The Rough Guide to California (Travel Guide eBook)
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578 pages

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The Rough Guide to California

Make the most of your time on Earth with the ultimate travel guides.
World-renowned 'tell it like it is' travel guide.

Discover California with this comprehensive and entertaining travel guide, packed with practical information and honest recommendations by our independent experts. Whether you plan to hit the surf and seaside rollercoasters of Santa Cruz, hike in the Sierra Nevada, roam the Napa Valley's wineland, or embark on a Route 66 road trip, the Rough Guide to California will help you discover the best places to explore, eat, drink, shop and sleep along the way.

Features of this travel guide to California:
Detailed regional coverage: provides practical information for every kind of trip, from off-the-beaten-track adventures to chilled-out breaks in popular tourist areas
Honest and independent reviews: written with Rough Guides' trademark blend of humour, honesty and expertise, our writers will help you make the most from your trip to California
Meticulous mapping: practical full-colour maps, with clearly numbered, colour-coded keys. Find your way around San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and many more locations without needing to get online
Fabulous full-colour photography: features inspirational colour photography, including the sheer mountains of Yosemite National Park cast in a golden morning light and iconic Bixby Creek Bridge connecting the cliffs of the beautiful Big Sur coast
- Time-saving itineraries: carefully planned routes will help inspire and inform your on-the-road experiences
Things not to miss: Rough Guides' rundown of Pam Springs, Yosemite Valley, Redwood National Park, Route 66 and Big Sur's best sights and top experiences
Travel tips and info: packed with essential pre-departure information including getting around, accommodation, food and drink, health, the media, festivals, sports and outdoor activities, culture and etiquette, shopping and more
Background information: comprehensive 'Contexts' chapter provides fascinating insights into California, with coverage of history, religion, ethnic groups, environment, wildlife and books, plus a handy language section and glossary
Covers: Los Angeles; San Diego; the deserts; Death Valley; the Sierra; the Central Coast; San Francisco; the Gold Country; Lake Tahoe and Northern California

You may also be interested in: Rough Guide Southwest USA, Rough Guide Florida, Pocket Rough Guide San Francisco

About Rough Guides: Rough Guides have been inspiring travellers for over 35 years, with over 30 million copies sold globally. Synonymous with practical travel tips, quality writing and a trustworthy 'tell it like it is' ethos, the Rough Guides list includes more than 260 travel guides to 120+ destinations, gift-books and phrasebooks.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 mars 2020
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781789196603
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 9 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0040€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Tom Mackie/AWL Images
Where to go
When to go
Author picks
Things not to miss
Tailor-made trips
Getting there
Getting around
Eating and drinking
The media
Festivals and public holidays
Sports and outdoor pursuits
Travel essentials
1 Los Angeles
2 San Diego and around
3 The deserts
4 Death Valley, Owens Valley and the Eastern Sierra
5 San Joaquin Valley and the Western Sierra
6 The Central Coast
7 San Francisco and the Bay Area
8 The Gold Country and Lake Tahoe
9 Northern California
Environment and wildlife
Introduction to
Few regions of the world have been as idealized and mythologized as California – and yet it seldom fails to live up to the hype. The Hollywood glamour, surf beaches and near-endless sun of the Southern California coast are rightly celebrated, but from here you’re only a few hours’ drive from majestic snowy mountains (and even ski resorts), Wild West ghost towns and barren deserts studded with Joshua trees. Further north, boutique wine regions mix with primeval redwood forests, wild seascapes and the cities of the Bay Area, with captivating San Francisco as its heart. The Golden State’s almost-unequalled diversity is packed into nearly 164,000 square miles – an area nearly twice the size of Great Britain – and yet California ranks as only the third largest state in the US, after Alaska and Texas.
To outsiders – and even a certain percentage of its residents – California represents the ultimate “now” society, where urban life is lived in the fast lane, conspicuous consumption is often paramount and, in some circles, having the right hairstyle, wardrobe and income is crucial. And while there’s a bit of truth to this stereotype of the state’s infamous superficiality, the fact is that California’s staggering scope of cultures and lifestyles, determined as they are by everything from socio-economic factors to simple geography, could never allow for a single statewide identity to take root. The state’s rich and ongoing penchant for invention and, moreover, re-invention underscores how there’s far too much going on here for one single California to exist.
In one state you have America’s second city and home of the movies Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Disneyland, but also the staggering natural wonders of Yosemite National Park, towering redwoods and primitive rock carvings left by Native Americans. In the south, the unforgiving, mythical landscapes of the Mojave Desert and Death Valley contrast with the golf courses, resorts and Coachella festivities of Palm Springs, while the big names of Silicon Valley – Facebook, Google, Apple – lie short rides away from the isolated coast of Big Sur. You can sip your way through the vineyards of Napa, visit the abandoned mines of Gold Country and climb the saw-toothed peaks of the Sierra Nevada, where bears and pumas roam.
California may well have a strong focus on the here and now, but it also has a fascinating past. Hunter-gathering Native American tribes had the place largely to themselves until Spanish missionaries arrived from modern-day Mexico and began building a string of missions from 1770 onwards. Contact was minimal and on a small scale until the Gold Rush that began in 1848 – the following period bestowed California its “Golden State” moniker. People of all social and political stripes flocked here, a pattern that has continued ever since and which has undoubtedly contributed to making this one of America’s most polarized states, home to right-wing bastions such as Orange County and San Diego and yet also a principal source of America’s most dynamic progressive movements: environmentalism, women’s liberation, and LGBTQ and immigrant rights. Some of the fiercest protests of the 1960s took root here, and in many ways this is still the heart of forward-looking America, as California continues to set the standard in terms of social activism.
Put simply, this is a place that can be all things to all people. Whatever you want California to be, you’ll find it somewhere; and no matter what you expect, it’ll always surprise you.


On shaky ground
With an estimated 500,000 tremors detected annually in the state, California is a seismic time bomb, bisected by the most famous faultline in the world, the San Andreas , which runs loosely from San Francisco to Los Angeles and marks the junction of the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. Although it has a fearsome reputation, it’s not, in fact, the most active fault at the moment – that honour goes to one of its connected faults, known as the Hayward .
Despite the 1906 San Francisco earthquake ’s notoriety, it wasn’t actually the quake itself that levelled most of the city, but a homeowner cooking breakfast on a gas stove the next morning. With the chimney badly damaged, the fire ignited the kitchen and raged across the city for three days, razing 28,000 buildings and leaving at least 3000 dead. Since then, there have been several significant quakes, most recently in 1989, when San Francisco again shook during the Loma Prieta , named after its epicentre close to Santa Cruz and responsible for the horrifying collapse of an Oakland double-decker highway, and in 1994, when the Northridge quake tore through the north side of Los Angeles, rupturing freeways and flattening an apartment building.
Of course, everyone’s waiting for the so-called Big One , a massive earthquake that, it’s feared, could wipe out Los Angeles or San Francisco. Speculation has intensified over the last couple of decades, as experts have pegged the interval between major ruptures in the southern reaches of the San Andreas at 140 years: the last such quake was Fort Tejon in 1857.
Where to go
It’s worth keeping in mind that distances between California’s main destinations can be huge, and naturally you won’t be able to see everything on one trip. In a state that’s so varied, much will depend on the kind of holiday you’re looking for. You may well start off in Los Angeles , the second-most populous city in the US (after New York), a vast, sprawling metropolis boasting Hollywood, the beaches of Malibu, the bars of Sunset Strip, Venice Beach and some exceptional museums, beginning with the Getty Center. From here, you can make the short trip south to San Diego , set snugly against the US/Mexico border with its broad, welcoming beaches, world-famous zoo and laidback vibe. Alternately, head inland to California’s vast deserts , where the resort community of Palm Springs invites poolside lounging and other languid pursuits; if you’d rather explore national parks, Joshua Tree and, further afield, Death Valley – as its name suggests, an inhospitable landscape of volcanic craters and windswept sand dunes that becomes one of the hottest places on earth in summer – are unparalleled in their arid beauty.
Also from Los Angeles, you can make the steady journey up the Central Coast , a meandering run that traces the Pacific’s gorgeous shoreline and takes in some of the state’s most dramatic scenery. Along the way, you’ll visit a few of California’s liveliest mid-size cities, particularly Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz – each with its own character and markedly different from one another. Along the jagged coastline between San Luis Obispo and Monterey on twisting Hwy-1, you’ll encounter the uniquely opulent mansion known as Hearst Castle and the park-rich region of Big Sur .
The Central Coast marks the transition from Southern to Northern California – a break that’s more than just geographical. San Francisco , California’s earliest metropolis and today its proud second city, is quite different from Los Angeles down the coast: it’s the West Coast’s most compact, romantic and European-styled city, where Victorian houses cling to a series of steep hills that tumble down to water on three sides. From the San Francisco Bay Area, you have access to some of the state’s most extraordinary scenery, not least in the national parks set to the east, far across heavily agricultural San Joaquin Valley . Yosemite , where powerful waterfalls cascade into a sheer glacial valley immortalized by Ansel Adams – and countless others – in search of the definitive landscape photograph, is the unquestioned highlight of the Sierra Nevada mountains; south from here are the huge parks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon , while to the north you’ll find an intriguing mix of inviting Gold Rush-era towns such as Nevada City and the year-round resort of Lake Tahoe .


FACT FILE California’s “ Golden State ” nickname is perpetuated by the golden poppy, or Eschsholtzia californica , which appears all over the state each spring and is the state flower. California raised the flags of Spain, England, Mexico and the short-lived Bear Republic before it was admitted to the Union on September 9, 1850, as the thirty-first state . Each year, California becomes home to more immigrants than any other state, with most settlers hailing from Latin America and Asia, though a smattering come from Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Nearly a third of all immigrants to the US settle here. The third-larg

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