Features // North America

Southern Louisiana: from Baton Rouge to the bayous
Southern Louisiana: from Baton Rouge to the bayous

New Orleans might hog the limelight, but there’s no end of things to do in Louisiana. Here, Rough Guides author Charles Hodgkins takes us on a tour of the state’s beguiling south. While it’s easy to understand why New Orleans dominates most discussions of southern Louisiana, there’s much more to the lower areas of the…

Travel news: can tweeting get you hotel discounts?
Travel news: can tweeting get you hotel discounts?

September’s journey through the travel news jungle includes trips to space, another chance to ‘fly’ Pan Am (cocktails and all), and the hotel website that promises discounts for high-profile tweeters. Win a trip to space… someday Virgin Galactic and Land Rover have launched a new competition. The prize? A trip to space for you and…

Studying abroad: the experiences
Studying abroad: the experiences

In our first two articles in this travel series we looked at the growing number of people choosing to study abroad – either on quick one-week trips or exciting year-long adventures. We also delved into some of the opportunities for making a difference through medicine, and gave tips on funding a foreign trip of your own.…

Video: things you shouldn’t miss in Canada
Video: things you shouldn’t miss in Canada

The second largest country in the world, Canada  has some of the most varied landscapes on earth, from desert to temperate rainforest to lush orchards. And then there are the great beaches , enormous glaciers and buzzing cities to explore. These are our top things not to miss in Canada:  Explore more of the world…

An Interview with Pico Iyer
An Interview with Pico Iyer

British-born, with Indian parents and a childhood spent in California, Pico Iyer is one of the most respected travel writers today. Tim Chester asks Pico about lessons learned, packing and the evolution of travel.  Could you single out the first formative experience that sparked your love for travel? I was lucky in that I was…

Quiz: can you name these famous places in the USA?
Quiz: can you name these famous places in the USA?

Do you pride yourself on your travel knowledge of the USA? Have you marvelled at the Grand Canyon, taken a ride on a cable car in San Francisco and visited Washington DC‘s finest museums? If so, this is the quiz for you. We’ve selected eight famous sights across the USA – from mountains and monuments to towns and cities – to…

14 magical sunrises that prove it’s worth getting up early
14 magical sunrises that prove it’s worth getting up early

Looking through the Rough Guides photography archive, one kind of shot stands out again and again: pictures captured at sunrise. Sure, there’s nothing more tempting than sleeping in until noon while you’re on holiday. But if you can bring yourself to brave the odd early morning, you’ll discover a magical world as dawn breaks. From…

The best places to visit in the USA
The best places to visit in the USA

The USA embodies the very definition of a giant, sprawling country, and with its wildly varied geography and astonishing assortment of regionally distinct subcultures, the third-largest nation in the world would take a lifetime (or more) to thoroughly explore. And while this is not a country that specialises in subtlety – three of our ten spotlighted choices…

7 San Francisco start-ups that change how we travel
7 San Francisco start-ups that change how we travel

San Francisco is the undisputed home of the start-up. From the Silicon Valley powerhouses to growing tech clusters in Oakland and the Mission, the Bay Area is a hub for digital innovation. Apple, Netflix, Twitter, Dropbox, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and more all hail from this corner of northern California. It should be no surprise, then, that…

We went to Seattle and ate everything in sight
We went to Seattle and ate everything in sight

Quinns on Capitol Hill, around 8pm on the Saturday night, is when we hit the wall. Halfway though a wild boar sloppy joe, which oozed out of its brioche confines like meaty magma, spilling fried onion and Fresno pepper across the plate in an explosion of gluttonous joy, we were done. Finished. Finito. Couldn’t have…

A Rough Guide to NYC on a budget
A Rough Guide to NYC on a budget

New York City is famous for its pricey lifestyle. This is the home, after all, to a $250 truffle burger at Beer & Buns Burger Bar, $4600 alligator Manolo Blahniks at Barney’s, and the $45,000 Ty Warner Penthouse at Four Seasons New York (hey – at least it comes with a personal butler). But it…

Hit the highway: 5 great American road trips
Hit the highway: 5 great American road trips

What could be more American than taking a road trip? The USA has changed greatly since Jack Kerouac roamed the highways, but getting out on the open road remains intoxicating. We’ve chosen five majestic road trips that showcase some of America’s finest natural landscapes, history and music. Los Angeles to Vancouver Leave Los Angeles and get on the 101 coast…

The best burrito restaurants in San Francisco
The best burrito restaurants in San Francisco

Contrary to the popular belief that the burrito is a resolutely Mexican delicacy, the truth is that it’s far more of a “Cal-Mex” (Californian-meets-Mexican) success story. You can certainly track down burritos in the northern reaches of Mexico, but you’re likely to find far more complex and embellished versions north of the border – particularly…

A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums
A titillating tour of the world’s finest sex museums

Sex museums are nothing new. Dozens were erected across Europe during the Swinging Sixties when the sexual revolution was in full swing. These days the orgy of sex museums has slowed to a mere mouthful, though they have been stimulated by a new breed of ‘erotic’ museum that aims to steer more towards art than…

Aboriginal experiences British Columbia, Canada
Aboriginal experiences British Columbia, Canada

Maria Hart meets some of Canada’s First Nations people to discover what aboriginal tourism in British Columbia has to offer. “High tide is rush hour here” smiles our guide Tsimka, “that’s when the kayaks and water taxis usually come.” But since our group paddled over to Meares Island in a traditional flat bottomed canoe at…

A guide to the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park
A guide to the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park

About two hours east of Los Angeles awaits a landscape so starkly foreign, it’s like landing on another planet. The 3000-square-kilometre Joshua Tree National Park sits at the meeting of two deserts, the Colorado to the east and the Mojave to the west, and those two ecosystems are home to a wide array of curious animals…

In pictures: the best beaches in Mexico
In pictures: the best beaches in Mexico

Mexico boasts a mesmerizing coastline of around 9,330km, with millions of tourists coming here solely for the country’s exceptional beaches. The following have been selected as much for the scene – whether backpacker or spring-breaker – as for sand quality, water and scenery. Taken from the Rough Guide to Mexico, here are some of the…

Ten US states you need to visit this summer
Ten US states you need to visit this summer

No matter how you like to spend your summer vacation, you’re bound to find a satisfying spot in the vast and diverse United States. Here are a few of our favourite summer states in the USA. Get back to nature in California Nature lovers can celebrate Yosemite’s 150th anniversary as a national park this year, and…

A literary guide to New York City
A literary guide to New York City

Herman Melville. Henry James. Edith Wharton. Washington Irving. Bernard Malamud. All these writers were born in New York City, and numerous others have adopted the city as home. Here are five spots where you can pay tribute to literary greats in New York City. The Algonquin Hotel Recreate the famous literary Algonquin Round Table –…

Picking, eating and tripping on Peyote in Mexico
Picking, eating and tripping on Peyote in Mexico

Surrounded by the dwarfing Sierra de Catorce mountain range, Rough Guides writer Alasdair Baverstock indulges in some hallucinogenic Mexican cactus for an eye-opening experience. The cactus beside me was quite audibly breathing. Its expansions and contractions were sure signs of its survival in this desert. In fact, looking around at the abandoned silver mine everything…

Canyons, creeks and wildfires in Arizona’s national parks
Canyons, creeks and wildfires in Arizona’s national parks

Arizona is peppered with sensational landscapes – deserts lacerated with zig-zagging canyons, vast brightly coloured cliffs, boulder-filled creeks, and of course, the ultimate crack in the earth: the Grand Canyon. Rough Guides editor Helen Abramson takes on the national parks of this southwest American state. “I’ll take them!”, I cry enthusiastically to a heavily bejewelled,…

Hidden New York: 5 little-known sights
Hidden New York: 5 little-known sights

We’ve just published a brand new Pocket Rough Guide to New York City, and thought we’d share a sneak preview. Want to shun the crowds? Here are five places to explore hidden New York.  No superlative, no cliché does New York City justice. It may not serve as the official capital of the US or even…

Cycling around my new favourite city on earth
Cycling around my new favourite city on earth

Portland, Oregon, can be addressed in many ways. It’s a city of soubriquets, bearing nicknames bestowed by locals to reflect its charms: The City of Roses to those who love its natural abundance; The City of Bridges by those who can’t help but notice the freeway’s influence; Beervana by fans of its prolific brew culture.…

The best paths to great San Francisco views
The best paths to great San Francisco views

San Francisco wears many hats to its hordes of annual visitors. Some come to indulge in a broad variety of eating experiences, from chic California and New American cuisine to cheap burritos and dim sum, or to take in iconic sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Others are drawn to its side-by-side,…

Riviera Nayarit: hippy-hunting on Mexico’s Pacific beaches
Riviera Nayarit: hippy-hunting on Mexico’s Pacific beaches

On a trip to Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, just a short drive from bright lights of Puerto Vallarta, Neil McQuillian discovers the unexpected… There! I whipped my head round to get a better look. Yes – roger that – no doubt about it. That rare combination of bright, clashing colours and drab browns: remarkable. Quite a…

Quiz: can you name the US state from its outline?
Quiz: can you name the US state from its outline?

If you think you’re well-travelled around the USA, this tricky map quiz might make you think again. If you know your 50 states like the back of your hand, you’ll do just fine – but there’s only one way to find out… Explore more of the USA with the Rough Guide to the USA >

6 reasons you should drive the Pacific Coast Highway
6 reasons you should drive the Pacific Coast Highway

With a sea breeze in your hair and the sun (or sometimes the fog) on your face, driving the Pacific Coast Highway is one of America’s most awesome road trips. Following California’s Highway 1 and US 101, it hugs the west coast from the Mexican to Canadian borders. Whether you choose to dip your toe…

The eeriest ghost towns in the USA
The eeriest ghost towns in the USA

Emerging above the rolling tumbleweed of prairies or hidden below modern cities, hundreds of eerily desolate former towns are scattered across the United States. Many of the USA’s ghost towns were once thriving settlements: they grew quickly, but disappeared just as fast in the boom and bust Gold Rush years, while others have a more shadowy…

The best beaches in California
The best beaches in California

Few regions of the world have been idealised and mythologised as much as California – yet it seldom fails to live up to the hype. Among the finest jewels in the state’s crown are its magnificent beaches. There’s no better place to soak up the near-endless sun than along the coast, whether you’re there for…

Quiz: can you locate these national parks?
Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

National parks are some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural places, taking in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and forests (sometimes all in the same one), but how much do you know about them? Can you tell these national parks apart? Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Discover the world’s most technologically advanced cruise ship
Discover the world’s most technologically advanced cruise ship

Robotic bar staff and virtual reality aren’t the first things that come to mind when thinking about cruises. But it’s time to forget images of golden-oldies sunning themselves on deck with a pina colada in one hand and foil reflector in the other: Royal Caribbean’s US-based Quantum of the Seas is the most technologically-advanced cruise…

The best weekend getaways in the USA
The best weekend getaways in the USA

The USA is a big place, but no matter where you’re based, it’s easy to hit the road for a couple of hours or hop on a plane or train for a total change of scenery. Here are just a few of the USA’s best weekend getaways. Best for peace and quiet: Bear Mountain State…

The best fish tacos in San Diego
The best fish tacos in San Diego

It is surprising that the city of San Diego hasn’t erected a statue to Ralph Rubio. Because Rubio brought the fish taco to town and nothing – seriously, nothing – is treated with more reverence here than the fish taco. Does a corn tortilla covered in fried fish, cabbage, crema and pico de gallo sound…

Quiz: which US national park should you visit this year?
Quiz: which US national park should you visit this year?

This year the US National Park Service celebrates its hundredth year in operation. There are loads of events happening throughout America’s 59 parks this year, so to help you decide where to go, we’ve devised this short test. Find out which US national park you should visit next:  

The dying romance of the drive-in movie theater
The dying romance of the drive-in movie theater

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are sitting in a red 1950s convertible under the stars. Giant ice creams march across a giant screen. A giant hot dog dances with a giant bun. He yawns, sliding a surreptitious arm around her neck. She turns away. He moves in, she slaps him and I’m hooked. My first…

Quiz: can you name these famous American landmarks?
Quiz: can you name these famous American landmarks?

Do you know the National Mall from Independence Hall? How many national parks can you name? Whether you’re an avid tourist or a well-researched resident, put your knowledge of the USA‘s landmarks to the test with our quiz… Explore more of America with the Rough Guide to the USA. Compare flights, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget…

You can visit all US national parks for free next week
You can visit all US national parks for free next week

To celebrate of the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, visitors will be offered free entry to national parks across the USA next week. From the 16th to the 24 April, admission fees will be waived in all 59 parks, with a range of special activities also planned around National Junior Ranger Day on…

19 superb pictures of New York City
19 superb pictures of New York City

Each month we look at a different destination through the lenses of the best photographers on Picfair, and this month we’re focusing on New York City. It’s beautiful in summer or winter, but spring is one of the best times to visit and see the city bloom into a colourful metropolis. Here are 19 of our favourite…

Film-maker perfectly captures spring in Philadelphia
Film-maker perfectly captures spring in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is one of America’s unsung heroes. The one-time capital is too often overlooked in favour of its big-shot neighbours, Washington DC and New York City. But if you take some time to explore, you’ll discover a city that lives and breathes beautiful art, great music and delicious food. Our pick of the week, this…

The best beaches in Hawaii
The best beaches in Hawaii

Renowned the world over for their palm-fringed beaches and spectacular scenery, the ravishing islands of Hawaii poke up from the Pacific more than two thousand miles
 off the west coast of America. There’s nowhere better to get a fix of sun, sea and surf. To help you to get the best out of your trip,…

Cocktail culture: the best bars in New Orleans
Cocktail culture: the best bars in New Orleans

Among hardcore cocktail experts, no American city is held in such high regard as New Orleans. The Crescent City’s cocktail culture dates back nearly two hundred years, when the first cocktails were created for medicinal benefits. Local physicians and pharmacists experimented with concoctions of herbs and alcohol, and in the 1830s, the pharmacist Antoine Peychaud…

The 10 best beaches in Florida
The 10 best beaches in Florida

The Sunshine State takes great pride in its 600 or so miles of beautiful beaches. Thanks to a year-round mild-climate – sub-tropical in the south – these mesmerizing white sands make Florida prime beach territory. Although some of the most popular beaches are around Miami on the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Mexico, with its…

9 American beers that defined the craft brewing revolution
9 American beers that defined the craft brewing revolution

As the global craft beer explosion continues to, well, explode, there are few that doubt its provenance: the United States of America. The craft brew scene in the US has been fizzing with adventure and experimentation for three decades. It is Americans who are largely responsible for that citrusy hops rush, for adding that quirky…

Weird America: 9 of the USA’s most bizarre traditions
Weird America: 9 of the USA’s most bizarre traditions

Despite being a relatively young nation – at just 240 years old – America has developed its fair share of traditions. Most of us are familiar with the big hitters such as Thanksgiving, Halloween and Independence Day. But what about the USA’s less well-known, more peculiar customs? Join us as we delve into the fascinating world…

10 reasons to make a pit stop in Pittsburgh
10 reasons to make a pit stop in Pittsburgh

For most people the very mention of Pittsburgh conjures up images of heavy industry and skies black with smoke. And while such vistas were true a century ago and are still coded in the name of the successful local NFL team, the Steelers, the contemporary reality is of an attractive and vibrant modern city, which…

The best islands in the Great Lakes
The best islands in the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes comprise the largest body of fresh water on the planet and more than 35,000 islands are found in the water system. Not all are inhabited and some aren’t much more than a single rock jutting out of the lake with a lighthouse on it – but the inhabited ones provide the perfect…

Get your claws out: 14 places to go for the best lobster in Maine
Get your claws out: 14 places to go for the best lobster in Maine

While the American lobster is found all along the east coast of North America, from Newfoundland to North Carolina, it is most commonly associated with Maine, where the crustacean is abundant and devoured in a number of dishes and numerous restaurants. Maine’s lobster industry contributes more than $1 billion to the state’s economy – 2014…

The Junction: a night in Toronto’s hippest neighbourhood
The Junction: a night in Toronto’s hippest neighbourhood

After 150 years of boom and bust, Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood is being redefined. Mary Novakovich takes to its bars and restaurants to discover what’s hot about the city’s hippest neighbourhood. Things weren’t looking too promising when the taxi dropped us off on a dusty road with a railway on one side and grim-looking industrial units…

Hoboken: the city that got its buzz back
Hoboken: the city that got its buzz back

Hoboken, the mile-square city in New Jersey, directly across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan, is back on its feet. And as Allison Singer discovers, not only has the birthplace of baseball and “ol’ blue eyes” himself, Frank Sinatra, become a popular choice of residence for young professionals who don’t want to combat sky-high Manhattan…

Unexplored Mexico: Chiapas and Tabasco
Unexplored Mexico: Chiapas and Tabasco

For many years Chiapas and Tabasco were famous for revolutionaries, chilli sauce and little else. But these neighbouring Mexican states are increasingly appearing on tourist itineraries, drawing in travellers with their magnificent ruins, colonial cities, unique indigenous cultures and lip-tingling cuisine. Shafik Meghji heads off the beaten track. Chiapas Stretched along the Guatemalan border in…

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