The Most Underrated Vacation Spots on the West Coast

With so many spots to stop and enjoy the scenery, the West Coast is clearly the location to beat when you are vacationing in the U.S. There is something for everyone, from lush Californian vineyards and unblemished beaches, bird watching in Washington to the mountainous regions of Oregon offering Pacific Ocean views and water sports. Some of the destinations on this list are truly hidden gems, made up of small villages and towns, but we do mention some more familiar locations that have that wow factor often found on the West Coast. So whatever your budget you should be able to find a destination that is just right for you.


Oregon is truly a special place to visit with a terrain that few states can match. Bordering the Pacific coastline has given Oregon many lush green areas which are great for outdoorsy types who like to go hiking and fishing. Try your hand at watersports at Hood River, which is just an hour away from Portland. The town is home to the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls and Mount Hood, whose beauty can be seen for miles around.

Following on from the watery theme, you could always make your way to Astoria which is surrounded by water and evergreen trees. The real jewel of Astoria though is its beaches, where visitors can parasail and kayak to their heart’s content. Astoria is also known as the filming location for the movie ‘The Goonies’ making it a cultural icon as well as a gem of a holiday location.


To really experience the sheer beauty of the state there is only one way to see it, and that’s from above. We recommend grabbing a helicopter tour from Konect Aviation, based in McMinnville. They regularly offer sky-high tours of Multnomah Falls, the state’s many vineyards and the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge for a once in a lifetime experience.


For those who are in touch with nature, you could do far worse than Big Sur, where whale watching is a great way to spend your day. The incredible coastline has also inspired many artists who take up residency here.

If you’re more of a foodie, take a trip to the charming town Healdsburg which boasts impressive vineyards and award winning restaurants. Even small time cafes have a touch of the artisan about them, with excellent cheeses and bread to be gorged upon.


Though if adventure is more your thing, maybe you will find a spiritual home in San Luis Obispo which is a bustling college town with a Mediterranean climate. The vibrant town is made up of a striking balance of mountains, lakes and beaches which are ideal for those looking to hike, horse ride or sail in a beautiful setting.


When you think about the Washington area, I doubt that beaches are the first thing that comes to mind, but the quaint town of Seabrook, which overlooks Washington’s coastline is home to the most beautiful sandy beaches. Visitors here are spoilt for choice. They can go swimming, sailing and surfing in the crisp waters, or if the weather has taken a turn for the worse, the heated indoor South Crescent swimming pool is the place to be, particularly if you’re fond of relaxing in a Jacuzzi!

The town is also of great historical importance. Why not visit the Dorothy Anderson Cottage, which is one of the oldest cottages on the coast? The town also played an important part during the Second World War, becoming home to the US Navy and Air Force who intentionally ‘removed’ it from the map to avoid bomb attacks.

Walla Walla offers picturesque beauty for a romantic weekend escape. Couples can stroll through the tree-lined central boulevard or rummage through the vintage stores. Art galleries and fine restaurants are scattered throughout the town too for those who enjoy the finer things in life. If you fancy a tipple or two, we suggest a visit to Walla Walla Vintners, who offer free wine tasting in their beautiful wineries throughout the year.

Ellensburg is ideal if you want to get back to your roots in natural surroundings. Just a mere two hours away from the city of Seattle, Ellensburg is the place to be if you like to spend your time lounging by a lake waiting to catch a fish. If you’re into hiking or mountain biking you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the mountainous terrain on the outskirts of the town, or else you could go horseback and let someone else do all the legwork!

Other suggestions:

The Dalles, Oregon

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Langley on Whidbey Island, Washington

Coronado California

La Jolla California

Palm Springs California

Ventura California

Santa Barbara California

Fort Bragg California

Sausalito California

Truckee California

Two Harbors California

Carmel-by-the-sea California