The West Coast is unlike any other area in the United States. In some regions, there are beautiful coastlines with shimmering ocean waters and golden sands. In contrast, in other areas, the wind and the rain turns the land into lush green forests with thick vegetation. Within this starter guide, we’ll start with America’s last frontier, Alaska. Then make our way down to the south of Canada with Washington. After that, let’s jump on the five freeway and go through Oregon and the megastate of California. So fill up your gas tank and start playing your favorite tunes, because the West Coast is an adventure waiting to happen!
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10. The Goose Creek Tower in Talkeetna, Alaska
Also known as the Dr. Seuss tower, which is located in the Talkeetna forest, 20 miles north of the nearest city. This towering building is 185 feet high, meaning it soars above all of the trees surrounding it. In the winter, the barren forest and bleak sky help create the haunted scenery that gives visitors the creeps. But in the spring and summer, the lush green forest and bountiful vegetation make the tower look less haunted but more like a magical home which child shouldn’t enter, lest they are eaten.
Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed inside, as the family who owns it stopped allowing tourists a while ago. If visitors could go in, they could climb to the top of the tower and be rewarded with an incredible 360 view of the entire forest. But they would have to be careful on the way down! Surprisingly, the tower is not finished as the owner wishes to add more parts to the sides of the building.
9. Glacier Garden’s Upside Down Forest in Juneau, Alaska
If the world of Alice in Wonderland is a place you’ve always wanted to visit, then the Upside-Down Forest Of Glacier Gardens is sure to be your next home. This topsy-turvy landscape has tree roots hanging in midair, and flowers grow at the top of the forest canopy. Although it may not surprise you that this forest is man-made, you might raise some once you hear that the first upside-down tree was made entirely by mistake.
A landscaper named Steve was trying to create a hydroelectric Dam to preserve a beautiful area and create hydraulic electricity for the people in the towns below. While digging out a stream for a duct, he tried to move a downed tree, but it slipped out of the machine’s grasp and fell branch first into the silt below. He saw the view before him and loved it. He then continued to create more upside-down trees. When he was done, he climbed to the top of each tree’s roots and planted flowers of all kinds. The Upside Down Forest is a testament to the creativity humans capable of when we’re not surrounded by concrete and smog.
8. The Pinball Museum in Seattle, Washington
Sometimes a really is just a number, as rooted in the heart of every person there’s a little child happy and waiting to have fun again. So when you walk into the Pinball Museum, you’ll want to let your inner child run wild. Once started as a small pinball collection by two people, their love of pinball machines has never tired, and now they have grown their collection into a museum that takes up an entire building.
A ticket for the museum costs $15, but once you’re in, all of the pinball machines are entirely free to play, and they’re in top working condition. You’ll notice that the pinball machines are old as some of them are from the 1960s.
7. Olympics Hot Springs in Washington
Hot Springs are rare in this country, and hot springs that you can take a dip in are practically non-existent. Take advantage of the Olympic hot springs in Washington and let the warm water relax your muscles and breathe into your new life. Visitors are free to dip into the hot springs, which is a welcome relief from the many harsh and treacherous trails around the area.
The hot springs themselves not hard to access. So consider bringing some of your elderly family members along. There are 21 heated spring pools, and the area is cleaned and maintained by volunteers. So, pick up your trash and kindly treat the nature around the city.
6. Thor’s Well in Yachats, Oregon
Thor’s Well is appropriately named. When you approach this dangerous sinkhole in the middle of the Oregon coast, you can feel its power and might. No matter how much water the ocean drops into it, Thor’s Well never seems to fill. Its eternal nature has given it the secondary nickname the Drainpipe of the Pacific.
If you want to see its mighty power, come at high tide. But if you want the peer into the Well without being killed, then the low tide is your safest option. When you are close to the Well, watch out for rogue waves that can come from inside it. These waves are known to push visitors down and cause injury and bleeding.
5. The Witches’ Castle in Portland, Oregon
Built around the 1850s, the Witch’s Castle of Oregon is a surprise to both locals and tourists who learn about it. Witches are generally thought to be more of a 13 colonies type of subject. No one expects a building built in honor of witches to be found next to Portland.
One tale about this building and the land around it is that the owner’s daughter and his architect fell in love and ran away to Portland. The girl’s father was enraged, and when the couple came back, he shot his architect in the face. Although the story has some exaggerations and just might be fake all together, it does raise the spooky factor of this building by about a hundred. Anyone can visit at any time, but it is surrounded by forest and woodlands, so you have to be careful. If you go in the summer, you might have some drunk teenagers hanging out there as well.
4. Lava Beds National Monument in Tulelake, California
Twenty minutes South from the Oregon border is a national park made famous by their lava pools and glowing rocks. There are more than 700 caves in the area, and you can explore them as long as the sun is out. Scientists estimate these caves were made no more than 65,000 years ago. You can even take your children as there are stairs and pathways constructed within the caves to make it safer for tourists. Scrawled on, some of the caves are the petroglyphs of the Native Americans who lived in this area before settlers came. They were known as the Modoc tribe.
3. The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California
If you want to stay more in the city when you hit Los Angeles, and you’re looking for great views and a world-class museum, then you have to visit the Griffith Observatory. One of my most popular areas in all of California, The Griffith, has been educating people astronomy in astronomy and cosmology while providing them with amazing views of the entire city for more than 100 years. On clear days, visitors can see the bright blue Pacific Ocean. Once you’re done admiring the view, go into the Griffith Observatory and learn about all about the wonders of our universe and the beauty of our sky.
2. Papakōlea Beach – The Island of Naalehu, Hawaii
Space travel won’t be available for a few hundred years but one trip to this emerald-colored beach, and you’ll swear you’re on another planet. This beach is one of the only beaches with green sand in the entire world, and the long and energy-consuming journey visitors must make to get to it just adds to its beauty when they finally see it. To access the beach, visitors must hike over four miles in a single direction. If you decide to visit this unique beach, make sure to bring plenty of food and water because there’s nothing out there except nature and the ocean.
1. The Dole Plantation Maze in Wahiawa, Hawaii
When you become tired of the beach, the surf, and the sun, you can get lost for hours in a pineapple-shaped maze at the Dole pineapple plantation. This fun park is filled with pineapple related activities like a garden tour, a pineapple grill, and you can even take a train around the entire park. But the maze is the most essential and popular part of the park. The Guinness Book World of Records recorded the pineapple maze on the plantation as the world’s most giant maze. The entire park itself is the second most popular attraction on all of Oahu.
This list is just a tiny drop in the vast ocean of beautiful sites that you can see all over the West Coast. If you don’t have a lot of gas money, don’t be discouraged. Many places around big cities are accessible by bus or Metrolink train. Take a friend, and you could split an Uber as well. Just make sure to wear sunblock wherever you go!
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