15-day car route through essential West Coast sites


Route by car on the West Coast of the United States

If it's the first time you're going to travel to the west coast of the United States, depending on the time you have, you should focus on doing the essential visits.

For this, it is advisable to plan a route that combines the three major cities (San Francisco, The Angels and Las Vegas) with the most beautiful villages and natural environments.

On this occasion I will propose a 15-day west coast route for the essential sites that you should include in your trip, starting from San Francisco, going by Yosemite and The Angels, and ending well in Las Vegas or in Phoenix, south of Arizona.

Motels in the United States

All information in detail

  • Tips for traveling to the West Coast
  • West Coast Car Route
  • Map route by car along the West Coast

Tips for traveling to the West Coast

As a prelude to the route information, it is advisable to contemplate the flight choice and how are you going to stay in West Coast hotels and motels.

You must also ensure that you travel with a good travel insurance, taking into account the very high coverage that you will need to travel to the United States with peace of mind.

On the proposed route, since the arrival city of your flight to the west coast of the departure city is different, at the time of book flights Perhaps it is best to book a trip from Spain to New York, or some other city in the eastern United States.

Later,to get to the west coast, you can search for offers in american companies low cost for the one-way flight to San Francisco and the return from Las Vegas or Phoenix.

Trams in San Francisco for tourists

This combination may not be more expensive than if you book a round trip directly from Spain to, for example, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

As for the accommodation, it is recommended search and book hotels in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as in the most uninhabited areas of the interior, such as the Grand Canyon and the Monument Valley.

Instead, my advice is to leave the rest of the days open to be able to have some flexibility during the route for possible incidents or changes in it.

West Coast Car Route

Day 1- Arrival in San Francisco

The day of arrival in San Francisco after your flight to the west coast you will surely need it to recover from the jet lag, more if you have not rested on any scale in the United States after starting the trip in Spain.

San Francisco Golden Gate Suspension Bridge

Days 2 and 3 - Visits in San Francisco

In the first two days you will have the opportunity to do all the Essential visits in San Francisco, including a possible boat trip around the bay, with a visit to the Alcatraz island and the town of Sausalito.

Day 4 - From San Francisco to Yosemite National Park

Without having to hit a big early bird, you can reach the Yosemite National Park at noon, it is 300 kilometers, three and a half hours away.

In this national park you can visit the Yosemite Valley, whose corner icon is the great promontory of Captain and it will give you time to climb to Glacier point, an ideal place to watch the sunset.

Yosemite National Park in California


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Day 5 - From Yosemite to Monterey

The next day, at the exit to Fresno, you will visitGrove butterfly, place where you can see spectacular giant sequoia trees.

And leaving for the south, you go to the coast (three and a half hours) until the Monterey Bay, with its typical jetty,

In this natural environment you can also see places likeCarmel by the Sea, beautiful town with bohemian atmosphere.

(If you are interested in doing in Monterey the boat tour to see whales, it will take you half a day, with the subsequent readjustment on the route)

Day 6 - From Monterey to San Luis Obispo

From Monterey, you will go down the cliffs of Big sur (winding sections of 150 kilometers) to reach San Simeon, where I tell you that it is really worth seeing the Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle in California

It is a very curious corner not known enough by tourists who travel from Spain to the United States, which has become a kind of theme park.

After this visit you will get to sleep at San Luis Bishop or its surroundings.

Day 7 - From San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles

From San Luis Obispo you will have time to make a quickvisit of Saint Barbara before arriving in the afternoon to The Angels.

It is an old colonial city also well known for its huge beach.

Courthouse in Santa Barbara in California

Days 8 and 9 - Los Angeles

These two days in The Angels you will dedicate them, on the one hand, to visit the most prominent areas of the city, especially Hollywood, Beverly hills, Santa Monica, and the old Los Angeles Town, in the middle downtown.

And on the other hand, to enjoy a theme park, such as Universal Studios (highly recommended to do the film studios tour).

Book hotel for your trip on

If you are not interested in visiting the theme park, you will have an additional day to reorganize the route.

Day 10 - From Los Angeles to Las Vegas

On this day you can undertake the trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, with a possible stop to visit the“Ghost town” of Calico.

Views of Los Angeles from Griffith Park

At night, already in Las Vegas, you can go see the atmosphere of the city center, including a walk on the street Freamont.

Day 11 - Las Vegas

Full day in Las Vegas visiting the Las Vegas Strip themed hotels, both day and night.

You will also have time to go one of its impressive shopping outlets.

Day 12 - From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado

The day comes when you have to undertake thetrip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, going through the Hoover dam, and touring the historic Route 66,

Grand Canyon of the Colorado in Arizona

To evoke the atmosphere of this route you must stop especially in towns such asWilliams, or in picturesque corners like Hackberry store or Seligman.

You will reach the South RimSouth rim of the Grand Canyon with enough time (if you travel in summer ...) to enjoy the sunset.

If you are interested in some activities in the Grand Canyon, as trekking orrafting, you will need to extend the stay one more day.

For fly over it by helicopter, if you hire the flight first thing in the morning you can follow the route for the rest of the day.

Day 13 - From the Grand Canyon of the Colorado to Monument Valley

After getting up early, you will travel again, now during the day, the viewpoints of the South Rim.

Landscapes of the Monument Valley on the west coast of the United States

Then, leaving the national park by the Desert View viewpoint and the Indian lookout tower, you're heading straight to Monument Valley.

You will arrive with enough time to make the journey through the interior road and enjoy the sunset (if you travel in summer ...).

You can stay in Kayenta or Mexican Hat.

Day 14 - From Monument Valley to Phoenix, through Sedona

From the Monument Valley and to finish your route on the west coast, you have two options, go down to the Sedona region and get to Phoenix or continue your route through Utah to return to Las Vegas.

In the first option, on the route to the south you must go to the holiday town ofSedona going through theOak creek canyon.

Landscapes of Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona west of the United States

If you don't entertain yourself too much, you'll have time to get to sleep in Phoenix.

(If you are interested in visiting the Sedona area more closely, with the visit of the mining town of Jerome and the reddish mountains of Red Rock, you must dedicate a day and reorganize the route)

Day 15 - Return flight from Phoenix

This day already ends your route through the western United States, and you will take the flight east to return to Spain.

Alternatives on the route

As we have commented, after visiting the Monument Valley you have the alternative of continuing to travel through Utah to finish in Las Vegas, where to catch the return flight.

Lights and colors in Antelope Canyon, Arizona

On this route, from the Monument Valley you would go to Page to visit the spectacular natural landscapes ofAntelope Canyon andHorseshoe Bend.

To recover one day, it is possible to go down from Yosemite directly to San Simeón to, and after visiting Hearst Castle, head towards Los Angeles.

This means not visiting Monterey Bay, or touring the Big Sur.

Or even if you need to save more time, you also have the option of going directly from Yosemite to Los Angeles.

Here are other routes along the west coast that will be of interest to you by offering other alternatives: Route from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the coast; Route from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and the Monument Valley

I am sure that these tips will be useful for planning your own route along the west coast. It's not like that?

Map route by car along the West Coast

In this map you have the detail of the route by car on the West Coast that we propose to do.