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2000 mile West Coast USA Road Trip

LA, Grand Canyon, Vegas, Highway 1, Napa and San Francisco 3 week road trip.

  • 26
  • 36:04
  • 1,992 mi
  • $327
Take This Trip

Created by stevebootes - July 10th 2016

This was a 3 week road trip taking in as many iconic sites as possible with a few relaxing days here and there so we weren't on the road every single day. Start in LA, drive out to the Grand Canyon via an overnight in Yermo (just outside Barstow), stop off in Lake Havasu for lunch on the way. From there work back to Las Vegas via the Hoover Dam, back across to pick up Highway 1 at Malibu. Follow all the way up the coast, over the Golden Gate bridge and on to Napa, then back into San Francisco. Total mileage was 2000.7 miles! You need 3 weeks for this really, or cut out Vegas and the Grand Canyon to do it in 2.

Photo of Universal Studios Hollywood

100 Universal City Plz, Universal City, California, Los Angeles, CA, US

Universal Studios Hollywood

A great day. Make sure you book ahead of time on the website and get early entry as it gets very busy very quickly. Make sure you take the studio tour on the tram. Also, the Waterworld show must be 20+ years old by now but is still one of the best live shows there.

4mi 00h 13m
Photo of Hollywood Bowl Overlook

Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA, US

Hollywood Bowl Overlook


Either drive there yourself or go on a cheesy Hollywood tour. The location here isn't quite right - have a look on Google Maps for Hollywood Bowl Overlook at the end of Macapa Drive on the corner of Mulholland. Fantastic views of the city and the Hollywood sign.

2mi 00h 07m
Photo of Hollywood Walk of Fame

7018 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, US

Hollywood Walk of Fame


Cheesy, tacky but a must-do for all tourists. Seems to be much cleaner and feels safer than it used to when I was there 20 years ago. Don't forget to walk up to the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre.

16mi 00h 23m
Photo of Getty Center

1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA, US

Getty Center


Worth a visit even if art galleries aren't really your thing. Great location and views.

9mi 00h 16m
Photo of Santa Monica Pier

200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA, US

Santa Monica Pier


Walk down the pier so you can take a picture under the Route 66 sign and say you've been to the end of it. Have a walk up and down the beach too and spend some time people watching at Muscle Beach - it's all quite bizarre.

138mi 02h 16m

35654 Rd, Yermo, CA, US

Peggy Sue's 50's Diner


Great 50's diner. Yermo is basically a truck-stop just outside Barstow but is a great overnight location to set off to the Grand Canyon from. Feels like a proper American diner should. Some great pictures on the wall of various celebrities who's visited the diner over the years. Fantastic Burgers!

181mi 03h 03m

25 Acoma Blvd N, Lake Havasu City, AZ, US

Juicy's River Cafe


Another great Diner. I recommend the Hot Rueben! A little tricky to find but worth it.

0mi 00h 02m

Lake Havasu City, Arizona, United States


What a gem in the middle of nowhere! London Bridge is amazing - how they moved that from London into the middle of the Arizona desert I'll never know.

233mi 03h 57m
Photo of The Grand Canyon National Park

450 AZ-64, Grand Canyon Village, AZ, US

The Grand Canyon National Park


Amazing. The South Rim is really well set up for tourism but somehow hasn't been spoiled. Take a trip up to the Desert View Watchtower for more great views.

247mi 04h 03m
Photo of The Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam Access Rd, Boulder City, NV, US

The Hoover Dam


If you're going to Las Vegas make sure stop off here. Amazing engineering. Watch out for the heat though, it's like being in an oven.

34mi 00h 44m

Not everyone's cup of tea by any means, but you've got to go just to see how crazy the place is. You don't need more than a couple of days here though unless you're a hardcore gambler.

152mi 02h 33m
Photo of Death Valley National Park

Airport Rd, Furnace Creek, CA, US

Death Valley National Park


Amazing scenery unlike anywhere else (except the moon, perhaps), especially as you drive out the west side into Panamint Springs.

68mi 01h 18m
Photo of Panamint Springs Resort

40440 Highway 190 32 Miles West of Stovepipe Wells, CA, US

Panamint Springs Resort


Click to discover a
great deal!


Great little diner here the other side of Death Valley. I highly recommend the Death Valley Rootbeer too!

233mi 03h 58m
Photo of Pacific Coast Highway (Pch / Ca-1)

Pacific Coast Highway, Los Angeles, CA, US

Pacific Coast Highway (Pch / Ca-1)


Iconic road going up the cost from LA to San Francisco (though it changes to the Cabrillo Highway further up). We hired a convertible Mustang for the trip but at one point on this road every other car we saw was also a convertible Mustang! Still, it gives you a great view of the scenery from the road.

21mi 00h 31m

32350 El Matador Beach Rd, Malibu, CA, US

El Matador State Beach


Nice pretty little beach. Easy access, plenty of parking.

196mi 03h 22m
Photo of William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach

750 Hearst Castle Rd, San Simeon, CA, US

William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach


Don't want to pay the ridiculous entry fees to Hearst Castle? Stop off here (just off Highway 1) and take a picture of the estate, just make sure you have a good zoom lens! Great views from the end of the pier up the coast.

62mi 01h 27m

47520 Hwy 1, Big Sur, CA, US

Big Sur Taphouse


We stumbled across this place by accident. Don't be fooled by the looks outside - it's a great little bar with a hidden terrace out the back serving great sandwiches. Perfect for a quick lunch stop on the way up the coast.

28mi 00h 39m
Photo of Mission Ranch

26270 Dolores St, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, US

Mission Ranch


Click to discover a
great deal!


Rescued by Clint Eastwood apparently, the Mission Ranch in Carmel has a really nice restaurant attached. We had a fantastic steak here and the prices were reasonable too. Highly recommended.

7mi 00h 16m

886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA, US

Monterey Bay Aquarium


I wasn't too sure about seeing fish couped up in tanks, but it's done really well and doesn't feel like a Zoo. It's great to see all the schoolkids here taking an interest in preserving marine life.

44mi 00h 53m

400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA, US

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk


It might have looked a bit tired when we visited in May before the peak season, but it's still worth an hour or two of your time if you're driving past.

There's so much more to see in California that we just didn't have time for. 4 or 5 weeks next time perhaps?