Pacific Coastal Highway Road Trip

It’s that time of year when the leaves begin to change and reveal a rainbow of colors throughout the PNW. It’s the perfect time for a road trip to see all the beautiful colors along the West Coast. The summer vacationers have gone home, kids are in school, and traffic has slowed down. We’ve got your itinerary planned all the way from Big Sur, California to Long Beach, WA. We’ve included things to do and see, places to eat and places to stay. As always, we hope you’ll stay with us at The Lamp Camp in Long Beach, Washington as you make your way up the coast. We’ll welcome you with arms wide open.

Big Sur to Fort Bragg

While we’re not sure where you’re starting on your trip up North, we wanted to start with a gorgeous town on the coast of California called Big Sur. We’re sure you’ve heard of it and it’s picturesque views; we encourage you to stop every time you see a place to pull over because whoever is in the driver’s seat won’t want to miss the views as he keeps his eyes on the winding roads along the cliffs.

Eat: Nepenthe is a restaurant that sits perfectly on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With a short menu, it is perfectly curated to cater to all diets in mind. While you’ll want to sit outside on the back deck, the inside of the restaurant was built with floor to ceiling windows showing off the spectacular views.

Stay: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park towers high above the Big Sur River Gorge, where the Big Sur River enters the park. With campsites along the river, you can fall asleep to the sound of nature or take advantage of the Big Sur Lodge located in the park.

Play: There is hiking galore in Big Sur and you can pick up a map of the area at a local general store. But, while you’re in Big Sur, you’ll want to be sure to check out McWay Falls. Follow this link to learn more about it and how to get there.

Fort Bragg to Crescent Bay

Next stop, is a town north of San Francisco where you can find towering redwoods of Russion Gulch State Park, the craggy bluffs of Glass Beach, the bustle of Noyo Harbor, and the winding path of the Coastal Trail. Filled with history, this town is one you’ll want to spend time exploring.

Eat: Stop by the North Coast Brewing Company where you can find them serving delicious and healthy fare and emphasizing the pairings of their award-winning beers with stone hearth cuisine.

Stay: Once upon a time MacKerricher State Park was part of the Mendocino Indian Reservation. Now it is home to beaches, bluffs, headlands, dunes, forests and wetlands. 

Play: Ever heard and seen of sea glass? You’re just in luck. Fort Bragg is home to Glass Beach where you can walk along the beach looking for sea glass to bring home. Make sure you stop along the way and take in the expansive Pacific Ocean.

Crescent City to Newport

Coming to the end of California, Crescent City is the last stop you’ll make before entering Oregon. Located on a beautiful crescent-shaped bay, the area offers an abundance of outdoor recreational activities utilizing the proximity of the Pacific Ocean, the Smith River and Klamath River, Redwood National and State Parks, and the Smith River National Recreation Area.

Eat: Watch sea lions play and lounge from the Chart Room. If you’re in the mood for some seafood this is the place to check out. Make sure you try the clam chowder – voted the best from the Reader’s Choice Awards.

Stay: At Ramblin’ Redwoods Campground, you’ll discover the incredible majesty of the forest. They offer a terrific camping combination for lovers of dramatic natural beauty — towering forests and miles of spectacular coastline, all in one grand location.

Play: Just a couple miles west of Crescent City, an unpaved stretch of Howland Hill Road offers motorists an intimate encounter with the towering old-growth redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The road includes numerous pull-outs and trailheads along the way. 

Newport to Long Beach

Newport, Oregon is located just south of Long Beach and is the perfect stop on your road-trip if you’re looking to stay on the coast. This scenic city is home to two lighthouses — including the tallest in Oregon — and beaches prime for spotting whales, bald eagles and agates in the sand.

Eat: There is no shortage of great food in Newport, whether you want a quick bite or enjoy a multi-course gourmet feast. However, we recommend Ove Northwest. The menu consists of New American cuisine that is vegetable forward, seafood focused in season, as local and sustainable as possible, and their dishes pull together international tastes that weave elements of one culture into the whole meal.

Stay: Stay at one of the many beach camping locations in Newport. South Beach State Park in particular offers YURTS (Year-round Universal Recreational Tents), guided hikes, rental bikes, and much much more.

Play: Looking to take nature in, in its raw form? Stop at Devil’s Punchbowl to admire how the ocean has carved a beautiful arch and hole into the coast. Or, head to Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area to look across the Pacific from the point and lighthouse.

Long Beach, Washington

As your road-trip comes to an end, you’ll wind up in Long Beach, Washington. Long Beach is home to six state parks and endless adventure. Here you will find clam digging, cranberry farms, and plenty of hiking. Plus an oceanside RV park and campground.

Eat: Take the hassle out of where and what to eat, and check out Long Beach Tavern. Located downtown, it is where you’ll find all the locals and tourists alike.

Stay: Got a tent? Or an RV? Come join us at The Lamp Camp, nestled between the coastal forest and the dunes of the Pacific. Come enjoy the world’s longest beach and explore all that the Long Beach Peninsula has to offer.

Play: If you’re lucky enough to join us in the fall after the back to school rush ends, Long Beach is bustling with all kinds of events. We have our clam digging dates set, a cranberry festival, and a wild mushroom celebration where you can learn to cook mushrooms and enjoy mushroom cuisine. 

PCH road trip… done! Driving the Pacific Coast Highway is a trip that’s definitely worth putting on your bucket list. As you plan your trip and stops, there are plenty of options – almost too many! However, keep in mind the length of your trip and how many days you’ll spend in each place and plan accordingly.


Seven Stop Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Our Seven Stop Pacific Northwest Road Trip incorporates must-see and unexpected Pacific Northwest  destinations. Planning your trip with will be such a breeze. 

  1. Yosemite National Park: Everyone can agree the Redwood Forest is a must-see, right? We think starting a PNW road trip around San Francisco gives you the full experience, Yosemite is just three hours east of San Francisco. The Mariposa Grove is Yosemite’s largest redwood forest, home to giant sequoias. 
  2. Crater Lake, Oregon: Known for having some of the purest water in the world. Crater Lake is famous for its clarity and bright blue color. Views are beyond breathtaking.  Be sure to stop at two of the most popular attractions, Phantom Ship Overlook and Pumice Castle Overlook.
  3. Bend, Oregon: There’s SO MUCH to do in this small town. Old Mill District, Bend Ale Trail, Roundabout Art Route Tour, jeep tours, helicopter tours. Theres’ also great restaurants and amazing views. Bend can cater to any kind of traveler, it’s a great place to stop on a PNW road trip. 
  4. John Day Fossil Beds National Monument: We think this stop is especially fun for geography and history buffs. John Day Fossil Beds are a fun stop to bring kids and take advantage of the learning opportunity. This National Park is also beautiful so charge the DSLR, you’ll be sorry you didn’t. 
  5. Long Beach, Washington: This town is truly a hidden gem. Home to the world’s longest beach. We stayed at The Lamp Camp and would recommend it to everyone! An amazing campground with amenities, right on the beach in the center of everything. Be sure to look into Camping at the Lamp at this stop. Once again, this town has something for every type of traveler. Long Beach is a little quirky and eclectic. There’s museums, golfing, pickleball, beach activities, great restaurants and breweries, live music and yoga. They really have it all. Our friends at The Lamp Camp shared some of their favorite spots in town to check out, you won’t be steered wrong. 
  6. Olympic National Park: This park has a ton to do! Wildlife viewing, day hikes, tide pooling, night sky programs, ranger led programs. Be sure to check outthe website to see all the things to do and important notes about closures. If you enjoy exploring the outdoors, you’re going to LOVE this park. 
  7. San Juan Islands: This stop is going to require the most planning, but it’s your final stop and it’s worth any trouble. Really though, the process is simple with a little coordination. You’re going to take a ferryfrom Anacortes, WA. San Juan offers whale tours, hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, spas, wineries, brewiries, great dining and events. Be sure to check out the Visit San Juan website to be sure you’re taking in everything the islands have to offer. 

We hope you enjoy this Road Trip we mapped out. Be sure to share with us by tagging @thelampcamp! 


Long Beach: Itinerary

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is LongBeach.jpg

Welcome to Long Beach, WA! Spend your stay with us visiting some of our favorite spots. We hope you love this town as much as we do! 

Whether you’re looking to walk the beaches Washington coast, to forage for tasty mushrooms, to dig for razor clams, check out some local music, or try some coastal cuisine, the peninsula has plenty of activities to offer.

When we aren’t at The Lamp Camp, you can generally find us biking the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail, hiking to one of the peninsula’s famous lighthouses, checking out some local music or playing pickleball down the street at The Lighthouse Resort.


  • Pizza – North Beach Tavern. They also have great live music
  • Burgers  – The Cove at the golf course has the best burger in town!
  • Sandwiches / Cheesesteaks – Surfer Sands bakes homemade bread daily. Enough said, right?
  • Ethnic Food – Malai Thai


The best breakfast comes off the grill at The Lamp Camp!



 North Jetty Brewing has great beer and they are friends of ours! 


Start writing or type / to choose a block


  • The Lewis and Clark Museum – Learn about westward journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. 
  • Marsh’s Free Museum is Long Beach staple has been around for 100+ years. They have taxidermies and oddities all over the walls, with souvenirs scattered throughout the store. We love it! Be sure to check out Jake the Alligator Man.
  • World Kite Museum – Home of the Washington State International Kite Festival | Aug. 19th – Aug. 25th


The peninsula has a wide range of events and festivals throughout the year. Here are a few of our favorites:List

We hope you enjoy some of our local favorites! For a comprehensive guide to the Long Beach Peninsula, check out the Long Beach Visitors Webpage.