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Discover California (Lonely Planet Discover Guides) Paperback – January 1, 2011

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

BETH KOHN is a lucky long-time resident of San Francisco, Beth lives to play outside or splash in big puddles of water. For this guide she biked the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe byways, crossed off her first California 14er, dodged pesky statewide wildfires and selflessly soaked in hot springs - for research purposes, of course. Beth is an author of Lonely Planet's Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and USA guides; you can see more of her work at www.bethkohn.com. ALEX LEVITON grew up on a peninsula in Southern California and escaped to the coastal redwood oasis of Humboldt County for university. She got her degree in the lucrative field of Religion and Eastern Philosophy, and worked as a sign language teacher and camp counselor for Deaf children, squeezing in a good amount of travelling and Grateful Dead concerts. She got her start in publishing at an alternative science (read: conspiracy theory) magazine, where she edited articles such as how NASA faked the moon landing. This experience led her to leave the country. Repeatedly. She started out by hitchhiking around New Zealand, living and dancing in Guatemala, and leading a solar dehydrator gardening project on the Hoopa Indian Reservation. She returned to 'normal' life for a few years, working as a writer for corporations, but the call of the open road led her to take off again, this time waitressing and belly dancing on a boat in Turkey, hitching a ride through Croatia and Bosnia with two grad students, accidentally running into a war and the Nairobi US Embassy bombing in Africa, and returning several times to her new love: Italy. In 2002, Alex received her master's degree in journalism from UC Berkeley and spent the next four years in Durham, North Carolina, where she bought a loft in an old tobacco warehouse and taught her cat, Romeo, to skateboard. Her obscure interests -- public transportation, religious expression, language, large bodies of water, sustainable travel, the outdoors, meeting gabillions of diverse people, architecture, social psychology and pasta -- left her no choice but to write guidebooks, which she's been doing since 2002. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Lonely Planet Discover Guides
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1742202748
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742202747
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,789,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Fritz R. Ward VINE VOICE on February 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
New to California or hoping to visit for a day, week, or month? Lonely Planet's latest travel guide to California is a great place to start. Chock full of glossy color photographs, six chapters introduce visitors to the best of the Golden State's urban areas, and a few of its wilder scenic wonders. Each chapter is color coded to help readers navigate to the section they want, and descriptions of eateries, local tourist attractions, hotels and hostels, and local parks are all written in the delightful style that readers of Lonely Planet Guides have come to expect.

Two urban areas, Los Angeles and San Francisco get their own chapters. The other portions of the book cover the rest of the Bay Area and northern California, the Sierra, the Southern California Coast (which does not include LA but does include both Big Sur and San Diego, two remarkably different areas, and of course Wine Country. Each chapter begins with a list of highlights, as does the book itself. Even relatively small communities which merit interest receive some mention here, including Ferndale, just south of Eureka, and hot springs resort Ukiah. The emphasis in this book is on urban visits, but it does include features on parks. Yosemite, of course, gets extensive coverage. But I was impressed by the amount of space devoted to some otherwise little known state parks like Salt Point and Jack London Historic Park.

For the most part, I found the information in the book accurate, but I did find a couple of minor mistakes. The scenes from Star Wars with the Ewoks are described as filmed in two different state parks and actually it was neither of the ones listed. Visitors who remember the movie will want to visit Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park which is not actually mentioned in the book.
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Im a fan of "lovely Planet travel books", but I have to say that this one did not meet my expectations at 100% like most of them. Yes, it's colorful, and contains some pictures, but the layout its harder to read, and find the pertinent information that you need at the time. It is divided by north, south, east and west coast, but I would rather have it divided by cities, and surroundings, that way when Im in a city its easier for me to see what its around me instead of searching for south coast, east, etc. I went to L.A, and I wanted to open the book and find everything to do in L.A, but I just found some things to do in the beginning of the book, some others on the middle, and some other at the end. For me It was a waste of time to have to read almost the whole book, and go back and forth when I wanted to search for something in an specific area in L.A or San Francisco. At the end, I decided to search online for quicker information, and to have everything in the area in just one piece of paper, and of course my iphone helped me a lot more more than the book. I also, found out that this book only lays out about 5 things that the editors think are "the best to do" in a big city like L.A.or San Francisco. Those things where eating, and going to the beach. On my case, I would prefer if they layout out more things to do so you have different choices, like museums, visiting historic sites, shopping, etc. I think Its good that they lay out what they like, but I would also like to have more choices numbered like the other Lovely Planet black and white books. In conclusion, next time I will prefer to buy the "black and White" book instead of colorful ones. The pictures are nice, but the information is more important when you don't have a lot of time to research before you travel.
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By JK on October 30, 2011
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I've purchased Lonely Planet books in the past and found them to be extremely informative and helpful on my travels. However, this book was a real disappointment. There wasn't a lot of information, and I found my GPS with local attractions was much more helpful. I'll buy them in the future, but this was not up to the level I've seen in the past.
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This guide is rather elemental and simplistic. It is true that it provides lots of color pictures, which helps, and it is very well organized: the region of California is divided into sections (independent section for each big city, plus the inland natural parks, golden state, ...). But the information provided in each part is limited and very elementary: just a couple of hotel/restaurants suggestion in each place, routes suggested are not very well detailed.
I pretty much preferred and strongly recommend, for those reading Spanish, the "Guia azul de California y las Vegas".
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