Features // USA

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…

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…

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 >

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…

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 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 name these famous sights?
Quiz: can you name these famous sights?

Do postcards and travel posters paper your walls? Do you pride yourself on your travel knowledge? We’ve selected ten of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights around the world to put you to the test. Can you identify the famous sight from the picture? Be warned, sometimes places can look surprisingly similar…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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 places to visit in the USA in 2015
The best places to visit in the USA in 2015

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…

9 new tourist attractions to visit in 2015
9 new tourist attractions to visit in 2015

With a whole host of new attractions opening this year, from world-record-beating skyscrapers to whacky amusement parks, there’s plenty to get your teeth into. To help you decide where to visit, we’ve picked the top 9 new tourist attractions around the world.  Shanghai Tower, China A better symbol of China’s continuing march forward would be harder to…

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 –…

The best photography on Picfair: urban scenes
The best photography on Picfair: urban scenes

This month’s Picfair travel photography round up takes a look at some of their best urban shots. From London and New York to Shanghai and Delhi, we’ve picked our favourite images of the world’s sprawling metropolises. Next month’s theme is ‘winter’, so sign up to Picfair and upload your images, tagged with RGwinter, for a chance to…

20 stunning photos of New England fall foliage
20 stunning photos of New England fall foliage

Autumn (or Fall) in New England is a breathtaking and beautiful season: the billions of leaves change from green to a rainbow of browns, reds, oranges and yellows across the fields and forests of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. At this time of year the air is cool and crisp, making it…

How to talk the talk in New York City
How to talk the talk in New York City

It used to be that you’d know a New Yorker the moment he or she began to talk. That has changed; the New York accent is dying out, as The New York Times reported. But, there are plenty of holdover phrases that point to the history of Noo Yawk tawk. Rough Guides author and native…

Travel news: Moscow to Beijing in just two days?
Travel news: Moscow to Beijing in just two days?

Follow us on a whistle-stop tour of the latest travel stories, including news of a super-fast train line between Moscow and Beijing, the suitcase that heats up to kill bed bugs, and the airline that wants passengers to start checking in with their thumbprints.  Two-day Trans-Siberian Riding the Trans-Siberian Railway is one of the world’s…

10 eye-opening underwater videos
10 eye-opening underwater videos

The oceans cover over seventy percent of the Earth’s surface, yet when it comes to travelling most of us stick to dry land. It’s a shame, as there are some amazing experiences to be had underwater – from swimming with whale sharks to diving around World War II wrecks. Thanks to advances in camera technology,…

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.…

10 of the best GoPro videos
10 of the best GoPro videos

Since GoPro was founded in 2004, they’ve inspired photographers to capture the world from a new angle. Today there’s a huge range of small and versatile waterproof cameras on the market, which can be remote controlled and mounted on everything from surfboards to guitars, and the scope for invention is endless. There’s enough footage out there…

The best places to go in December
The best places to go in December

December might be dark and chilly in much of north America and Europe, but it’s by no means a dull month to travel. There are world-class classical music events, a clutch of colourful festivals and oodles of southern-hemisphere sunshine. Here are our tips on the best places to visit in December:   DIVE THE BLUE…

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,…

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…

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…

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,…

Twenty places to make you feel insignificant
Twenty places to make you feel insignificant

French novelist Gustave Flaubert once said: “Travelling makes one modest – you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”. With this in mind, here are twenty daunting and spectacular places around the world that might make you feel a little small. Easter Island, Chile A trip to see Easter Island’s moai lined up on…

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…

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…

In pictures: the world’s most photogenic countries
In pictures: the world’s most photogenic countries

Rough Guides photographer Tim Draper reveals his top ten most photogenic countries in the world.  From his home country, England, to the depths of Vietnam and Slovenia, Tim Draper has shot images for 24 Rough Guides throughout his career as a professional travel photographer. After starting out on the Rough Guide to England, he went…

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.…

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…

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…

Ten great literary journeys
Ten great literary journeys

From India to Italy to the USA, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, we’ve all travelled the world at some point in time through the captivating words of our favourite novels. Some will take you into the depths of the African jungles, and others plonk you right in the middle of the wide, empty ocean. It’s…

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