If we are looking for the best time to travel to the West Coast including Death Valley, it is best to rule out the summer months. Low season in this area, it is also not advisable to go in the winter months.
Washington has a colder and rainier climate as it is further north. Its most important city, Seattle, is a major business center and receives many tourists, especially from the United States.
As for the winter, not only will we find cold, but part of the northern area may be closed to traffic. Therefore, it is better to avoid winter if we want to have a complete panoramic view of the area.
The first is where most of the adventurers who set out to complete Route 66 end up. In the second, renowned films such as The Sting, Iron Man, Forrest Gump or the third part of Rocky have been shot.
And who knows? Maybe you have time left to visit Point Loma, if you are a surfer, and Coronado Island, where the eternal Marilyn Monroe filmed With Skirts and Madness with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon under the orders of Wilder.
On the way to the valley and its cliffs you can make a stop at any of the spectacular areas included in the route. You will love Mariposa, where you can contemplate crystalline gold nuggets in its mining museum.
The majesty of the landscape will dazzle you. However, the great thing about enjoying this trip is that you can experience completely different scenery. For example, the endless glamour of Las Vegas.
From the waterfalls of Yosemite to the lights of the casinos you will have to drive about 730 kilometers southeast and in a circular line, since it is necessary to go around the park. The drive itself is much more than a normal trip. Don’t forget to stop at Death Valley, located in the Mojave Desert.
West coast route
To organize a route along the West Coast of the USA without haste or stress, we would reserve at least 2 weeks (if you have more time, even in 3 weeks you will not get bored for a second!)
Some travelers stay less time, but, in a route with such long distances, we believe that it is not worth driving many hours a day to cross off destinations and then not have time to enjoy them calmly.
Of course, this is up to each traveler’s taste. We dedicated 15 days to it and it seemed to us the ideal duration. Although, as you will see below and in our West Coast itinerary, we had no time to spare!
First step to make this adventure a reality: get the flights! Most travelers start their West Coast route in one of these two Californian cities, San Francisco or Los Angeles.
We have already told you that, from Europe, flights to the West Coast of the USA are not cheap: they can be around 700 € or 800 € per person. It is true that from time to time you can find bargains for around 400 €, but it is not the norm.
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To organize your day, we leave you a post with the most important things to see in Los Angeles in 12 hours. You can see almost all of it on our map of Los Angeles. And if you want to know how to get a cheap car to travel the whole route, below we tell you more, but you can check out our post on how to rent a cheap car.
If you can, do not hesitate, spend a day in its incredible beaches. Venice beach or Santa Monica, where the famous route 66 ends, are a clear example of this. How many times have you seen them in movies or TV series? Well, now it’s time to enjoy them. We recommend renting a bicycle and pedaling along the promenade to Venice Beach. After this, the best thing to do is to finish the day visiting the Santa Monica Pier, where you will find many stalls and restaurants. Also, if you like amusement parks, here you can see the famous Pacific Park.
Option 2: If you are short of time, you can make the way to Las Vegas straighter, passing through Barstow or Calico, as we did on our trip along Route 66, (here you can see the Las Vegas-Los Angeles stage of our trip along the legendary American route).