The West Coast of the United States is known for its wide-open spaces and many natural beauties. A road trip through this area offers many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and see numerous historical and cultural sites. If you’re traveling via RV, you’ll need to take a few extra things into consideration, like parking and camping areas and accessibility for a larger vehicle. For a beautiful and fun family vacation, here are four popular destinations that will allow you to create an enjoyable and memorable trip.
San Francisco, California
San Francisco offers a wealth of activities for every taste. This city has a rich history, with many cultural events, shopping, dining, and art exhibitions. Ride the famous cable cars or enjoy a fish dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf. You can also visit a number of natural areas in the area to enjoy outdoor activities, such as water sports at Lake Tahoe or hiking through the sequoia groves at Yosemite National Park.
If you plan on visiting San Francisco with your RV, keep in mind that driving around the city in your RV may not be the most convenient option. Instead, opt to park outside the main city area, closer to the Golden Gate Bridge or off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. From either spot you can rent a bicycle to ride into the city. You may also be able to park at camping areas near the famous Muir Woods.
Big Sur, California
Big Sur is a 90-mile stretch of coastline that features some of California’s most spectacular coastal views. The highway along the coast twists along, with many pull-offs for visitors to take as many photos as they like. As you drive your Kitsap RV, you will encounter iconic restaurants, spas, boulder-strewn beaches, state parks and hiking trails to trek. This is a special area of the country that travelers of all ages will enjoy.
If you want to stop and stay a while, there is plenty do for an extended stay. Some camping sites are near hiking, while others are closer to the coastal beach. One popular spot is San Simeon, where you can see elephant seals in the winter. While you’re in the area, visit the Hearst Castle National Historic Landmark, a part of the Hearst estate. Keep in mind that the weather along the Big Sur stretch can vary greatly, so it’s smart to pack a variety of clothes for any condition or activity.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The Columbia River Gorge is a 4,000-foot deep canyon that cuts through the Cascade Mountains in the state of Oregon. It stretches for 80 miles, offering spectacular views of spires, cliffs, and ridges. The gorge is set in a national scenic area preserve that allows visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, with campgrounds, hiking trails, bicycling, fishing, swimming and horseback riding. Part of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail runs through the preserve, attracting hikers from all over the country. Many of the hikes also offer views of spectacular waterfalls for visitors.
It is not recommended, however, for RVs to drive along the historic highway. Often the roads are too narrow and winding and are overpopulated in the summer for RV drivers to make it through the route safely. Fortunately, there are other highway options that still provide a beautiful, scenic drive as you venture along the gorge, enjoying the view of the Columbia River. Do your research ahead of time to plan where you will park or camp your RV overnight, as RV parking can be limited in this area.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
This park offers five different developed areas with a variety of services where you can park and camp your RV. You can enjoy the campgrounds, restaurant, visitor center, and numerous hiking trails. Cross the suspension bridge in the Grove of the Patriarchs in the midst of an old-growth forest, or enjoy the view at the highest peak at Sunrise Point or hike the temperate rain forest trail. More adventurous travelers can enjoy climbing mountain paths in good weather.
As for the best time to visit Mount Rainier, the most popular months are July and August. The weather will be best during this time, but crowds are plentiful. If you can swing it, June and September have great weather as well, but will have slightly fewer people visiting. You could also chance a trip in May, although there may still be snow on some of the trails and peaks.
The West Coast offers a wide variety of settings, mountain views, coastal beaches and magnificent forests. You can also find quaint towns, bustling cities and amenities of all kinds along the way. These four destinations are among the top attractions on the West Coast, but only skim the surface of the many sights can be enjoyed in your RV.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. You can connect with Anica on Twitter @AnicaOaks.