The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas: Illustrated Adventures along the West Coast's Historic Highways (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This is the ideal guide for the armchair (or passenger seat) traveler. O’Leary’s whimsical illustrations are perfectly suited to her subject: the road trip. Two coastal trips are outlined—one along Highway 101 and the other slightly more inland on Old 99—along with some exceptional side trips, including drives through the Gorge and to Crater Lake. Filled with all the great kitsch of roadside attractions (think the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz) and not-to-be-missed area highlights (such as Washington’s island jewels), this is a book to dream and plan with. Get two copies so you can keep one in the car and at the ready! -Holly

— From Winter Gazette 2019


This quirky illustrated book covers historic routes up and down the West Coast by showcasing roadside attractions, beloved landmarks, hidden history, and other offbeat delights for armchair travelers and road-trippers alike. It’s the perfect inspiration for a trip along the coast, or to simply savor as a love letter to the region. 

What better place for a road trip than the West Coast (the best coast, by any measure)? From San Diego, California, all the way up to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, you'll find off-the-beaten-path adventures up and down the coast. This charming illustrated book features both the coastal route via historic Highways 101 and 1 (the PCH) and an inland route up Highway 99, highlighting the natural beauty along the shore while also connecting the traveler to major cities and other attractions. Includes side trips to destinations such as Catalina Island, Joshua Tree National Park, Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks, wine country, Crater Lake National Park, the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Rainier National Park, the San Juan Islands, and Vancouver, BC. Also includes in-depth city guides to San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Portland, and Seattle. Chock-full of unusual facts, hidden history, and Americana, this one-of-a-kind road trip through California, Oregon, and Washington tells a story of the diversity and depth that created the West Coast we know and love today, showcasing both the ever-changing present and vestiges of the past for those who slow down to look. From a co-author of the award-winning Dead Feminists, this guide is perfect for fans of Atlas Obscura, Rebecca Solnit, and Julia Rothman.

About the Author

Chandler O'Leary received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is the proprietor of an illustration and lettering business called Anagram Press.

Praise For…

An American Booksellers Association Indie Travel Bestseller

Praise for The Best Coast:

“The Best Coast, Chandler O’Leary’s illustrated road trip atlas spanning San Diego, Calif., and Washington State, taps into a desire among vacationers to see America as it was before chain restaurants and frequent-flyer mileage homogenized and shrunk the landscape."
—Publishers Weekly

“[Chandler] O’Leary’s bright, delightful watercolors depict worthwhile stops and sights, from the mission architecture of San Diego to the parks of Vancouver, British Columbia. The book is also packed with the kind of dad-approved roadside history (did you know there are wild zebras in California?) that makes for memorable meandering.”
—Seattle Magazine

"All the beauty of a west coast road trip, condensed in a beautiful, yet practical book. The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas is perfect for those new to the West, and a wonderful supplement for the natives who haven’t quite been everywhere yet. Handy tips, stunning locations and a number of side trips just in case you decide to do some wandering."

"In The Best Coast, readers travel with O’Leary from San Diego to her current home state of Washington and back again. In between beautiful, hand-painted illustrations are portraits of roadside attractions, hidden histories, and historic highway guides."
Roadtrippers magazine

“Not just an indispensable guide to the West Coast, this is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind love letter to some of my favorite places in the world.”
—Geraldine DeRuiter, founder of

"Chandler O’Leary’s new book...The Best Coast: Illustrated Adventures Along the West Coast’s Historic Highways, offers...a way to make travel books relevant again...This is a book I’d love to take in the car with me as I navigated the west coast from south to north, the kind of personalized compass that would point me in the direction of adventures, and it identifies a more intimate solution for travel books in an Extremely Online age."
—Paul Constant, The Seattle Review of Books

"This quirky, playful book is an illustrated road trip atlas, or a 'curated starter kit for your own West Coast adventure,' according to the book's introduction. The Best Coast includes over 400 watercolor illustrations and 99 maps, all created by O'Leary and inspired by her personal travel experiences. For those intimidated by the uncertainty of travel, O'Leary also includes travel tips, packing lists and city guides for West-Coast adventures through the California-Oregon-Washington corridor."
—Weekly Volcano
Praise for Chandler O’Leary and
“Nobody is clear on the exact ratio of picture-to-words worthiness—some estimates have it as high as 1:1000—but it’s hard to argue that your average travel writer could capture the essence of a place as well as Chandler O’Leary does with her . . . watercolor artwork.”
Fast Company
“O’Leary has a unique perspective on the sense of discovery in the journey as well as the destination.”
—Atlas Obscura
Product Details
ISBN: 9781632171740
ISBN-10: 1632171740
Publisher: Sasquatch Books
Publication Date: April 9th, 2019
Pages: 224
Language: English