I didn’t know what I was searching for when Andrew and I decided to quit our jobs and embark on a month and a half long road trip, but I do now what I found. A new sense of freedom in taking charge of getting rid of the things that brought me down and filling my life with my passions for adventure and writing. I was tired of looking at the pictures of people living their lives…I wanted to be the one out there having experiences that I would remember forever. If you are like me and traveling makes you more than happy, make it happen for yourself! I hope this epic road trip itinerary will inspire you to make a positive change in your life whether it be hitting the road or taking a night off to visit one of these amazing destinations:
The Beginning- United States
What to Do: Soak up the California sunshine at one of the many beaches on your drive along the coast. PCH is one drive that you can actually enjoy with stunning views along the way including the famous Bixby Bridge. Big Sur is one of my favorite places to camp and I have so many great memories from this incredible city.
Travel Time from L.A: 7 hours
What to Do: Santa Cruz is such a beautiful gem of California. Walk along some of the tallest trees in the world or check of the local’s favorite, the Garden of Eden. Some other options are to visit the Boardwalk that has a rollercoaster from the 1920’s or see the famous Mystery Spot, an illusion of gravity.
Travel Time from Big Sur: 2 hours
What to Do: You can’t have a road trip through California without stopping to see this famous city. There is plenty to do in San Francisco such as grabbing a delicious meal from Fisherman’s Wharf or near Dolores Park, walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, or visiting the old prison Alcatraz.
Travel Time from Santa Cruz: 2 hours `
What to Do: This interesting hippy-town is full of healing waters and good vibes. Take a night to camp along Mt. Shasta and to visit the headwaters in town for some of the cleanest drinking water straight from the source. This is a great place to get away from crowds of people and to enjoy the outdoors.
Where We Camped: Panther Meadows
Travel Time from Mt. Shasta: 6 hours
Crater Lake National Park
What to Do: Make sure to visit this incredible national park. It is home to the deepest lake in the U.S. and over 170,000 acres of forest. This will be a great way to be able to experience more of Oregon’s beauty.
Travel Time from Mt. Shasta: 2 hours
What to Do: If you are an outdoor or donut enthusiast, Portland is the place for you. There is endless things to do here including visiting the ginormous Powell’s City of Books, hiking to the “Witches Castle”, or driving a little out of town to see the famous and beautiful Multnomah Falls.
Travel Time from Crater Lake: 4 hours
The Middle- Canada:
What to Do: Vancouver is an amazing city with endless possibilities of things to do with your day. Some of my favorite things to do were riding bikes through the Seawall and Stanley Park, having a picnic at English Bay, and ending the night with a drink in the trendy district of Gastown.
Travel Time from Portland: 6 hours
Glacier National Park (Canada)
What to Do: Honestly, at first I did not think much of this post because there is not a lot of information about it in the Pinterest-sphere. However, it turned out to be one of my favorite national parks in Canada! Go on one of the many scenic hikes and enjoy the peace and quiet from Loop Brook Campground (get site #17 it was seriously amazing).
Where We Camped: Loop Brook Campground Site #17 (best campsite ever seriously!)
Travel Time from Vancouver: 8 hours
Yoho National Park
What to Do: Yoho National Park has many natural gems such as the picturesque Emerald Lake and the stunning Natural Bridge. The park also offers many options for hiking and spots for great photos.
Where We Camped: Monarch Campground Site #31
Travel Time from Glacier National Park: 1 hour 30 minutes
Kootenay National Park
What to Do: Kootenay National Park is the best park to visit if you are looking for incredible hikes without the crowds. From detailed canyons to hidden lakes, this park should not be overlooked when planning a visit to the Canadian Rockies.
Where We Camped: McLeoud Campground D4
Travel Time from Yoho National Park: 1 hour
Banff National Park
What to Do: Banff National Park is one of the most visited parks in the Canadian Rockies…but for a good reason. Natural beauties like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Johnston Canyon are some of the most beautiful things you will see on this road trip. However, be warned that this is most crowded park during its peak season in the summer.
Where We Camped: Johnston Canyon and Two Jack Main Campgrounds
Travel Time from Kootenay National Park: 1 hour
Jasper National Park
What to Do: From relaxing hot springs to incredible views of glaciers, this national park is a photographer’s dream. This park is also great for seeing wildlife, going on breathtaking hikes like the Valley of Five Lakes, and viewing stunning natural beauty of the outdoors.
Where We Camped: Pocahontas and Wapiti Campgrounds
Travel Time from Banff National Park: 4 hours
What to Do: Take a day or so to stop in this beautiful Alberta town. This was a great rest day for us where we got to enjoy some amazing food (mac and cheese burgers?!).
Travel Time from Jasper National Park: 3 hours
Waterton Lakes National Park
What to Do: Get ready to say goodbye to Canada by enjoying the amazing sunsets at Wateron Lakes National Park. Although there wasn’t a lot of great options for hiking, it is still a very relaxing way to end our Canadian adventure. There was also a bear sighting at our campground!
Where We Camped: Belly River Campground Site #20
Travel Time from Calgary: 3 hours
The End?- United States
Glacier National Park
What to Do: I have to say out of all the parks on the trip, Glacier has to be my favorite that we visited. Glacier has many hiking trails that led to the most rewarding spots such as waterfalls and amazing overlooks. On some of our hikes, we saw mountain goats, a bald eagle, and a lot of different wildlife! Going the Sun Road is gorgeous scenic drive and has many places to pull over and enjoy the park.(Pssst… don’t miss out on the sunset from Lake McDonald…just wow.)
Where We Camped: Avalanche Site #A38 & Aspar Campground Loop #C
Travel Time from Waterton Lakes National Park: 2 hours
Yellowstone National Park
What to Do: Yellowstone is one of the more popular parks in the U.S, and for a good reason. This 3,472 square mile park is full of things to see including the famous Old Faithful Geyser, the Grand Prismatic Hot Spring, and my personal favorite, the ability to see a incredible amount of bison along the road.
Where We Camped: Indian Creek Site #30, Lewis Lake Site #C26
Travel Time from Glacier National Park: 8 hours
Grand Teton National Park
What to Do: A lesser-known beauty compared to the other Wyoming park Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park has breathtaking landscapes without the crowd. Enjoy the golden hours of the park from Signal Mountain or Landing to see breathtaking views of the Tetons. We saw incredible lily pad filled lakes and diverse wildlife such as giant moose and black bears.
Where We Camped: Jenny Lake Campground
Travel Time from Yellowstone National Park: 1 hour
From Grand Teton we made the long 15 hour drive back home to California. I wasn’t ready to head home yet but I knew this was not going to be the end of our adventures. There is something just very freeing about only having a select few belongings and taking off on the road, especially when your camping. Life doesn’t have to be so serious all the time, take the time to enjoy the simple things that you love. Even if you don’t want to plan a road trip this grand. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to have an adventure…it can be right in your backyard!
I would love to hear your about some of your favorite road trips or let me know if you have visited any of these places in the comments below!
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