In general, the term “West Coast” is a nickname for the coastal states of the Western United States, comprising California, Oregon and Washington, and sometimes Alaska and Hawaii.
The Golden state of California is a perfect holiday destination with great shopping, fine wines and a superb coastline. In the south is San Diego with great beaches, a fascinating old town and wonderful attractions from Sea World to the San Diego Zoo. Los Angeles County is home to Hollywood, Beverly Hills and exciting beach areas. The Pacific Coast is perfect for exploring quaint towns like Solvang, Pismo Beach and Monterey. To the north lies the fascinating city of San Francisco, home to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The Napa Valley offers beautiful scenery and wine tasting. East of San Francisco is Yosemite National Park, perfect for hiking, cycling or simply taking in the stunning views. Surf in the Pacific one day, hike in Yosemite the next and ride a rollercoaster after that, California has something for everyone!
The three main gateways into California are Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
Disneyland and The California Adventure are in Anaheim, about an hours drive south of LA, and have over 60 attractions.
Universal Studios lets visitors can go behind the scenes to share in the magic of how television and movies are made.
Knotts Berry Farm is a fun day out with 165 wild rides, live show and attractions.
Six Flags Magic Mountain. This park features some of America’s most thrilling water rides and roller
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon measures 277 miles by 16 miles at its widest point and descends a vertical mile. Although many people do visit the Grand Canyon in a day trip, if at all possible its well worth staying overnight, to enjoy the spectacular views after the day trippers have gone and the changing colours of the rocks at sunrise and sunset add a extra element to the breath taking view. A scenic flight will take in many breathtaking sights and some of the oldest rock formations in the world. The Grand Canyon is one of the most stunning sights on the planet and no visit to the West Coast of America is complete without at least a short visit.
Hollywood draws countless people to its golden streets, some are seeking fame and fortune and some just want to be in the city famous for being famous. There is plenty to see in LA, the easiest way to get around is by car as most of the city isn’t designed for walking and public transport is fairly sparse.
Why not consider taking some day trips to get to the main sights.
A good area to visit is the beach suburb of Santa Monica. This well to do area is easy to enjoy on foot and, although the beach is often fairly quiet, there are plenty of shops and restaurants to visit.
Perhaps the most famous area of LA is Beverly Hills, home of the stars. If you want to purchase your designer label, check out Rodeo Drive.
Beach lovers and people watchers will enjoy a stroll along Venice Beach where the Ocean Front Walk is packed with buskers and the area attracts everyone from oiled up, muscle bound fitness fanatics and roller skaters to the Hare Krishna.
San Diego is tucked away at the bottom of California, close to the Mexican border. Its a peaceful, relaxed beach city with a warm climate all year round and a much gentler pace of life than LA or San Francisco. Surfers will love the beaches but there’s a lot to do here for everyone. The most famous attraction is Seaworld with whales, sharks and penguins on display and scheduled animal performances. The most famous resident is Shamu, the killer whale, who is an icon for the city. Another big attraction in the area is San Diego Zoo. With 3,000 animals in landscaped areas it is renowned for breeding endangered species and for its enlightened management policy. The zoo is in Balboa Park, a big green area which is also home to great sporting facilities and several of the city’s top museums, including the San Diego Museum of Art. There is also a ‘Spanish Village’ where visitors can watch craftspeople at work. The touristy Old Town was the original centre of San Diego. It has been lovingly restored. Another area with a historic feel is the Gaslamp Quarter. The restored buildings date back to the 1870s and it’s a pleasant area to explore on foot.
The steep streets of San Francisco, overlooking the beautiful bay, are familiar from hundreds of movies and TV shows and some of the most famous sites in the world are here. The Golden Gate Bridge rises proudly above the bay, the notorious Alcatraz prison is a short boat trip away and a great way to travel around the city is on the cable cars. Union Square is the city’s main tourist centre with upmarket shops and hotels and is a good base to explore the city from. Fisherman’s Wharf is another favorite spot for sea lions, shops and family fun. This is still a working wharf, visit Fish Alley in the early morning to see hundreds of tons of fish and seafood on sale. Other neighbourhoods worth exploring include the Castro District with excellent boutiques and cafes, centered on the Art Deco Castro Theatre. Haight-Ashbury was the focus of flower power in the 1960s and still retains a slightly hippy feel today with Victorian architecture, book shops and funky clothes shops. Ultimately, San Francisco has something for visitors of every age and interest and its impossible not to be charmed by this wonderful city.
How to get there
Many Airlines fly to all the large cities within America.
Internal flights within the state can also be arranged and these are often very well priced in conjunction with an international ticket.
California is a great state to explore by car. The three main gateways into California are Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. – Driving is a great way to combine a variety of experiences in California, from theme parks to cosmopolitan city life to the great outdoors and California also boasts one of the world’s great scenic drives along the Pacific Coast Highway which links LA and San Fransisco. I
Amtrak, the national rail system, operates up and down the California coast. In Los Angeles, trains arrive and depart from Union Station, an impressive art deco depot one block from El Pueblo in Downtown LA.
Greyhound bus lines serve LA from cities all over North America.
There are many annual festivals and events throughout the year in each city too many to mention, see individual cities for information.
Eating Dining Shopping
Visit the very large shopping malls for all the designer shops and hundreds of places to eat.
The West coast has been greatly influenced by Spanish settlers and subsequently by English settlers over the last four centuries.
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number Tel; 911
Airport Information (LAX airport) 310.646.5252
Train station:Amtrak office
Tourist Office 🙁 Los Angeles) Telephone: +1-213-689-8822
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line
24 hour medical service