Western USA travel guide

When to go, what to see: your Western USA travel guide

When is the best time to visit Western USA?

There’s always something happening in this part of the world, so you can visit all year round. If you’re looking forward to hitting the hiking trails in the National Parks, the best time to travel is probably spring (March to May), when the temperatures are mild, the days are clear and sunny but it’s fresh enough to explore the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Sierra Nevada without breaking too much of a sweat.

Why visit Western USA?

Although it is the ‘newer’ half of the United States, the west holds enough natural mystery and Native American tradition to feel like it has been an official part of the nation for many centuries. Along the rugged Pacific Coast, into the wine country of California, to the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and into the melting pot of Los Angeles where many cultures collide – creating a massive area of the country with a little taste of everything, visitors can enjoy a world of big skies and stunning surroundings with a sense they're escaping. National Parks, diverse landscapes, and reminders of the strong Native American cultures will captivate visitors of the west.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco


The charming Southwest is not to be missed when venturing out west. Durango, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Tucson and Scottsdale are some of the ideal destinations to really get a taste of the culture. Native American culture is highlighted through art, jewellery, scenery and the foods that these towns are known for. Beyond the breathtaking sunsets and seemingly endless skies, almost a world away stands one of America’s most popular holiday destinations: Las Vegas.

Weather and climate in Western USA

When travelling to the western United States keep in mind that the temperature can vary greatly between northern and southern destinations. The northern states are substantially cooler than southern states and are also more prone to rain showers. The farther inland you travel the drier the air becomes. If travelling to coastal cities, an ocean breeze may persist. We recommend checking local weather in each of your destinations prior to travelling to ensure you’re adequately prepared for the conditions.

To help you plan, below are average low and high temperatures for Western United States.




 Las Vegas


 San Francisco


















































Western USA food and fun facts

Food specialities of Western USA

The western US is known for a wide variety of specialties. Among them, western-style BBQ, fresh seafood in the north-west states, fabulous beef, game meats including venison and elk, fresh trout, green chili, beef jerky, Indian fry bread, breakfast burritos and the legendary Rocky Mountain Oysters. The western US is also world-renowned for its wine production, particularly in California, Oregon and Washington.


Fun facts

  • California is the largest producer of wine in the United States and the fourth largest producer in the world, producing an average of 85 percent of the total US wine production at more than 230 million cases of wine each year

  • Arizona, the largest copper producer in the United States, has enough copper on the roof of the capitol to create 4,800,000 pennies

  • Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mt. Hood, is a dormant volcano

  • Utah’s name derives from the Ute Native American tribe meaning ‘people of the mountains’

Things to consider before visiting Western USA

How to call Western USA: Country code

The country code for Western USA is +1. When calling to Western USA from overseas, dial your international access code (00 for the UK), followed by the country code, area code, and phone number.

Western USA’s currency

In USA the local currency is the American Dollar ($).  Although credit cards are widely accepted in the United States, we recommend our passengers carry some cash (~$50) to use in circumstances when credit cards are not accepted or in destinations where cashpoints are not readily available.

Shopping in Western USA

In the Western USA, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, western shirts, and leather products such as belts and wallets are always popular souvenirs. Other regional finds include books on the Western National Parks, Native American handicrafts including pottery, rugs, jewellery and rugged outdoor wear.

Along the coast, regional wines, artisan handcrafts, coffee, salmon (Pacific Northwest), cedar planks (for cooking), and hand-made chocolates are popular souvenirs. San Francisco in particular, is known for its shopping at Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Union Square, and dozens of boutique shops.

Los Angeles and Las Vegas are shopping hotspots in western USA. Las Vegas features a wide array of outlets and Los Angeles has its famous Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue, and the Universal City Walk near Hollywood.

When and how much to tip in Western USA

In USA, tipping is widely spread: the general rule is between 15 and 20% for bartenders or waiters ($1 to $2 a bag for porters). If in doubt, ask your Tour Director.

Plugs, sockets and electricity in Western USA

USA uses 110-120 volt power, so you may need a voltage converter, usually for appliances that heat up such as hair dryers and straighteners, However, you’ll definitely need a plug adaptor: USA uses a flat two- or three-prong plug. It’s better to have a two-prong adaptor that will fit either.