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California Calling… Why the West Coast has it all

Published January 25th, 2019

Always dreamed of the ultimate all-American road trip? Fancy yourself a more laid back, alternative-loving West Coast kinda person? Why not (legitimately) hitch a ride across the Golden State in style with a Busabout USA Hop-On Hop-Off pass across California. Plus, with the added bonus onboard guides, you’ll never miss a beat. Thumbs out for Busabout!

The West Coast loop has all the big stops. You’ve got as long as 3 months to independently tour San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, South Lake Tahoe, Mammoth Lakes and pop over the border of Nevada to Las Vegas. Let your free-wheeling California attitude be your inner compass as you decide how long you’ll stay in each locale and when to hitch a ride onto the next stop!

There’s something for everyone on the West Coast. From it’s vibrant foodie scene that rivals the East Coast, to it’s hip-to-be-cool arts and culture movement. Then there’s incredible landscapes to hike, ski, surf, kayak and more.

Here’s our pick of epic places to see and things to do in California.


Los Angeles

Home to Hollywood and big dreams, the City of Angels is romanticised in films as a place to find fame and fortune—a land of opportunity and a place to reinvent oneself under the sunny glow of the almost year-round good weather.

It’s also a great place to eat. Let your appetite guide you through LA—from hip and healthy eateries to strip mall restaurants covering every cuisine known to man, to tracking down the city’s best food trucks for the best tacos outside of Mexico.

Take one the many themed celebrity-spotting tour buses around Hollywood to see famous landmarks and be regaled with stories of the rich and sometimes infamous! See the Hollywood Sign, scope your fave actors on the Walk of Fame, have a cocktail in the swanky bowling alley at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Want a better view of that classic Hollywood vista? Head up Runyon Canyon for your chance to power-walk with the celebs (and the instagram fitness crowd).

Planning to stay in LA a while? Find a neighbourhood that compliments your vibe and get familiar with your local coffee shop - ask the locals for their favourite places to hang and you’ll be feeling like a real ‘Angeleno’ in no time.
 

Escape to Nature

The West Coast is home to some of the USA’s most magnificent National Parks. Keen hikers can spend days traipsing through Yosemite National Park checking out mighty cliffs and chasing epic waterfalls. In South Lake Tahoe, get ready for watersports on the largest alpine lake in the world. This truly is nature’s playground! Mountain lovers rejoice in Mammoth Lakes—a chance to hike and bike one day then sink into a secluded natural hot spring the next.
 

San Francisco

Head to the home of Hippie Culture. San Francisco is an eclectic city with a totally unique vibe. Haight Ashbury has you covered for all things vintage, arty and hipster. Hang out in the Mission District for authentic Mexican food and a great Latino vibe. Pastry lovers get their fix at Tartine Manufactory. As for coffee, you’re in good hands with small batch roasters popping up all over the place.

You’d be remiss not to step foot on Alcatraz. The San Francisco Bay federal penitentiary that was once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals including Al “Scarface” Capone, the ‘Rock’ has many a story to tell.

There’s a few vantage points to get the most impressive vantage point of San Fran’s Golden Gate Bridge, a local’s tip is to take a picnic by the water Crissy Field—rent a bike from Fisherman’s Wharf, cycle to the field then cross over the bridge and back for the thrill of it.
 

Las Vegas

Take a giant gulp of Sin City—from the flashing neon lights to the pool parties, Las Vegas is a sight to behold. Sit back and enjoy the show around you, or get up on stage and take part in the main act. Check out the glitz and glamour of the fancy hotels and casinos, the famous Bellagio fountain displays and the endless choice of restaurants and bars to get your fill.
 

San Diego

Often the missing leg for many California itineraries, there’s a whole lot you don’t want to miss out in San Diego. Aside from iconic beaches with epic waves, the world famous San Diego Zoo, the nightlife in Gaslamp Quarter and the bunches of great art galleries and museums—there’s this certain laid back vibe here that’s quintessentially californian.

Not just the destination…

It’s about the journey too. With Busabout you can gaze out the window and take it all in, instead of trying to remember to stay driving on the other side of the road while trying not to get lost. So much more relaxing. Driving through Death Valley enroute to Las Vegas is probably the closest feeling you’ll ever have to being in outer space—the barren landscapes are awe-inspiring and the expanse mind-blowing.

Rachel Surgeoner

A self-confessed 'food-tourist', I take hunting for the world's greatest sandwich very seriously, my quest has taken me from Berlin to Hoboken. Stopping off only for vintage shopping, craft beers and Mediterranean sunsets.