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Lonely Planet Western USA

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Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Western USA is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Watch Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park, wander through the diverse neighborhoods of San Francisco, or marvel at the Grand Canyon; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Western USA and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's Western USA Travel Guide:

  • Color maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, Native American culture, Western cuisine, arts & architecture, land & wildlife
  • Over 35 color maps
  • Covers California, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Las Vegas and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices and smartphones)

  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps prevent roaming and data charges
  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalize your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Bookmarks and speedy search capabilities get you to key pages in a flash
  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Western USA, our most comprehensive guide to Western USA, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less traveled

  • Looking for a guide focused on Los Angeles and San Francisco? Check out Lonely Planet's Los Angeles and San Francisco guides for a comprehensive look at all these cities have to offer; or Pocket Los Angeles and Pocket San Francisco, handy-sized guides focused on the can't-miss sights for a quick trip.
  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's USA guide for a comprehensive look at all the country has to offer.
  • Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's California guide for a comprehensive look at all the state has to offer.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travelers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

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California

ePub

With bohemian spirit and high-tech savvy, not to mention a die-hard passion for the good life – whether that means cracking open a bottle of old-vine Zinfandel, climbing a 14,000ft peak or surfing the Pacific – California soars beyond any expectations sold on Hollywood's silver screens.

More than anything, California is iconic. It was here that the hurly-burly gold rush kicked off in the mid-19th century, where poet-naturalist John Muir rhapsodized about the Sierra Nevada's 'range of light,' and where Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation defined what it really means to hit the road.

California's multicultural melting pot has been cookin' since this bountiful promised land was staked out by Spain and Mexico. Today, waves of immigrants from around the world still look to find their own American dream on these palm-studded Pacific shores.

Come see the future in the making here in the Golden State.

AJun–Aug Mostly sunny weather, occasional coastal fog; summer vacation crowds.

 

Pacific Northwest

ePub

As much a state of mind as a geographical region, the northwest corner of the US is a land of subcultures and new trends, where evergreen trees frame snow-dusted volcanoes, and inspired ideas scribbled on the back of napkins become tomorrow's business start-ups. You can't peel off the history in layers here, but you can gaze wistfully into the future in fast-moving, innovative cities such as Seattle and Portland, which are sprinkled with food carts, streetcars, microbreweries, green belts, coffee connoisseurs and weird urban sculpture.

Ever since the days of the Oregon Trail, the Northwest has had a hypnotic lure for risk takers and dreamers, and the metaphoric carrot still dangles. There's the air, so clean they ought to bottle it; the trees, older than many of Rome's Renaissance palaces; and the end-of-the-continent coastline, holding back the force of the world's largest ocean. Cowboys take note: it doesn't get much more 'wild' or 'west' than this.

AJan–Mar Most reliable snow cover for skiing in the Cascades and beyond.

 

The Rocky Mountains

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The high backbone of the lower 48, the Rockies are nature on steroids, with rows of snowcapped peaks, rugged canyons and wild rivers running buckshot over the Western states. With its beauty and vitality, it's no wonder that 100 years ago, this region beckoned ailing patients with last-ditch hopes for cures.

The healing power of the Rocky Mountains persists. You can choose between tranquility (try Wyoming, the USA's least-populated state) and adrenaline (measured in vertical drop). Locals love a good frozen, wet or mud-spattered adventure and, with plenty of climbing, skiing and white-water paddling, it's easy to join in. Afterwards, relax by soaking in hot springs under a roof of stars, sipping cold microbrews or feasting farm-to-table style.

Lastly, don't miss the super-sized charms of Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks, where the big five (grizzly bears, moose, bison, mountain lions and wolves) still roam wild.

AJun-Aug Long days of sunshine for biking, hiking, farmers markets and summer festivals.

 

Southwest USA

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The Southwest is America's untamed backyard, where life plays out before a stunning backdrop of red rocks, lofty peaks, shimmering lakes and deserts dotted with saguaro cacti. Reminders of the region's Native American heritage and hardscrabble Wild West heyday dot the landscape, from enigmatic pictographs and abandoned cliff dwellings to crumbling Hispanic missions and rusty mining towns. Today, history making continues, with astronomers and rocket builders peering into star-filled skies while artists and entrepreneurs flock to urban centers and quirky mountain towns.

The best part for travelers? A splendid network of scenic drives linking the most beautiful and iconic sites. But remember: it's not just iconic, larger-than-life landscapes that make a trip through the Southwest memorable. Study that saguaro up close; ask a Hopi artist about their craft; savor some green-chile stew. You may just cherish those moments the most.

AJan Ski near Taos and Flagstaff. In Park City, hit the slopes and the Sundance Film Festival.

 

Understand Western USA

ePub

Western USA Today

Drought, forest fires and illegal immigration worry state officials, but progressive new laws are bright spots for many.

History

From cliff dwellings and cowboys to the atomic bomb and Silicon Valley, the story of the West is still being written.

The Way of Life

Race, religion, sports and a diversity of lifestyles define the cultural landscape. Dig into those topics here.

Native Americans

A visit to a pueblo or a reservation adds cultural and historical context to a Western journey.

Western Cuisine

Everything you need to know about regional food and drink, from green chile stew to Korean kalbi, wild mushrooms and Native American horno bread. It's not just steak and potatoes in the Wild West.

Arts & Architecture

The Western landscape has inspired authors, artists, filmmakers, musicians, photographers and architects for generations.

The Land & Wildlife

Mother Nature threw a tantrum – pounding seas, crashing tectonic plates, erupting volcanoes – then made nice with elk, bald eagles and wildflowers.

 

Western USA Today

ePub

The big news in the West? Drought, marijuana sales, and same-sex marriage. The ongoing drought dominated headlines in California, where the central valley farming region is entering crisis mode. As for pot, the citizens of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in 2012 – and sales are booming. In a landmark decision, the US Supreme held in the summer of 2015 that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.

In recent years the most high-profile political issue in California has been same-sex marriage. The state Supreme Court struck down a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage in 2008, but later that year, the voter-backed Proposition 8 again limited marriage to a union between a man and a woman. In 2013, federal courts ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional. A subsequent appeal of this ruling to the US Supreme Court was denied on jurisdictional grounds, and same-sex marriages resumed in the state. The same-sex marriage question was settled in 2015 when the US Supreme court ruled 5-4 that the constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage, a right that must now be recognized by all 50 states.

 

Directory A–Z

ePub

For more accommodation reviews by Lonely Planet authors, check out http://lonelyplanet.com/hotels/. You’ll find independent reviews, as well as recommendations on the best places to stay. Best of all, you can book online.

Generally, midweek rates are lower except in hotels geared toward weekday business travelers. These hotels lure leisure travelers with weekend deals.

Rates quoted are for high season: June to August everywhere except the deserts and mountain ski areas, where December through April are the busiest months.

Demand and prices spike even higher around major holidays and for festivals, when some properties may impose multiday minimum stays.

The following price ranges do not include taxes, which average more than 10%, unless otherwise noted.

$ less than $100

$$ $100–$250

$$$ more than $250

Discount cards and auto-club membership may get you 10% or more off standard rates at participating hotels and motels.

 

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