lonelyplanet.com D E S T I N AT I O N U S A 23
the diverse American character. In one county alone (New York City’s
borough of Queens) residents speak some 138 languages and more than
40%. Although the topic of immigration remains a heated one (the
subject has been a source of contention since the country’s inception),
few Americans contest the enormous contributions made by fresh-faced
immigrants over the centuries.
In addition to the wide mix of racial and ethnic groups, America
is a mishmash of factory workers and farmers, born-again Christians
and Hatha yoga practitioners, literary-minded college students, tradi-
tion-bound Native Americans, beer-swilling baseball lovers and back-to-
nature commune dwellers. This is a country where regional stereotypes
help Americans get a handle on their own elusive country, whether
the people in question are gracious Southern belles, street-smart New
Yorkers, humble Midwesterners, Southern Cal surfers or straight-
The collective identity, however, goes only so far in defining Ameri-
cans. This is, after all, a country that celebrates – or rather mythologizes –
the feats of ‘rugged individualism’, a notion well supported by the enor-
mous ranks of the great and dastardly alike that have left their mark on
America. This is the land of Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Jack Kerouac,
Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, Elvis Presley and Muhammad Ali. It
is also the birthplace of Billy the Kid, Al Capone, the Dukes of Hazzard
and hundreds of other real and fictional characters who contribute to that
portrait of the American hero or villain heading off into the sunset.
Today’s stars shine no less brightly and each help redefine in some
small way what it means to be American. From the inspiring activism
of Willie Nelson and the auteur talents of filmmaker Jim Jarmusch to
Al Gore’s lauded dedication to climate change, the powerful lyricism of
Nobel Prize–winner Toni Morrison and the record-breaking achieve-
ments of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, each have followed a dream
that led them to undoubtedly surprising places.
America is still a place where big dreamers can triumph over ad-
versity. Although 40 years have passed since Martin Luther King was
assassinated, his message of hope lives on. No one in recent history has
demonstrated that more clearly than Barack Obama, America’s first
African American president.
‘If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place
where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our found-
ers is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy,
tonight is your answer.’ So began President-elect Barack Obama on
the evening of November 4, 2008, following one of the most surprising
presidential victories in history.
The next day, newspapers across the country sold out quickly, despite
enormously increased press runs, as Americans hurried out to snatch
up a piece of history for which they themselves were responsible. In-
deed, it was a historic moment for America. This once bitterly divided
nation – with a legacy of slavery – looked past its differences and elected
an African American man to the highest office in the land. And voters
did so by an overwhelming margin.
As Obama went on to say in his victory speech, ‘It’s been a long time
coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this elec-
tion, at this defining moment, change has come to America.’ Change –
that magic word so bandied about by both parties in the run-up to
the election – played a pivotal role in Obama’s success. Yet, despite
the unprecedented moment in US history, change is no stranger on
24 D E S T I N AT I O N U S A lonelyplanet.com
the American scene. Even America’s creation was a daring paradigm
shift in a world of monarchies and autocracies. A country founded as
a religion-tolerant refuge by early colonists later became the world’s
first – and perhaps its most brilliantly envisaged – democratic republic.
Over the centuries, visionary statesman such as Jefferson, Lincoln and
Roosevelt have helped move the country in bold new directions, but it
was courageous citizens, fighting (and sometimes sacrificing their lives)
in the battle against injustice, who’ve brought about some of America’s
most profound changes – in abolishing slavery, earning equal rights for
women, protecting the environment and enshrining fair wages and work-
ing conditions for laborers.
Citizens from all walks of life have participated in ‘the great American
experiment’, a concept that rewards bold ideas and hard work, no matter
one’s place in society. The results of nurturing this entrepreneurial spirit
have been far-reaching. From the historic flight by the Wright brothers
to the Apollo moon landing, Americans have achieved ambitious goals.
Technological revolutions beginning with Thomas Edison’s light bulb
and Henry Ford’s automobile continue today in the pioneering work by
Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Page. Microsoft, iPod and Google have
changed the way people work, learn and interact across the industrialized
world. American advances in science, medicine and countless other fields
have brought meaningful changes to many lives.
The spirit of innovation remains alive and well, but on other fronts,
Americans seem less optimistic. As this book went to press, predictions
of a long, grave recession hung in the air, stemming in part from the
mortgage meltdown that erupted late in the Bush presidency. Between
2007 and 2008, more than one million Americans lost their homes to
foreclosure as unemployment soared – with some 10 million out of work
(the highest figure since WWII).
Health care is another dispiriting topic for many Americans. Despite
playing a leading role in the advancement of medical technology, the
USA remains the world’s only wealthy industrialized country that does
not provide universal health care for its citizens. More than 46 million
Americans currently live without health insurance, and analysts pre-
dicted that the economic downturn and rising unemployment would add
another two million to their ranks.
Addressing these grievous issues – plus the ongoing wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan – remain the biggest challenges of the day. Americans,
however, are not easily put down. As John F Kennedy once said, ‘The
American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and
a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.’
Got your map? Ready to plot your itinerary? Just remember: the USA covers
a continent and more. Texas alone is twice the size of Germany, so you may
need to adjust your sense of scale. It’s easy to get overambitious, blow your
budget and spend more time getting to sights than actually seeing them.
That old chestnut about packing – lay out everything you need and put half
back – applies here too: plan what you want to see in the time you have, then
take out half the stops.
You’ll also need to consider transportation options carefully, balancing cost,
See Climate Charts
time and flexibility – and your carbon footprint. The ‘best’ mix varies by region
(p1116) for more
and route. For more ecotravel advice, see ‘Traveling Responsibly’ (p27).
WHEN TO GO
America’s size plays to the traveler’s advantage when it comes to weather: it’s
always perfect somewhere in the US and just shy of Hades somewhere else.
In other words, either your destination or your trip’s timing may need tweak-
ing depending on the season. For more specific regional info, see each chapter’s
‘Land & Climate’ section. For current forecasts, visit www.weather.com.
The main holiday season is, naturally, summer, which typically begins on
Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) and ends on Labor Day (the first
Monday in September). But Americans take their holidays mainly in summer HOW MUCH?
because schools are closed, not because the weather’s uniformly ideal: yes, Broadway show:
hit the beaches in August, because Manhattan is a shimmering sweat bath $100-250
and the deserts are frying pans. Bottle of wine: $7-9
The seasons don’t arrive uniformly either. Spring (typically March to
Gallon of milk: $3.50
May) and fall (usually September to November) are often the best travel
times, but ‘spring’ in parts of the Rockies and Sierras may not come till June. Internet access per
By then it’s only a sweet memory in Austin, while in Seattle, spring often hour: $3-5
means rain, rain, rain. Pound of apples: $1.20
And winter? It’s expensive high-season at ski resorts and in parts of the
See also Lonely Planet
southern US (blame migrating snowbirds), but planned well, winter can mean
Index, inside front cover.
you have the riches of America’s landscape virtually all to yourself.
Whether you’re planning to join them or avoid them, holidays (p1121)
and festivals (p1119) are another thing to consider.
COSTS & MONEY
An economical US trip is possible, but it is very, very easy to spend much
more than you bargained for, no matter what your travel style. Mode of
transportation is a big factor, as is destination: US cities don’t chip away at
budgets, they jackhammer them into pieces.
DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT…
Checking current US visa and passport requirements (p1127).
Hotel reservations, particularly for your first night and near national parks (p1111).
Your driver’s license and adequate liability insurance (p1142). Not driving? Do it anyway – you
might change your mind once you see how big this place is.
A handful of credit cards – they’re easier and safer than cash.
An open mind. You’ll find elites in the Ozarks and hicks in Manhattan, and everything in between.
26 G E T T I N G S TA R T E D • • T r a v e l L i t e r a t u re lonelyplanet.com
Only the extremely thrifty will spend less than $100 a day. A comfortable
midrange budget typically ranges from $175 to $225 a day; this usually gets
you a car, gas, two meals, a good hotel and a museum admission or two.
To travel on Spending over $300 a day isn’t hard: just splash out a few times, drive a lot,
the cheap, and stay, eat and whoop it up in New York, Chicago, San Francisco etc.
In this guide, we define a ‘midrange’ hotel very broadly (as $80 to $200):
plan on in rural areas, $100 buys a princely night’s sleep, but in some cities, clean
camping or places start at $200. The same math holds for meals.
hosteling To travel on the cheap, plan on camping or hosteling ($15 to $25 a night),
cooking some of your own meals, and touring by bus. It’s not hard, but it
($15 to $25 limits your flexibility and it’s slower (which isn’t so bad). Be wary of budget
a night), motel come-ons; the sign might flash $39, but it’s probably for a single and
cooking won’t include tax.
Traveling by car is often a necessity. A rental is a minimum of $40 a day
some of your (type of car, tax and level of insurance can push it higher), plus gas. Planning
own meals, the great American road trip? Petrol could cost more than the car itself (say,
and touring another $20 to $40 per day).
Mainly, don’t forget the second part of that travel chestnut: after you halve
by bus. your clothes, double your estimated budget, and it’ll work out fine.
The American travelogue is its own literary genre. One could argue the first
(and still the best) is Democracy in America (1835) by Alexis de Tocqueville,
who wandered around talking to folks, then in pithy fashion distilled the
philosophical underpinnings of the then-new American experiment.
America is often most vividly described by non-Americans: two Russian
satirists, Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov, road-tripped during the Great Depres-
sion searching for the ‘real America’ (doesn’t everyone?), and their Ilf and
Petrov’s American Road Trip (1935 & 2007) is a comic masterpiece laced
with pungent critiques.
Those who prefer their commentary, like their coffee, bitter and black
should stuff The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945) by Henry Miller in their
bag, written while the irascible Miller canvassed America during WWII.
Celebrated travel writer Jan Morris was clearly smitten with the country
in Coast to Coast (1956); it’s crisp, elegant and poignant, particularly her
experience in the pre–Civil Rights South.
Two other famous, and not to be missed, American travelogues are
Jack Kerouac’s headlong On the Road (1957) and John Steinbeck’s Travels
with Charley (1962), about his trek across America with his poodle
At a crossroad in life, William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways (1982)
is a moving pastiche of ‘average Americans’ as it follows one man’s attempt
to find himself by losing himself.
Not strictly a travelogue, On the Rez (2000) by Ian Frazier provides a good
taste of what it’s like to be friends with an Oglala Sioux, and of contemporary
Native American reservation life. It is a journey of history and heart that
goes into America, rather than across it.
Some make a life of crossing America. In American Nomads (2003),
Englishman Richard Grant meditates on all those mythic types (the Indians,
cowboys, truckers and hobos) who, like him, can’t seem to stop wandering
the West. While family-man and cross-country warrior Robert Sullivan
does much the same in Cross Country (2006), but with kids. Both make
See p65 for American literature.
lonelyplanet.com G E T T I N G S TA R T E D 27
Since our inception in 1973, Lonely Planet has encouraged our readers to tread lightly, travel
responsibly and enjoy the serendipitous magic independent travel affords. International travel
is growing at a jaw-dropping rate, and we still firmly believe in the benefits it can bring – but,
as always, we encourage you to consider the impact your visit will have on both the global
environment and the local economies, cultures and ecosystems.
In America, ‘going green’ has become seriously trendy, and businesses of all stripes now slap
‘we’re green!’ stickers on their products and services (though many Americans would agree with
The Simpsons Movie when it calls global warming ‘an irritating truth’). For the traveler, determining
how ecofriendly a business actually is can be difficult. Thankfully many resources are springing
up, and we have tried to recommend ecofriendly businesses (and highlight local green initia-
tives) throughout this guide.
To Drive or Not to Drive
Where adequate public transportation exists, choosing it over renting a car will decrease your carbon
footprint. But realistically, a car is often a necessity in the US – so, choose ecofriendly cars when
available (ask the majors – they’re getting them!). The auto association Better World Club (www
.betterworldclub.com; p1141) supports environmental legislation and offers eco-friendly services.
Two US car rental companies specializing in hybrid and electric cars are Bio-Beetle (www
.bio-beetle.com) and EV Rental Cars (www.evrental.com), though locations are currently limited
(mainly Hawaii, California and Arizona).
To Buy or Not to Buy
State and regional tourism associations are springing up to certify ecofriendly businesses,
hotels, services, tours and outfitters. Here is a list of some; review them before making
Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association (www.awrta.org)
Chicago Sustainable Business Alliance (www.sustainablechicago.biz)
Go Nomad (www.gonomad.com) Ecotours worldwide.
Green Hotel Association (www.greenhotels.com) Ecofriendly hotels nationwide.
Greenopia (www.greenopia.com) San Francisco and Los Angeles ecoguides (eventually to a dozen cities).
Hawaii Ecotourism Association (www.hawaiiecotourism.org)
Travel Green Wisconsin (www.travelgreenwisconsin)
Vital Communities (www.vitalcommunities.org) Green restaurants and local farmers markets in Vermont and
Sustainable Travel: The Bigger Picture
‘Sustainable travel’ is more than making ‘green’ choices; it’s a way of interacting as you walk.
It’s practicing low-impact hiking and camping (p102). It’s perhaps adding volunteering to a va-
cation (p1130). It’s also simply learning about destinations and cultures and understanding the
challenges they face. For national and regional issues, see the Environment chapter (p103) and
check out these resources:
Climatecrisis.net (www.climatecrisis.net) Official website for the documentary An Inconvenient Truth; offers
carbon offset programs, advice and information.
Hawaii 2050 (www.hawaii2050.org) State-sponsored initiative to create a sustainable Hawaiian economy.
National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations (www.nationalgeographic.com/travel
/sustainable) Promotes ‘geotourism’ with its ‘Geocharter maps’; currently three in the US: Arizona’s Sonoran Desert,
Vermont and Appalachia.
Sustainable Travel International (www.sustainabletravelinternational.org) Provides ecoguides, tour
booking, a carbon-offset program and more.
28 G E T T I N G S TA R T E D lonelyplanet.com
S TAT I T E D
AM E R S O F
PARTIES & PARADES
Americans will use any excuse to party. Seriously. There’s a festival for sock monkeys (p574)! No slight to
sock monkey fans, but here are 10 worth planning a trip around. For more, see the destination chapters,
see p1119 and visit www.festivals.com.
1 Mummer’s Parade, Philadelphia (Pennsylva- 6 Gullah Festival, Beaufort (South Carolina),
nia), New Year’s Day (p206) late May (p399)
2 Mardi Gras, New Orleans (Louisiana), Febru- 7 Red Earth Native American Cultural Festival,
ary or March (p440) Oklahoma City (Oklahoma), early June (p683)
3 National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washing- 8 SF Gay Pride Month, San Francisco (Califor-
ton, DC, late March/April (p319) nia), June (p964)
4 Conch Republic Independence Celebration, 9 Great American Beer Festival, Denver (Colo-
Key West (Florida), April (p517) rado), early September (p749)
5 Fiesta San Antonio (Texas), mid-April 10 American Royal Barbecue, Kansas City (Mis
(p708) souri), early October (p655)
A good book is as essential to a successful trip as gas in the car and money in your wallet. Here
are our recommendations for 10 great recent novels that capture a kaleidoscope of American
1 Flight (2007) by Sherman Alexie 6 Wounded (2005) by Percival Everett
2 Later, at the Bar (2007) by Rebecca Barry 7 Returning to Earth (2006) by Jim Harrison
3 Talk Talk (2007) by TC Boyle 8 The Shape Shifter (2006) by Tony Hillerman
4 The Yiddish Policeman’s Union (2007) by 9 Sight Hound (2005) by Pam Houston
Michael Chabonn 10 The Plot Against America (2004) by Philip
5 I Love You, Beth Cooper (2007) by Larry Doyle Roth
A road trip is nothing without roads. Here are 10 doozies. Frankly, we had to arm-wrestle over
favorites, so consider this list incomplete. See the Itineraries chapter (p30) for more, and for America’s
‘official’ scenic roads, visit www.byways.org.
1 Hana Hwy (Hwy 360), Maui, Hawaii: 38 miles 7 Delmarva Peninsula (Hwys 50 and 13): 210
from Pauwela to Hana (p1106) miles from Annapolis, Maryland, to Virginia
2 Turquoise Trail (Hwy 14), New Mexico: 45 Beach, Virginia (p337 and p360)
miles from Albuquerque to Santa Fe (p875) 8 Route 66 (initial section): 300 miles from
3 Columbia River Hwy (Hwy 30), Oregon: 74 Chicago, Illinois, to St Louis, Missouri
miles from Troutdale to The Dalles (p1042) (p576)
4 Pig Trail Byway (Hwy 23), Arkansas: 80 miles 9 Pacific Coast Hwy (Hwy 1), California: 332
from Ozark to Eureka Springs (p457) miles from San Francisco to Santa Barbara
5 Hwy 12, Utah: 107 miles from Torrey to (p940).
Bryce Canyon NP (p868) 10 Blue Ridge Parkway: 469 miles from Shen-
6 Overseas Hwy (Hwy 1), Florida: 160 miles andoah NP, Virginia, to Great Smoky Moun-
from Miami to Key West (p510). tains NP, North Carolina (p364)
lonelyplanet.com G E T T I N G S TA R T E D • • I n t e r n e t R e s o u r c e s 29
Bathroom Diaries (www.thebathroomdiaries.com) A compilation of clean bathrooms worldwide
(with awards!), including every state in the USA. Its bathroom stories are a hoot.
Johnny Jet (www.johnnyjet.com) Compiled by an inveterate traveler, this website links to
perhaps all the travel information you’ll ever need.
Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com) US travel news and summaries, the Thorn Tree bulletin
board, and links to more web resources.
Roadside America (www.roadsideamerica.com) Sure, see the Statue of Liberty. But don’t miss
the ‘Muffler Men’! For weird, wacky Americana, start here.
Roadtrip America (www.roadtripamerica.com) Planning the classic road trip? This site helps
with nitty-gritty tips: routes, driving advice, fuel calculator, eating and much more.
USA.gov (www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel.shtml) The closest thing to a national tourism
information resource, on the US government’s official website.
Why are easterners CITIES BY THE SEA 10 Days to Three Weeks/Boston to Maryland
so cranky? Because The nice thing about East Coast metropoli? They’re near the beach! Balance
East Coast high- culture, history and cuisine with coastal idylls and long naps in the sun.
Arrive in revolutionary Bah-ston (p229), then go to sandy Cape Cahd (p246),
ways couldn’t be and keep going till you reach Prah-vincetown (p251), where the Pilgrims
more congested. landed. Pretty, ain’t it?
So why on earth Scoot around on I-195 to Rhode Island’s quaint Newport (p262); time your
do this road trip? visit for a music festival (p264).
Now, tackle New York City (p136). Once you’ve had your fill of the bustling
Slow down, avoid
Big Apple, escape to the Hamptons (p179) on Long Island; what was the
rush hour, hit the hurry, again?
beaches often, and In New Jersey, go ‘down the shore’ to Long Beach Island (p194), and if you’re
for 1000 detour- the gambling sort, Atlantic City (p195) and its boardwalk.
laden miles it’s one Then, make time for Philadelphia (p197), Baltimore (p325), and Washington,
DC (p306). You did plan three weeks, right?
first-class metropo- Finally, cross Chesapeake Bay and relax on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (p337),
lis after another. and get your mellow back for good at Assateague Island (boxed text, p340).
New York 195
Long Beach Island
New York City
Garden State Parkway
Bay Delaware ATLANTIC
West Virginia Maryland
ITINERARIES •• Classic Routes 31
THE LEFT COAST Two to Three Weeks/Portland to Joshua Tree
Geographically and politically, the West Coast couldn’t be further from
Washington, DC. This is a trip for those who lean left, and who like their
nature ancient and ornery. You won’t need to shave but once or twice.
Pretty, affable Portland (p1028) is a great place to start. Then jump right
into nature’s bounty by driving east along the Columbia River Gorge (boxed text,
p1042). At The Dalles, turn south and make for Mount Hood (p1043) for skiing
or hiking (depending on the season). From Bend (p1044), enjoy more cascades
adventures in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area (p1044) and Crater Lake (p1045).
Catch a Shakespearian play at Ashland (p1045), then trade the mountains
for the coast: enter California via Hwy 199 and the magnificent Redwood
National Park (p981).
Hug the coast through funky North Coast towns (p978), get lost on the Lost
Coast (p980), catch Hwy 1 and buy art in Mendocino (p979). Make your way
inland to Napa Valley (p974) for a wash-up and wine tasting, and thence to
the hilly, defiantly strange burg of San Francisco (p950).
Return to scenic Hwy 1 (p950) through Santa Cruz (p948), Monterey (p946)
and most of all, Big Sur (p944), where you can get seriously scruffy again.
By the time you reach Hearst Castle (p944) you can actually start swimming
in the water.
Finally, Los Angeles (p900) – aka LA, la-la land, the city of angels. Go ahead,
indulge your fantasies of Hollywood (p906), Venice Beach (p912) and club culture
(p918). Then, creeped out by artifice perhaps, hop aboard a ferry for the
wildlife-rich Channel Islands (p940) and make a desert pilgrimage to Joshua
Tree National Park (p936). Aaah, that’s better.
Let’s see. In 1400
CANADA miles, is there eco-
Washington adventure? Check.
River Gorge Microbrews and
Mount Hood (1,239ft) 197
Montana fine wines? Check.
Wilderness Area Bend
Lake 97 Oregon
199 5 62
Idaho and mountains?
National Park Ashland
Coast Wyoming coastal drives?
Mendocino Check. Freaks,
OCEAN 1 Napa visionaries and
Nevada radicals? Check.
Utah Surf beaches,
Big Sur Colorado
1 California cutting-edge art,
Castle multicultural cit-
101 ies? Check, check,
check. Why, it’s the
Joshua Tree Arizona Mexico West Coast!
32 ITINERARIES •• Classic Routes
THE GREAT RIVER ROAD 10 Days to Two Weeks/Minneapolis to New Orleans
The Mississippi River marks a physical and psychological divide, and along
this spine runs America’s greatest music: blues, jazz, and rock and roll. Hwy
61 is the legendary route, though numerous other roads join up, run parallel
and intersect with it.
Progressive, artistic, youthful Minneapolis (p623) is the easiest starting point,
though some might want to start further north in Hibbing (p635), Bob Dylan’s
birthplace. Hwy 61 then winds scenically on either side of the Mississippi
River to Hannibal (p650), Missouri, the birthplace of Mark Twain. Gateway
to the West, St Louis (p643) also bills itself as the ‘Home of the Blues,’ though
original rock-and-roller Chuck Berry still plays here, too.
The next major destination is Memphis (p460), where you can pay homage
to Elvis Presley at Graceland and rock and roll at Sun Studio. To complete
your musical pilgrimage, take a quick detour on I-40 to Nashville (p468),
the home of country music. South of Memphis, Hwy 61 runs through the
Mississippi Delta (p427), where the blues was born: Clarksdale (p427) is where
Robert Johnson bargained with the devil. The town’s still jumpin’ with blues
joints, while Natchez (p431) is full of antebellum homes.
South of Baton Rouge, a detour along Hwy 1 leads past the famous 19th-
century Mississippi River Plantations (p449).
Then you arrive at New Orleans (p433), birthplace of jazz. The ‘Big Easy,’
despite its recent hard times (p432), is a place where lazy mornings blend into
late nights, and you should leave plenty of time to go with the flow.
Just about all of Hibbing CANADA
the epic, legen- Dakota Mi
dary, even revo- Minne- ig
lutionary history Wisconsin
of American music South
can be experienced
along this 1200-
mile stretch of Ohio
the Mississippi Nebraska Indiana
River. Throw in a Hannibal
to Nashville, and Kansas 61
what you have is
the musical journey NASHVILLE
of a lifetime. Arkansas
Mis s is s ippi D
Plantations New Orleans Gulf of
ITINERARIES •• Classic Routes 33
GO EAST, YOUNG MAN Three Weeks to One Month/San Francisco to Miami
For those contemplating the full monty, coast to coast, here’s a suggestion:
start in San Francisco and head into the rising sun. This route snags some
seriously fun cities and some classic American scenery, but be warned: it’ll
be hot come July and August.
From anything-goes San Francisco (p950), head for Yosemite (p989) and
Sequoia National Parks (p993) in the Sierra Nevada – now that’s scenery! Skirt
the Mojave Desert (p938) on I-15 and hit Las Vegas (p809) – now that’s fun!
Stop at the Grand Canyon (p835) for the obligatory photo-op, rattle around This is the trip
funky Flagstaff (p831) and Sedona (p833), and roll east on I-40. you have to do at
In New Mexico, unlike Bugs Bunny, take that left at Albuquerque (p873) least once – coast
along the Turquoise Trail (p875) and detour to artsy, adobe Santa Fe (p879),
to coast, ocean to
just cause it’s so cute.
Drop south on I-25 through scenic southwestern New Mexico (p890), pick up ocean, sunrise to
I-10 into Texas, and admire jaw-dropping Big Bend National Park (p734). Saunter sunset (or in this
through bucolic Texas Hill Country (p703) to Austin (p695), for good music and case, vice versa).
drinking. Pause for folk art in Houston (p710) then giddy-up for party-central, It’s 3500 miles,
New Orleans (p433). Keep dancing and eatin’ in Cajun Country (p450).
Depending on your time, explore fun-loving Mobile (p425) and the beaches give or take. Some
of the Florida Panhandle (p538), but whatever you do, visit Walt Disney World do it in days, oth-
(p535); like the Grand Canyon, it must be seen to be believed. ers take months.
Now, along Florida’s Gulf Coast, enjoy St Petersburg (p528), clown around There’s no right or
in Sarasota (p530) and pick seashells at Sanibel & Captiva Islands (p531). Bisect
wrong, no rules,
the alligator-filled swamps of the tremendous Everglades (p506) and arrive
in Miami (p492). Finally, with a beach, a mojito and some Cuban cuisine, no ‘best’ route.
you’re ready to party till sunrise. Sweet! Just go.
North Minnesota NH
South York CT
Wyoming Pennsylvania NJ
Nevada Iowa DE
San Nebraska Ohio
Francisco Yosemite Indiana West
National Illinois Virginia Maryland
41 Colorado Virginia
Las Vegas Kansas Kentucky North
65 Park Missouri
Grand Canyon Carolina
15 National Park
58 93 Tennessee South
40 Flagstaff Santa Fe Arkansas
Preserve New Mexico Mississippi Georgia
Texas Louisiana OCEAN
Mobile 10 98
10 Austin 50 Walt Disney World
385 10 NEW ORLEANS
290 90 4
Big Bend St Petersburg
National Park Houston Florida
Sanibel & 41 MIAMI
MEXICO Gulf of Captiva Islands
Mexico National Park
34 ITINERARIES •• Classic Routes
WESTERN MIGRATIONS Two to Three Weeks/Chicago to Seattle
‘The West’ is not one thing. It’s a panoply of landscapes and personalities that
unfold as, like an eager pioneer, you journey from past to future. No single
route could capture it all; this stretch of I-90 is book-ended by world-class
cities and packed with heartbreakingly beautiful country.
From Midwest to Chicago (p547) – the Second City, the Windy City – is the Midwest’s great-
est city. Follow I-90 to youthful Madison (p617) and the quirk along Hwy 12
Wild West to New (p619) to dispel any myths about Midwestern sobriety.
West: this route is Detour north to arty Minneapolis (p623) for more Midwest liberalism. Return
a 2700-mile medi- to I-90 and activate cruise control, admiring the corn (and the Corn Palace,
tation on America’s p665) and the flat, flat South Dakota plains. See why Westerners are crazy?
evolving western Hit the brakes for the Badlands (p666) and plunge into the reckless Wild
West. In the Black Hills (p667), contemplate competing monuments at Mount
frontier. Only by Rushmore (p670) and Crazy Horse (p670). Watch mythic gunfights in Dead-
seeing the West’s wood (p669) and visit the sobering Pine Ridge Reservation (p666), site of the
endless plains, Wounded Knee massacre.
eroded deserts, Halfway across Wyoming, take Hwy 14 to Cody (p779) for the rodeo. Save
plenty of time for the wild majesty and wildlife of Yellowstone (p781) and
towering moun- Grand Teton National Parks (p785).
tains and ragged Through Montana, the newly hip ranching towns of Bozeman (p789) and
coast can you begin Missoula (p792) make fun stops. For serious western adventure, detour to
to understand Glacier National Park (p795) and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (p795).
its inhabitants’ Back on I-90 into Washington, stop in unassuming Spokane (p1024)
and end in Seattle (p1003) – which embodies the high-tech, eco-conscious
singular multiple New West. Still got time? Take in Mount Rainier (p1025), Olympic National Park
personalities. (p1017), and the San Juan Islands (p1021). See why everyone went west?
National 5 National
Park SEATTLE Park
Mt Rainier 2
Missoula Montana North Minnesota
90 Bozeman Michigan
National Park Cody Wisconsin
Grand Teton 90 Dakoda Corn Palace
National Park 35 94
Mt Rushmore (Mitchell)
Idaho Black Hills MADISON
OCEAN New Mexico
I T I N E R A R I E S • • R o a d s Le s s T r a v e l e d 35
ROADS LESS TRAVELED
THE GRAND CIRCLE Two to Four Weeks/Las Vegas to Las Vegas
In another era, the Grand Circle was a leisure-class journey to all the rug-
ged, raw natural splendors of the New World. It took several months, and
still can, but today you only need a few weeks to witness some of the most
amazing geological spectacles Mother Nature has yet devised – as well as get
acquainted with Southwest Native American cultures.
Nothing natural about Las Vegas (p809), but it’s a great place to start. From
here, take I-15 northeast to Utah’s Zion National Park (p871). Catch Hwy 89
and then go east on Hwy 12 (p868) – one of the most amazing drives in the
world, containing as it does Bryce Canyon National Park (p870), the Grand Stair-
case-Escalante National Monument (p869) and Capitol Reef National Park (p868).
You’ll gain a new appreciation for rock.
Take Hwy 24 to I-70, head east, then catch Hwy 191 south to Moab (p865),
Arches National Park (p866) and Canyonlands National Park (p867). Head south-
east on Hwy 666 to Mesa Verde National Park (p776), then take your cultural
wonder west on Hwy 160 to Monument Valley (p843) and the Navajo National
Monument (p843). Double back to go south on Hwy 191 to catch Canyon de
Chelly National Monument (p843), then west on Hwy 264 through the mesas of
the Hopi Indian Reservation (p844).
Next, it’s the granddaddy of river erosion, the Grand Canyon (p835). Go
south and clean up in Flagstaff (p831), then return to Las Vegas by I-40 and
Hwy 93, pausing to admire the concrete pile called Hoover Dam (p818).
Canyons a mile
Utah painted a rainbow,
191 Arches pueblo-topped
Moab Park mesas, ancient
in the cliffs – you
Escalante National 491
can’t make this
Park stuff up. To see it
Las Vegas Valley all requires 1400
Navajo 160 Mesa Verde
Dam National 160 National brutal miles of
Monument 191 Park
264 Canyon de roads, and it’s
Monument worth every saddle
36 I T I N E R A R I E S • • R o a d s Le s s T r a v e l e d
THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE Two to Four Weeks/
Albuquerque to Glacier National Park
On one side rivers run east, on the other, west. You’ll trace the mountains
in between, finding constant excuses to ditch the car and hike, climb, raft,
bike, ski and get dirty. Just remember: the mountains only get prettier further
north, so don’t forget to drive.
Start in Albuquerque (p873) and take the Turquoise Trail (p875) to arty Santa
Fe (p879). Between here and trippy Taos (p886), check out the Pueblos (p884),
Work hard, play atomic Los Alamos (p885) and Bandelier National Monument (p885) for camping.
hard – or at Follow Hwy 84 into Colorado. Enjoy bikes and brews in Durango (p770)
least, play hard. and admire the ancient cliff-dwellings of Mesa Verde (p776). Ready for more
Name it, and you scenery? Take the ‘Million Dollar Hwy’ (Hwy 550), stopping in Silverton
(p771); for hot springs in Ouray (p772); and a quick detour to gorgeous Tel-
can probably do luride (p773). Then go east on Hwy 50, through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
it in the Rocky (p777), and north on Hwy 24 to ritzy Vail (p764).
Mountains. This Relax a spell in laid-back Boulder (p753) and Rocky Mountain National Park
2000-mile route is (p756). For time’s sake, stay north on I-25, and in Wyoming, take I-80 west
to Hwy 287: follow this to Lander (p780) for rock climbing. Now get thee to
built for those who
Grand Teton (p785) and Yellowstone (p781) National Parks.
don’t want to just In Montana, take Hwy 89 north and I-90 west to Bozeman (p789) and
admire nature’s Missoula (p792), both enjoyable places to stock up before the final push.
munificence, but Serious wilderness calls in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex (p795) and
to roll around in it, Glacier National Park (p795).
And really, there’s no reason not to keep following the Rockies into Can-
then swap stories ada; if anything, Banff and Jasper National Parks only get more dramatically
over a beer. beautiful. But that’s a story for another book (namely, LP’s Canada).
The Bob Marshall
93 Wilderness Complex
National Park South
National Park Dakota
Nevada Rocky Mountain 25
National Park 24
Utah Vail 70
Black Canyon 24
of the Gunnison Colorado
California Mesa Verde Durango
National Park 64
Los Alamos Pueblos
Mojave Arizona Bandelier National Santa Fe
PACIFIC 12 Texas
I T I N E R A R I E S • • R o a d s Le s s T r a v e l e d 37
GENTLEMEN FARMERS & DAMN YANKEES Ten Days to Three Weeks/
New York City to Acadia National Park
This is a good spring or summer trip, but in early fall – wow. Autumn
dresses New England in auburn and scarlet, and the air is so crisp you can
bite it. Stout personalities settled this region, which remains a mix of rugged
wilderness, efficient towns and tidy farms. Never experi-
Arrive in New York City (p136); soak up the excitement, the cacophony,
the crowds. When you’re full, rent a car and head north on I-87. Dip into enced fall in New
the Catskills (p182) along Hwy 28 for a first taste of East Coast forests, then England? Tired of
continue north for the real deal: the Adirondacks (p186). Settle in for a few hearing everyone
days in Lake Placid (p186) and explore the wilderness. blather on? Time
Take the ferry across Lake Champlain to youthful, outdoorsy Burlington this 1000-mile
(p279), a great introduction to New England. A sidetrip to the Lake Champlain
Islands (p279) is splendid, then take I-89 southeast, stopping at the ski-town of trip right, and
Stowe (p278). At Montpelier (p277), take Hwy 302 east to New Hampshire. you’ll join the
Hwy 302 turns into Hwy 112, the Kancamagus Hwy (p284), perhaps the proselytizers. Heck,
prettiest drive in New England, through the magnificent White Mountains it’s gorgeous any
(p284): waterfalls, hikes and quaint villages abound. At Hwy 16, go south
to historic, maritime Portsmouth (p281). season, the chow-
Now follow I-95 into Maine. Lively Portland (p291) has surprisingly good der and lobster
eats. From Hwy 1, meander the Central Maine Coast (p294): you’re hunting kill, the maritime
clam chowder, fresh lobster and nautical ports to let loose your inner air stirs your blood,
sailor. Visit Bath (p294), Boothbay Harbor (p294), and Camden (p296), for and that damn
memorable windjammer cruises (p295).
Finally, book yourself an historic inn in Bar Harbor (p298) and dive into Yankee ingenuity is
the unspoiled splendor of Acadia National Park (p297). a marvel.
CANADA Bar Harbor
Lake Champlain Bath
Champlain Islands Boothbay
100 95 Harbor
Adirondack MONTPELIER Portland
Park 86 302
Lake Vermont Mountains
Lake New 95
Catskill Park Island
28 Connecticut OCEAN
3 New York City
38 I T I N E R A R I E S • • R o a d s Le s s T r a v e l e d
ALASKA’S INSIDE PASSAGE One to Three Weeks/Bellingham to Skagway
You can take a car, but if you are looking for an unforgettable journey that
doesn’t involve an automobile, consider cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage.
In summer the Alaska Marine Hwy ferries stop at towns nearly every
day, and with advance notice you can get on and off at every one,
just as long as you keep traveling in the same direction. See p1059 for
Fly into Seattle (p1003), Washington, and linger awhile or take a shuttle di-
rectly to Bellingham (p1021), where you catch the Alaska Marine Hwy ferry.
The first stop is Ketchikan (p1059), which still has a rugged Western
feel. It might be worth renting a car once you land on Prince of Wales Island
(p1060), which is the third-largest island in the USA.
Wrangell (p1060) was founded by Russians, while pretty Petersburg
(p1061) has a Norwegian heritage. Rich with Native American culture
and beautifully situated, Sitka (p1062) shouldn’t be missed. Busy Juneau
(p1063) is Alaska’s capital, and from here it’s easy to get close to magnifi-
cent Mendenhall Glacier (p1064).
Haines (p1065) is another sizable town, and Skagway (p1067) is the end
of the line. It is a well-preserved, nonthreatening version of its once-
lawless gold-rush self.
You can also fly into or out of Juneau, or make it a round-trip and take
the ferry back to Bellingham.
A trip through Skagway
Passage is proof Haines
that Mother Nature
is one wild woman.
Awesome doesn’t Alaska Mendenhall
begin to describe JUNEAU
it. Calving glaciers,
forests thick as CANADA
night, pods of Island
whales, trees full
of eagles: it’s one Sitka
of the most memo- Baranof
rable trips ever. Island
To Bellingham (920mi);
lonelyplanet.com I T I N E R A R I E S • • Ta i l o re d T r i p s 39
DUDE, THAT’S WEIRD
Combine a fierce sense of independence with a vast landscape and what
you get are crazies giving free rein to their obsessions. Call it ‘Americana.’
You’ve heard of the biggies (Mitchell’s Corn Palace, Las Vegas). Here are
some others you shouldn’t miss.
First, what’s up with Stonehenge? Modern, personal iterations include
Nebraska’s Carhenge (p674), Virginia’s Foamhenge (p364), and Florida’s Coral
Looking for the world’s largest…catsup bottle (p577)? Chair (p318)? Perhaps
just a really big chicken (p412)? Americans know supersizing.
For sublime examples of ‘outsider’ or folk art, aim for Lucas, Kansas
(p679); Nitt Witt Ridge (p950); the Mystery Castle (p825); Dr Evermor’s Sculpture
Park (p619); and Houston’s Beer Can House (p713)
and Art Car Museum (p713). Dr Evermor's
Sometimes Americans dress up madness by Park; Cow
calling it a ‘museum.’ What do you make of the Spam Museum Throw
Spam Museum (p633), Leila’s Hair Museum (p657), the Discovery Carhenge
Bigfoot Discovery Museum (p950), or – wait for it – UFO
the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum (p257)? Nitt Witt
Watchtower Lucas, Largest Foamhenge
Americans celebrate strangely too! Join in the Ridge
Bottle Big Chicken
Interstate Mullet Toss (p541), the Cow Chip Throw Castle Rodeo
(p619) and the Sock Monkey Festival (p574). Cheer Mullet Toss Castle
on the inmates at the Angola Prison Rodeo (p450)! Museum
& Beer Can
Finally, if the folks on the ground aren’t alien House
enough, look for the outer space kind at the
UFO Watchtower (p769). Hey, get married while
Americans like to drink. The US Constitution’s 21st Amendment (which
ended the 14-year dry spell called Prohibition) establishes that emphatically,
even legally. And they’re quite good at making the stuff, too.
These days, most states tout their ‘wine countries,’ and it ain’t all plonk. Cali-
fornia’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys (p974) are justifiably famous, but don’t neglect
Santa Barbara (p940), which is so good it inspired a movie: Sideways. Other wine
regions to tour include Washington’s Walla Walla (p1027), New York’s Finger Lakes
(p183), Long Island’s North Fork (p181), Virginia’s
Charlottesville (p361) and Texas Hill Country (p704). Seattle
Cowboys knocking back merlot? Hell yeah. Portland Walla Walla North
Americans have been brewing beer from the Milwaukee
start. Despite being the home of bland major-label North Coast Chicago Charlottesville
beers (such as Pabst and Miller), Milwaukee (p614) Sonoma Napa &
remains a beer-lover’s destination, as is Chicago Valleys Durango Bourbon Tour
(p547). The microbrewery renaissance began out Barbara
west: notable cities include Portland (p1028), Seat-
tle (p1003), Boulder (p753) and Durango (p770). In Texas Hill
California, Wine Country (p950) and the North Coast Country
(p950) are sprinkled with fine homemade suds.
Those who prefer the hard stuff should make
time for Kentucky, whose bourbon tour (p484)
makes for a genteel Southern experience.
40 I T I N E R A R I E S • • Ta i l o re d T r i p s lonelyplanet.com
Everybody wants to go across the USA, but traveling around it might
make an even better trip. Start at Maine’s Acadia National Park (p297) for
a sunrise hike. Then go to historic Martha’s Vineyard (p255), from where
it’s a quick tack to the USA’s most famous island, Manhattan (p136). Off
the Virginia coast is Chincoteague Island (p360), famous for its wild horses,
and off North Carolina are the Outer Banks (p377) and Cape Hatteras National
Seashore (p378), where the Wright brothers learned to fly, and you can too
– by hang gliding.
Florida boasts Amelia Island (p525), the string-of-pearls Florida Keys (p510),
the islands of Dry Tortugas National Park (p519) and shell collecting on Sanibel
and Captiva Islands (p531).
Islands Acadia National Park
Continuing along the Gulf of Mexico is Texas’
resort town of Galveston (p718) and the gorgeously
wild Padre Island National Seashore (p720) – not to
be confused with South Padre Island (p721), where
Channel Islands Outer Banks & ‘gorgeous and wild’ describes the spring break
National Park Cape Hatteras
Amelia Island At this point, sail through the Panama Canal
Padre Island Galveston Captiva Islands
or go overland to California, where Catalina Island
(p921) has great snorkeling and Channel Islands
National Park Keys National Park (p940) is ‘California’s Galápagos.’
Island Keep going to Washington’s San Juan Islands
(p1021) and thence to the islands of Alaska’s
Hawaii Inside Passage (p1059). Finally, of course, don’t
forget Hawaii (p1085)!
WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER
It’s never been more fun to be gay in the USA. So long as you’re not trying
to get married, gay travelers will find numerous places where they can be
themselves without thinking twice. Naturally, beaches and big cities tend to
be the gayest destinations, and why not? They’re the most fun!
Manhattan (p136) is too crowded and cosmopolitan to worry about who’s
holding hands, while Fire Island (p179) is the sandy gay mecca on Long Island.
Other East Coast cities that flaunt it are Boston (p243), Philadelphia (p197),
Washington, DC (p318), Baltimore (p334) and Provincetown (p251), Massachu-
setts. Why even Maine brags a gay beach destination: Ogunquit (p289).
In the South, there’s always steamy ‘Hotlanta’ (p409) and Texas gets darn-
right gay-friendly in Austin (p702) and parts of
Houston (p716). In Florida, Miami (p492) and the
Ogunquit ‘Conch Republic’ of Key West (p514) support
Minneapolis Manhattan Boston
thriving gay communities, though Fort Lauderdale
Fire (p504) attracts bronze boys too. Of course, every-
Washington, DC one gets their freak on in New Orleans (p444).
Los Angeles In the Midwest, seek out Chicago (p564) and
Palm Springs Atlanta Minneapolis (p625). You will have heard of San
Austin Fort Lauderdale Francisco (p950), the happiest gay city in America,
Houston New Miami and what can gays and lesbians do in Los Angeles
Key West (p900)? Hmmm, just about anything. In fact,
when LA is too much, try Palm Springs (p934).
Lastly, for an island idyll, Hawaii (p1085)
Hawaii is gay-friendly generally, but particularly in