There's a reason they say 'West is best'...
Nothing says "my life is a movie" more than embarking on a classic American road trip, especially if you're taking the West Coast route. From California's sundrenched coastline to the all-night parties in Vegas, the perpetually green forests of the Pacific Northwest to the Mars-like landscapes of Utah, and some of the country's most iconic national parks, the US has no shortage of incredible drives. Throw in some funky roadside stops, quaint restaurants with classic American fare and, of course, an epic playlist, and you've got a road trip for the ages. So buckle up and get ready to explore the best of the West.
Our West Coast Road Trips & Tours
Highlights of the West Coast
West Coast tour reviews
West Coast FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
The answer is maybe – depending on where you’re from. Many countries now operate under the United States Visa Waiver Program, meaning a visa isn't required for stays of up to 90 days for travel purposes. There are 40 participating countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Spain.
If you are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, you will need to obtain an authorization letter that confirms you have been approved to travel. Authorisation letters can be obtained by submitting an application through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, also known as ESTA. It takes roughly 20 minutes to apply, and you'll need to complete the application before you travel to the States.
Tipping is very much a part of the culture in the US. Tips are expected at restaurants, cafes and diners, as well as by taxi drivers, valet attendants, porters and hotel maids. People working in the service industry generally receive the minimum wage, which is quite low and therefore rely upon tips as a major source of their income. In general, leave 15-20% of the bill at restaurants or bars and a few dollars for hotel staff who provide a personal service like carrying bags or cleaning your room.
Internet access is excellent in the US, and internet cafes and Wi-Fi hot spots are easily found in most cities and major towns.
Mobile phone coverage is excellent in most parts of the US, although coverage may be patchy in remote, mountainous areas like national parks and canyons. Ensure global roaming is activated before you arrive.
Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveller. Trips to the United States directly support our foundation partners, the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance (CHEA) and the Grand Canyon Conservancy.
Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance (CHEA) create inclusive, equitable opportunities for small Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) tourism businesses in the USA. Donations from our trips help CHEA provide access to industry-specific technical assistance, capacity building, and industry networks for small BIPOC travel and tourism businesses through their Diversity Tourism Academy (DTA).
The Grand Canyon Conservancy is on a mission to protect the Grand Canyon National Park for future generations. With almost 6 million visitors to the park annually, the Grand Canyon Conservancy runs educational programs and immersive experiences that teach people about the park's cultural and environmental significance. Donations from our trips support trail restoration and maintenance, conservation and preservation of native vegetation and wildlife, and educational programs.
Being such a large country, the weather in the US is different depending on which area you are in. This means that it’s always a good time to visit, as the sun is always shining somewhere in the United States. Summer (June to August) is the peak travel season due to school holidays, but it can be uncomfortably hot in the desert areas and the south. Winter can be cold in the northern states but quiet in other areas, which can make it a pleasant time to visit.