Touring the Western USA

Bjorn Koch touring the west

If you choose to divide the United States into regions in the same way that the US Census Bureau chooses to (and I do), the United States of America is then divided into four geographical regions– the West, the Midwest, the Northeast, and the South. 

This is the third installment of a new mini-series I’m working on of travel guides within the United States. Rather than highlight a certain city, I’m going to look at the regions at large and how you can make a trip out of exploring the entire area. 

Now, Bjorn Koch presents his guide to the west.

What’s the West?

Lewis and Clark set West from St. Louis in 1804 and reached the Pacific Northwest in 1806. Their path was eventually used to create the Oregon Trail, which was the most traveled trading route to the Pacific coast for years. Fast forward 310 years, and the West’s population is growing faster than any other region in the United States. The West is made up of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming in the continental United States along with Hawaii and Alaska.


The Culture of the West

Western culture has been shaped by a number of significant historical events that drew people from the other regions of the United States. The building of the transcontinental railroad, the Gold Rush, and the technology boom turned the West into one of the most culturally diverse regions in the country. Many states in the West have strong Hispanic influences from sharing a border with Mexico. The West is known for the Locavore, or local food, movement, which is based on sustainability.


Places to go and things to see

The West is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in the world. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is a must-see for anyone who loves the outdoors. A trip to California is a must for anyone visiting the West. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego are three cities that will give you three very different experiences. Driving from San Diego to San Francisco will provide beautiful coastal scenery, but make sure you leave time for the L.A. traffic. For someone looking for art and music, you don’t need to look any farther than Seattle, Washington. The Grunge Rock (Seattle Sound) boom started by Nirvana and Pearl Jam in the 90’s brought an influx of artists to Seattle, and they have been there ever since.