Plan a Road Trip with a Unique West Coast Itinerary

24 July 2015

Pack your bags, curate your perfect playlist, and get comfortable - it’s time for an off the beaten path adventure down the West Coast. There are many iconic landmarks throughout Washington, Oregon and California that are certainly worth visiting, but we want to help you explore areas and activities that you may not be familiar with through our unique west coast itinerary.

1.  Seattle, Washington

When visiting the Evergreen State, you’d be amiss if you didn’t start your morning exploring the bustling and vibrant Pike Place Market in Seattle. But if you want to stray from the conventional tourist path, skip the coffee shops and make it a goal to leave your mark on the Post Alley Gum Wall—literally. The 15 foot high and 50 foot long colorful wall is a local landmark in Post Alley that is filled with years’ worth of chewing gum.

Find a slew of fun souvenirs for your friends back home when you stop by Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. Established in 1899 by J. E. Standley, the shop continues to delight visitors and locals alike to this day. Ogle the four legged hen, imitation shrunken heads, mysterious “mermaid” creature, and Ewe Too, the shop’s two-headed lamb.

After a full day of sightseeing, settle into bed with a good book from our Read It & Return Lending LibrarySM at Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Bothell, WA.

2.  Portland, Oregon

After your stop in Seattle, it’s time to hit the road and have some serious fun in Portland. The city has gained a reputation for being eccentric (especially with the unofficial slogan, “Keep Portland Weird”), and it’s no wonder with some of the odder destinations and activities that tourists can enjoy.

See if you can manage a hole in one at Glowing Greens Mini Golf, an indoor putt-putt course that’s lit up with blacklights, lasers and 3D displays. For laughs, visit Mill Ends Park, the world’s smallest park at 452 square inches. The “park” has featured strange items in the past, including a swimming pool designed for butterflies and a miniature Ferris wheel.

Portland’s FreakyButTrue Peculiarium and Museum is a must for anyone who’s looking for a different type of vacation experience. Filled with interactive displays, unusual art, and off-the-wall novelties, the shop also doubles as an ice cream parlor with real bug larvae toppings available if your stomach is feeling brave enough!

Take a break from the weird and extraordinary by enjoying a relaxing dip in the indoor heated swimming pool or hot tub at Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, Portland Airport, OR.

3.  San Francisco, California

The long drive to the Bay Area might test your patience, but we promise it’s worth it. San Francisco is known for its steep hills, rolling fog, charming architecture, and delicious variety of cuisines. While many tourists crowd up typical landmarks like Fisherman’s Wharf or Alcatraz Island, it’s the city’s hidden gems that will provide you a truly unforgettable San Franciscan experience.

Bring out your inner child with a visit to Seward Mini Park, where adults and kids alike enjoy the thrilling but steep ride down the park’s concrete slides. Next, travel to Bush Street to visit the Audium, a one-of-a-kind theater that explores the phenomenon of complex music composition through its 176 speakers. The catch? The audience listens in complete darkness. The Audium has been described as a uniquely surreal experience that combines art and technology.

Emerge from the darkness and onto Balmy Alley in The Mission District of the city, an area that boasts the most concentrated collection of colorful and creative street murals. Swing by the Precita Eyes Muralists Center to pick up a map so you won’t miss any of the pieces along your stroll. It’s a fun and free activity that everyone can enjoy.

Be sure to fuel your morning the next day with a complimentary hot Be Our Guest Breakfast buffet at Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, San Carlos, CA before winding down your road trip.

What unique West Coast attractions are you excited to experience? Let us know in the comments section below!

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