From California to British Columbia, these are the 10 best West Coast getaways.

The Pacific Coast, stretching approximately 1,500 miles from the Mexico border to Canada’s Vancouver, is known for its dramatic scenery and relatively undeveloped coastline. Towering coastal headlands, jagged sea stacks, windswept beaches, and bustling marinas are just a few of the attractions that draw visitors to this stunning region.

Unlike other coastal regions, the Pacific Coast has remained less developed due to its challenging topography. The rugged, rocky landscape, dense forests, and massive waves make it North America’s wild coast. However, beyond Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll find peaceful seaside villages with low-rise buildings and minimal traffic.

The Pacific Coast is a haven for adventure seekers, offering activities such as vertiginous hikes and sea-kayaking excursions. The towns along the coast are known for their boutique hotels and romantic inns with breathtaking views, sophisticated bistros and wine bars showcasing regionally sourced ingredients, and chic shops and galleries selling seascape paintings, art glass, ceramics, and sportswear.

Here are ten gems along the Pacific Coast that are close enough to major cities or airports for a long weekend getaway, yet small enough to provide peace and quiet:

Astoria, Oregon:
Situated on the Columbia River, Astoria has a rich history as the endpoint of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the first permanent American settlement west of the Rockies. Today, it boasts a walkable downtown with Victorian buildings housing hipster coffeehouses, bakeries, seafood restaurants, and craft cocktail bars. Outdoor activities include tidepooling, beachcombing, and visiting nearby Cape Disappointment State Park and Cannon Beach.

Cambria, California:
Located on Highway 1, Cambria is a beautiful town with independently owned beachfront hotels and a laid-back downtown. It serves as a great base for visiting Hearst Castle, nearby wineries, and the iconic Big Sur stretch of Highway 1. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore Pacific Valley Bluff, San Carpoforo Creek, and Pfeiffer Falls.

Half Moon Bay, California:
Just 40 miles from San Francisco and the Silicon Valley, Half Moon Bay offers stunning wind-swept beaches and coastal bluffs. Visitors can stroll along the beaches, rent kayaks for paddleboarding, or explore the charming downtown area.

La Push, Washington:
Located on the Olympic Peninsula, La Push is a remote coastal village surrounded by stunning scenery. It is known for its beautiful beaches, including First Beach, Second Beach, and Third Beach. Outdoor activities include hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Mendocino, California:
Nestled on a rocky headland, Mendocino is a picturesque town with Victorian architecture and stunning coastal views. Visitors can explore the unique shops and galleries, hike along the rugged coastline, or visit nearby state parks and wineries.

Newport, Oregon:
Situated on the central Oregon coast, Newport is known for its historic waterfront, bustling marina, and Yaquina Bay Bridge. Outdoor activities include visiting the Oregon Coast Aquarium, exploring Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, and whale-watching.

Oceanside, California:
Located in San Diego County, Oceanside offers a laid-back beach town atmosphere with a vibrant downtown area. Visitors can enjoy the wide sandy beaches, visit the California Surf Museum, or take a stroll along the Oceanside Pier.

Port Townsend, Washington:
Situated on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend is known for its well-preserved Victorian architecture and maritime heritage. Visitors can explore the charming downtown area, visit historic forts, or take a scenic ferry ride to nearby islands.

Seaside, Oregon:
Located on the northern Oregon coast, Seaside is a popular beach town with a lively boardwalk, arcades, and shops. Visitors can enjoy the sandy beaches, visit the Seaside Aquarium, or explore nearby state parks.

Westport, Washington:
Situated on the central Washington coast, Westport is a fishing village known for its bustling marina and surf-friendly beaches. Visitors can go fishing, take a charter boat tour, or explore nearby Grays Harbor Lighthouse.

These ten gems along the Pacific Coast offer a mix of stunning scenery, outdoor activities, and charming coastal towns. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, there is something for everyone along this rugged and undeveloped coastline.

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