The West Coast of the United States is often synonymous with Hollywood, Los Angeles, and blonde lifeguards in red bikinis, but the stretch of coast along the Pacific Ocean is much more than the small section of California burned into our brains by the entertainment industry. The West Coast consists of Oregon, Washington, and California. In the northern parts, the climate is mostly wet and cold. The humid, sunny beaches are more consistent with California, but more so in the middle to lower parts.

Something to fight off the chill

It may sound surprising, when most people think about the west coast of the United States, they think of heat and sun. Depending on the area of the coast and the time of year, you may actually need to bring along a light jacket, sweater, or even a heavy ski coat if you're in the very Northern regions of Washington. The lower parts of California may even call for a light sweater at night in the winter months, and the cities right along the Pacific Ocean like San Francisco will get windy, chilling the air in late afternoon and evening.

These Boots aren't made for walking

You are going to have a lot of walking to do along the West Coast, between hiking in the mountains, trekking through the desert, climbing the Hollywood hills and strolling along the Boardwalk. Make sure you bring comfortable shoes, extra socks, and maybe even some perfect fitting insoles. Make sure they aren't brand new shoes that need to be broken in. You'll want some tried and true pairs that have a good track record of getting you around for long periods of time without causing blisters.

Smile for the camera

Bringing a trusty camera will be the best way to capture all of your fun memories, but with the amount of exciting places all along the coast, make sure you pack extra memory cards to capture the fun. In Hollywood or Beverly Hills you may catch a snap of a popular celebrity, or you may catch a glimpse of local Native American tribes performing in their Washington Reserve. Don't forget to bring some extra, fully charged batteries and maybe even a water-protectant case for when you're enjoying the ocean or lakes.

Bask in the sun with protection

No matter where you stay on the west coast or if you decide to drive the whole length of it, make sure you are protected from the coastal rays that make it so inviting in the first place. Even hiking in the woods can bring forth some damaging rays. Include in your packing, a sun hat and sun glasses to protect other areas and don't forget to re-apply the sunscreen every couple of hours.

You can't just have one

With the Pacific Coast line, the lakes and the rivers, it would be a good idea to bring more than one bathing suit or pair of swimming shorts. Head out on an ocean kayaking adventure or paddling a canoe around Lake Tahoe. The West Coast boasts some of the most beautiful natural wonders including the Puget Sound in Washington and Cannon Beach in Oregon.

Prepare for the amazing adventure ahead on the West Coast of America with these packing suggestions. Then, since you know you'll be travelling around the coast and planning an itinerary chock-full of activities you should consider buying travel insurance. Once you're covered, you'll be free to enjoy the holiday just a bit better—with less stress on your shoulders.

Image courtesy of Flickr user JR Price