Family Road Trip - US West Coast Itinerary

Ultimate USA West Coast Itinerary – 2 Week Family Road trip

From the sunny skies and the big city feel of California to the scenic views in Washington, a road trip along the Pacific West Coast of the United States makes for an excellent family vacation idea. 

As you travel through the three Pacific states along the West Coast, you will have the chance to experience everything from amusement parks, rainforests, beautiful beaches, natural wonders, national parks, and more.

If you’re looking for the perfect summer vacation with the family and only have 2 weeks to explore the West Coast, pack your bags and get ready for a road trip your family will never forget!

We’ve put together the best route and itinerary that will take you along the Pacific coast, with stops in California and Oregon and completing your travels in Washington.

With travel time and time to enjoy the attractions and sights along the way, we estimate that you will need approximately two weeks for this epic family road trip – though you could easily spend a month adding some of our further suggestions along the way (we share an alternate 3-week itinerary at the end!)

DriveDistanceEstimated Drive TimeWhere to Stay
LAX to Los Angeles14 miles (23 km)1 hourLos Angeles
Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park, CA313 miles (504 km)6 hoursYosemite Village
Yosemite to Bend, OR577 miles (929 km)10 hoursBend, Oregon
Bend to Yakima, WA218 miles (351 km)4 hoursYakima, Washington
Yakima to Seattle, WA142 miles (229 km)2 hours 15 minutesSeattle, Washington
Seattle to Portland, OR174 miles (280 km)2 hours 45 minutesPortland, Oregon
Portland to Sacramento, CA579 miles (932 km)9 hours 20 minutesSacramento, California
Sacramento to Los Angeles, CA386 miles (621 km)6 hoursLos Angeles, California
Estimates only; times will vary based on traffic and road conditions

LAX to Los Angeles, California

  • Distance: 14 miles
  • Travel Time: 1 Hour

If you’re starting your travels from LAX Airport, it’s best to kick off your adventure in Los Angeles and visit some of its most iconic sights and attractions. While spending time in the city, you’ll get to experience its vibrant energy and check out popular landmarks and must-see spots.

USA US West Coast Itinerary - Los Angeles

How Long Should I Stay in Los Angeles?

LA is a great place to have a good time, and there is no shortage of fun activities and sights for your family to enjoy, but with so much travel ahead of you, we recommend spending no more than a couple of days in the city before continuing on your trip. 

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is an extremely busy city, and hundreds of hotels are available to you, ranging from value options to more luxury choices. If you are traveling by RV or motorhome, there are a couple of great RV Parks nearby, including Hollywood RV Park

Things to Do in Los Angeles

Hollywood Walk of Fame

One of the most famous aspects of the city of Los Angeles is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is such a fun experience walking along Hollywood Boulevard and seeing the stars of some of the most famous celebrities, and snagging a picture with some of your personal favorites. 

The Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign is probably one of the most famous and recognizable landmarks in the United States, so you do not want to miss the chance to see it in person. While you are not able to travel up to the actual sign, there are a number of spots that will allow you to get a great view of this famous sign. 

Pro tip: Griffith Observatory is one of the best spots to catch a good view of the sign. Not only will you have a great view, but parking at Griffith Observatory is free, making it an affordable option for a great experience. 

Universal Studios Hollywood

If your family is a fan of theme parks, you won’t want to miss out on a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood.

A visit to the park gives your family a chance for a fun day of theme park rides, good eats, and references to some of the most famous blockbuster hits in history. While we love to spend a few days at Universal Studios to fully enjoy the experience, you can certainly enjoy the park and see a lot of it in just a single day. 

Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park, California 

  • Distance: 313 Miles
  • Travel Time: 6 hours 

Yosemite National Park is one of the most recognizable national parks in the United States and truly is a can’t-miss experience when traveling through California. 

USA US West Coast Itinerary - Yosemite National Park

How Long Should I Stay in Yosemite National Park? 

Yosemite is a pretty large park, and to get a full experience, we recommend spending at least two days in the park. If you have extra time, you could easily spread your time across four days. 

Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite has several great lodging options, including tents and cabins at the High Sierra Camps or White Wolf Lodge. If you prefer a hotel-style stay, consider a stay at Yosemite Valley Lodge or The Ahwahnee for a luxury-style room. 

Things to Do in Yosemite National Park

Grand Tour

The Grand Tour is a guided tour offered to Yosemite visitors. This 8-hour tour will take you through some of the most notable sights in Yosemite, including Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. 


The Yosemite area hosts over 165 species of birds, offering a unique and interesting experience if you choose to view and observe them. 


With over 750 miles of trails throughout Yosemite National Park, hitting the hiking trails is a must. No matter your level of expertise, there are a variety of trails that will fit all levels of difficulty and makes for a fun activity that the whole family will enjoy. 

  • Bonus stops: Because you have only two weeks to travel between three states, making as many stops as you may like is difficult. If you have extra time, consider adding Death Valley National Park and Kings Canyon Sequoia National Park to your itinerary on your way to Yosemite. We cover these stops in more detail in our Yosemite to Death Valley itinerary.

Yosemite National Park to Bend, Oregon

  • Distance: 577 Miles
  • Travel Time: 10 Hours

Our next destination is a long stretch, but it brings us into our next state as we travel to Bend, Oregon. Bend offers its visitors a number of activities to enjoy, including natural sights, art, and history. 

USA US West Coast Itinerary - Bend

How Long Should I Stay in Bend?

After a 10-hour drive, you will likely want to take the rest of the day to relax and recuperate before getting into any activities. After your travel day, we recommend spending an additional 1.5 days, with the second half of your second day being used to head to our next destination. 

  • With more time, we’d recommend adding stops at two of the best national parks on the West Coast, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA, and Crater Lake National Park, OR. Although you’d be rushed, you could fit in both with an extra 24 hours, stopping overnight at Redding or Klamath Falls to break up the drive.

Where to Stay in Bend

The city of Bend offers several lodging options for the family. Some of the best kid-friendly hotels offer swimming pools, playgrounds, game rooms, and more. If you are looking for a hotel to book, try the Best Western Premier or the Doubletree by Hilton. If you prefer to stay in an RV park or campground, a few great options in the area include Little Fawn Campground and the Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort. 

Things to Do in Bend 

High Desert Museum 

The High Desert Museum shows the history and culture of the West High Desert. During your visit to the museum, you will get the opportunity to see a variety of animals, including otters, raptors, reptiles, and more, as well as beautiful art exhibits and pieces of High Desert history. 

The Ultimate Scavenger Bend 

What better way to see a city than to participate in a scavenger hunt that will have you traveling through the city and stopping at some of the most important landmarks and stops throughout the city of Bend? The Ultimate Scavenger Bend does just that; you will see notable sites throughout your hunt, including murals, statues, and more. 

Deschutes National Forest

The Deschutes National Forest is nearly 1.6 million acres and makes for a perfect day outdoors with the family. There are a number of beautiful sights to see and outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, and ATV riding.

During this visit, you can also see the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a natural sight featuring lakes, lava flows, and beautiful rock formations. 

Bend to Yakima, Washington

  • Distance: 218 miles
  • Travel Time: 4 hours

Yakima is a city in Central Washington that offers beautiful scenery, quiet and peaceful surroundings, and a plentiful bounty of quality agricultural products. The city is known for the many beautiful apple orchards and wineries featuring fresh barrelled wine in the area. It is also rich in Native American history and is named after the Yakima Indians who resided nearby. 

USA US West Coast Itinerary - Yakima

How Long Should I Stay in Yakima?

While Yakima is absolutely beautiful, it is not a city you need to spend a lot of time in. We recommend spending the day there and moving on to your next destination. 

Where to Stay in Yakima

The Yakima area offers a number of sleeping accommodations to fit any style/budget that you may be looking for. Some options include the Oxford Suites Yakima, the Cozy Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast, and Yakima Sportsman State Park, where you will find camping and RV accommodations. 

Things to Do in Yakima

Yakima Valley Museum

This museum offers a look into the history and culture of Yakima Valley. With everything from wooden wagons, Indiana arts & artifacts, natural history exhibits, and even a fully operational soda fountain from the 1930s!

Yakima Valley U-Pick Farms

As we mentioned above, Yakima is known for its plentiful and quality produce so it is only right that you see what we’re talking about and even have the chance to try some fruits and vegetables to taste the quality. At Yakima Valley U-Pick Farms, you will be able to pick a variety of produce, including berries, apricots, and eggplant, plus get the chance to see and pet the farm animals. 

Outdoor Activities

There are a number of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking and biking trails, water sports such as fishing and paddle boating, and horseback riding adventures. 

Yakima to Seattle, Washington

  • Distance: 142 miles
  • Travel Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

As we continue to travel through Washington state, our next stop is one of the most recognizable cities in both the state and the United States, Seattle, and is the largest city in the state of Washington. Seattle is a beautiful city, surrounded by water, mountains, and forests. 

USA US West Coast Itinerary - Seattle

How Long Should I Stay in Seattle? 

Seattle is a beautiful city, and there is so much to see and do. If time allows it, we recommend spending at least two full days in the city to get a full experience during your stay. 

Where to Stay in Seattle

Seattle offers a variety of lodging options, including family-friendly hotels, luxury resorts, and private cabins and campgrounds. Some popular choices include Courtyard by Marriott Seattle/Northgate, Crystal Mountain Hotels, and Lake Pleasant RV Park. 

Things to Do in Seattle

Space Needle

The Seattle Space Needle is the most recognizable landmark in Seattle. The Space Needle stands at 605 feet tall and is definitely a sight you don’t want to miss when visiting Seattle. Hop on the elevator and ride up to the observation level, where you will experience the sights of Seattle from up above; the views are breathtaking!

Pike Place Market 

Pike Place Market is another can’t-miss attraction in Seattle. As you walk through the market, you will enjoy live music, street performers, art, and of course, a variety of fresh market foods. If you can stand the ick factor, seek out the nearby ‘gum wall’. Fun fact: Did you know that the original Starbucks cafe is located at Pike Place Market? If you are a coffee drinker, this is a can’t-miss experience for you!

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

If you or your kids are a fan of pop culture, this is an attraction you will want to have on your agenda. As you walk through the museum, you will have the chance to see exhibits on some of the most famous concepts, people, and movies throughout pop culture history. Outside you’ll also find one of the best playgrounds in Seattle!

Pro tip: Seattle is known for its rainy weather conditions. If you are visiting the area, you can expect rain at least part of the time you are there, be sure to pack your rain gear essentials!

  • More time on your itinerary? Drive the complete Olympic Peninsula and explore Olympic National Park, one of the most diverse and fascinating parks to explore with kids on the west coast.

Seattle to Portland, Oregon

  • Distance: 174 miles
  • Travel Time: 2 hours and 43 minutes

As we head back down the coast, our next destination is Portland, Oregon. Portland is the largest city in Oregon and a stop you don’t want to miss when traveling through the state. Portland is known as an eco-friendly city due to the number of parks, bridges, and bicycle paths in the city that encourage gas-less travel. 

USA US West Coast Itinerary - Portland

How Long Should I Stay in Portland?

The good news is that Portland is just a short drive from Seattle, giving you plenty of time to explore the city. We recommend spending at least a day and a half in the city to ensure you see the can’t-miss stops; however, there is plenty to see if you choose to dedicate more time to your stay. 

Where to Stay in Portland

The area that you choose to stay in Portland will determine the types of lodging available. For example, if you stay in Downtown Portland, you may consider Residence Inn by Marriott Portland Downtown/Riverplace. Other popular areas in the city include the Pearl District and Rose City Park.

If you are traveling by RV, you may want to check out Jantzen Beach RV Park for accommodations. 

Things to Do in Portland

Powell’s City of Books

If you are a fan of books and reading, you cannot miss a chance to see Powell’s, the largest new and used bookstore in the world. There are over a million books in the store, and simply traveling through the 10 rooms is a great way to spend a few hours. The store has quickly become a popular Portland landmark and tourist stop for visitors, covering an entire city block. 

Oregon Zoo

Local zoos are always a family favorite attraction for us. It seems to be an activity that every member of the family equally enjoys. The Oregon Zoo ranks in the top 20 in the US, featuring nearly 1,800 animals spanning over 200 unique species. 

International Rose Test Garden

As soon as you walk up toward the International Rose Garden, the smell of fresh roses will hit you. Walking through the garden creates a sense of relaxation and freshness that your family will love, particularly with the stress of travel! It is free to enter the garden, making it a great affordable activity for the family to enjoy. 

Bonus tip (Adults Only!): Portland is known for having some of the greatest wineries, coffee shops, and microbreweries in the US. If you are looking for an adult beverage you may consider checking out some local options. 

Portland to Sacramento, California

  • Distance: 579 miles
  • Travel Time: 9 hours and 22 minutes

Traveling from Portland to Sacramento will be another long stretch of travel time that may be tiring and long, but this will bring us full circle back into the state of California and heading back to our origin point of LA.

Being the capital of California, we thought Sacramento would be a great final stop on our road trip. There is plenty to see and do in Sacramento that will make for your family vacation’s perfect ending. 

USA US West Coast Itinerary - Sacramento

How Long Should I Stay in Sacramento?

Because of your long travel time, you will likely want to spend your arrival day resting and recharging to hit the city the following day. You can wrap up your trip heading back to LA in just a few hours, so we would recommend spending whatever days you have left to spare in Sacramento exploring the area, at least one full day, but there is room for additional days if you have them. 

Where to Stay in Sacramento

There are a couple of areas we recommend staying in Sacramento, depending on the type of stay you are looking for. If you would prefer to be in the heart of the city, we recommend finding lodging in Downtown Sacramento.

Comparatively, if you prefer a more low-key, family-friendly environment, you will want to look for something on the west side of the city near Davis, about 20 miles away from downtown. 

Things to Do in Sacramento

California State Capitol Museum

The California State Capitol Museum showcases the state’s history in a variety of exhibits. As you make your way through the museum, you will learn so much about California and how it has evolved over the years.

Exhibits do rotate regularly, so you never know what you may learn during your visit. Popular exhibits in the past have included Iconic California: The State Symbols that Represent California and The Road Ahead: The Automobiles Impact on California. 

Fairytale Town

If you’re looking for a day of fun, a visit to Fairytale Town is highly recommended. Fairytale Town is a non-profit amusement park dedicated to bringing kids joy.

The park hosts attractions that feature some of the most famous storybook characters through time. Plus, kiddos will get the chance to learn during their visit and pet real-life animals. 

Old Sacramento Waterfront

If you want to enjoy all that Sacramento has to offer in one spot, spending the day at Old Sacramento Waterfront is the perfect way to do so. This historic district features attractions, entertainment, shopping, and dining experiences that embody the culture and vibe of Sacramento. There is something for everyone at the waterfront, and your family will be sure to have a great time!

Sacramento to Los Angeles, California

  • Distance: 386 miles
  • Travel Time: 6 hours

As our trip comes to a close, we will travel from Sacramento back to Los Angeles, and it is safe to say that you will be worn out and tired of traveling! Your route back to LA opens a great opportunity to make quick stops and travel through popular cities in California, including San Francisco and San Jose if you have any additional time to spare.

You will add an additional hour and a half, taking the more scenic Highway 101 back to LA. Or, if you’re prepared for the dramatic winds and bends of Highway 1, your journey will take closer to 10 hours (but will encompass Big Sur and some of the most epic coastal scenery in North America!).

  • If you’d like to experience more of the stunning California coast that we’ve skipped on this itinerary, head next to our San Francisco to San Diego road trip – you can cut this short at LAX if you need to fly out from your start point.

Suggested Alternate 3 Week US West Coast Itinerary

We have summarised for you here our highlights tour of the US West Coast in 2 weeks.

However, if you can extend your West Coast vacation to 3 weeks, there are so many more highlights you can fit in. Remembering just how long driving distances can be with kids in the car, these additional stops will break up your daily drives and encompass more of the natural beauty the West Coast has to offer:

DestinationsStayHow Long
Los AngelesLA2 nights
Sequoia & Kings Canyon NPKings Canyon1 night
Yosemite NPYosemite2 nights
Lassen Volcanic NPRedding1 night
Bend – Via Crater Lake NPBend2 nights
YakimaYakima1 night
SeattleSeattle2 nights
Olympic PeninsulaForks1 night
PortlandPortland2 nights
Highway 101 Oregon CoastNewport1 night
Redwoods NPEureka1 night
Northern CaliforniaSacramento2 nights
San Fran & Bay AreaMonterey1 night
PCH incl. Big SurSanta Monica1 night
download your free road trip checklist click here button

© Family Road Trip 2024

Similar Posts