Luxury ranches, coastal canyons, scenic views, and more are waiting for you on the American West Coast. Come experience the real California, Oregon, and Washington State.
Auberge du Soleil
SEE: The scenic drives and stops are the thing, whether you’re peering at the tall trees of the Redwood National and State Parks (nps.gov/redw/) or camping out in the Mendocino National Forest (fs.usda.gov/Mendocino).
DO: One can cross it in a variety of ways, or simply marvel from one of the nearby overlooks, but the Golden Gate Bridge is a must in San Francisco. And don’t miss out on its namesake urban playground, Golden Gate Park, for outdoor fun, bites, and various tours.
EAT: Go gourmet in Sonoma County at one of its finest restaurants, Folktable, which serves up delectable dishes for carnivores, vegans, and vegetarians with ingredients sourced from neighboring farms. And for dessert? Sips from all the other nearby wineries, of course. folktable.com.
STAY: The best way to do Napa Valley is to have a place close by to rest your head. One of the best in the area is Auberge du Soleil, with options ranging from a simple, classic room to a private maison. aubergeresorts.com.
DAY TRIP: You can take epic hikes among Redwoods at the Muir Woods National Monument. There are six miles of trails with loops for short and longer hikes. nps.gov/muwo.
Palm Spring's Ace Hotel & Swim Club
SEE: It’s called “the Pink Moment.” You can witness it throughout the Ojai Valley, at the moment when the sun goes down and briefly shades the Topatopa bluffs with a brilliant pink hue. Meditate, take pics, or just stare. It’s even better when you’re dining, hiking, or wrapping up a day at one of Ojai’s many spa resorts.
DO: The extremes in California’s National Parks are remarkable, from the dramatic canyons and giant trees of Sequoia & King’s Canyon (nps.gov/seki) to the “hottest, driest, and lowest” of the parks, Death Valley (nps.gov/deva).
EAT: Saddle Peak Lodge (saddlepeaklodge.com) in Calabasas has been operating for more than a century, with its unique combo of hunting retreat décor, breathtaking views from Malibu’s mountains, and elevated gourmet dishes.
STAY: There’s no more relaxing and rejuvenating destination town in California than Palm Springs, where the vibes are laid-back and colorful. Many opt to choose a rental house to enjoy the mountain views and take meditative day trips into the Coachella Valley or Joshua Tree National Park, but the hotel options in the area won’t disappoint either. Palm Spring’s Ace Hotel & Swim Club (acehotel.com/palm-springs/) is a favorite for the good-times set.
DAY TRIP: Western history enthusiasts can take different approaches to exploration, including the cultural and historical exhibits at Griffith Park’s Autry Museum of the American West (theautry.org); and the childlike thrills of walking around the storied western movie set that is Pioneertown (visitpioneertown.com).
Post Ranch Inn
SEE: The view from Mt. Whitney is unparalleled, as it is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states. You can hike up the Whitney Trail to see for yourself (permit info at recreation.gov) if you have some time and are up for a fitness challenge, or you can trek along any other stretch of the John Muir Trail, which runs from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney. pcta.org/discover-the-trail/john-muir-trail.
EAT: Try the Ambrosiaburger — a crowd-favorite ground steak sandwich — at Nepenthe, a Big Sur restaurant that’s been around since 1949. nepenthe.com.
STAY: Staying on the Big Sur stretch of coast feels like a dramatic escape. You’re surrounded by breathtaking natural views — of coastline, of woods, of mountains. Alila Ventana Big Sur (ventanabigsur.com) is one of several resorts offering all of the above and more.
DAY TRIP: Spend a day taking in the ambience and coastal whimsy of Cannery Row on Monterey Bay. Prepare for the jaunt by reading a little Steinbeck. canneryrow.com.
Crater Lake National Park Lodge
SEE: Northeast Oregon — part of the Nez Perce’s ancestral homeland — offers an unforgettable driving experience thanks to Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, a horseshoe route that accesses America’s deepest river gorge (Hells Canyon) and the glorious Wallowa Mountains. traveloregon.com.
DO: The Oregon Coast Trail (stateparks.oregon.gov) passes through 28 coastal towns — think more than 350 miles of beaches and wooded corridors. If you stop anywhere along the way for an extended period of time, make it Cannon Beach (cannonbeach.org), a hub of waterfront activities and home to the iconic Haystack Rock.
EAT: Western-style dining in Pendleton (a must-visit town) has a home at Hamley Steakhouse (hamley.com). If you are in Portland, grab a cup at the only Native-owned cafe in the city, Bison Coffeehouse (bisoncoffeehouse.com). And locally-sourced meats and ingredients are the thing at Bend’s historic eatery Pine Tavern, which has a Ponderosa pine tree growing inside the dining area (pinetavern.com).
DAY TRIP: On Oregon’s Northern edge lie both Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, with extreme highs and lows. Play and relax in the Hood River Valley, or take the Infinity Loop Route to see a little bit of everything. hood-gorge.com.
SEE: Glacier-capped mountains, rainforests, and coastline all come together in the Olympic National Park (nps.gov/olym) on the northwestern Olympic Peninsula, where you can climb, fish, hike, and view wildlife. Closer to Seattle, there’s also the picturesque active volcano, Mount Rainier (nps.gov/mora), and its namesake National Park.
DO: Seattle is the natural choice for a multitude of options, but you shouldn’t miss the glory of Pike Place Market, the bustling Pioneer Square, or the Chihuly Garden and Glass next to the Space Needle. visitseattle.org.
EAT: Yakima Nation member Jenny Slagle has won fanfare and acclaim in Spokane for Indigenous Eats (iespokane.com), which lets diners customize fry-bread taco creations to their liking.
STAY: The 268-foot waterfall Snoqualmie Falls is one of the most beautiful spots in the state, but why make a quick visit when you can stay nearby and spa to your heart’s content? Salish Lodge & Spa is the perfect landing point. salishlodge.com, snoqualmiefalls.com.
DAY TRIP: An aimless day on the long, skinny Lake Chelan in central Washington will be of special interest to wine enthusiasts. There are more than 30 wineries for tours and tastings in the area. lakechelan.com.