coast by starting at the Canadian boarder and making your way down to San Diego or vice versa. You could also decide to just do one state or a portion of one; all depending on how much time you have.
Recommended Travel Time
4-6 weeks is ideal if you plan to drive the entire coastline. It is possible to do it in 3 weeks, but prepare to move camp almost every night and spend an average of 4-5 hours in the car each day. Another option is renting a car or motor-home to drive one way and flying home to save some time.
Average Daily Budget
The average daily cost of your west coast road trip will vary greatly depending on your desired transportation, food, and accommodation.
$75-125 USD per person per day if you are camping, cooking 1-2 meals each day and using your own vehicle:
- Campsites: $15-$25 USD ($30-$50 USD split between 2 people)
- Gas: $15 USD ($30 USD split between 2 people)
- Food: $25-$35 USD
- Attractions & Entrance fees: $20-$50 USD
$180-300 USD per person per day if you are staying in hotels, eating out for all meals and renting a vehicle:
We camped most of the way, treating ourselves to a hotel every now and again. It decreased our budget substantially and the campsites along the coast are outstanding! If you plan to camp in July and August, I would recommend booking your sites at least 3-5 days in advance to ensure you get a spot (we actually booked the majority of ours a few months in advance). If you don`t plan on camping, Agoda is perfect for finding everything from hostels and B&B`s to 5 star hotels. You can search by map or by price and they typically have free cancellation.
Budget: $30-50 USD per night for two people. A tent campsite on or near the beach with outhouses and showers.
Mid range: $75-180 USD per night for 2 people. Bed & Breakfast, motel or a private room in an Airbnb.
Driving: We would highly recommend driving your own vehicle. It is by far the best method of transportation! You can stop when you want, detour when you want and you have your own space for your belongings.
- Driving your own car: Be sure that your car is in good condition before venturing out. If you have a small car like we did, getting a cargo space for the roof will free up some space. We put all of our camping gear in the cargo space and kept our belongings in the vehicle.
- Renting a car: Make sure to get unlimited mileage and look into your insurance beforehand. If you are under the age of 25 or over the age of 70 extra fees may apply. Some rental companies will let you pick up in one state and drop off somewhere else for an extra fee. This can be helpful if you are short on time and plan to drive one way and fly home.
The weather will vary greatly between states. California will be hot and sunny for the majority of the summer while Northern Washington will be cooler especially in the evenings. If you plan to camp on the coast in Washington and Oregon, bring a warm jacket and a toque. Even in July and August it will be cold throughout the night. For hiking and outdoor activities, dressing in layers will help prepare you for all weather conditions.
The Best Stops
There are literally hundreds of amazing places to stop along route 101. For a list of our favorites, check out our blog post: West Coast Road Trip Itinerary: Can`t Miss Stops Along Highway 101!