National Geographic has done it again! Every time I pick up one of their books, I am thrilled with the information and photos included. With two books, you can have your cross-country scenic and state park road trip completely planned. I received these books from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my review.
“The fifth and latest edition of National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways provides more than 300 possibilities for spectacular getaways in your local area and throughout the 50 states. Whether you’re looking for a short day trip close to home or a several-weeks-long vacation, you’ll find a host of ideas in this beautifully illustrated, detail-packed book, which celebrates America’s regional diversity, rich history, and jaw-dropping splendor. Suggested drives include Maine’s rocky coastline, the Southeast’s mystical swamplands, the Southwest’s striking red-rock plateaus, the West’s majestic mountains, and many more. Veteran National Geographic authors with deep knowledge of each area employ superb storytelling techniques to enliven your journeys. Each drive features mile-by-mile directions, as well as all the practical info you’ll need to make your next road trip an experience to remember.”
This guide is divided into sections based on regions of the United States from New England to the Far West. There are way more scenic byways in this country that I would have imagined! I quickly flipped in the book to Kansas, where I discovered two scenic routes – from Manhattan to Cassoday KS on Kansas 177 in the Flint Hills and the Wetlands and Wildlife Scenic Byway in central Kansas, which is also designated as one of America’s Byways. Each description includes details about the route, information about the areas you will pass through, places to stop along the way, and hints about what to look for as you drive. Now I really want to go on this Wetlands and Wildlife route to see shorebirds, pelicans, prairie dogs, and whooping cranes!
As I looked through the book, I noted that my favorite part of Hawaii is included – the Onomea Bay Scenic Route, which is part of the Hamakua Coast Route from Hilo to the Waipio Valley. We turned onto the scenic route by accident, but I’m so glad the book points it out on purpose! If you’ve ever wanted to know what is on the roads known to be scenic routes and to discover even more you did not know about, this book is great!
With the National Geographic Guide to State Parks, you can discover more than 950 parks in all 50 states. “Bask in the spectacular beauty, thrilling terrain, and quiet peacefulness of the country’s finest state parks, hand-picked by park directors and National Geographic editors. This fully updated fifth edition includes 750 additional off-the-beaten track destinations. Beautifully written descriptions tell the stories of the parks, from their wildlife, natural features, and history to their most popular current activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, water sports, and rock climbing. Vivid images inspire your next getaway, while detailed information–including 32 detailed maps highlighting sites, trails, campgrounds, and more–helps you plan your next excursion. From free to low-cost, from Florida to Alaska, from the six-acre Iao Valley to the 204,000-acre Baxter, use this essential guide to plan a day visit or a weekend escape.”
Again divided by region, I turned to the Central Plains, which includes Kansas. From the map, it looked like the closest state park to me might actually be in Nebraska! However, in the “more great state parks” section, I saw that there is a park called Hillsdale in Paola, which I know is not far from me! Also, I would really like to visit the prairie dogs in Prairie Dog Park! Each description includes background information, what to do and see in the park, and information about camping and lodging. The next time I make a visit to another state, I will definitely be consulting this book for ideas on where to visit!
Of course, there are many state parks omitted from the book, but it is definitely a great starting point, especially when searching the web gets overwhelming! You can always go back to the web after you get ideas from either of these two books.