There’s something particularly exciting and alluring about the Pacific coast of the USA if you live in Shanghai. Perhaps it’s because we share the Atlantic with the eastern seaboard of the USA and the Pacific therefore seems more exotic, or maybe it’s the promise of sunshine and surf and the Hollywood glitz and glamour.
Either way, if someone offers you the chance to explore this part of America, you’re not going to turn them down. And the best thing about the Pacific coast is that it’s just as great a destination as you imagine when you get there, whether you’re on an adventure holiday for singles or family vacation.
Just one look at the TrekAmerica itinerary for the west coast gives you some idea of what you can expect to get up to on a trip there – everything from visiting iconic landmarks to heading inland to some of the USA’s most amazing national parks.
There’s so much to do, it’s hard to pick out the highlights, but here’s my pick of the west coast’s top attractions.
Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
Surely one of the finest pieces of architecture anywhere in the world, San Francisco’s most recognisable landmark is a must-see for anyone visiting the west coast.
Admire its international orange paintwork and the stunning views on a walk over the enormous span, or head down to Baker Beach on the southern shores of the Golden Gate strait for a spectacular photo opportunity with the sand in the foreground and the bridge looming in the background.
Drive through Big Sur
The drive along the Big Sur coast – a rugged region in Monterey County – down California State Route 1 is regarded as one of the finest drives in the USA.
The road weaves past towering mountains on one side, while avoiding precipitous drops from sheer cliffs into the foaming Pacific surf on the other. One of its most famous natural features is the McWay Falls – an 80-foot waterfall that empties directly into the ocean when the tide is in and onto a inaccessible golden beach when it’s out.
Visit Yosemite National Park
If you’re in San Francisco you simply have to make the four-hour drive due east to Yosemite National Park where you’ll find some of the most dramatic scenery in the whole of the USA.
Marvel at the vistas made famous by the black and white landscape photographer Ansel Adams, featuring the towering cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome, and giant sequoia trees – some of the world’s largest.
Surf in Los Angeles
The west coast is the home of surfing in North America, so it’d be rude not to head down to the beach and try out your board skills on the perfect breakers. After hanging ten in the waves, hang out in the beach bars with the tanned locals.
Many of the region’s most famous beaches are located in and around Los Angeles, including Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Newport Beach is home to ‘The Wedge’ – a seriously heavy wave that provides great entertainment for spectators when the surf is up, with tens of daredevil bodyboarders and surfers jostling for position to take on the 20-foot swells.