Who doesn't love passport stamps? Stamps are like little badges of honor, awarded to the adventurous wanderer, and serve as tangible reminders of the memories made while exploring new places. Hostelling International is pleased to offer 27 stamps to add to your collection, with the HI-West Coast passport. Collect a free souvenir stamp at each West Coast hostel in the U.S. and Canada (see our list of participating hostels below) and -- added bonus -- collecting just four stamps will earn you a free "West Coast Tour" t-shirt!
Illustrated by Michael Wertz, each souvenir stamp is a miniature work of art that celebrates the iconic features of 20 West Coast destinations. The keepsake passport holds your stamps, as well as notes and other memorabilia, tracking your adventures as you travel. To get your free passport and stamps, simply ask at the front desk when you check-in to any participating HI-hostel in California, Oregon, or Washington, or in British Columbia's Vancouver, Victoria, or Whistler.
HI-West Coast Tour poster by Michael Wertz
Need some inspiration for your journey? Check out our West Coast Tour travel tips:
Iconic West Coast
Join more than a million annual visitors who flock to Buchtart Gardens, located just outside Victoria, to revel in 55 acres of gardens that bloom in all seasons. HI-Victoria
Visit Seattle's quirky Post Alley Gum Wall -- literally a wall covered in chewed gum -- and trek up Queen Anne Hill's Kerry Park for an unobstructed skyline view of the iconic Space Needle. HI-Seattle
In San Francisco, take in sweeping Bay views from the Golden Gate Bridge, then ride a ferry out to infamous Alcatraz Island. HI-San Francisco City Center, HI-San Francisco Downtown, HI-San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
Don’t miss Yosemite Valley, one of the most revered natural wonders in the U.S., beloved for the magnificent beauty of its forests, waterfalls, and granite peaks. HI-Midpines Yosemite Bug
Spend a sunny summer day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk -- ride the Giant Dipper, play skeeball, munch on carnival food, and take a dip in the Pacific. HI-Santa CruzFurther south in Monterey, head to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is world-renowned for its impressive exhibits, cutting-edge research, and dedication to ocean conservation. HI-Monterey
Enjoy epic skiing and snowboarding on Whistler's world-class powder, or bike the slopes in the summertime at Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Then tackle the longest zipline in Canada, and ride the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. HI-Whistler
Hit the slopes on Grouse, Seymour, or Cypress mountains -- all just a stone's throw from downtown Vancouver -- then cycle the 8.8 km seawall around Stanley Park, or chill out on the beach at English Bay. HI-Vancouver Central, HI-Vancouver Downtown, HI-Vancouver Jericho Beach
In the Marin Headlands, meander along coastal trails with stunning views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, and see old-growth redwood forests at nearby Muir Woods National Monument. HI-Marin Headlands
Surf the world-famous Mavericks break near Point Montara, kayak from Pillar Point Harbor, or hike to nearby Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, Montara Mountain, or Montara State Beach. HI-Point Montara Lighthouse
An ideal spot to observe migrating whales, Pigeon Point is also close to the bird sanctuary at Pescadero Marsh, and the breeding site of northern elephant seals in Año Nuevo State Reserve. HI-Pigeon Point Lighthouse
For the Foodie
Slurp local oysters straight from Point Reyes National Seashore, and sample celebrated artisanal foods in the tiny town of Point Reyes Station. HI-Point Reyes National Seashore
Sample classic American eats at Los Angeles landmarks like Pink's Hot Dogs, The Apple Pan, Tommy's Original burgers, or the world’s first Hot Dog on a Stick. HI-Los Angeles Fullerton, HI-Los Angeles Santa Monica, HI-Los Angeles San Pedro
Off the Beaten Path
Despite being the capital city of California, Sacramento has a relaxed vibe and a small-town feel. Its Gold Rush history is evident in Old Sacramento, Sutter’s Fort, and other historic parks, while Midtown is thriving with cafes, bars, and clubs catering to the city’s young and hip. Sacramento is also popular with summertime travelers looking to escape the coastal fog and go rafting, tubing, or cycling along the American River. HI-Sacramento
Known as the "Gateway to Yosemite," Merced is a convenient stopover, especially for those traveling by public transit. But Merced is more than a transit point –- it’s a friendly agricultural town where you can slow down, meet the locals, and stay in a typical American suburban home at HI-Merced. While you’re here, visit the Merced Courthouse Museum, go swimming in Lake Merced, or tour the world’s largest cheese factory. HI-Merced
West Coast by Rail
Hop on board Amtrak Cascades and ride the rails from Vancouver to Seattle, where you can hook up with Amtrak's Coast Starlight. The most spectacular train route in the U.S., the Coast Starlight runs from Seattle to Portland, Sacramento, Emeryville (where an Amtrak shuttle takes you into San Francisco), San Luis Obispo, and finally Los Angeles. From L.A., you can catch the Pacific Surfliner down to San Diego.
The scenery along the way ranges from the dramatic snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range to lush forests, fertile valleys, and long stretches of Pacific Ocean vistas. The train itself offers a Dining Car and a Parlor Car designed for taking in the views. Rail passes and multi-ride tickets are available, so you can stop over anywhere along the way.