Going on a road trip through America: a classic. A cliché. Call it what you will, but it’s something you have to do once in your life. This summer, we rented a car and travelled through the entire vast west of the USA – the huge cities and the small towns, the hot deserts and the greenest woods – a mesmerizing journey of some of the most diverse landscapes out there. Here’s what you can’t miss.
First stop – LA. The city of Angels. I’ve seen and heard so much about this city and how amazing it is. My first impression? Too big! I didn’t think I would say that since I’m a sucker for big cities, but I like being able to walk to places. LA means cars. Cars everywhere. You can literally not live without one here. Let’s put that aside, because even though you will be spending lots of time in a vehicle, it’s worth it when you reach your destination. My favourite spot was Venice Beach – such a tourist-like thing to say, but I only spent two days in LA, which left little time for exploration. On your next visit to Venice Beach, I highly recommend renting a bike for the day. Feeling the ocean breeze on my skin while biking to Santa Monica Pier made me feel so calm.
Where to eat: check our guide to LA’s finest vegan Mexican food
Where to shop: you can’t go to Venice Beach without a pit stop at Vegan Scene
After an eight-hour drive, we reached the Grand Canyon. If I were only allowed to describe it with one word it would be ‘magical’ – it looked like a painting (hello photo op!). The Grand Canyon area has several different viewing points, to which you can choose to walk, bike or take a shuttle bus. I’m happy we opted to walk, because that made it easy to stop wherever we wanted to and take in the stunning view (and also post yet another picture to Instagram stories).
From one of nature’s creations to an entirely human invention – Las Vegas. I won’t stick to “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” – I’m going to share the juiciest bits of my journey. We didn’t end up getting married like Ross and Rachel, and we didn’t wake up with no recollection of the previous night like in The Hangover, but we did have a great night! Go to Caesar’s Palace (the clichés just keeps on building up, but sometimes you just can’t avoid them) to gamble, hang at some bars or dance at one of the clubs. Each of the big hotels is like its own little island with a world of its own (note from the editor: I stayed at the Excalibur, which was a weird and wonderful experience!). Las Vegas is crazy, hectic and hot, but oh so much fun!
Yosemite National Park
We left the city of the glittering lights and stopped for one night in the small town of Bishop before we headed to Yosemite National Park. We didn’t actually stay in the national park, but in nearby Mariposa, about 40 minutes away. So during the days we hiked into Yosemite and in the evenings we went back to our beautiful house. Since we were a group of eight people travelling together, we booked a large house on Airbnb with an amazing porch where we spent every evening admiring the sparkling black sky. But let’s get back to Yosemite – if you are a hiking fan, you will find both beginner’s hikes and more advanced hikes in this gigantic national park. On our first day, we went for one of the more advanced ones, which led up to the Nevada Falls.
Next stop – San Francisco! And yes, there are just as many steep hills as you’ve seen in the movies. I really liked San Francisco. In comparison to Los Angeles, this is a big city but you can actually walk to places. My favourite area was Haight Street due to the amazing second hand and vintage shopping (make sure not to miss Wasteland).
This was also where I died and came to vegan burger heaven at VeganBurg. I brought my non-vegan travelling buddies, and like me, they all loved the food. My beetroot and avocado burger with seaweed fries on the side was truly amazing!
A road trip through the West of the US should be on your bucket list because of the diversity of climates, landscapes and views that you will encounter, as well as for the amazing offering in terms of shopping – and to-die-for vegan food! Rent a car and breeze through this fascinating corner of the world, making sure to stop at the must-see spots for an unforgettable on-the-road experience.
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