Planning a West Coast Family Trip


Experience the scenic beauty and nearby cities of the pacific shore this summer with a family trip down America’s West Coast. This journey will have you passing through Washington, Oregon and California as you come across endless activities everyone will enjoy, from wine tasting for parents to national and amusement parks for the kids to explore. Here are some things to consider while planning your family’s adventure alongside the Pacific Ocean.

How to Go

Many opt for a car rental to travel the West Coast, which is helpful since many car rental agencies will let you pick up your car in one place at the start of your trip and return it wherever you finish. Make sure to bring along lots of snacks and games to keep the kids entertained, but this should be pretty easy with the beautiful scenery that makes up the coast.

Unfortunately, the west coast is showing some very high gas prices this summer. Some ways to minimize the burden of this cost are:

  • Pick a vehicle with good fuel economy.
  • Plan your route and stick to it.
  • Don’t speed your way down the coast; slow down and enjoy the sights!

If money is no problem, renting an RV can also be a great way to stay in nature and avoid extra accommodation costs. If you choose to go this route, expect to pay $100-$300 a day on the vehicle.

Plan Your Route

Thankfully you are not the first person to think of doing a family trip down the west coast, which means those who have come before you have lots of advice and knowledge to share when planning a route! Travel forums like those on Trip Advisor offer great insights and suggestions from people who have already done the trip. Choose your destinations first and plan your route around them, taking into account that you may want to spend a few days in each city or park to truly experience it.

Check out popular road-tripping roots too that will take you through many of the sights. For instance, the Pacific Coast Highway in California that will take you through beautiful cities like San Francisco and Santa Barbara as well as parks like Muir Woods.


Along the drive, you will pass by many national and state parks, which is great news if you are into camping and want to avoid expensive hotel costs. If you want to hit up as many parks as possible, we suggest checking out the America the Beautiful pass instead of paying entrance at each site. Some favourites that show up along the coast are:

  • Yosemite National Park, California
  • Redwood National Park, California
  • Olympic National Park, Washington
  • Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  • Crater Lake National Park, Oregon


West coast cities are truly something to be experienced. Each has its own distinct culture, museums and attractions that are worth checking out on your trip. The top cities to visit are:

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Seattle, Washington
  • San Diego, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • San Francisco, California