Discover the Best Travel Nursing Locations on the West Coast


The iconic spiky trees of Joshua Tree National Park in CA

By Jennifer Larson, contributor

If you’re a nurse who has been dreaming of heading out West, we have some good news for you. The Pacific Region of the United States is home to some of the best states for travel nursing. Healthcare traveler jobs abound in a variety of amazingly beautiful settings, with both per diem jobs and travel nursing assignments, which can range from 4 to 13 weeks or longer

But traveling is not just about the nursing job, is it? Many healthcare travelers are eager to explore the world around them when they’re not working. If you’re one of them, consider a travel nursing job in California, Oregon, Washington or Hawaii, where there are countless opportunities for fun during your downtime.

Note: During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, be sure to check in advance and inquire about operating hours and times before you visit any of these locations. 

Highlights from four of the best states for travel nursing:


The Golden State is huge—let’s just start there. There are lots of healthcare traveler jobs up and down the state, so consider all of your options. You could live and work in Northern California, Southern California, or somewhere in between. And of course, you can always travel to play tourist! Here are just a few ideas:

Strolling around Sausalito. If you’re working in San Francisco, take a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to the adorable Marin County seaside town of Sausalito. (Some people even bike across the bridge and then take the ferry back). Stroll around the town, get an ice cream cone, do a little shopping, and admire the marinas full of yachts and colorful houseboats, some of which are home to artists who hold public art viewings. 

Hiking in Joshua Tree National Park. About 35 miles northeast of Palm Springs is Joshua Tree National Park. Hikers who love the stark landscape and its iconic spiky trees call it a “desert paradise.” It’s actually a co-mingling of two desert ecosystems, the Colorado and the Mojave. And if you’re not a big hiker or camper, you can visit for the day and then drive back down the hill to play some golf, shop or do some sightseeing in Palm Springs. 

Seeing the seals in La Jolla. This upscale town just north of San Diego is home to a glittering array of restaurants, high-end shops, galleries…and a cove full of seals and sea lions. Visit La Jolla Cove or Children’s Pool beach to get a glimpse of these playful animals, and then go for brunch or drinks nearby. You’ll also be close to La Jolla Shores Beach, which is one of the most popular hangouts beachgoers in the San Diego area.

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Fun fact: Oregon is allegedly home to one-quarter of the United States’ llama population. It’s also home to some great travel nursing opportunities and some exciting activities to fill up your free time. 

Wine tasting in the Willamette Valley. California used to get all the press when it came to American wine, but Oregon can more than hold its own when it comes to vino. The Willamette Valley isn’t the only place to taste the pinot noir that Oregon is now famous for, but since there are nearly 700 wineries there, you should have plenty of chances to pick your favorites.  

Visiting Crater Lake. Oregon is home to the deepest lake in the United States, and it’s so beautiful that it almost doesn’t look real. Created in the hollow left by a collapsed volcano, Crater Lake is 1,943 feet deep. This national park also boasts miles of hiking trails, camping and fishing. Not a hiker? Take a boat tour or a trolley tour during the summer months. 

Skiing at Mount Hood. If you love to ski, put Mount Hood on your list of places to visit. The ski resort here is open all year, plus there’s plenty of hiking, climbing and camping opportunities, too. 

Find nursing jobs in Oregon.


When many people think of the Pacific Northwest, of course, they think of Washington, home to mountains and forests and waterfalls. Make time to see these natural wonders along with a few other things, too.

Visiting Hoh Rainforest. Rainforests aren’t only located in the Amazon River basin. Washington State is home to temperate rain forests, most notably the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula. Thanks to 140 inches of annual precipitation, it’s lush, it’s green and you could spend days soaking it all in. You might even spot some elk, bears, otters, barred owls and bobcats while you’re there. 

Taking a haunted tour in Seattle. Combine a pub crawl and a haunted house into one thing, and you’ve got a fun way to spend an evening in Seattle. The ghost tours are a fun way to learn more about some of Seattle’s more unusual dearly departed residents, while enjoying a few drinks along the way. 

Viewing glass art at the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Located right next to another Seattle landmark, the Space Needle, this museum/garden is home to a dizzying array of artwork by Dale Chihuly, perhaps the most famous glass artist in the world. 

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Travel nurses should consider an assignment job in Hawaii


If it seems like just about everything in the Aloha State is scenic and beautiful, that’s probably because it is. You could do nothing but surf or gaze at the ocean and have an amazing time. But here are a few other things you might want to do while working travel nursing jobs in Hawaii:

Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. This nature preserve on the island of Oahu used to be a volcano, but now it’s a scenic spot with clear turquoise water that’s absolutely perfect for snorkeling. 

Driving the Road to Hana. Every tour book about Maui lists this activity as a “must do,” and for good reason. When you drive the 52-mile road to Hana (technically named the Hana Highway), you will wind along gorgeous coastlines and navigate through vivid green forests. Take a break and hop out of the car to check out some of the hiking trails, waterfalls and beaches before you get to the small, traditional Hawaiian town of Hana.  

Touring Iolani Palace. Interested in learning about Hawaiian history while you’re in Oahu? Visit this museum that, yes, actually once served as the palace for Hawaiian royalty. Now it’s on the National Registry of Historical Places and is open to the public. Be sure to check out the crimson-and-gold throne room and the thrones where King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani once presided. 

Find nursing jobs in Hawaii. has thousands of travel nursing, per diem and permanent nursing positions throughout the United States. 

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