Travel With Bender

Uncovering the best family holidays

Five US West Coast Gems

Guest post by
Erin proudly presents...

We've done several States on the West Coast of USA with several more to follow on our June roadtrip, but we haven't seen any of these. Thanks for the tips, Toby!

From Washington to California, the west coast of the United States has multiple attractions for visitors. These points of interest include historical attractions, theme parks, museums, botanical gardens and zoos. Here is a sampling of five gems that can be enjoyed by year-round by families, travellers, and tourists exploring the Pacific Coast. 

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco has so much to offer and when visiting, a must-see is the Golden Gate Bridge. A 90 minute boat tour takes in the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge, the spectacular San Francisco skyline, the Marin Headlands, and the infamous island prison, Alcatraz. Using a Red and White Fleet Discount will reduce the price, making it a viable option for even larger families. Information about the iconic structures and Alcatraz’s history is provided on multilingual radios, though it is important to check, as this might not be an ideal activity for younger children.

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Hollywood Bowl

This fabulous amphitheatre hosts musical performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a variety of stellar acts that includes classical music, jazz and Broadway music. Children can enjoy a daytime treat in this classic Southern California venue, perhaps catching Bugs Bunny with the orchestra or, for six weeks through the summer, taking part in the performing arts festival for children held each weekday morning. Make life easy and arrive in comfort with no worries about parking by taking the Metro and the Bowl Shuttle. Alternatively Park & Ride or spend a little extra for Donor Valet parking.

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Safari West

Visit the Serengeti in California. Safari West offers day tours driving over rough terrain to see big game – safely. The guides here make sure all visitors have a great time and the option to take in a wine adventure makes this place fantastic for girls’ nights, or a romantic and adventurous date. Seeing wild animals at night when nocturnal creatures come alive is a totally different experience to a daytime tour. It’s not all rough and rugged. For guests staying overnight, there are luxury safari tents assembled on hardwood floors, comfortable beds with electric blankets to counter evening chill and of course, bathrooms and private viewing decks.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Make a trip to Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland, Oregon. Whatever the time of the year, there is always something in bloom. The architecture and symbolism important in Chinese culture is eye-catching and unlike adventure parks where the response is a scream, here the tranquillity exudes a sense of calm and relaxation for visitors, even in the heart of downtown Portland. Evening events vary and include regular activities such as Dr. Jiyu Yang’s demonstrations on poetry, art and calligraphy or special events such as musical performances, tea-tasting, tai chi and mahjong.

Museum of Glass

For a museum with a difference, visit the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. Permanent exhibitions of contemporary glass are incredible and the opportunity to see glass-blowing live will bring new appreciation and respect for the art. It will be hard to convince those at home of the existence of the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, though you can take a photo of this 500-foot-long bridge that serves as a pedestrian overpass linking the museum to downtown Tacoma. Tactile and visual pieces of glass take incredible forms, leading visitors through an experience that is more wonderland than museum.

Toby Hanson is a freelance writer with interest in saving money on big tourist attractions in the USA. He recently took a tour of the West Coast, soaking up the sun and exploring world-famous places like the Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood.

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