Ever since the days of the gold rush, Americans have had a desire to head west. Today, there are still plenty of good reasons to explore the western coastline of the United States. The West Coast, or Pacific Coast, consists of three states: California, Oregon, and Washington.  Aside from having some of the most picturesque scenery in the country, the West Coast is also home to many must-see locations.   Here are some of them:

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA
(206) 386-4300

Located on Pier 59 on  Elliott Bay waterfront, the Seattle Aquarium features many unique exhibits. Favorites include Life on the Edge, Pacific Coral Reef, Ocean Oddities, and a 400,000-gallon transparent and spherical room known as The Underwater Dome.

1313 North Harbor Boulevard
Anaheim, CA
(714) 781-4000

With nearly 16 million visitors annually, Disneyland is easily one of the most popular destinations on the West Coast.  Attractions include Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Mickey’s Toontown.  When you factor in live entertainment and nightly fireworks, it’s easy to see why Disneyland should be on your list of places to see on the West Coast.

Discovery Park
Magnolia neighborhood
Seattle, WA

This 534-acre park spans nearly 12 miles and offers plenty of opportunities to observe native wildlife, especially birds and marine life. Those looking for a little adventure will enjoy the walking trails scattered throughout the park.  As long as you’re in the area, take a moment to visit the West Point Lighthouse.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
1001 Fairgrounds Drive
Vallejo, CA
(707) 644-4000

This 135-acre theme park includes thrill rides such as the 360-degree Hammerhead Shark, the Boomerang Coast to Coaster, the Tazmanian Devil.  If that’s a little too much excitement, try Monkey Business, Scat-A-Bout, or White Water Safari. You’ll also find daily entertainment and special events.

Fremont Street Experience
425 Fremont Street
Las Vegas, NV
(702) 678-5600

Located in Downtown Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience is a great way to experience Las Vegas. If you’re looking for something to see on the West Coast, you won’t be disappointed here.  It’s hard to miss the 12.5 million lights while enjoying free concerts and other special events. Many museums and other local attractions gladly welcome visitors.

The Huntington Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, CA
(626) 405-2100

Covering 120 acres, the Huntington Botanical Gardens are located on the sprawling property that also houses the Huntington Library. The gardens are divided into more than a dozen themes. These include the Rose Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Desert Garden, Japanese Garden, and the Palm Garden.

Mount St. Helens
Located in Skamania County, Washington, this location is still best known for its 1980 eruption, but it also a site for educational and firsthand tours of the area. Johnston Ridge and The Forest Learning Center are two of the resource centers open to provide details of mountain’s long history to visitors.

Unique Experiences

Vision Quests

Vision Quest

Vision Quest

The Animas Valley Institute organizes several quest trips each year. The concept is based on a Native American tradition meant as a right of passage. The trip includes everything from fasting and ceremonial drumming to poetry and traditional dancing.

Surf Steamer Lane

Surf Streamer Lane

Surf Streamer Lane

If you’re up for a little surfing, this is the place you need to be. Due to the challenging surf, cold water wetsuits are required year-round.

Celebrity Grave/Death Tours

A little bit morbid if you think about it too much, but there are plenty of West Coast final resting places that welcome fans or just curious visitors. Popular celebrity graves found on the West Coast include Marylin Monroe, Michael Jackson, John Wayne, and You can even take a bus tour of sites of celebrity deaths and scandals. The Dearly Departed Tragical History Tour even offers t-shirts as proof of your morbid curiosity.

Quick Stops

• Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, California)

• Craters of the Moon National Monument (Arco, Idaho)

• Hoover Dam (Las vegas, Nevada)

• Pinnacles National Monument (Paicines, CA)

• Old Faithful Geyser (Yellowstone National Park, Montana)

There really is no shortage of things to do and see on the West Coast. Some sites are at least worth driving past, while others require more of your time to fully appreciate everything there is to enjoy. The west has always held a certain fascination. A look at the many diverse locations found here only adds to the appeal of the Pacific Coast. And that doesn’t even include the nearly year-round comfortable temperatures and breathtaking sunsets you get for free.

Author Bio

Katelyn writes for NetQin on a variety of topics including travel, family, fun, and crafts. She keeps readers updated on the best places to see and bring your family no matter what size.