Discover the ultimate American Roadtrip

Pacific Coast <strong>Paradise</strong>

Pacific Coast Paradise

Washington - California

We’ve devised a stunning tour of America’s west coast that includes some of the country’s best driving roads, plenty of exciting scenery and some stunning sights. Our US road trip route from Seattle, WA, to Santa Barbara, CA, provides a sensational slice of west-coast landscapes, from snowy-capped Mount Rainier to the glorious surf of California’s Big Sur.

Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 1: Official Bad Art Museum of Art 1/14

Official Bad Art Museum of Art

Browse a collection of art that is “too bad to be ignored” at this family-friendly gallery within a trendy café in Seattle’s University district. Lovingly nicknamed ‘OBAMA’ for short, it’s a colourful spot to appreciate the absurd, quirky works of art created by a crew of unheard-of artists, and to soak up some of the off-beat atmosphere of this north-western waterfront city.

5828 Roosevelt Way NE Seattle, Washington, 98105

http://officialbadartmuseumofart.com/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 2: Space Needle 2/14

Space Needle

Before you start your road trip take a peep at where you’re heading, from the top of Seattle’s landmark attraction: the Space Needle. This 1962 observation tower is 605ft high and is notable for its rotating restaurant near the top. The views are stupendous, of course. Look out for Mount Rainier volcano, 54 miles southeast. The Needle will be the last part of the city you can see in the rear view mirror as you drive south.

400 Broad St, Seattle, WA 98109, United States

https://www.spaceneedle.com/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 3: Living Computer Museum 3/14

Living Computer Museum

Head for the SoDo district to explore Seattle’s fascinating Living Computer Museum. Inside, discover every stage of the computing story, from adding machines to huge computer installations with flashing lights and spools of magnetic tape. The museum is full of once sought-after brands like Amstrads and Ataris, all lovingly collected, preserved and presented. Many machines are available for interactive sessions, including the chance to play timeless games on vintage machines. (Image credit: Joe Mabel)

2245 1 Ave,Seattle, Washington 98134

http://www.livingcomputermuseum.org/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 4: Mima Mounds 4/14

Mima Mounds

Few could accuse this natural oddity of making mountains out of molehills – but this landscape that’s peppered with unusual earthy mounds has had experts scratching their heads for two centuries. There are many theories as to the cause of its undulating landscape – including glacial settlements, volcanic eruptions and even a few eager moles marking their territory – but the mystery of what happened to settle the soil in this particular way remains just that.

Waddell Creek Road, Olympia, Washington, 98512

http://www.dnr.wa.gov/MimaMounds

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 5: Oregon Museum of Science & Industry 5/14

Oregon Museum of Science & Industry

On the Portland waterfront, the Museum of Science and Industry is a perfect attraction for families keen to combine education and entertainment. The five exhibition halls are full of hundreds of interactive science displays for all ages while the eight labs give you a chance to conduct your own experiments. Alongside, climb aboard the USS Blueback, the submarine featured in the film The Hunt for Red October, or experience the Northwest’s biggest planetarium. (Image credit: Robert Gaskin)

1945 S.E. Water Ave., Portland, OR

http://www.omsi.edu/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 6: Mount Hood 6/14

Mount Hood

The beautiful wilderness of Mount Hood National Forest surrounds the prominent 3,429m tall snow-covered volcano dominating Portland’s eastern horizon. The vast woods, lakes and streams are perfect for serious outdoor adventures, from relaxed picnics gazing at scenery to hiking the acclaimed Timberline Trail circuit round the base of the mountain. The forest is also popular with wildlife spotters, horse-riders, mountain bikers and, in the winter, skiers.

Mount Hood, Oregon

http://www.fs.usda.gov/mthood

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 7: Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument 7/14

Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument

‘The Monument’ is a vast newly-protected area of forests and grasslands at the junction of two mountain ranges in southwest Oregon. The area was designated as nationally important in 2000 because of its spectacular landscapes and historical sites. It’s a great location for camping or taking an adventurous walk. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, one of America’s trekking highlights, runs through this region. Other activities include climbing the prominent Pilot Rock, cross-country skiing or simply taking a scenic drive.

Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument, Oregon

http://www.blm.gov/or/resources/recreation/csnm/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 8: Old Town Eureka 8/14

Old Town Eureka

Hundreds of wonderfully preserved Victorian shops and homes form the heart of Eureka’s captivating Old Town. Wander through a town centre that has changed little since the 19th century. Browse quirky independent shops and galleries, admire grand wooden mansions and gardens, try the local seafood restaurants, or take a tour in a horse and carriage driven by an actor in period costume.

Eureka, CA 95501

http://eurekamainstreet.org/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 9: Twin Peaks 9/14

Twin Peaks

The two prominent summits called Eureka and Noe overlook San Francisco Bay. They are almost 1000ft above sea level – but don’t worry, it’s easy enough to drive to the top. Once you’ve parked, there are incredible views in all directions. Try to spot local landmarks the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The peaks also offer walking trails around summit parkland, which are filled with unusual plants and wildlife.

501 Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94114

http://sfrecpark.org/destination/twin-peaks/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 10: Pier 39 10/14

Pier 39

Once a humble fishing jetty, Pier 39 has become one of San Francisco’s biggest attractions. It’s now a busy area of waterfront restaurants, cafes and shops. Visit the 3D cinema and aquarium, or simply watch an array of street performers. Don’t forget to check the wooden pontoons at the end of the pier, they’re a popular spot for sea lions to sunbathe.

Beach Street & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94133

http://www.pier39.com/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 11: Point Sur Lighthouse 11/14

Point Sur Lighthouse

Driving the Big Sur section of Central California’s Pacific Coast Highway is a scenic treat. One of the highlights is the dramatic volcanic chunk of rock joining the sandy shore at Point Sur. It’s easy to join guided walking tours around Point Sur and its lighthouse – opened in 1889 in response to nearby shipwrecks. It’s also a perfect spot for watching whales – they can be spotted coming inland all year round.

Point Sur Lighthouse, Monterey, CA 93940

http://www.pointsur.org/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 12: Hearst Castle 12/14

Hearst Castle

Fabulously wealthy newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst built this opulent and eccentric mansion complex between 1919 and 1947. The Castle’s mix of Spanish and Renaissance architecture now forms a designated historic landmark. Expect to find scores of dazzling rooms stuffed with valuable art and antiques, and vast extravagant gardens with lavish water features and mock classical monuments.

750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA 93452

http://hearstcastle.org/

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 13: Morro Rock Beach 13/14

Morro Rock Beach

Spectacular Morro Bay is dominated by a 581-foot high lump of volcanic rock standing just offshore. Locals call this landmark the ‘Gibraltar of the Pacific’, while builders used it as a source of stone – you’ll see bits were used to construct Morro’s harbour wall. The relaxed seaside town makes a great place to stop, with interesting shops to browse and a long sandy beach with dunes to explore.

Coleman Drive, Morro Bay, CA 93442

http://www.morro-bay.ca.us/383/Morro-Rock-Beach

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Pacific Coast Paradise

Stop 14: Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara 14/14

Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara

Our tour ends in pretty Santa Barbara, where Spanish-style buildings lead to a palm-fringed waterfront with a backdrop of the mountains inland. The biggest attraction is Stearns Wharf, a long 19th-century fishing pier that is home to seafood restaurants and cafes, boat trips, nautical shops and galleries, and a popular sea-life centre. Hire fishing gear and cast a line for a while, or chill out in an ice-cream bar.

Stearns Wharf, 217 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

http://www.stearnswharf.org/

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