Our Epic West Coast Family Road Trip

We’ve done a cross-country family road trip or two (or three) in our time but this west coast road trip in 2013 is by far the most epic. We crossed several things off of our west coast bucket list.


An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.


A ridiculously awesome road trip


The full trip is mapped out below. More than two weeks on the road and only 1 night in a hotel! Read this post to find out how we did it. In this post I’m going to round up the highlights.


An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.


Camping in Northern California


Camping among these epic trees was … well, epic. If you ever get the chance to visit the redwoods, don’t miss it.


An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.


Visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium


And revisiting our old stomping grounds around the Monterey area. There are lots of free things to do in Monterey but we had the aquarium in our sights. We used to visit all the time when we lived in Monterey. In this post I share my insider tips.


An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.


Embracing our Inner Tourist at the Grand Canyon


YOLO and all that. :D Seriously, don’t come home with the same picture everyone else has. Make a memorable memory. The best road trips involve a balance of beautiful and silly pictures.


An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.


Discovering an Ancient Meteor Crater


Best accidental find ever. With all my research looking for road trip ideas you’d think I’d have come across this sooner. This whole section of Arizona is amazing. Painted deserts, giant canyons, petrified forests, ancient craters. Trust me, not all deserts are created equally and Arizona is where it’s at (we once lived in Tucson for a year).


An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.



Good Old Fashioned Graffiti


Turns out, it takes some actual skill to make Cadillac Ranch look good. This iconic road side attraction is neat but doesn’t quite live up to the hype. But, hey, great family road trips are made up of the good and the bad, amirite?


An awesome west coast (ish) road trip.


It takes a lot of planning to pull off an epic road trip on a budget but it’s worth every minute.

Have you visited any of these places? What’s your favorite road trip memory?

Looking for US road trip inspiration?





  1. Ooh, I’ve check out several of these posts. Truly an awesome trip. We’re getting ready for an epic trip ourselves… but we shan’t be seeing a Cadillac graveyard…

  2. Wow – now that is quite a road trip. Have read a lot about some of these places on your blog. Love them all.

  3. Awesome post, I love how there are so many places to see. Great road trip!

  4. Lots of great places to see there! The west coast is the best :)

  5. I have yet to go to Cadillac Ranch…but I will. I will.

  6. Sounds like an awesome road trip and one I’d definitely like to take but ending in San Fransisco!

  7. Wow! that’s an epic road trip.

  8. West coast is the best coast ;-) But geez seriously – this really was an epic road trip! That must have took a LOT of planning.

    • Later I’ll do a post about the planning. It was a lot to sort out because we only spent 1 night in a hotel. All the other nights were camping or basically couch surfing.

  9. What a cool road trip! I’ve always wanted to go on a cross country road trip. I have this huge dream of refurbishing a vintage camper and taking it to CA and back. One day!! :D

    • We’ve done it three times when relocating. The first two times we were on a budget and in a hurry and we just sped across the country with no real plan. This time I decided we were going to have some adventures, gosh darnit! Lol.

  10. Looks like a crazy road trip! I’d love to take a trip like that with the family, so much adventure around every corner!

  11. This one seems like a terribly long road trip! And that takes some doing! Wow!

  12. That’s one epic roadtrip! I’ve only done the West Coast, but would love to drive coast to coast.

  13. Allison Fun Family Vacations says:

    Thanks for sharing! These are great tips. I really want to take the kids to see the Redwoods. Been to Monterey Bay without kids, time to rethink another trip!

  14. Looks like a fantastic trip. I wish we had time to do the same sort of trip.

  15. We are the proud owners of an old RV too, but that poor thing can’t drive more than a few miles. We use it mostly for our kitesurfing weekend in the San Francisco Delta. But I LOVE it! Our next upgrade will definitely be a full running one, for longer road trips.


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