The west coast of the United States is known for its incredible beauty, national parks, and vibrant cities. If you’re heading on a road trip, or if you’re just generally curious about which places should be at the top of your list, below are the must-visit destinations you should consider for your next vacation.
1. Los Angeles, California
Movie lovers can’t miss this city. Some of the places they must check out include Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland Park, the Hollywood Sign, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You might also see a few celebrities or a movie premiere while you’re there, so keep your eyes open!
For those who aren’t as interested in movies, Los Angeles still has plenty to offer. Tour the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), take a drive through Beverly Hills, head to the Grove for some great shopping, or hit up one of the trendy new restaurants. But if you’re hoping to save some money, consider renting a car (instead of using Uber) or taking the metro, stick to the free sites (like the Hollywood Walk of Fame), and opt for delicious and cheap street tacos instead of dining out.
2. Seattle, Washington
Nature and city lovers will adore Seattle — It’s surrounded by water, mountains, and forests. But it’s also a great place for museum lovers. While visiting, some of the main attractions to keep in mind include the Space Needle, the Pike Place Market, the Chihuly Garden and Glass, the Museum of Flight, and the Museum of Pop Culture.
For some low-cost activities, go for a hike or head to the beach. Even if it’s not beach weather (and it probably won’t be while you’re there) you can still take in the incredible views — including the view of Mt. Rainier.
3. Las Vegas, Nevada
Everyone should visit Las Vegas at least once to experience the city’s incredible entertainment. That doesn’t mean you have to go all out or blow your life savings, though. Initially, you might think Vegas is all about five- or six-digit hotel rooms, all-night parties, and high stakes casino gaming. But you don’t have to be a high roller to enjoy what the place has to offer.
If gaming and entertainment are your priorities, there are different ways to save money on food, hotels, and tickets. For example, you can eat during off hours and stick to the buffets, look online for hotel and show discounts, and head to the casino during non-peak hours. Sticking to a budget will help you to have a great time in Vegas while avoiding a post-trip financial headache.
4. Denver, Colorado
If you love the mountains, you’ll be drawn to this city located at the heart of the Rocky Mountains. If you can, plan your trip around a concert at the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre — it’ll be a concert unlike any you’ve ever experienced and it’ll be one you will never forget. In your down time, go for hikes around the city or head to the Denver Botanic Garden. Bonus: These are cheap to no-cost activities that will ensure you can do and see more!
There are also plenty of museums in the Denver area that will please both art and history lovers. Some of the ones to check out include the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, or the Molly Brown House Museum.
5. Glacier National Park, Montana
Located near Kalispell and Whitefish Montana, Glacier National Park is one park you can’t miss if you’re in Montana or in the Northwest. Although often overshadowed by Yellowstone National Park (which should also be on your list, even though it’s not on this list), this park is known for its incredible mountains, wildflowers, lakes, active glaciers, hiking trails, and wildlife. There’s also the famous Going-to-the-Sun road, which is not for the faint of heart — it’s a scenic and windy mountain road.
The best time to visit the park is in the summer. If you’re hoping to save money on your trip, stay outside of the park in one of the nearby towns. Just keep in mind that many of the surrounding towns are ski towns, so they tend to be a little pricier.