Usa 5 Getting Started


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Usa 5 Getting Started

  1. 1. © Lonely Planet Publications 22 Destination USA Regis St Louis The playwright Arthur Miller once said that the essence of America was its promise. For newly arrived immigrants and jetlagged travelers alike, that promise of America can take on near mythic proportions. America is a land of dazzling cities, towering redwoods, alpine lakes, rolling vine- yards, chiseled peaks, barren deserts and a dramatic coastline of unrivaled beauty. And that’s just one state (California). In the other 49 lie an astounding collection of natural and cultural wonders, from the wildly multihued tapestry of urban streets to the mountains, plains and forests that cover vast swaths of the continent. America is the home of LA, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami, Boston and New FAST FACTS York City – each a brimming metropolis whose name alone conjures a Population: 302 million million different notions of culture, cuisine and entertainment. Gross Domestic Product Look more closely, and the American quilt unfurls in all its surprising (GDP): $11.9 trillion variety: the eclectic music scene of Austin, the easygoing charms of ante- bellum Savannah, the eco-consciousness of free-spirited Portland, the Inflation: 2.6% magnificent waterfront of San Francisco, and the captivating old quarters Unemployment: 4.5% of New Orleans, still rising up from their waterlogged foundations. Military defense budget This is a country of road trips and great open skies, where four million in 2006: $441.9 billion miles of highways lead past red-rock deserts, below towering mountain peaks, and across fertile wheat fields that roll off toward the horizon. The Barrels of oil consumed sun-bleached Native American hillsides of the Great Plains, the lush for- per day: 20.7 million ests of the Pacific Northwest and the scenic country lanes of New England Number of Americans are a few fine starting points for the great American road trip. living without health The world’s third-largest nation (geographically speaking) has also insurance: 46 million launched substantial contributions to the arts. It is from here that Geor- Average number of TV gia O’Keeffe’s wild landscapes, Robert Rauschenberg’s surreal collages, channels in a US home: Alexander Calder’s elegant mobiles and Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings 104.2 have entered the vernacular of avant-garde 20th century art. Cities such Number of states in as Chicago and New York are veritable drawing boards for the great which gay marriage is architects of the modern era. And musically speaking, America has few legal: 1 peers on the world stage. From the big-band jazz that was born in New Orleans, to the Memphis blues, Detroit’s Motown sound, plus funk, hip- Number of airline hop, country, and rock and roll – America has invented sounds integral passengers in 2006: 661 to any understanding of contemporary music. million Cuisine is another way of illuminating the American experience. On Percentage of citizens one evening in the USA, thick barbecue ribs and sizzling meats arrive who have passports: 20% fresh off the grill at a Tennessee roadhouse; miles away, talented chefs blend organic, fresh-from-the-garden produce with Asian accents at an award-winning West Coast restaurant. A smattering of locals get their fix of bagels and lox at a century-old deli in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, while several states away, plump pancakes and fried eggs disappear in a hurry under the clatter of cutlery at a 1950s-style diner. Steaming plates of fresh lobster served off a Maine pier, oysters and champagne in a fashion-conscious wine bar, beer and pizza at a Midwestern pub – these are just a few ways to dine à la Americana. But America isn’t just about its geography, its cities or its art and cuisine. It’s also about people. The ‘teeming nation of nations’ (as Walt Whitman described the USA), was built on immigration and still attracts more than one million new immigrants each year. Representatives from nearly every country can be found inside the boundaries of the USA, adding an astounding mix of ethnicities, religions and languages to
  2. 2. 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- talking Texans. 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
  3. 3. 24 D E S T I N AT I O N U S A 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.’
  4. 4. 25 Getting Started 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). information. 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 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.
  5. 5. 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 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. TRAVEL LITERATURE 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 for company. 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 ideal companions. See p65 for American literature.
  6. 6. G E T T I N G S TA R T E D 27 TRAVELING RESPONSIBLY 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; p1141) supports environmental legislation and offers eco-friendly services. Two US car rental companies specializing in hybrid and electric cars are Bio-Beetle (www and EV Rental Cars (, 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 reservations. Alaska Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association ( Chicago Sustainable Business Alliance ( Go Nomad ( Ecotours worldwide. Green Hotel Association ( Ecofriendly hotels nationwide. Greenopia ( San Francisco and Los Angeles ecoguides (eventually to a dozen cities). Hawaii Ecotourism Association ( Travel Green Wisconsin (www.travelgreenwisconsin) Vital Communities ( Green restaurants and local farmers markets in Vermont and New Hampshire. 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: ( Official website for the documentary An Inconvenient Truth; offers carbon offset programs, advice and information. Hawaii 2050 ( State-sponsored initiative to create a sustainable Hawaiian economy. National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations ( /sustainable) Promotes ‘geotourism’ with its ‘Geocharter maps’; currently three in the US: Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, Vermont and Appalachia. Sustainable Travel International ( Provides ecoguides, tour booking, a carbon-offset program and more.
  7. 7. 28 G E T T I N G S TA R T E D 10 Hawaii UN (USA) S TAT I T E D TOP E AM E R S O F ICA Washin DC gton, 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 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) GOOD BOOKS 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 regional voices. 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 SCENIC DRIVES 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 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)
  8. 8. 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 INTERNET RESOURCES Bathroom Diaries ( A compilation of clean bathrooms worldwide (with awards!), including every state in the USA. Its bathroom stories are a hoot. Johnny Jet ( Compiled by an inveterate traveler, this website links to perhaps all the travel information you’ll ever need. Lonely Planet ( US travel news and summaries, the Thorn Tree bulletin board, and links to more web resources. Roadside America ( Sure, see the Statue of Liberty. But don’t miss the ‘Muffler Men’! For weird, wacky Americana, start here. Roadtrip America ( Planning the classic road trip? This site helps with nitty-gritty tips: routes, driving advice, fuel calculator, eating and much more. ( The closest thing to a national tourism information resource, on the US government’s official website.
  9. 9. 30 Itineraries CLASSIC ROUTES 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 CANADA Hampshire Vermont Provincetown BOSTON Massachusetts 3 3 New York 195 Cape Cod Rhode Island Newport Connecticut 95 The Hamptons Long Beach Island 495 New York City New Pennsylvania Jersey Garden State Parkway Philadelphia Atlantic City Atlantic City 95 Expressway Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Delaware ATLANTIC 95 50 OCEAN WASHINGTON 20 Assateague Island West Virginia Maryland Virginia
  10. 10. 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- friendly outdoor Washington adventure? Check. Columbia River Gorge Microbrews and Portland 84 Mount Hood (1,239ft) 197 Montana fine wines? Check. Three Sisters Wilderness Area Bend Heart-stopping Crater Lake 97 Oregon ancient forests Redwoods 199 5 62 Idaho and mountains? National Park Ashland Lost Check. Legendary 101 Coast Wyoming coastal drives? PACIFIC Mendocino Check. Freaks, OCEAN 1 Napa visionaries and 29 Valley Nevada radicals? Check. San Francisco Santa Cruz Utah Surf beaches, Monterey Big Sur Colorado gourmet cuisine, 1 California cutting-edge art, Hearst Castle multicultural cit- 101 ies? Check, check, Los Angeles Channel Islands check. Why, it’s the 10 New Joshua Tree Arizona Mexico West Coast! National Park MEXICO
  11. 11. 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 North the epic, legen- Dakota Mi ch dary, even revo- Minne- ig a sota n lutionary history Wisconsin Minneapolis of American music South 61 Dakota can be experienced along this 1200- Iowa mile stretch of Ohio the Mississippi Nebraska Indiana Illinois River. Throw in a Hannibal 400-mile sidetrip St Louis to Nashville, and Kansas 61 Kentucky Missouri what you have is Tennessee the musical journey NASHVILLE 40 of a lifetime. Arkansas Oklahoma a Memphis elt Mis s is s ippi D Clarksdale Georgia Missis- Alabama 61 sippi Louisiana Natchez Texas Florida Mississippi River Plantations New Orleans Gulf of Mexico
  12. 12. 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. James Bay CANADA Maine Washington Vermont North Minnesota NH Montana Massachusetts Dakoda Oregon RI Wisconsin New South York CT Idaho Michigan Dakoda Wyoming Pennsylvania NJ California Nevada Iowa DE San Nebraska Ohio Francisco Yosemite Indiana West 120 National Illinois Virginia Maryland Park Utah 41 Colorado Virginia Sequoia National Las Vegas Kansas Kentucky North 65 Park Missouri Grand Canyon Carolina 15 National Park 58 93 Tennessee South 40 Flagstaff Santa Fe Arkansas Mojave 40 ALBUQUERQUE Oklahoma Carolina National Sedona Preserve New Mexico Mississippi Georgia Arizona ATLANTIC 25 Alabama Texas Louisiana OCEAN 10 Mobile 10 98 10 Austin 50 Walt Disney World 385 10 NEW ORLEANS 290 90 4 Big Bend St Petersburg National Park Houston Florida Sarasota Sanibel & 41 MIAMI MEXICO Gulf of Captiva Islands PACIFIC Everglades Mexico National Park OCEAN CUBA
  13. 13. 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? CANADA San Juan Islands Olympic Glacier National 5 National Park SEATTLE Park 101 Washington Mt Rainier 2 (14,411ft) 90 Spokane 93 Missoula Montana North Minnesota 90 Bozeman Michigan Dakoda 89 Oregon Yellowstone National Park Cody Wisconsin South MINNEAPOLIS 14 Grand Teton 90 Dakoda Corn Palace National Park 35 94 Mt Rushmore (Mitchell) 90 Idaho Black Hills MADISON Badlands Wyoming 90 National Park Iowa CHICAGO Nebraska Indiana Nevada Illinois Utah Colorado California Kansas Missouri Kentucky Tennessee Oklahoma Arkansas PACIFIC Arizona OCEAN New Mexico Texas Mississippi MEXICO Louisiana
  14. 14. 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 deep, deserts Utah painted a rainbow, crumbling buttes, Nevada 70 Capitol Reef National Park 191 Arches pueblo-topped 24 National Moab Park mesas, ancient Canyonlands National Park civilizations hidden Zion National 12 Colorado in the cliffs – you Park Bryce Canyon Grand Staircase- Escalante National 491 can’t make this Monument 15 National Park stuff up. To see it Monument Las Vegas Valley all requires 1400 Navajo 160 Mesa Verde Hoover Dam National 160 National brutal miles of Monument 191 Park Grand Canyon National Park slow, sun-baked 93 264 Canyon de roads, and it’s Chelly National Hopi Indian Monument worth every saddle Reservation 40 sore. Flagstaff California New Mexico Arizona
  15. 15. 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). CANADA Glacier Washington National Park 2 The Bob Marshall 93 Wilderness Complex Missoula North Montana 90 Dakota Bozeman Oregon 89 Idaho Yellowstone National Park South 89 Grand Teton National Park Dakota 287 Wyoming Lander 287 80 Nevada Rocky Mountain 25 Nebraska National Park 24 Boulder Utah Vail 70 Black Canyon 24 of the Gunnison Colorado National Monument 50 550 Ouray Kansas Telluride Silverton California Mesa Verde Durango National Park 64 Taos Los Alamos Pueblos Mojave Arizona Bandelier National Santa Fe Monument Oklahoma Desert ALBUQUERQUE PACIFIC 12 Texas New OCEAN Mexico
  16. 16. 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. Maine 3 CANADA Bar Harbor 1 Acadia Camden National Park 90 Lake 1 Lake Champlain Bath Champlain Islands Boothbay 100 95 Harbor 2 Stowe Adirondack MONTPELIER Portland 89 Park 86 302 Burlington 112 3 White 73 Lake Vermont Mountains Placid 16 Lake New 95 George Portsmouth Hampshire Lake 87 Massachusetts New Ontario York Rhode ATLANTIC Catskill Park Island 28 Connecticut OCEAN 3 New York City New Pennsylvania Jersey
  17. 17. 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 ferry information. 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 Alaska’s Inside Passage is proof Haines that Mother Nature is one wild woman. Awesome doesn’t Alaska Mendenhall Glacier begin to describe JUNEAU it. Calving glaciers, forests thick as CANADA Admiralty night, pods of Island whales, trees full of eagles: it’s one Sitka of the most memo- Baranof Petersburg rable trips ever. Island Kupreanof Island Wrangell PACIFIC Prince OCEAN of Wales Island Ketchikan To Bellingham (920mi); Seattle (1000mi)
  18. 18. I T I N E R A R I E S • • Ta i l o re d T r i p s 39 TAILORED TRIPS 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 Castle (p509). 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) American and Art Car Museum (p713). Dr Evermor's Sculpture Sanitary Plumbing Sometimes Americans dress up madness by Park; Cow Museum Chip calling it a ‘museum.’ What do you make of the Spam Museum Throw Bigfoot Sock Spam Museum (p633), Leila’s Hair Museum (p657), the Discovery Carhenge Leila's Hair Monkey World's Largest Museum Bigfoot Discovery Museum (p950), or – wait for it – UFO Museum Festival World's Chair the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum (p257)? Nitt Witt Watchtower Lucas, Largest Foamhenge Kansas Catsup Americans celebrate strangely too! Join in the Ridge Mystery Bottle Big Chicken Angola Prison Interstate Mullet Toss (p541), the Cow Chip Throw Castle Rodeo Interstate Coral (p619) and the Sock Monkey Festival (p574). Cheer Mullet Toss Castle Art Car 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 you wait! BOTTOMS UP! 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 Finger Fork Americans have been brewing beer from the Milwaukee Lakes start. Despite being the home of bland major-label North Coast Chicago Charlottesville Boulder beers (such as Pabst and Miller), Milwaukee (p614) Sonoma Napa & remains a beer-lover’s destination, as is Chicago Valleys Durango Bourbon Tour Santa (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.
  19. 19. 40 I T I N E R A R I E S • • Ta i l o re d T r i p s ISLAND-HOPPING 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). San Juan Islands Acadia National Park Continuing along the Gulf of Mexico is Texas’ resort town of Galveston (p718) and the gorgeously Martha's Vineyard Manhattan wild Padre Island National Seashore (p720) – not to be confused with South Padre Island (p721), where Chincoteague Island Channel Islands Outer Banks & ‘gorgeous and wild’ describes the spring break National Park Cape Hatteras National Seashore party scene. Catalina Island Amelia Island At this point, sail through the Panama Canal Sanibel & Padre Island Galveston Captiva Islands or go overland to California, where Catalina Island National Dry Tortugas (p921) has great snorkeling and Channel Islands Seashore Florida National Park Keys National Park (p940) is ‘California’s Galápagos.’ South Padre Island Keep going to Washington’s San Juan Islands (p1021) and thence to the islands of Alaska’s Inside Passage 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 Provincetown Minneapolis Manhattan Boston thriving gay communities, though Fort Lauderdale Chicago Philadelphia Baltimore Fire (p504) attracts bronze boys too. Of course, every- Island San Francisco 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 Orleans Key West (p900)? Hmmm, just about anything. In fact, when LA is too much, try Palm Springs (p934). Waikiki Lastly, for an island idyll, Hawaii (p1085) Hawaii is gay-friendly generally, but particularly in Waikiki (p1097).