American Photo Tours
American Photo Tours Best of the West Tour

Best of the West Coast Tour

Tour Description and Gallery

We want to invite you to come along on a true adventure trip up the West Coast of the US to explore and photograph some of the most beautiful and legendary sites on this rugged edge of the continent!

Highlights: Los Angeles, Morro Bay, Oso Park, Big Sur, Pfeiffer State Park, Andrew Molera State Park, Carmel CA, Point Lobos, San Francisco CA, Golden Gate Bridge, Lost Coast, Roosevelt Elk, Coastal Redwoods, Redwood National Forest, Eureka, Bandon OR, Sea Lion Cave, surf photography, Olympic National Park, Cape Flattery, Port Angeles WA, Forks WA, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Butchart Gardens, Seattle, Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Hurricane Ridge, Seattle WA

For 12 days we will be in and out of forests, headlands, cliffside promontories and beaches as we make our way north from San Diego. Along the way we will view sea lions, shore birds, spectacular rock formations and some of the most intriguing and picturesque surf to be found anywhere in North America. You can be a part of the adventure, but there are only 10 very fortunate people who can accompany us on this incredible adventure in 2014. Read on!

The Best of the West Coast Tour by Greg SmithDay 1: We will rendezvous in San Diego for the evening, get to know each other, go over the final itinerary and compare notes about opportunities for photography along the way up the coast. A good night’s sleep, and then we will leave early for our first day in the field.

Day 2: Out to Point Loma Lighthouse and a view of the entrance to San Diego Bay, and then on the road north to Los Angeles. After threading our way through LA, we will head up US 101 and make our way to Morro Bay and get settled. We will then head over to the coast at Los Osos and photograph the late day sun on the rocky escarpments there. Back to the motel and a night’s rest.

Day 3: Up the fabled Big Sur Coast, stopping at one or two spots for daytime shots, and then arriving at the Big Sur Village. Check into the motel, and head back to the “falls in the sea” and finish our day with a late dinner.

Day 4: We make our way out to another secluded spot and witness the ocean crashing through holes in the seastacks and many other images of activity and interest. Lunch back in Big Sur, and then head north for a trip around Monterrey Bay for a late day investigation of this fabled outpost in California. A late evening crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge and then we settle in for the night north of San Francisco.

Day 5: Weather permitting, a quick trip to the Point Reyes area, and then back to 101 and north to the Lost Coast area. If good fortune smiles on us, Best of the West Coast Tour Gallerywe may get coastal fog along the northern California coast and be able to see another beautiful aspect of the rugged shoreline. We will travel into this region of mystery and haunting beauty, and quite possibly see and photograph some of the Roosevelt elk that are prominent in the area as we capture images of one of the most remote parts of California. Then on to Eureka and a well earned night’s rest.

Day 6: Today we will drive through the coastal redwood forests of northern California, and get to capture some of these beautiful giants that always offer a challenge due to the light and contrast they always offer, but the challenge yields some of the best rewards when patience pays off and details and perspective are enhanced with good technical technique. We make our way north into Oregon and arrive late in the day at Bandon Beach, where we will spend several hours taking in the sea stacks and the details of this Oregon icon.

Day 7: A day to wander near the coast, get some needed rest and take a late day excursion to the coast for a lazy walk near the sand and wetlands in this beautiful area of the West Coast. Do some laundry and get to know the locals as you catch your breath and get ready for the final push into the true Northwest.

Day 8: We are off to the fabled Oregon Dunes and a challenging hike through loose sand in this pristine area of some of the most colorful and untouched dunes on the coast. When we have made the rounds, we will head north and visit the Sea Lion Caves and if the light is right, we will be able to descend into one of the largest and most interesting sea lion rookeries in the world. A few more stops and then we head inland to get past Portland and stay the night in Washington State.

Day 9: We head back to the coast and enter the incredible Olympic Peninsula - land of rain forests and very few people. We will spend the day working our way through Aberdeen and then into the forest land to Olympic National Park and several beaches right on the Pacific. With a late day stop and short hike at Ruby Beach, we end our day and head for a “twilight” visit to Forks, and our new headquarters for 2 days. It is a quiet logging town and an oasis in a virtual wilderness of commercial tree farms and pristine wilderness park land.

Day 10: Today, we head to the rain forest and a morning of walking and photographing in this beautiful and rare environment. Lunch in Forks and then back to the coast for a late day hike to more surf and headlands near La Push. This small Indian community is a microcosm of Native American life and the positive impact of tourism and a healthy fishing industry.

Day 11: We leave Forks early and head out to the coast and an enchanting and invigorating hike to the beach by way of a 3 mile boardwalk. After beachcombing and wildlife watching, it is back to the van, and on to the drama of Cape Flattery, the Northwest corner of the US! We take the scenic byways on to Port Angeles and a well deserved celebration at the end of our marathon.

Day 12: Leave Port Angeles for Seattle and a well deserved trip home with a camera full of incredible images and memories that will stay with us for a lifetime. For those who choose to continue the “journey,” there will be an invitation to submit a selection of the best images of the trip for inclusion in a beautiful full color book celebrating the “Best of the West Coast!”

If you are interested in an adventure trip, and love photography, this is truly a lifetime experience for you!

This is an adventure trip, and our objective is to enjoy the outdoors and the inspiration of the sea and the vitality of the coast. We will take rest where it offers itself, planning as much as possible, and catch meals when we arrive in the next town, but we will be moving right along to the next inspirational spot and concentrating on photography as we go. Clean and quiet is the norm for motels, and local eateries with the best food to be found will be the by word for dining. We’ll celebrate when we reach Port Angeles, WA!

Tour Information:
12 days/11 nights
Group Size 1 to 4
Arrive/Depart: San Diego, CA / Seattle, WA
Trip Includes:
Transportation - entire tour itinerary will be provided by American Photo Tours.
Lodging - all motel/hotel accomodations, single or double occupancy for entire tour are included.
Meals - breakfast and lunch for entire tour are included.
Professional Guide Service - Greg Smith will be your professional guide and photographic consultant for the entire tour.
Fees and Admissions - all fees and admissions will be paid by American Photo Tours as part of the tour.
Tour Departure Dates:

July 10-21
Contact us to choose your preferred tour dates!

Tour Costs:

Double Occupancy - $8,250
Single Occupancy Supplement - $1,295
We offer 20% discounts for all travelers in groups of 2-6!


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Want to book a tour or have questions? Contact Us and we will get you started!

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