Ultimate West Coast Road Trip Get Out and Explore!

It’s that time of the year! The sun is shining, school’s out, and let’s face it, it’s getting a little harder to focus at work. Time to take on the open road! While road trips are a great way to see the sights and make some amazing memories, it’s all too easy to just sit back in the car, relax, and fall into a junk food coma. But not this summer!  We have devised a two-week trip up the west coast, from California to Oregon, that will keep you active by exploring and stretching your legs in some of the country’s most beautiful spots. We designed this list of must-see sites and hikes with the intention of camping for a day or two at each stop along the way. Feel free to move at your own pace and skip around if it floats your boat!

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View from sandstone formations hiking on the Razorback Trail

Torrey Pines – Our trip starts off in the sunny and beautiful San Diego. The 2,000 acre nature preserve, located just off the 5 Freeway, gives you a glimpse of what San Diego looked like before developers got their hands on it. Take the Guy Fleming Trail for an easier scenic hike through lush fields of wildflowers and cacti, or trek down to the beach from the upper reserve on the Beach Trail for a little rest on the water.

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Aerial view of Century River at Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park – A few hours north on the 5 Freeway, 25 miles past busy Downtown Los Angeles, you’ll hit Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas. Here, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can camp for a night or two while enjoying 15 miles of steam side trails during the day. Pack a picnic and maybe a few adult beverages and spend the day at the small but very refreshing Malibu Creek swimming hole.

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Upper Gaviota Wind Cave

Gaviota Wind Caves – Hop back on the 101 and for a couple hours and you will find yourself in Santa Barbara County. While Santa Barbara has many beautiful hikes and beaches, you won’t want to pass up a visit to the Gaviota Wind Caves near Goleta, CA. This hike is categorized as moderate and is a bit more challenging than the previous treks so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks. Lather on the sunscreen and start on the earlier side of the day since shade is limited. This 4 mile round trip hike will lead you to some amazing wind carved tunnels and caves that have to be seen to be believed!

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View of McWay Falls

Big Sur – Take a scenic drive up the 1 to one of the most beautiful spots in California, Big Sur. Here you will see the intersection of forest and beach that is truly breathtaking. Camping is permitted in certain areas, which we highly recommend for the full experience. If you’re just passing through for the day, go for a leisurely nature walk on the McWay Waterfall Trail, where you will see a glorious 80 foot waterfall right on the beach (pictured above). For a slightly longer day hike try the Ewoldsen Trail, a 4.5 mile trail that shows you a little bit of everything Big Sur has to offer.

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Lower Alamere Falls

Alamere Falls – Continue up the 1, you’ll find yet another breathtaking waterfall cascading right onto the sandy shores of the Pacific. The 8.4 mile round trip hike will lead you down a scenic trail past a few small waterfalls to the to much anticipated Alamere waterfall. (Trust us, it’s well worth the hike!) Pack your swimsuit for this one because you’ll definitely want to take a dip and chill out in Bass Lake on the way back.

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View from below – Tall Trees Grove

Redwood National Forest – Back onto the 101 for about 6 hours and you’ll hit the Redwood National Forest. You do not want to miss some of the worlds tallest and most magnificent trees. We suggest starting out with a hike to Tall Trees Grove, a 4 mile round trip through lush greenery surrounded by some of the worlds largest and oldest living things. If you’re looking for a longer, more secluded hike, go for the Boy Scout Trail. This 5.6 mile hike will lead you deep into the forest, away from the noise of the roads and campsites, and have you forgetting all your worries back in the world.

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Wading through the water at Lower Oneonta Falls

Oneonta Gorge – Time to cross that state line! Oregon is home to some of the most stunning green scenery and Oneonta Gorge is no exception. This lesser known hike will take you on a 2.7 mile loop past Horsetail Falls, through mossy greens to the gorge. Make sure to pack extra dry clothes and socks — to get the full experience and see inside the Oneonta Gorge you will have to wade through the creek, which shouldn’t be too cold in the summer or higher than waist deep. If you’re still up for more, add 1.8 miles to your hike and climb up to Triple Falls for a much needed picnic break.

Extra  Road Trip Tips:

Snacks: Though it may seem easier to just swing through that drive-thru off the highway, fight the urge! You’ll end up feeling sluggish and hungrier than before. Instead of stocking up on sugary snacks and greasy chips, load up your cooler with plenty of fruit like bananas, apples, berries, grapes etc. and healthy bites like unsalted trail mix, naturally sweetened granola bars, etc. Check out this list for more ideas of what to bring to keep your diet on track and your energy up!

Music: For a long road trip it’s crucial that you have plenty of music at all times. Thanks to the amazing rechargeable 25+ hour battery life on the 66 Audio BTS Sport, you can take your music with you on just about any of these hikes! We’ve also created the perfect Roadtrip Playlist for you on Spotify.