Virtual Visit to the West Coast, USA

Looking up at giant trees, with a blue sky peeking through

We are living in a strange time. Maybe you had a vacation planned to the US West Coast. Maybe you have an intense case of wanderlust. You may have never been to the US West Coast before, but have always wanted to visit. This virtual visit to the West Coast invites you to take a trip in a different way to explore what Spring looks like in this part of the world! Covering 3 states and many miles, these videos and live streams are sure to make you smile!

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay adventurous!

Seattle Aquarium

First up on the list is an aquarium that houses animals and sea creatures native to the Pacific Northwest. Their website has become a comprehensive guide to learning. With different themes every week, you can add it to your virtual visit and experience something new!

Sign explaining wildlife in the area in the forefront, blue building marked "Seattle Aquarium" in the background, sitting on Puget Sound

There are virtual field trips, informational videos, coloring pages, and my personal favorite: live webcams. Watching the otters swim really puts a smile on my face! This week (April 6-10) is Puget Sound Fish Week, and there is a schedule of events so you can follow along. The coastline is one of the many features what makes the West Coast special, and to really take a trip to the West Coast you have to experience the ocean!

To experience more of the Washington coastline, read about and view my photographs from the Olympic Peninsula!

Skagit Valley Tulip Fields

(Note: The tulip festival runs from April to May, but you can always check out photos and videos of the blooms!)

Spring in the Pacific Northwest is synonymous with two things: cherry blossoms and tulips. Although the cherry blossom season is coming to an end, the tulips are just getting started!

Two main fields dominate the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival each year, and due to social distancing measures both are closed. Roozengaarde and Tulip Town are both offering day-by-day videos for all tulip fans, complete with the calming sounds of birds chirping in the background and commentary to create a “virtual morning walk”.

Orange tulips with a hint of orange-red, with raindrops on them

Want to see what the tulip fields have looked like in years past? I have posts from last year, when I took my newborn baby to see the tulips!

Not being able to visit the tulip fields has been a hard pill for me to swallow this year, as they have meant so much to me since I moved to the Pacific Northwest. Luckily they are offering fresh cut tulips to be delivered to bring some happiness and color to their fans! For residents of the United States, you can buy a bouquet of tulips to be shipped right to you!! Even better, you can donate tulips to hospitals, nursing homes and community heroes through Tulip Town’s website! Planning a virtual visit to the West Coast is incomplete until you have seen the blooming tulips!

Oregon Whale Watch

Heading down into the next state, Oregon, will take you along its vast public coastline. There is so much to experience on Oregon beaches, and one of the coolest things to see are the gray whales that travel up and down the coast.

Twice a year there are migrations along the coast: one in the Winter and one in the Spring. Gray whales head back up to Alaska from California in late March, and although the public whale watch was canceled this year it was live streamed for hours each day. You can listen to a park ranger from Oregon State Parks giving information and pointing out whales from Depoe Bay, a well known whale hotspot! There is over two weeks of footage to choose from.

Looking out from high viewpoint at rolling waves, tree-lined cliffsides and a patch of fog covering the cliffs

A virtual visit to the West Coast will make you fall in love with Oregon. The Youtube channel for the State Parks will show you all that Oregon has to offer: from the coast to the mountains and over to the desert, Oregon is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated states!

An Oregon Coast roadtrip is filled with beautiful beaches, whale watching and yummy food!

Disney Parks

A canceled trip to Disneyland is heartbreaking, but just remember that we will be able to travel once again when this time passes! Disney Parks are a surefire way to bring a smile to your face, and they have created a new website to bring the magic to you!

Tinkerbell atop a float in a Disney parade, sprinkling pixie dust with her wand

Visit the parks virtually through my 1 Day At Disneyland post!Ā 

You can ride “It’s A Small World” virtually (and then have the song stuck in your head forever-more!) You can listen to actors and actresses reading stories, and listen to the park’s famous Dapper Dans singing. My personal favorite? The addition of the new Disney parade, which just launched this year! If you’re a fan of Moana, Frozen or Coco, you will LOVE it. And let’s be honest, this is the best seat you’ll get to the parade, probably ever!

Simba from Lion King roaring atop a float in a Disney parade

Redwood National Parks

One of the most unique features in California are its giant trees. The sequoias and redwoods tower to unimaginable heights, and can be so wide that you would have to create a human chain to reach all the way around!

The sequoias in Southern California are a sight to see as well. You can check them out in my Top Places in California post!

While nothing compares to seeing the redwood trees in person, a second close is a virtual reality tour! The Parks website has videos that can be viewed through virtual reality, and they are accessible to all. Whether on a mobile device, a tablet or with VR glasses you can travel through the old growth forests while a park ranger talks to you about different topics. The park website has other ways to get to know and visit the redwood trees of Northern California: there are links to virtual Google Maps tours, videos and live virtual lessons! A perfect addition to your virtual visit to the West Coast, the redwoods will inspire and awe you!

Road between giant redwood trees

Carmel-By-The-Sea

California’s coast is one of the most well known in the world. There are so many beaches to choose from: the more rugged ones in the North, the star-studded ones in Santa Monica, the ones with warm and clear water closer to San Diego. One of my favorite beaches in the entire state is located in the fairytale town of Carmel-By-The-Sea.

Two dogs running through the clear, blue-hued water on white sand

Read about one of my visits in my West Coast Road Trip post!

The water is crystal clear, the beach is long and the sand is white. It is dog-friendly, the town looks like it is out of a fairytale, and the food is so amazing! Carmel-By-The-Sea has put together a page of videos for you to add to your virtual visit to the West Coast. You will get views of the beautiful town, the amazing beaches and even a few glimpses of happy dogs running. Watching these videos will make you add it to your travel bucketlist!

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

In what became one of the biggest Instagram sensations of 2019, the Spring blooms of the California poppies attracted many people to its fields last year. The nature reserve which is just over an hour away from Los Angeles is empty this year, but you can enjoy the bloom from their live feed!

The orange poppies are filling up the fields in a burst of color, and without all the foot traffic they take on a different quality. On the live feed by the state park website you can enjoy the flowers and other wildflowers up until early May! Although I have not seen them in person myself, I love flowers!

Pin of Ocean, trees, flower & Disney parade

This list is just a short one; there are so many museums and parks and organizations working hard to offer virtual travel to their community and to the people who had plans to visit. Taking a virtual trip can really brighten your sprits in this uncertain time, and while it is not quite the same it is as close as we can get. I hope you add to this list, and create your own experience, and I hope you stay happy, healthy and curious about the world around you!

Happy (virtual) traveling!

A Truthful Traveler